Check up with my Doctor

I went to my doctors yesterday about seeing how I was doing on my anti-depressants. It’s been about 5 weeks now. I’ve blogged about my leg twitches, my headaches and sickness. I’ve been having chest pains too.

All of these I mentioned. He believes they are symptoms of my stress and anxiety. As anxiety, fear and stress are my overpowering issues. He has recommended a self-help book by Christopher Williams: Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Panic.

My doctor showed me the first edition of the Overcoming Depression book by the same author. It looked good. Has questions and activities to complete. My doctor also said if I have any questions from doing the workbook. I should write them down and book an appointment to see him.

I thought that was really good. He wants to help me get better and answering questions about what I’ve done or don’t understand is something he is willing to do. So far, other doctors, I’ve met, I feel like I couldn’t do that.

They want you in and out as quick as possible. He wants me to come back just to chat if I need it.

Another thing he would like me to do is work on slowing down my breathing. That breathing is going back to haunt me. Think I need to listen. I breathe too fast. Which isn’t helped by stress or anxiety. In turn, causes my headaches and chest pains.

I’ve been working on this today. I’m even doing it now. Breathing in for 3 seconds and then out for 3 seconds. One breath cycle should be 6 seconds; 10 breaths a minute. I can do between 20 and 40 breaths a minute normally.

No wonder I feel panicked all the time. I noticed I feel a little calmer after a few minutes of breathing slowly. Unfortunately, I go back to my fast breathing if I’m not being mindful of it.

A new goal. It’s been a while since I made one of those. 

Goal: Slow my breathing down to 10 breaths a minute

It may be hard in the long run but hopefully having the foal will mean I practice the breathing techniques. Having the sense of relaxation would be a bonus.

One of those days

It’s been one of those days. I had dreamt of a customer medication I’d been to at the beginning of the week. I woke an hour and a half before my alarm. Wide awake. Waking up with a concern about the same customer’s medication running in my head.

Usually writing things down allows me to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. Being too early I couldn’t ring my supervisor to report the concern. A while later at my first customer, I got a call cancelling my second.

I got to go home early but only worked an hour today. I got on with my day.

Around lunchtime, I got the sad news that my main customer past away. Definitely knocked me out of my hyperactive mindset. This was a hard moment. Thankfully, my mum was home. She was able to give me a hug. Plus, the dogs gave me kisses.

Again, after a while, I got on with my day.

Had the embarrassing moment of knocking an ornament off a shelf display in a card shop. Right at the front of the store by the tills. Everyone saw. Thankfully the staff were nice and I didn’t have to pay for it.

I was so glad when Dave (my other half) and I got to my dads’ house. We sat, relaxed and had a catch-up. I do feel more open with my dad since his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. I feel he’s more open with me too.

Pep Talk

I can do this. I can do this.

This is what I’ve been chanting to myself every so often when I start to feel my fear, anxiety or that dark cloud over my head. I did that today before my activation challenge for The Courage Council.

Making a recording of a pep talk to myself conversing with fear. The another to my friend in need. I’m not a fan of the sound of my own voice on recordings. Once I did complete them I cringed at the playbacks.

It took me a few stop and deletes before I wrote down what I was gonna say. Read off it when recording. I can get very tongue-tied when nervous. But I did both and sent my friend their pep talk.

I was proud of myself for doing it as previously I would have skipped these challenges. When I got a reply from my friend. He said it meant a lot. That made me smile.

Keep chanting and hopefully, my mindset will change fully in the future.

Here you go as promised my pep talk to myself. Hope this works. Please tell me if not:

Here is the transcript for those who don’t want to listen or don’t understand me or it doesn’t work:

“Fear, you and I need to talk.

You’ve been in the front seat now for too long. It’s time you hop on into the back and buckle up.

I’m in control now. I understand I need you. But we need some ground rules. Myself, my desires and creativity get a vote. When I believe you need to have a say I’ll ask.

Until such time, creativity, desires and I need to take charge. Get to where we what to go. I need to show that I am the capable, strong woman that I am. Not just to all of us in this car but the whole world.

You got that? Right, let’s go!”

No Fear. Take Risks

Fear and Risk.

These are the two words that keep popping up for me today. I finished week 1 of The Courage Council and started week 2. Week 2 has been about clarifying risks and understanding fear.

When completing the audio. I found it quite therapeutic. I put my pen to the workbook and the words just flowed out. I let fear control me. It takes the front seat of all decisions and desires I don’t attempt to complete.

Once I had done my bit for the day, I decided to watch a bit of One Tree Hill.

Guess what?

Fear and Risk was in that too. Like there was a connection in the things I do/watch. It was the part where Peyton “brother” attacks her and Lucas and her real brother helps her overcome her fears. Teaches her that she needs to take the risk.

One of my challenges this week was to make a recording; well two. One for myself and one for someone I think needs some kindness, less fear. I have an idea of what I wanna say in each. I wanna put my whole focus into them.

They, well at least mine will be on here soon. Just need to figure that part out.

Does fear control you or do you control it?

Are you controlling your body or is it controlling you?

I had a felt sucky day. I had a headache, felt sick, allowed myself to be used like a doormat. My body controlled me. I didn’t control it.

When I looked at session 2 of my positive steps course; I found it quite fitting. It was called controlling your body. That our bodies change and our physical symptoms impact our mood.

Definitely did with me today!

It went over the vicious cycle. Hoping by now I understand my own and what effects me. I’m certainly learning that.

It went on to explain stress on the body. Looking at the physical symptoms you have. I knew I had symptoms but I didn’t realise how many.

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No wonder I feel more stressed and have unhelpful thoughts when my body feels this way.

There are two ways our mood is affected by our bodies; muscle tension and Automatic Nervous System. Looking T my body model, I have more in the muscle tension category then the other.

The symptoms we get are due to our fight or flight responses. It’s our bodies way of saying there’s a threat. Whether it’s work, kids, bills, arguing, even the housework. Money, work and my to do list are my obvious threats.

My tiredness, lack of motivation and lethargy is where my depression kicks in with the stress.

Then it gives me tips on how to combat the stress and depression. All the things you already know but have to hear anyway for your mind to click.

I certainly need to stop asking for reassurance, reduce avoidance and do some exercise.

Then there’s the relaxation techniques. I’ve met these before in my relaxation module. Think I need to go over my relaxation techniques 1 and 2 to refresh my memory. Then do.

Just doing something at the moment is an achievement for me.

An Act of Courage

I worked on my courage today. It was one of my actions I needed to do for week 1. There are usually things I see in my head of which I can do with all the confidence in the world.

But actually doing them is a different story. Most things I struggle to do on my own. When I actually do whatever it is, it builds my confidence up. Slowly, but it’s up.

One of my confidence builders is: go against my brain/thoughts to complete something.

Today, I went to the cinema by myself. I love going to the cinema. Usually, I’m with my other half or friends. I’ve seen others go by themselves. I always think how brave they are.

A part of me thought “yep, I can do that.”

Going by myself today was my act of courage. I thought “I can do this!” I pre-booked my seat so I didn’t have to queue. One step at a time. 

When I was due to go my chest became painful. I was breathing heavy. I had to go to their bathroom before I went into the screen to use my inhaler. To calm down.

In the end I did it. I sat through the film and enjoyed it. Recommend Girls Trip. I had in my head that people were judging me.

The more I do things, my courage and confidence will grow. I’ll get out of that mindset.

Have you ever been to the cinema by yourself? How’d you feel?

Monthly and Q3 Review: September 2017

The review is slightly different this month as it’s the end of a quarter. I believe I’m getting better at answering questions about myself and how things have gone.

Quarter 3:

I’m starting to be the woman I want to be. I’m starting to get physically and mentally healthy. I’m starting to be honest with all and standing up for myself and who I want to be.

I’ve still a long way to go.

I’ve had some good memories with my mental and physical health goals this quarter.

  • Started walking the dogs again
  • Liking the feeling after completing yoga
  • Getting the courage to ask for help when I’ve needed it

I did find my lack of motivation challenging as well as getting the courage to speak up. I found it difficult accepting I needed to go back onto anti-depressants.

I honoured my theme of the year: Cherish and my ways of being this quarter, meaningful, healthy, at ease, connected, listening. Not just on my mental and physical health goals but in general and with my other goals too. You can now see my Goal List from the menu option. 

September:

Has been a mixture of ups and downs. The hardest being my Grandma C passing away. The other downs:

  • Not going to a friends birthday celebration due to having a bad day
  • Having bad days that meant I didn’t get out of bed
  • The stress of work leading up to and around the time of my Grandma passing

The Ups:

  • I’ve spent more time with my family and friends. Cherishing the time I have with them
  • Family and friends being there to support me
  • Getting a little further with my NVQ
  • Working on The Courage Council and doing the work
  • My self-care afternoon

I’ve now started doing a “blackboard” of tasks; which has been something I’ve come across the past two years of doing The Holiday Council but not doing myself. I’ve had a blackboard for a while and I would love a bigger one. My “blackboard” of tasks is a to-do-list of sorts. It has some of my goals on there as well as things I really need to do/think about.

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Overall:

A mixed month and an on the road to being myself quarter. Here’s to the next; the last of 2017. It’s certainly going quick. My two new goals for Q4 are:

  1. Speaking up
  2. Breathing techniques

I’m going to see how much of my to-do-list I do and if I add any more. As well as working on my goal list.

How was September for you?

Has Q3 treated you well?

What would you love to happen for the final quarter of 2017?