Anxiety is a Living Inside a Haunted House

Hey everyone!

This morning when I woke up, I browsed through Facebook on my mobile phone and found an article which caught my eye. It mentioned ghosts living inside the body, so of course – with my blog title, it was sure to intrigue me.

Me, being me, continued to browse thinking – Oh it’s too early to read a full article, I’ll come back to it later. – When I did, completely forgot where the post was and who from. The only thing I could remember was the ghost bit. So, I skimmed through the entire Newsfeed, which now had a million new events on it, that I couldn’t find it until I’d found a similar post shared by a friend. It took me to an article not titled the same, but about the same thing – which I’m still glad I found.

It was a Huffpost article written by Alanna Vagianos, Women’s Editor for the Huffington Post, regarding a video which no doubtfully will go viral, from Brenna Wohy, at a National Poetry Slam.

Why Loving A Woman With Anxiety Is Like Loving A ‘Haunted House’

I watched the video and could feel and understand exactly where Brenna was coming from.

The anxiety and panic attacks are compared to living in a haunted house. This metaphor is such a great way of describing what living with anxiety feels like, and explains it it in a way which those without mental illness can understand.

Although it is spoken as if she is talking to her partner, I can see this easily being represented for the understanding of friends and family.

It made me giggle a bit when she said:

 “It’s fun to visit once a year but no one wants to live there.”

It’s true! So very, very true! I wouldn’t wish anxiety (or any other mental illness for that matter) on anyone! The experience of mental illness is terrifying. Especially if you feel as though you’re “coping”, then suddenly your “world caves in” and you find yourself spiralling out of control again and hitting rock bottom, or just floating above those rocks, anxiously waiting to drop.

Pop over to Brenna’s blog on Tumblr here, where you can find more of Brenna’s poetry!

I’m definitely going to keep an eye on Brenna’s posts and see what amazing metaphors she can come up with next!

Follow Brenna on Twitter: @brennatwohy
Follow Alanna Vagianos on Twitter: @lannadelgrey
Don’t forget, I’m also on Twitter too: @ghostwithinme

Thanks for reading!

Erica

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What does diagnosed mean?

Hi everyone,

Yet again, it’s been a while. But I ought not be long here as the other day I promised myself to do at least an hours worth of studying, and it never happened. Today I need to make up for it and do 2 hours.

So, I have written the guest blog post, and it should be up in a week or so. However, since I’ve written it, I have my doubts about it getting out. It’s a personal subject, and I worry about people judging me. Ironically, the piece is about stigma in mental health, and chronic pain.

I’ve opened up a big chunk of my life, and shared a terrible experience with a friend which has made me change my views on the world, pretty much! However, the questions I have after writing the piece make me wonder about my feelings and if it is genuinely the case. I know it all sounds cryptic all the while you’ve not read the piece, but believe me, you’ll understand when and if you do. Although there appears to be no stigma between us both any more, I can’t help but be a bit, hesitant? Curious? Doubtful? I don’t know. Maybe it’s in my own insecurities and lack of trust in people which makes it harder for me to know what is the right thing to believe. I just need to accept that if people wish to expose their “labels”, like myself to, I guess raise awareness of mental health and chronic pain, then I should believe that they have the illness. Right? I mean, unless there really is thing thing called “attention seeking”… Or maybe they just suffer with “Hypercondria”, but then that is caused by Anxiety – It IS a mental illness. Still, I’ll be the first to say I can be like that!

I’ve just done one of those silly online tests to see if I am a “Hypercondriac”:

Your rating suggests that you are likely a hypochondriac. You are plagued by fears about your body’s well-being, and this causes much undue anxiety. You would do well to seek professional diagnosis and treatment, so that you can overcome this psychological condition and live a much happier life.

Take the Hypochondria test, and let me know your result! (Please remember, that this is not a REAL test. You should ALWAYS seek your GP if you have any concerns. Do not take this as a formal diagnosis!)

This leads nicely onto my next thought, so I’ll leave this issue for now – and say, please check out the blog post when it comes out. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s online.

So yes, the next thought – Yesterday I attended the self-help group for depression and anxiety. Someone asked a question which surprised me.

She said that she’d been diagnosed with OCD, but what does diagnosed actually mean. She thought that being told she had OCD would require her to have “Some sort of certificate” to state her diagnosis. I thought about this, and other members went on to state that being diagnosed is just being given a “label” by a GP, doctor, neurologist, rheumatologist, etc. So, where is the confirmation of the “label” to “share” with everyone? We have to take everyones word for it, thus leading to doubts of what people say. I have the majority of my “problems” written down. Mainly because I’ve had so many assessments and needed it in writing. You can get confirmation from your GP, as it will be on our medical file. The only thing I can suggest for if you have someone in your life who is critical of your illnesses and diagnosis’ is to get them written down by a GP. It may cost a little bit, but it would be worth it and in the long run help you with assessments and benefits. I think the only thing I have like a “certificate” is my discharge letter from neurology confirming Hemicrania Continua. Everything else is on my file, and I am always surprised when I see it, as it’s always longer than the last time! This is why it is good too, to also keep a copy for yourself!

So yes, being diagnosed is basically “labelling” someone with a condition and placing them in a category such as – mentally ill or physical ill.

The “label” can help with getting the right treatment, but it can also come with a lot of stigma. Especially mental health and invisible illnesses, such as chronic pain. What can’t be seen can’t possible be real in the eyes of “normal healthy” people! 

Some doctors (like mine) don’t like to give out “labels” due to the stigma attached. However, if it gets you the treatment you feel you need, make sure you fight for it. 

Having a “label” doesn’t change who you are as a person. It just becomes another part of you.

Think of it as adding to your “uniqueness”, after all no-one wants to be boring! 😉

Thanks for reading todays post. I know it’s been a while since my last!

Speak soon,

Erica

The Abandoned Blog

Hey everyone…

I promise you – This blog has not been abandoned!

I am so sorry for the lack of posts, and/or the shorter posts than usual. I have no idea where my head is at.

I’ve had a few days of being here, there and everywhere. Mostly in my head. I wish I could just record my thoughts to catch them all because there’s so much I want to say, and it feels like so little time.

Yesterday I had Rheumatology Gym, and it’s killed me. I slept less than 4 hours last night because of the pain. I’m still suffering today and I’m feeling really fed up with it. I have so much to do, but no energy to do it all.

I’ve written a blurb about living with bpd, but asking people to check it out first before I submit it anywhere because, y’know – I want it to be perfect!

I’m struggling a bit otherwise to get my thoughts down in text. I’m not too sure why. It’s not writers block, and it’s not a “can’t be bothered” thing, it’s a simply “I cannot do it”.

I just wanted to pop here and let you know I’m still about. Just trying to find myself. That’s all.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see I’m still alive.

I’ll leave it there for today. I’m off to take some more painkillers and rest up.

Look after yourselves too!

Erica

The Dreaded Assessment

Hey everyone,

This morning I attended my ESA Assessment. Only 1 year and 3 months later! (Sod the 13 weeks bit!)

I felt relatively fine, but the receptionists were incredibly rude. My Wife and I arrived a bit earlier than we ought to have done because of traffic, but they were moaning about people being early. I think they overheard us talking, when I said that I’d just complain about them, and the woman tried to make it out like it was a general conversation about how the traffic is bad. It was a joke. Not only that, we also went in late.

The weird thing was, I didn’t feel like I was being assessed, except it tested my anxiety! I was more or less confirming what I’d already let them know. If felt a bit pointless, but even more so when she said that she doesn’t make the decision but someone else does who isn’t even medically qualified, so they can’t use words like “Hemicrania Continua”, as that is too complicated and medical, that they have to say “migraine”, except there is a slight difference here – HC is there ALL the time. Migraine can come and go at varying levels. So it was incredibly frustrating.

I picked at my nails for the entire way through. I’m just glad I put on some Germolene New Skin Liquid Plaster 20ml. It’s great stuff, as it is clear and I can pick it off instead of picking my skin so much. It’s a bit like what you’d do as a kid and smother your hand in PVA glue and peel it when it’s dry and pretend you’re peeling your skin off… Or was that just me?! I highly recommend this product though if you have a habit of picking. It has helped me quite a bit!

I’ve got 2-3 weeks now  to wait for the outcome. It will be very interesting. I think that they seemed to focus more on my mental health than my physical, but seemed to agree that it’s a vicious circle.

The lady was nice, and it was good that my Wife was able to answer a few things as I did find myself stuck on some occasions.

I kept thinking how I wish the time was over, and why did they need to know it all when it was written down.

Well, all I can say is – Fingers crossed the right decision is made. I’ve had 3 months with no income. It’s caused enough stress already!

I’m so, so tired. The students are back and we have a house across from us filled with them, and they party into the early hours, and last night was just terrible. I think I’m going to go and have a little nap now, before heading out to my 1-2-1 with my Care Co-Ordinator.

Ciao for now!

Erica

How to continue with the blog? Feedback required. Thank you x

Hey everyone,

I need to stop posting about my days, unless I really *need* to.

I *need* to post my thoughts and feelings about mental illness and chronic pain, as was the intention of this blog.

My thoughts have been all over the place that it’s hard to keep up. I’ll give you a laugh though… I think that when I am really stressed and most tired, that is when I dream musically. What do I mean? Well, my dreams are random dreams as normal, but as if I were in a musical. They have songs in them! It’s like normal/crazy life with outbursts of songs! If only I could remember it all upon waking up! I’m sure I could make a million by writing musicals this way!

So, yes – I have been in incredible bouts of pain lately. It was my second time at the Rheumatology Gym on Tuesday, and I have paid for it. I’m still paying for it, especially in the mornings and late at night. I’ve been on more codeine and muscle relaxants since Tuesday, and I’m worried that the smallest amount of exercise I’m able to do is aggravating the Fibro and causing it to flare. I know I need to work on the strength, but when it hurts so much, it makes me wonder why I’m bothering. There’s hope for me being able to do stairs properly again, but they way I’m going – I really don’t see that happening. It’s going to be a really long process.

I’ve been having some issues mentally too. The feelings of rejection and not so much envy, but disappointment. I’m also feeling used and that feeling of being taken advantage of, makes me wonder why I bother, as I seem to be putting in so much effort that at what point do I stop? I will have to elaborate on that in a further post as it’s too much to discuss here, and I want to keep this brief.

It’s early days still for this blog, and I am still finding my ground with it and finding what works.

I would really appreciate your feedback with this blog, and why you follow it, or like my posts.

The way forwards for me is to discuss: mental health and chronic pain, therapy and other appointments, thoughts and feelings, dreams (sometimes), and I have been thinking about recommendations and reviews. Would that be of interest to you?

Please let me know. Thank you.

That’s all for now. I am so exhausted today. It was a terribly unexpected late night, which I wasn’t prepared for. I got up at 3pm – ish, and we have to pop out for shopping, which I really don’t want to do. Fortunately, I have Dr Who and Casualty to look forward to tonight…!

I’ll chat soon. Again, please send me feedback! I’d be truly grateful.

Thank you,

All the best.

Erica xx

Be brave.

Hey everyone,

I’m back again!

Yesterday I managed to get some Angels completed, and made a sale! That was impressive as I wasn’t expecting it to be so soon. I hope I have enough items to show the manager of the shop tomorrow. I am so worried about not having enough, or not being “up to the standard” she’s after. I’m probably overthinking it, but I see what other small businesses and crafters use to promote themselves, and I don’t have the funds to do any of that.

I also went to the support group for depression and anxiety. There were a couple of new members there, and one of them really interested me. It appears she has a lot in common with me, particularly lack of self-identity, and wanting to fit in. However, she hasn’t been diagnosed with a personality disorder. I wondered if that trait was also under the anxiety of not fitting in – as, she said that she feels okay around strangers, but when the strangers become friends, it’s the friends she gets anxious around, as she worries about whether they still like her, and is she the way they want her to be etc… I sat there as if I was listening to myself talk! Both of us have OCD traits, and where hers would be matching outfits with her friends, not wearing clothes at a particular type of day etc, mine is matching socks, matching cutlery, lining things up, ensuring things are faced the right way around, as well as repetitive thoughts, and probably other things when even more stressed which I’m not aware of!

Afterwards, I went home to watch The Great British Bake Off. It’s the first time I’ve watched it the entire way through. I’ve watched celebrity ones, but never the actual contest. I got hooked, and what was probably even sadder was the fact that my heart was pounding just before they announced who won. It’s like I could feel all of their anxiety and tension. I felt excited too. The rush of adrenaline is great, but exhausting!!

This morning I had the Rheumatology Gym. Oh my, I’m in so much pain now. I’m heading out later, and I’m really nervous about how I’m going to cope. I struggled to walk back to the car!

The exercises sound so easy, and you’d think than anyone could do them, but I really struggle! My legs shake and my lower back hurts. With the fibro, my muscles get far too exhausted too quickly, and I feel like I’ve barely done anything. Working on the Core muscles is extremely frustrating. I have to try the teeniest bits of movement, and I feel as though that’s not worth doing, but if I overdo it, then I’m putting much pressure on the muscles, thus increasing the pain. I am not very good with knowing my limits. I like to push myself, and I find the small work outs annoying because I don’t feel anything other than pain. Though, I guess when the muscles feel heavy and hurt more, that probably means it’s working. I think it’s going to take a long time before I am able to walk up stairs without getting exhausted, and down stairs without wobbling like jelly!!

I’m working on a few more Angel designs this afternoon, before heading off to a talk called “Close to Home: Photographing Kent’s Wildlife”, I’m hoping to pick up some tips on photography, as I take photos of pets as a hobby.

I’m going on my own, or at least I was going to be going on my own. 

I booked my ticket a few weeks back, probably mentioned it in a blog post somewhere… It was a big thing for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever booked something for just me to do. Today though, I saw a friend was interested in going. Asking if there were any tickets left, I sent a link saying that it looked like it, and it looks like she’s booked it.

Now, usually that’s what I’d want, someone there who I knew, someone I could go with – but this was a challenge I’d set myself when I first purchased the ticket. I can’t be angry at her because it’s not exactly like she knew what I was doing, but more because it’s an advertised event. I’m just gutted I won’t be doing it alone as such, because I’ll know someone there. What would you do? How would you feel? 

Ah well. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and get on with it.

I hope it’s a good talk. As I said – I hope to pick up some tips!

Asides from this, I’ve been thinking about a couple of things, one specifically being about an ‘ex’-friend, who seems to be slowly reappearing in my life, and I’m being nice but don’t know if I’m over compensating for it, to the fact I feel like I might just be being used… I’ll discuss this soon.

I’m off to make some more Angels and grab some lunch.

Speak soon!

Erica

Unit 1… The Result

Hey everyone,

I just have to share this news with you…

Yesterday, you know I said I’d start working on unit 2 of my course, well – I did that ALL day. Completely exhausted myself, so decided today that I’d instead work on my Angels on The Shivering Dance for my meeting on Friday.

Earlier on, I checked my e-mails… And oh my goodness. The email from the tutor arrived for Unit 1.

At first I was hesitant to open it, but I knew it had to be opened to find out the result.

And drum roll please…………

“Overall Assessment Grade: DISTINCTION”

Yay!

So now, of course – I’ve set the bar high.

I’m really happy about the result, of course I am – I just didn’t realise the impact it’d have on me for studying the next part… Mental and physical health likes to make things difficult for many people studying. Honestly, don’t know how we do it!

Anyway, I thought I’d share the good news with you now! I’ve not had time today to post properly. I’ll try tomorrow.

Catch up then.

*waves*

Take care,

Erica

Time Wasting…

Hey everyone,

I should be in Leavers Group right now. I failed. I had two minds about going, and the anxious mind won. My uncertainty of how the group is has left me pondering. Now, I wonder what I will be missing (if anything at all!)… What will they think of me not being there? There’s a couple of other members not attending today, will they think we’re in it together? If I didn’t have a migraine attack last night, I might now have felt so exhausted and full of worry. I may have had the energy to see past it and talk myself into going. After all, it is my therapy that I am denying myself of by not going in…

I just feel that I’m the cause of some of the conflict, so a week off might not be such a bad idea…???

So, what am I going to do with my time instead? Well, I’ll write this up, and then – next to me is my course folder, open on “Unit 2: Prey vs. Predator”, so I shall have a read of the unit, and look at getting it started! I’m still anxiously waiting for my result of the first unit… But I feel I should just keep going, even though I had thought about waiting until I got the result before starting the next chapter. I was on a roll with the work, so it’s best I try not to slack off now!

I also may get started on the guest blog. It’s in my head, but in fragments. I need to write down the thoughts and work them out. Hopefully it’ll all make sense and be worth the wait too!

I’m so exhausted. To be honest, I don’t really feel like doing much, but I know that if I don’t I’ll slack. I keep looking over at the bed and seeing the cat sleeping, thinking – “Ahh, I wish that were me…” The temptation!!

I’m signing off now. I may be back later, all depends on what I get engrossed in!

Speak soon!

Erica

General Chit-Chat

Afternoon everyone!

How’s it going?

For me? Well, I got up for a delivery… Yodel had lied on Friday saying they’d tried to deliver it and posted a card to say it needs to be redelivered, which was an utter lie as I was home all day because I was waiting for the delivery! How to make someone with BPD angry in an instant. LIE. That made it awkward between me and my Wife because she was at work and got the text saying we missed the parcel, and I felt blamed for by missing the door go. However, when she said that they left a card, well – then I knew they were lying! First of all, we have a buzzer to get into the building. If they pushed our number, it makes an annoying noise and you can’t get up quick enough, but if they push the Trade button between certain hours, they can access the building and knock on our door. I was able to hear quite a bit on Friday, from the cleaners moaning at the state of the communal space, which had been left in filth after another contractor decided to bring debris through the building, instead of taking it around outside, to the sound of people just going up and down the stairs. It was unlikely that I’d miss a knock on the door.

So yes, the parcel was redelivered today – and the man said that they were a bunch of liars (can’t remember the exact phrase!)… I just thought – You said it!

This parcel is my birthday present. So it is extremely teasing. It’s a new desk chair. I currently sit on an “aided” perch stool, intended for use in the kitchen if I’m cooking. It doesn’t have a back rest, and is extremely uncomfortable. We have folding wooden chairs, but they’re even worse, and when I lean back, they bruise my back! So I’m in need of something comfy to help me with my posture when sat at the desk writing things like this, or my coursework!

Once it got delivered, I was a little cheeky and went back to bed and had a cuddle with one of our cats. I was so tired, and fell back to sleep. I had a weird dream… My rabbit was grey. He had turned grey over night. I have a black/dark brown rabbit, who is slowly going grey as he is just over 6 years old now. So, the fact he’d just turned grey overnight was a bit odd. I think that made me wake up, and I decided to tidy up a little bit. I’m having a birthday party at the end of the month, and we need to get the place in order. Yes, it will take me a month to complete tidying up. 

Once I’d given up on that, I checked my emails and had an email from one of the therapists at the Community. I’d sent her an email on the Friday about a handbook we’re putting together, and she was just confirming what I was able to do…

Which was pretty much anything I wanted to do!

I have to admit, I had completely forgotten she’d sent me the first draft on Friday – Probably because I didn’t want to remember it. The design was a bit pants to be honest. So, I decided to get my grubby mitts on it and start working on it. For 3 hours solid I worked on it, and sure it looks better, but I still need to do a bit to it. I learned a bit about Word as well, as I’m used to using InDesign for page layout! Word is far too complicated 😉 Haha.

Working on the design gave me such a headache. I’m sat here with my glasses on, and still my left eye feels like it needs popping because the pressure is so bad. The trouble with Hemicrania Continua, is when it flares up to a higher level, one side of the head feels like it needs running over – for me, my left side.

To be fair, I should probably get the ice and lay down. But I really wanted to write this today. After yesterdays post, thought I’d say that I’m going to give tomorrow a go at the Community, at Leavers Group, but I’m feeling quite anxious for some reason. I also wanted to say that I have now decided on what to write about for a guest blog on Evie Hibbitt’s blog nowchasingdreams… I’m going to write about “creating stigma of mental health by someone with mental health” – working title! Haha. It’s since chatting to an “old” friend of mine, which has made me want to write something about this. It’ll probably end up brutally honest, and I’ll end up looking like a complete idiot, but I believe that we’ve all done it. Why? Because we all judge. So, yes – I feel it is important to express it somehow. (I hope Evie is happy with the final piece once I’ve completed it…. Some day now, I hope!)

I am planning to get started on my second assignment this week, but I also have to make and get together a few of my craft items, specifically the angels for a visit on Friday! They’ll be on sale in another shop soon! Eakk!

I’m going to call it there today because I don’t think I can look at the screen for much longer.

Will be back when feeling better!

Take care and speak soon!

Erica

To go, or not to go? That is the question!

Hey everyone,

First of all, just wanna share with you my “song of the moment”, and I’m sure most of you have heard it many times already, but here we go…

Jessie J – Masterpiece 

“I still fall on my face sometimes
And I can’t colour inside the lines
‘Cause I’m perfectly incomplete
I’m still working on my masterpiece
And I, I wanna hang with the greats
Got a way to go, but it’s worth the wait
No, you haven’t seen the best of me
I’m still working on my masterpiece”

How on key is this for someone who’s recently come out of a year long therapy treatment? Sure, I’m still attending for those couple of hours a week, and seeing my Care Co-Ordinator on a fortnightly basis, but still… It’s progress, right?

When I saw my Care Co-Ordinator the other day, I discussed with her a few of my “current” issues, one of them being therapy, and my not wanting to be in Leavers Group anymore.

Okay, I shouldn’t deny myself the therapy, but for the past few weeks of being there, I have felt incredibly miserable inside, feeling like I’m the cause of all the conflict (no doubt I am), but also the group itself seem to have this overbearing negativity towards the therapist and the community, perhaps in fact the entire Mental Health Services. It completely drains me, especially when I go in wanting to discuss certain issues, and sure, being in a group means having the confidence to speak up and take the space, sometimes changing the subject can be quite difficult when all it feels like is “moan, moan, moan”.

I felt as though I’ve been okay outside of therapy, I don’t want to say I’m recovered or feeling fantastic, because that’s not the case. I’ve been having many nights where I get this overwhelming feeling of depression, and feel worthless, or I start to cry at the thoughts in my head. There’s still no escape, no matter how hard I try.

So, when I get to therapy on a Tuesday morning, usually I feel “okay”, there’s some stuff I feel I want to talk about, but I end up in a debate with another community member before I even get the chance to discuss my issues. I end up all worked up and think what’s the point of being there? I only get frustrated and angry at individuals.

Maybe that is the therapy? Getting irate, and then learning how to manage the situation in a calm way without experiencing or showing signs of emotional outbursts, such as crying, yelling, screaming and shouting and threatening behaviour. For some reason, I feel compelled to yell out, “GAWD, I REALLY WANT TO SLAP YOU IN THE F***ING FACE”, despite my own knowing that I couldn’t act upon such an action as I’d freeze on the spot and just take the abuse that was thrown as me. I only tend to swear when I’m really angry and riled up. So, when I’m like this, I feel as though this is not a part of me, when – obviously it is. It’s coming from my mouth and my thoughts. It’s just a side of me which I don’t see often so it’s extremely frustrating on my part!

My Care Co-Ordinator suggested I stick with going to Leavers. Sure enough, I cursed her! I really wished she’d have said, “Well, if you’re really not finding it helpful, then okay we’ll see what else we can offer you…”, but no. She recommends I stay, in a place I dislike going to.

Actually, that’s not true. I love the place. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made some lovely, genuine, lifetime friends. I’ve been able to be myself and learn a lot about myself. I’ve also been able to stay connected to the place by offering to help out with some design stuff, which is something being qualified in, means I can feel good about doing something which helps others, and I get to show therapists what I’m good at/enjoy!

Which reminds me, I worked on a design all day Friday, and sent it off to receive a lovely response about it being impressive and professional. It wasn’t a response I Was expecting, so it was really nice to know that the work was appreciated and liked.

So, back to therapy, “To go, or not to go? That is the question!”

I guess for the time being I have to stick with it. It’s only a couple of hours once a week. I might not need to stay for the entire 18months, so I just have to take it week by week. I’m working on the Recovery Star, slowly with my Care Co-Ordinator, and things are also being slowly worked on.

There’s little progress being made at the moment, but I think it’s good for me to be taking it steady. I don’t want to rush and feel too overwhelmed by the emotions that come along with learning about oneself and the battles one has faced in a lifetime.

Second by second. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Year by year.

Time… Time is plenty to work on ourselves.

Speak soon!

Erica