So I have spent the last few days feeling really sorry for myself. My mojo is creeping back but that little negative voice in my head aka Barry, is back for a visit and I didn’t bloody invite him.
I have my first ever cold sore, which I am convinced everyone is staring at. I can feel it growing like its its own person, I shall name him Colin if this carries on much longer.
I don’t feel like I have lost any weight or inches coming to the end of cycle one, even though I have still drank a fair amount of booze and had a few takeaways so probably shouldnt be surprised. This is making me panic as I have a hen do, a wedding and a girls weekend away coming up in about 6 weeks and everything I wear makes me look like a bound up piece of meat
I havent slept very well for the last few nights which I think is making my head whirl, it’s just constant chatter in my head: “Dont forget to….” “What if …. happens?” “Why did …. do/say that?” and the very popular “Why isnt ….. replying to my message?” Oh its been such fun! My boyfriend is then talking about going out for a few drinks after work, which my initial (internal) reaction was not very good. “Is he going to come home late? Is he going to be ok? I something going to happen? I mean he only said he might go out!? I he even going??”
Then I realised that Barry the Bastard isn’t in charge of me anymore! I went against him and messaged my friend and felt instantly better, then started thinking about what I was going to watch on TV, what I was going to make myself for dinner, house to myself YAY!!!! Screw you Barry!! You’re certainly not invited to sit on the sofa with me and watch 13 reasons why, you and Colin can eff right off.
I was unsure when I first met with the counselor, she reminded me a bit of a headmistress type. The sessions were at her house and it was in a cosy sectioned off corner of her living room. She asked me why I was there and I started to explain that I had been told I had anxiety, done the CBT etc but now it seems to have come back with a vengeance and I wanted to try to figure out if there was an underlying cause or trigger, after my explanation she just stayed silent, so I felt obliged to fill the silence and didn’t shut up for the rest of the hour, as with the CBT sessions, I felt lighter and like I it had been worth doing. We decided on fortnightly sessions and I booked in for my next appointment.
I’ll be completely honest, I wasnt sure if she was right for me, I felt a little bit like she was judging me which I never had with the CBT therapist, with her I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend but with my counselor, although she never really said much, I just didn’t get that click with her and maybe I should have changed counsellors but as you may have guessed, I am not a fan of change and didnt want to go through the rigmarole of opening the floodgates again as it could be quite emotionally draining.
One thing she did say to me, which was true but at the time I just couldn’t believe it, she said I sounded like I was abusive to my boyfriend, not physically, but verbally and emotionally. I was stunned, I let the works spin around my brain and when I left the session I got in my car and I cried, not because I was upset at what she had said but because I knew deep down she was right. I love my boyfriend more than anything, yet the way I spoke to him when I was angry or stressed out was absolutely disgraceful, even worse if I had been drinking, I think I had been excusing my behaviour for shifting the blame or trying to justify it somehow, I’m not saying I shouldnt have been stressed out or angry, but I should absolutely have not spoken to him or treated him the way I did and I will always regret that. We are very different, he has the patience of a saint and a very long fuse whereas I have no patience and pretty much no fuse, but I am happy to say I am working on these things and coming along very nicely, but you’ll hear more about that later.
The sessions with my counselor went on for a few months, but I found myself not wanting to leave the house at all. I am usually a really sociable person, I would be out seeing friends a couple of times a week and out with my boyfriend once or twice a week, yet I found myself wanting to go home and get under a blanket and not see or speak to anyone, even to the point where I cancelled appointments with my counselor, although I never cancelled consecutive sessions. I had been seeing her for 3 months when I made my 3rd cancellation, it was a Tuesday, I’d had a shitty day at work and the trains were all screwed up again, I just wanted go home and be a recluse, so I sent her a text and asked to reschedule to the following week.
I woke up the next day to realise that she hadn’t text me back as she usually would, I thought maybe she was busy but I never did get a response, I can only she assume she was upset that I had wanted to reschedule, I had only done this three times in the 3 months that I had been going and would rather she had just said that she didn’t think it was going to work out or something. I was confused and this did nothing to help my anxious mind, what had I done? Had she thought I was a drama queen and had no right being there? the list was endless. I would be fine anyway, I was training to the run the marathon for the second time and doing meditation, I didnt need a counsellor, plus, I had bigger things to worry about, like my idiot ex husband making more financial demands from me and just being awkward and spiteful, our relationship had ended several years ago and as far as I was aware he now had a family, why was he so hell-bent on trying to cause me misery?
Theres going to a lot of acronyms flying around in this post, so please try to bear with me.
So I had booked my lunchtime appointment with the CBT therapist (cognitive behavioural therapist) I was really nervous and wasnt really sure what to expect. I had only told my boyfriend and the friend who had told me about CBT, I didn’t want anyone to know, I was quite embarrassed, I wasn’t mentally stable!
It was down a little side street near Bank with about 100 stairs, I was out of breath by the time I got to the first floor and all hot and flustered. I sat in the waiting area, half of me eager to rid myself of the craziness, the other half wanting to run out of the door and hide from it all. Then my therapist came out, she was lovely, if she was an animal she would have been a sparrow (I do this a lot) she was tiny and birdlike. She put me at ease straight away. I explained that I thought I had OCD and why I thought that, I explained my temperament, the constant worrying and she diagnosed me with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) I’d never even heard of it, GAD didn’t even sound like a nice word, it sounds like some sort of STD, can I have something that sounds better please?
The first session was just really going over the basics, whats was going on in my life. “Well I have been separated from my ex husband for several years and in the process of starting divorced proceedings, I live with my boyfriend who has a psycho ex girlfriend who he has children with, I don’t want children myself and sometimes struggle with the situation as it’s all still very new and I am not quite sure where I fit in. I know that my behaviour isnt normal and I don’t like feeling like this” Wow, I didn’t even know all of that was swimming around in my head and she got it out of me in 15 minutes, I felt relieved and also quite alarmed, how was I going to resolve this? However, I can honestly say that after that session, I felt a little lighter, she gave me some homework to do, nothing heavy just basically to monitor my anxiety and report back.
I had a one hour session every week for 10 weeks, my life didn’t change but my thinking did, which is what CBT is all about. Dont get me wrong, I still had anxiety and some panic attacks but I dealt with them a lot better and that was because I understood what was going on.
I did other things to help with the GAD. I started mediating using the Calm app on my phone, I liked it so much I went and paid for the full version, I also did a lot of reading on the subject as I do love a good book. A book I would definitely recommend is “The Chimp Paradox” which basically tells you that your brain has 3 sections, you, a computer and a chimp, it tells you to name your chimp, mine was called “Barry” and this actually lightened some of the darker moments for me & my boyfriend as he would say stuff like “Tell Barry to piss off” if I was being a pain or I would say “It wasn’t me it was Barry” It did really help me understand how the brain works though and how to train Barry into behaving differently.
This was only my first trip on the mental health express…….
So its halfway into January, the regime isn’t going too badly, although I did have Burger & Chips washed down with several glasses of wine last night ( I was celebrating viewing a potential wedding venue) and now have a doughnut in front of me. Apart from that its going well. I’ve decided to try The Body coach lean in 15 plan, it’s actually quite easy and the meals I’ve made so far are really nice, although I currently have things in my kitchen cupboards that I’d never even seen before, such as Fennel. WTF is that all about? It was actually quite nice.
In all seriousness, I need to lose weight. After I separated from ex 8 years ago I was so slim, a size 10-12 could literally wear anything I wanted, but it’s slowly piled on and I am now 3 stone heavier, hardly any of my clothes look decent on me and I feel awful. I have two weddings this year, one of which I am bridesmaid for and I am the biggest bridesmaid by far.
So now is a good a time as any for a change of lifestyle as I finally feel like my head is in the right place, which I never thought would happen as a couple of years ago I was told I had Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) I used to worry about EVERYTHING, to the point it was interfering with my life. My head was a mess.
I had been with my boyfriend for about 18 months, we’d been living together for 6 and I gradually started letting the worry creep in, if he went out for the night even to play football for a couple of hours, I would be panicking about his safety and could not rest until he was home, this sometimes meant staying up until the early hours. If he was later than I expected (even though he never told me what time he would be home) I would be so distressed I would either be in tears or furious, which would then end in an argument.
I would worry about missing the train to work, getting a seat on the train, someone turning up at my house unexpectedly, my boyfriends kids breaking something, the list was endless, not to mention exhausting and my health and my relationship were starting to suffer big time. I was living on my nerves, so when I had a drink, which was quite often, I would turn into this awful person shouting and screaming at my boyfriend, most of which I wouldn’t even remember the next day, I would just wake up with a feeling of dread.
It all came to a head after one particularly bad drunken rage and I knew that if I wanted to save my relationship I needed to do something about it, rather than be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. Then my friend told me she was seeing a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and they had diagnosed her with OCD. The symptoms she described were almost identical to how I felt. I went online to research therapists in my area and booked myself an appointment for the following week at lunchtime. I work in London so the fees were pretty expensive but my relationship was far too important not to mention my health! I was just praying it would help.