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Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

I haven’t stuck to my word. I haven’t written more on this blog. I thought it was out of disinterest if I’m honest. I read other blogs and find them so brilliant and eye-opening, or I’m glad someone spoke out about an aspect of Eating Disorders or weight loss/gain or being overweight. But I haven’t felt inspired to write anything myself.

The truth is, I’ve just been plodding along. Plodding along so much so that I got myself into a bit of … how shall I put it, a pit of distress?

I feel like I was a warrior, fighting in an epic battle, wearing this silver plated armour that’s covered in scratches and scars, but I still keep fighting my way through to get to the other side. But instead, I’ve fought so hard that I never took my eyes off of the fight and I didn’t realise there was a cliff edge up ahead. So I kind of stumbled into it. For the last fortnight I’ve been scratching my head, wondering when it was that I was so blinded by the fight that I didn’t see the cliff edge.

How that’s going to protect her in battle… I really don’t know. Her Vajayjay is showing.

(Source)

Since 2013 started, I’ve been feeling the exhaustion of Depression, not wanting to do the simple things like brushing my teeth but forcing myself anyway. It’s my job that’s stressed me out the most, not the actual work but travelling, waiting around for buses and it taking literally hours to get to work and back. I kept thinking just get to Christmas, just wait until Christmas and then you can review the situation. But Christmas came and went so fast (as it always does) and I just kept going.

Until last week, when I felt so dizzy and nauseas that I just stopped. Even when I stopped, I kept going (Which doesn’t make any sense but stay with me for a moment). Even when I knew I had nothing left to give and I’d reached my limit, travelling so far to work and counselling, and having no time for being sociable, I still made it to work feeling like something was wrong. My mind was scattered, I felt like I was about to collapse and any movement made me feel dizzy.

And the moment I got home I felt better, and that’s when I knew it was stress. (I was thinking brain problems, like a tumour, because that’s what my mind likes to do to me: terrify me)

I’m so frightened of going back to how I was before employment and during the earlier stages of therapy, that I’m almost depressing myself thinking about it. I’m dreading being unemployed, I’m trying to find a job but because of counselling it means I can’t apply for what I’d normally apply for (cryptic I know) I want to maintain and progress with battling my Eating Disorder, but what if I put on the weight I’ve lost? And last but definitely not least, my grandparents have Alzheimer’s, and it’s … it’s bad.

Having said that, something changed a while ago, I’m … better. Not recovered, but on the way.

Have any of you guys unexpectedly hit a wall with weight struggles or Eating Disorders?

Hayley Emma

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I’ve thought of quite a few blog posts in the past fortnight, but every time I’ve sat down to write them I’ve stared at a blank page.

Although I’ve had a few ideas, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying what I think might be the key to fully understanding my Eating Disorder. I’ve been carrying it round with me for a week, unsure of whether I should write about this without having had a proper discussion with my therapist.

Last week I was 20 minutes late for therapy. At the time I was upset about a difficult situation which I’m pretty powerless in, and I was tired from work. I found it difficult to drag myself out of bed and so was late, and then there was traffic, so my Dad took pity on me and after battling through the traffic, took me to therapy.

I said it was my fault and I should have gotten up earlier, but I didn’t realise how annoyed she was going to be, since most weeks I’m on time. It was no big deal, right? She said everything happens for a reason, but I thought maybe it was just really busy traffic and then she said:

“I’m not offended, but I know if you were going somewhere you were really excited about, you’d be on time.”

I nodded, but I thought “No, I wouldn’t.”

The discussion led to whether I thought this, as in therapy, was working for me. I left the office having to seriously think about what I wanted.

I considered leaving. Maybe therapy wasn’t for me? I felt like I’d been covering the same thing for a couple of weeks not really keeping up with the progress I’d made but not regressing either. Maybe having a job had lifted some of the Depression and I was in a better place, financially and emotionally?

But then I thought about how I’d have to really change my eating for good, and most importantly, how I’d lose weight. And what if I lost my job, or had a rough time at my job? In the current climate it’s very possible I’ll be unemployed again as soon as next year. It’s just so uncertain. What if I’m then plunged back into this swamp of Depression, jobless, struggling to leave the house and avoiding all of my problems until I’m even more overweight than right now?

As much as I want to sort it out myself or just get over it, I haven’t managed to do that before. If I’m hoping things will be different just because  I want them to be, then I have learnt nothing over the past couple of years. Lighterlife is a very attractive option which I might have gone back to, had I not gained this awareness into Binge Eating and Eating Disorders.

And then it hit me, I wouldn’t be on time to an event I was excited about. I cancel on my friends all the time because I get so anxious about what could happen whilst we’re outside, mingling with people who can see my body. It’s horrendous, and I never feel comfortable even though I want to see my friends. If I carry on the way I’m going, no one is going to want to meet me anymore, because I’d probably cancel and waste their day.

And honestly, the mess I’ve made of my house. I have been so messy and, there’s no other name for it, a total slob when it comes to cleaning that mess. It’s awful, i leave wrappers lying around, don’t put my clothes in my wardrobe but chuck them on the floor. I’m disgusted with myself. I am not this person. I’m not a clean freak by any means but I like things tidy, I like to be organised, I like to get to places early. And yet I’m not like that.

I kind of, sort of, hate myself… a little bit.

And it dawned on me, that giving up therapy now, following the same route I’ve taken before isn’t just going to suddenly change because I hope it will.

I have to make the change.

I missed therapy last week because I was in bed. I struggled to get out of bed, but who hasn’t when it’s still dark outside, and cold? But people get up, because they have to. Otherwise they’ll be late, or they’ll miss work etc, and there are repercussions to these actions.

Today I sat in front of my therapist and explained all of this. I’m scared, because moving forward on a different path means the unknown, and for whatever reason, I’ve wanted to avoid that for years. But on the other hand, somewhere new has got to be better than where I’ve already been.

Hayley Emma

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My master plan was to take a break from blogging to write multiple  blog posts in advance and also write some fiction. I haven’t been able to write fiction at all this year, I think because I’ve been so distracted by my Eating Disorder. You know how some ‘artistes’ find they’re inspired by melancholy and heartache? Well, I don’t seem to work the same way.

When I’m depressed, brushing my teeth is a big task that I cannot be bothered with. If I forced myself to write a novel in that time – and I wouldn’t be able to, because chocolate and staying in bed would always win over typing – but if I did, it would be a steaming pile of poop.

And so my blogging break was  filled with anxiety, depression and chocolate coated tears. Yeah I just wrote that. It just came to me. I really must be an artiste.

Unfortunately it took me a while to realise I was more depressed than I’d been in months and  I wasn’t going to snap out of it like I always hope I will. As much as I try to shake it off, it’s impossible.

I tell myself I need to go for a walk, it’ll make me feel better and I’ll get exercise. Exercise usually focuses me. But as Annie said in Bridesmaids “I can’t get off the couch.”

To go for a walk stops being just a walk and becomes a monumental effort. First of all, I’d have to stand up, and my limbs do not want that. They gravitate towards the sofa, the bed, I’ve even had a pit stop sat on the stairs because doing nothing is so much easier than doing something.

That pit stop becomes a 10 minute stare at the wall, thinking of nothing. I’m not particularly sad, I’m not crying of even looking at my thighs and silently wishing I could stick a needle in there and just suck all the fat out. When I snap out of this trance-like state, and realise 10 minutes has passed…

10 minutes?! Wow, you only sat here to … why did you sit here again? Oh yeah, you were on your way upstairs to get ready for a walk. Go on.

…you gasp and look at the time and wonder what you were doing, and you know you should be moving, but for some reason – that you don’t understand – you sit there for another 5 minutes.

When I finally do move, the thought of getting in the shower, brushing my teeth, drying and straightening my hair, putting on a face of make-up and then stepping outside is exhausting.

I get ready at a snail’s pace, finding any excuse to just sit, or when there is no excuse because I’m running late, I just sit anyway. The straighteners weigh my arm down, I mess up the streak of liquid eyeliner on my top eyelid, do I really have to brush my teeth? Any excuse not to face the world.

I didn’t want to write this blog post because ‘lazy’ is a trigger word for me. How lazy is it when I don’t even want to clean my teeth because that would mean 2 extra minutes of work? That’s lazy. And unhygienic. And it is not me.

That’s why I’m writing this post, because when I’m not depressed, I’m a little obsessive about cleaning my teeth at least twice a day, and after every binge, even if I just feel like it. I’ll scrub, floss, feel the burn of the mouthwash. I won’t step out the door without mints so I can keep the freshness as fresh as possible. That is me.

I am not depression, just like I am not my Eating Disorder. I am lazy when I’m depressed, yes, but I work hard to pull myself out of depression. And I binge (although I haven’t for months now) but I am going to therapy and working on not bingeing.

So if someone makes a snap judgement about me, that I’m lazy or I eat too much, then that’s ok. I am, and I do, sometimes, but that’s not all I am.

I am a superhero.

Oh, you didn’t know?

Hayley Emma.

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Lately I’ve struggled to go for a walk outside every day due to depression and not pushing myself. I’ve always known exercise makes you feel good, but I came across this article which explored how walking can be beneficial in coping with depression.

Vigorous exercise is brilliant, and by vigorous I mean the getting-your-heart-pumping-and-sweating-a-lot kind of exercise.

Exercise helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects (Information found here)

I’m not quite sure about the increased body temperature having calming effects, I’m not really a fan of feeling hot but I suppose if it’s cold … warmth is good?

Releasing endorphins though is incredibly positive, as Depression causes a chemical imbalance which means a person’s mood is low and harder to lift. For instance, a symptom of depression is no longer feeling enjoyment in situations that the person found enjoyable before Depression.

Coincidentally, chocolate ‘can also lead to enhanced secretion of endorphins… the release of endorphins upon ingestion of chocolate likely explains the comforting feelings that many people associate with this food and the craving for chocolate in times of stress.’ (Information found here)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. And it’s name is chocolate.

Eating chocolate makes a lot of people, including myself, feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes some people, including myself, gain weight. Bummer. No, it doesn’t cause weight gain, but as I’m person using chocolate to feel normal, then it’s not good for my thighs. Exercise on the other hand helps to improve mood (you’ve achieved something by walking a mile) and also physically would help with weight loss.

For those who have never experienced Depression or don’t fully understand why, if exercise is so beneficial, everyone with Depression isn’t out running a marathon, here are the reasons why:

  • Being restless and agitated
  • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight
  • Crying a lot
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day
  • Being unusually irritable or impatient
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • Losing interest in your sex life
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • Feeling numb, empty and despairing
  • Feeling helpless
  • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future
  • Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)
  • Thinking about suicide. (Information found here)

All of these symptoms can be overwhelming, especially when a person doesn’t know that they’re Depressed or even what Depression is. It’s taken a long time, with the help of antidepressants and therapy, to get to the stage where most days I can go out for a walk, and more often I can get on the treadmill.

I think it’s easier to imagine the difficulties in exercising whilst in the throes of Depression like this: its 4am, you’re so tired that you can’t think straight, and someone asks you to come for a run. At that moment, you’re going to be thinking “Why on earth would I get out of bed to run? I’m knackered! The last thing I want to do is move.”

It’s difficult, It really is, but personally I know how much better I feel when I’m fitter, and since walking is very do-able, I’m focusing on walking everyday outside, and also partaking in yogalates and random happy dancing in my living room.

Random happy dancing also improves mood, although there hasn’t been a study in this, because … I made it up. But if you wanted to try it out, all you have to do is think of all the dance moves you would never do it public… and then do them. Seriously, people will congratulate me on finding a cure for Depression when they realise how effective random happy dancing is.

If you suffer from Depression, how does exercise fit into your life? And if you haven’t experienced Depression, what is your opinion on it? And how rich and famous do you think I’ll be when I bring random happy dancing to the masses?!

Emma

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In my last therapy session my counsellor mentioned that my life might be a tad consumed by my eating disorder. She was asking about things that I do that don’t relate, as in when do I see my friends, what are my hobbies, what do I do for leisure etc.

I’ve always known on paper I seem kind of boring. I like writing and blogging but I struggle to write fiction because I never think what I write is good enough, and then I can’t really talk to people about blogging unless I mention Eating Disorders. I don’t want everyone knowing about my problems at the moment, especially not if they know me to be smiley and then BOOM! Depression central… you get the point.

But the thing that stuck with me since therapy is the ‘friends’ part of my life friends. I don’t see my friends that often, about once a fortnight, and I sometimes cancel on them. Sometimes I really don’t want to see my friends, even though I know it’ll be fun, because I get a surge of anxiety that makes me want to sit on the sofa and complain about boredom.

The theme of the week has been ‘feel the fear’ and although I’ve been walking some days and succeeding in 2/3 of my goals, I have been avoiding social situations like the plague. I’m dodging my friends, not texting them when I should, I’m relieved if they cancel … and I realised, my friends come second to my Eating Disorder.

I know, it’s kind of tragic.

When I meet new people, they always ask what I do. I’m on support allowance which deems me unfit to work (signed off by the Doctor), I blog about Eating Disorders and every trip outside of my house is a struggle battling my anxiety. I wouldn’t want to share any of this information with new people who only get this glimpse of a boring and complicated existence.

And then the people that I already know, I don’t like to tell them any of it either. I recently told an ex-housemate all of the above, and I felt I needed to say afterwards “but… I’m not crazy, ok?”

I’m sure that when I disclose any of this information they’ll picture me in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, clutching 3 of my 37 cats and staring slack-jawed at the computer screen.

I know in my heart of hearts that my friends are moving forwards and I’m staying still. 2 of my friends are getting married this summer, most of my friends have jobs and are in relationships and other friends who aren’t cat-ladies-in-waiting. I’m still jobless, making a huge effort just to go for a walk everyday.

I really need to get a job and socialise with new people, but my embarrassment over my body and my situation holds me back. And if I did get to know some new people, would I tell them what I blog about, what I’m dealing with or do I keep it to myself and make it seem like all I do it go for walks everyday?

Eh, I think I’ve out-complained myself. Which is a good thing – I’ve gotten it off my chest, now I can figure out what I want to do. Enlighten me, how are your relationships with your friends, do your problems affect them?

Emma

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You know, I wrote Calm Before The Storm fully expecting to be back to my old self by the end of the week. By my ‘old self’ I mean wallowing in depression, unable to focus on anything in particular, eating anything and everything in sight and hating myself for all of the above.

Something has changed.

Last weekend I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday watching American Horror Story. I loved it. Quite scary, bit sexy, all dramatic with interweaving storylines… that’s my kind of TV series, and I think it helped me get past the initial GIVE-ME-ANYTHING-WITH-SUGAR-IN-IT stage.

The distraction enabled me to eat well without really focusing on it, so I wasn’t psyching myself up for failure. Since then I’ve tried to keep certain foods available, such as yogurt and tea, chewing gum and strong mints so that if I’m craving a binge or just some good old-fashioned overeating then I can have something. Eventually I’d like to be in a place where I wasn’t walking back and forth to the kitchen, searching the cupboards and fridge expecting more sweet things to appear. Even when there is chocolate I try hard to avoid it, and I’m able to talk myself out of eating it.

On top of this I’ve been exercising. Again, I haven’t wanted to psych myself out so I haven’t got strict rules about how long I should stay at this speed or that incline level on the treadmill. I’ve just upped the speed and incline when I tested my heart rate, and made sure I stayed in the ‘fat burning zone’. Because this approach is for health and fitness, not really omgineedtoloseweightyesterday it’s been consistent. I feel great that I’ve exercised and I haven’t set myself up for failure by piling on the pressure.

I’ve also done a little bit of yogalates and my own aerobic exercises (boogieing to music and embarrassing myself) and sticking to one chocolate bar a day.

I can’t believe I’m saying this. Just 2 weeks ago I wasn’t in a state to do anything worthwhile. I hated myself for wanting to eat everything in sight and didn’t try hard not to resist because food was all I had.

I’m now thinking about how I can improve my diet to keep unnecessary cravings at bay, as I’m going to work on the psychological side in therapy. I think, although I haven’t finished exploring memories and experiences that have helped me become the binge-eater who could go pro, I’ve explored them enough to rationally persuade myself that eating isn’t going to fix the problem.

I must highlight, for anyone who hasn’t experienced depression themselves or through people they know, I have only managed to persuade myself not to binge/overeat because the depression has lifted. In no way could I have talked myself out of situations with the depression I had, and I don’t expect anyone with depression to suddenly wake up and feel ok – it doesn’t work like that unfortunately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ‘cured’. I know there’s a long way to go, and it hasn’t been easy to continually talk myself out of eating/going to buy food hundreds of times a day. And sometimes I’ve given in to the relentless voice in my head screaming at me to eating something, anything, but the majority of times I’ve managed to distract myself, or make a cup of tea suffice.

I feel like I’m finally on my way.

Emma

P.s. What does everyone think of American Horror Story (co-written by Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee) ? And where do you think you are on your ‘journey’?

P.p.s I love Moira the maid’s hair and red eyebrows – I’ve got red hair, but I reckon red eyebrows would make me look a tad insane, what do you reckon?

L(ast).p.p.s I was so relieved when I found out Evan Peters who plays Tate was born in 1987, which makes him older than me, which means I can fancy him guilt free, unlike Taylor Lautner.

🙂

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I’ve been holding back from blogging lately because I haven’t wanted to, but also because I feel like a failure.

I can see my friends getting good jobs, travelling, going on post-graduate courses, moving out of their parent’s houses and having long-term relationships. I have just been told I’m more preferable as a friend than a girlfriend (even though I wasn’t looking to be anyone’s girlfriend). I also feel like I’ve failed life by being advised by the jobcentre that I change benefits as I’m not ‘fit to work’ with depression and anxiety. The thought of getting a job scares the shit out of me, not just because I don’t like going out in public, but that coping with added anxiety and having to hide my depression on a daily basis would be extremely difficult.

I talked to my Doctor and she agreed. It’s temporary, I’m hoping in a month I’ll be back to jobseekers. In the meantime I’ve got a self-employment course lined up as I’m thinking of setting up a business, and I’m also focusing on writing.

I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and although I know I’m making progress in finding out key issues, I can’t see any visible changes in my Eating Disorder and weight.

Which means I’m stuck. Yeah I’m kind of making baby steps, but they’re like 11-month-old-baby-clinging-onto-the-coffee-table steps rather than 18-month-old-look-there’s-a-dog-let’s-chace-it steps. And that’s a huge difference.

I’m doing the preparation for moving forward but I’m still way behind my peers and I’m feeling the mean girl bitterness kicking in again. I was thinking about this blog and how I desperately want to be moving forward and writing about moving forward when I saw this video from Dropping the F Bomb.

If this isn’t inspiring then I don’t know what is.

Jennifer worked hard to lose weight and blogs about her issues in a humorous manner, the best kind of manner if you ask me. As much as I want to be like Jennifer, having accomplished so much and inspiring so many people, I am not.

I wish I could snap my fingers and kick my ED’s ass but I haven’t, in reality it’s a long hard progress and I’m just plodding along and doing my best. Hopefully you’ll be able to read along with this blog when I am kicking ass. Right now though, it’s thanks to people like Jennifer that provide ample inspirational and ass-kicking spirit necessary to keep me going.

Jennifer’s blog can be found here and is now on my blogroll which I urge you to check out, after all, I am very wise and I only pick wise blogs to share on my wise blogroll. It could grow a beard it’s that wise.

Do you wish you could already be winning, or are you happy with the way you’re handling your own battle?

Emma

🙂

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