Taking a mental health break

So, it’s the summer holidays. I should be getting myself out there, gaining valuable work experience and what not. But am I? No. And not that I haven’t tried. Despite not wanting to be a Lawyer, I have kidded myself enough times that I do and periodically applied for vacations schemes throughout the year. I have scrolled through job sites to try and find summer jobs that I can realistically get to without a car from home home, because I’m not interested in paying for summer halls and then having to work x amount of hours just to break even.

And there is just nothing, that I stand a chance of being physically capable of doing, that meets all of the above criteria and will allow for a 2 week holiday, give or take a few days for me to go to Columbia with my university at the end of July/beginning of August.

But that’s okay. Yes I could do with the money. But it’s okay to be doing nothing with my summer.

As some people might see it, or maybe that’s my perfectionistic over-achieving mindset seeing it like that and actually, no one really cares that I materially lack work experience. Because A) It’s not like I’ve never been employed and B) I have reasons for lacking work experience compared to some of my peers.

So, to make myself feel less bad about this 3 and a half months of rest. I’m calling it a mental health break.

The reality is, even i can push through my physical health issues enough to be reliable and do a good job, the need to be reliable and do a good job and constantly not feeling like I’m good enough would be detrimental to my mental health. It has been in previous employment situations.

The reality is, even if I only worked 16-20 hours a week, I would be worried of doing much outside work incase it made me too ill to do my job. Which would mean neglecting friends, family and the wonderful summer sun. Which would aggravate my depression. I’ve learnt this from doing my degree this year. I had to take EVERYTHING else out of my life and I ended up suicidal, self harming again, falling into a pit of despair, disappointing my family and losing two of my closest friends. I don’t want to be in that position again.

Not only that but I want to be physically strong enough to manage doing everything timetabled for Columbia. Which okay, even with pushing myself to the max, could be an unrealistic goal. But the best chance of me attaining this is to spend the next two months resting and trying to build up my muscle mass through gentle exercise so walking upstairs doesn’t make my legs feel weak anymore. So I can pack more than two items of clothing before my arms start to feel weak. I want to make the most of this wonderful opportunity that I’ve worked hard to get. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if I do feel my dad is looking down on me for “wasting money” on going on a trip abroad rather than doing some more useful work experience with my time.

Further along the line, I need to be mentally and physically strong enough to finish my degree. Third year is the toughest and most intense year of a degree there is. The perk, if I get my module requests in on time and have passed my exams, I’ll get to do 4 really exciting modules which I’m really enthusiastic about and looking forward to.

I’m going to admit. I haven’t really been physically or mentally strong enough this year. I’ve had to study from my bed most of the time and I’ve missed more lectures and seminars than I would like to admit. I’ve pushed myself to go in a state in which I know I shouldn’t be attending even more times.

At the end of the day. I’m giving myself my best chances of getting my degree. And okay, maybe in the long term this won’t fare well but that’s okay.

This most recent academic year I haven’t really had a chance to do what I really want to do. And I haven’t really had a chance to relax. Lesson 1, forced rest and relaxation are not the same.  I haven’t had a chance to write fanfiction, use this blog as much as I would like. Indulge in TV, especially new series of things that require following. I haven’t read a book, just for the fun of it since last summer. And not because I’ve been off having the time of my life, I haven’t even been that social this year, because my health has prevented me.

Purely because my foggy brain and fatigue means I need to put way more time into my degree with way less energy to do the degree with. Which is also okay, because I love my degree, if I didn’t love my degree I wouldn’t still be doing it, I definitely wouldn’t have preserved through the past year of it.

So actually, I think I need this time. To just enjoy summer. To find myself again, to think about what I’m doing after my degree. Am I going to run off and do a psychology conversion, followed my a masters in forensic psychology? Am I going to go for the NHS policy and strategy grad scheme? Am I going to go into social work by doing one of the  grad schemes available? Or maybe I’ll try and get my hands on some volunteering with vulnerable people and become a probation officer?

Or maybe neither of these are the path I will take, but that’s okay too. It’s okay to take time out. It’s okay to not know what I’m doing with my life and it’s okay to study law when I don’t want to be a lawyer or become an academic. This is my path in life and eventually, I’ll figure out where this is all going, where it’s all taking me.

Until then it’s time to ride the wave, remember it’s okay for me to be taking such an extended break from life. Because that’s what I need right now. A break. I need no pressure, and time to heal, both mentally and physically.

The Difference between being Well and Chronically sick.

One of the biggest problems us Chronically ill face is the lack of understanding from those who don’t suffer the same afflictions. Which, I get it. You can’t understand something like this. Something that you’ve never been experienced before and sounds so alien from your healthy person life.

I feel one of the best ways to describe it is through Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory. Unlike the average human being us chronically ill have a limited number of energy reserves or symptom tolerance in a day. And yes technically we can go over those in a day, but if we were to do that then it would leave us with less spoons for the next day or more. Until we were to just completely stop.

Image result for spoons

Now imagine each daily activity takes away a certain number of these spoons. Even the most simplest of them.

Lets start with getting out of bed. Yes even that takes spoons from us. Now lets think of taking a shower, that can also take a lot of spoons from the Chronically sick. Even more if we were to wash our hair, or shave at the same time.

Now you’ve got the gist of things you can see that even after completing tasks that are mindless or even refreshing to the average person we end up severely compromised.

When you have a chronic illness you are constantly fighting. Constantly pushing through relentless pain and fatigue. Not to mention the whole host of other symptoms that we can sometimes face with a chronic illness.

Yet most of us look perfectly healthy and able on the outside but please understand that this is not the case. Our body is fighting a war on the inside which is invisible to everyone looking from the outside.

This is why we may not want to socialise. It’s not even that we don’t want to. Mentally we probably do. Mentally we are probably bored of feeling physically capable of nothing. But physically we can’t do it and if we do it will just continue and heighten our daily suffering.

And we don’t want that. We don’t want to end up back at our worst for weeks or even months on end when we can prevent it. Most things in life are not worth that. Not atall. Related image

So please try to gain a little understanding before you judge us or frown upon out attitudes or work ethic. If we say no. Please don’t take it personally. It’s not you. It’s that our bodies are fighting a war that you could never understand.

We just don’t have the same unlimited number of spoons that the average healthy person has. We have a limited number.

Uni Anxiety Already?

Hello everyone, today I just need to get things out. And rather than talk them through because lets face it. I have no one to talk to. I’m going to write the through in the hope that someone may help reassure and calm me about what the rest of my life or the next 4 years atleast has to hold.

I’m supposedly going to uni in september. To study law. Either in east london or north london. Yes the big scary city. It is not so much the big city that is daunting me though. I love london.

It’s the indapendance. And the having to live with other people. Having to manage money.

First things first I have a phobia of vomiting. So what if I don’t get allocated an ensuite. I will be 100% a mess otherwise. And what if someone else gets sick? Even if I do have an ensuite I don’t know if I will beable to cope with that because what if I catch it? And I am so scared of vomiting… So so so scared…

And what if everyone hates me. My mum has sad it any times before. “Everyone will hate you at uni.” I’m so scared of being alone, I already am alone but I’m scared of being more alone than  already am and I don’t know if  will be able to handle being around other people all the time. People scare me. Especially people my own age because some of them are so horrible. I’ve never really fit in anywhere. What if I don’t fit in at university?

And then theres this money issue which effects my whole life. I’m scred of spending money to do things I want… I’m scared of spending money on anything other than food or to replace things that are broken. And thats actually going to prevent me from being able to make friends at university. I’m also scared I won’t be able to get a job, baring in mind i seem to be completely unemployable given the jobs I’ve applied for in the last year… What if I don’t have enough money? And my mparents won’t help because “I need to get a job.” I can’t help that no where wants to employ me. I can’t help that I may be too crippled with anxiety to even consider gettng a Job…

Anyway. I think that explains it all…

Honestly. I’m considering moving to thailand and just figuring this mess of life out from there. But ob course with my vomiting phobia which also extends to diarrhea the water issue and long flight also causes issues.

Understanding Emetophobia

Today I’m making a blog post about something slightly different than usual but something I have experience with and something which only recently I have not felt so alone with.

Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting which in some cases can be debilitating and always intervines with “normal life.”

I don’t know how long I’ve had emetophobia for, I think since the age of 10-11. Thats around when my earliest memories are, and by my earliest memories I ean my parents telling me I’m a horrible person because when someone in the family gets a stomach virus i turn into exactly that. A horrible person. I struggle to be in the house, I usually hide away at my nans. I’m scared to go to the bathroom, I actually have to hold my breath while I pee incase somehow I get sick from the sick person that was in the bathroom just from breathing in there. When soeone in my family is sick I tell them I want to kill them and that I hate them. I don’t go into the same room as them. I won’t touch any food that has been in said room because what if it’s been into contact.  still struggle to eat atall when someone else is sick although since being n recovery from anorexia I have been able to rationalise that a lot more.

I can only go out to eat somewhere or get a takeout if the food hygeine ratng is 4-5. The reason I didn’t go to my friends party last year was mainly because of that. The food hygeine of the place was 2 and I’d read reviews on trip advisor about rats and food poisoning and even though some of them we’re fairly old I couldn’t bring myself to go because what if I to got sick. Especially at a sleepover when  didn’t know two of the people. As someone with social anxiety aswell every part of me was saying no. Yet at the same time I felt incredible guilt.

I used to not be able eat rice because of something my food tech teacher said about how it could give you food poisoning. I would never order chicken in a restaurent because thats just asking for trouble. I could never eat anything past t’s best before date, even if n reality it was perfectly fine. And even now I still get anxious if I do happen to eat something past it’s best before date.

I remember when there was the norovirus outbreak on cruise ships in 2012/2013 and it terrified me because we were going on a mini criuse that may. This also happened to be around the time my eating disorder turned into anorexia and i reember no wanting to go for on this before because I’d get sick. I spent the whole wee
kend being scared I’d get sick or get fat.

I worry about the future because of this disorder

. I worry about getting cancer because chemo, I’m never going to get prgenant because morning sickness and what if the kid gets sick? I don’t drink because what if I’m sick?

I’ve never had any support foc95ecdb096dab3c49222efffed8c0e76r this disorder. Only misunderstanding and hate. y own parents tell me “I need to be locked up” and that ” need to stop being so horrible.” They tell me “I won’t beable to cope at uni.” So much that going to uni and living in halls terrifies me so much it actually puts me off of going because people will get sick and what if I don’t get allocated to an ensuite room and I have to share toilets? No one understands that I have a disorder, instead they just think I’m being silly. Or lazy or diffcult. Or just plain horrible. As my family does with all of my mental illnesses.