Month: May 2017

Eating my emotions

First off, apologies for how lengthy this post is. Getting thoughts, feelings etc. out of my head is one way for me to cope and relieve myself of so much that goes on in my brain. So bare with, bare with.

Learning that I was suffering from depression, stress and anxiety about 18 months ago was daunting but much the same a HUGE relief.

I first thought ‘finally I don’t have to go into work’.

It was crippling me. I woke up, went to work, came home, ate and slept. This sounds like a totally normal routine for the rest of the world. But the underlining things made it worse;

0430 wake up alarm, 40 minute commute – sometimes being stuck in traffic, dealing with staff asking repetitive and simple questions, being relied on for jobs way higher than my pay grade, being the only person who knew how to use this fantastic new machine, being promised a pay rise, not receiving said pay rise, not earning any time in lieu, other staff with the same job title as me receiving and earning time in lieu, having said members of staff thinking I was getting preferential treatment when I wasn’t, having to stay 3-5 hours past my finish time when same level staff went home dead on time, getting caught in an accident on the way home resulting in me being 5 hours late home. I could go on and on and on.

But this 24/5 crept up on me and made me feel worse and worse. Due to the nature of my job I can not discuss the happenings within the work place. So I came home stressed and couldn’t let this out. I would try to explain to my parents, friends and Tim but the machines and protocols were so hard to explain I gave up trying to explain as it felt like too much effort.

I became very irritable. I didn’t care about my personal standards or work standards. I just felt empty and didn’t know how to feel any more. I wanted to put myself into a car crash so I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Rugby, my main passion was a hate/hate relationship. Mostly because I was either too late to go to training or too damn tired. This was a massive change to the person who used to sing Disney and musical songs to her employees to cheer them up when we had no radio. Plus a massive change to the rugby captain who would turn up 30 minutes early to look at equipment and set up drills to help out the coach.

So once the Dr told me that it was normal to feel like this and that asking for help was the best step; I cried. I panicked having to tell my parents – the generation that hasn’t got the best knowledge of mental health. I didn’t tell my friends I was off work – it was only the fact my friend (who lived in the same street as me) noticed my car was actually at home between the hours of 6am & 3pm that she questioned what was up. I had regular appointments with my Dr and every time I cried. It was all very overwhelming. I was scared to tell Tim. We had just put down a deposit on a new build house, would he end up changing his mind about me now he knew I wasn’t well? I had every kind of thought an over thinker could have.

So the first 2 months I slept. No matter how much I slept I was always yawning and feeling tired. My mum was being very supportive but worried I was sleeping too much and was trying to get me to do odd jobs. But I didn’t want to. I needed to sleep.

It was as if I was a hibernating bear.

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After this period I started to watch a lot of TV. Hurrah for Netflix who doesn’t judge you binge watching a 4 year TV series within 3 days. I started showering and looking after my personal hygiene more. I went to the Drs regularly and cried every time.

Medication was then discussed at a Drs appointment. I was reluctant at first but I could see that my mood and mental ability was just not improving. My dad had to get his head around it as well. I think he didn’t want me becoming reliant on the tablets like the ‘bad press stories’ he had read and heard within his life time. For the month of my body getting used to this medication, I felt sick and slept some more.

Slowly but surely I started telling jokes again. I smiled more. I became more affectionate towards everyone. My parents and Tim all said they were definitely noticing a difference. I felt like myself again. I remembered who I was again. It didn’t happen overnight however my realisation that I was becoming myself again did. Talking my feelings through with friends, family and my Dr made me think about myself more and how differently I was reacting to situations. I could see light at the end of my very dark tunnel.


Before and throughout this period my eating habits became more and more apparent. I over ate. My portions were increasing. My secret trips to the shop were increasing. Picking up sweet treats at the petrol station became a regular thing. I binge ate – ALOT. But I never had the urge to throw it all back up. I felt it was a waste of food. I literally looked like this……

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I knew I ate my emotions. I ate when I was happy, sad, angry, excited, had a sense of failure or achievement. My list of ‘reasons’ was endless. I expressed my concerns again to my Dr who upped the anti with my mental health recovery. Therapy.

Oh good – I thought. A softly spoken person trying to make you feel better without hurting your feelings. This was my first reaction. But my relationship with my Dr was strong and I trusted her. The tablets had worked under her referral. So why would this be a waste of my time?

So after going through a therapy service called italk (click on this link to find out more http://www.italk.org.uk/about-us/) I felt better for seeing how many people were going through the same thing as me. For either the same reasons or completely different reasons. It helped me put some perspective into my life as well.

Just little things (please excuse my poor describing skills) image your brain as a bath filling up with water. The water represents your thoughts and feelings. If you keep letting the bath fill up, eventually it will overflow. This is the same as our brains, we cant cope with too much at once. (obviously people’s thresholds for this differs – so they would be a bigger or smaller bath tub) To stop the bath tub from overflowing, we would pull the plug and let the water drain. So to stop us from ‘overflowing’ or not being able to cope we need to find time to let our thoughts and feelings out. Draining our brain from ‘bad’ or ‘unhelpful’ thoughts. I hope this made sense? It did to me at the time!

So I did my course of sessions and felt good. I carried on with rebuilding my routine and life back to normal. But I was still eating my emotions.

I tried Slimming World for the third time. 1st time I was at College at it worked for me – it helped mum was doing it too and cooking all my meals etc. Second time was a new years resolution. I knew I had to do something about my weight and proactively signed myself up and went. But then I got signed off work with depression etc – it was all too much. This time I went with a friend to see if that became a more positive experience. I was feeling better in myself, I knew the drill so it wouldn’t be too daunting and if I could do this before Christmas time I could do it any time.

However it became a competition. Even though we didn’t have the snide comments of who lost of the most weight. In my head, Grace was doing better than me. She managed to lose weight when socialising with friends and for Christmas parties. She managed to lose weight whilst having 2 kids, working part time, having a dog and running a home. I just had myself and Tim. She motivated me with tips and ideas to help me but I just shot them down and put up my barriers. And ate my emotions. I treated myself to a takeaway if I had lost that week. I would get annoyed that I hadn’t lost weight so had a blow out day and ate every single nice thing in the house. It literally did my head in.

At my usual Drs appointment I shared my concern of not being in control of what I put in my mouth. I know some people will be reading this thinking, well don’t buy the bad things, of course you’re in control blah blah blah. But to me I’m not in control. My mind always wins over my physical body. I know an orange is better for me than a donut. I know a jacket potato is healthier for me than chips with my dinner. But my mind can somehow control my thought patterns for me to eat the wrong things.

With italk I wasn’t in the deep depths of depression / anxiety / stress for me to have more sessions with them. I expressed the eating habits with them too but I didn’t have enough symptoms to be classed as having an eating disorder. Probably because I didn’t actually throw anything back up or starve myself. So I felt a bit stuck.

Until my Dr said try getting in touch with this trust – Life Changes. (click on the link to find out more; http://www.lifechangescounselling.org.uk/)

I self referred and waited for my appointment to come through. My first time I went to the wrong place – I felt like a first class prick. But this actually made my first official appointment at the wrong place, which was now the right place, less daunting. I had already done the bus journey (I do drive but we are only a 1 car household), I knew the directions for me to walk the rest of the way, so all I had to do new this time was speak to a therapist!

So I did………reluctantly.

I was there to talk about food and my emotional attachment to it etc. My therapist was the same size as a pencil. I may be exaggerating but my arms were probably the size of her thighs. I was thinking YOU are going to help ME with my eating habits? I don’t think so love! Have you even SEEN a pizza?

The way therapy worked this time was me talking constantly. They encourage it. At first I talked about food and my habits making sure not to say names (as she didn’t know who the fuck they were so what’s the point). My therapist then proposes questions of the classic ‘and how did that make you feel?’. Cheesy as it sounds it makes you think and access. And ‘ding’ my time was up. I surprised myself at how much I talked to a complete stranger about my fucktard ways of choosing a caramel shortcake over an apple.

The next session was much easier to talk and I started saying names as ‘my friend’ was getting annoying. Plus I said anything that I was thinking or feeling. Regardless of how stupid / unimaginable / exaggerated it seemed, she would always listen and refer me back to the question at hand. ‘So how did that make you feel?’ 

My first ‘mind blown’ realisation was when she said to me ‘the only thing constant in life is change’.

I LOVE to plan. I like to control the situations I put myself into. But having some third party tell me – hang on a minute you cant physically or emotional control every single little detail of your life, made me think – fuck she’s totally right. Yes I could have got my mum or friend or any of you random strangers to tell me that for free. But the way she then explained it all to me just made so much sense.

I now don’t plan as often and don’t become bogged down if plans change.

My second realisation was actually related to me eating my emotions. I was feeling much better and happier that maybe I didn’t need any more sessions with her. But I had been going a bit off track with why I was there. So last week I started to talk about my eating habits again. How I’m still over eating even though I have learnt to love the body I’m in, to be happy with how I am right now and not eating because of an emotion. How I’m worried I am still putting on weight – eeeeekk! How I knew that 3 stone ago I needed to eat better etc. All she had to say to me was ‘What is food to you? When did this begin?’

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It started as a kid. It was because you want the biggest piece of birthday cake you can get at a birthday party when you’re small. Food became a friend. My friends wouldn’t come and call on me to go out to play because I lived ‘too far away’ – I definitely did not FYI. But food never made plans which didn’t include me. Food became a pick me up for when I got bullied by people I used to hang around with. (I left the cool group because I didn’t smoke and I knew I actually wasn’t ‘cool’ but they didn’t like that I left them so then they started picking on me. WTF?) It became a comfort for when boys would put you in the sexiest ranking order. (I was always at the bottom – even though one of the guys who compiled the list quite possibly liked you back but wouldn’t admit it.) Food was a trick to overcome boredom. Food was a treat when you started earning your own money. Food was a competition within your family (my dad would raid our sweetie tin whilst doing the washing up so I had to get in there first to not miss out). Food was needed to fuel me for all my sporting activities I did. Food never judged me. Food was my constant.

So I have now realised that even though I may be putting on more and more weight at the moment (opposite to goal #26 of losing weight), I have to learn to undo possibly 20 years of bad habits. Now even I know that’s not going to happen overnight! So I may have to gain to eventually start losing.

My blog post May’s Mission talks about me and Tim giving up garlic bread. Sounds pathetic. But its a step in noticing that its a bad habit and how do we stop it. We still haven’t eaten any and I’m actually proud that we have stuck to something and know I don’t need garlic bread with every meal.

I talked to my parents about this too and told them that we hadn’t had a takeaway for a whole month either. We ate out – yes. We had McDonalds breakfast – yes. However it wasn’t because I couldn’t deal with the thought of cooking. It wasn’t because I was having a bad mental health day that we ordered a takeaway. It was because we had legitimate reasons. Eating out was date night. McDonalds breakfast was because Tim had sliced the tip of his finger off. They turned round and told us how well we were doing. They had both admitted that they actually realised what my relationship with food was as well. How in depth it has affected me. It wasn’t a case of ‘you need to exercise more’ or ‘do you really need that?’ or ‘you’re addicted to sugar’. Its now a case of supporting me through this long journey of me rewiring my brain to change what food is to me.

So although our diet isn’t healthier, my mental illness isn’t affecting my choices on food AS MUCH. I cant stress those last 2 words enough. I have a long way to come still but I am damn proud of my efforts so far.

Thanks for reading

Barbs x

Just FYI……I also thought these videos put a lot into perspective for me…..

Packing a love/hate relationship

B7s
#14 on my list is go to a festival.

I actually quite like packing for holidays. I normally do it a month or so in advance. Because I’m excited and also to test out weight limits.

It’s now 10 days before I go to Bournemouth 7s and I have no clue what to pack! So currently hating the thought of packing random shit and hoping for the best.

(If you want to know more about Bournemouth 7s click the link here; https://bournemouth7s.com/whatisb7s/)

I’m rather excited as I’ve been jealous of my friends for 4 years now but I have always had reason why I could not make the festival. It has been a huge topic amongst my rugby pals since October 2016 and lately I have given up being patient. I want to be there now!

We’ve organised our fancy dress outfits, tour shirts and designed our own swanky rugby kit for the occasion. We used a major sponsor of the festival; Viper 10 who make kits for rugby and netball teams with a cool 3D Kit Designer (follow link to find out more; https://viper10.com/ )

Its all well and good wanting to jump the gun and wish my work days away to be with my friends, playing the sport I love, drinking, dancing and feeling carefree. BUT what the fuck do I pack?

I’ve been a *whispers* girl guide so I can survive in a bivvy bag overnight no problem. However I have a feeling its not just as simple as that. My preconception is that a festival is also a catwalk. To look your best with a pair of wellies in tow. **Except my calf muscles are so god damn big I cant fit in wellies**

How does a chubby tom boy do this without feeling inferior to the slinky girls in crop tops and flower headbands?

My ‘don’t give a fuck’ inner self is – go comfy – don’t give a second thought about people’s opinions. I’ve always had the mantra of changing in public places / rugby clubs – ‘if they don’t like what they see they wont look again.’ Please note I don’t just get naked in public for the sake of it.

My reasonable inner self is – pack for every occasion – compromise and take something half decent so you feel part of the crowd but travel there and back in my trackies and rugby top.

My anxious inner self is – buy EVERYTHING new, get the latest trends, ALWAYS BE COOL – but I don’t have the money and I’d probably feel more self conscious because I’m dressed up in things that I feel potentially do not suit my body shape.

So I thought I’d search on Google and see if some websites gave me any more insight.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/the-practical-guide-to-festival-dressing2/

http://ticketnews.eventim.co.uk/the-essential-festival-checklist/#axzz4h8K0glVM

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/06/the-honest-festival-guide-2014_n_5458410.html

After giving these a read I feel more relaxed about taking some items of clothing that I don’t mind getting beer and possibly mud on. (these are inevitably comfy – winning!)

Some handy tips I picked up and didn’t think about packing were; plasters, torch, bin bags, magazines plus notepad and pen (to write down some memories for this blog). Then, most importantly, ID! This may sound silly but I HATE taking a bag anywhere. This probably is because I used to take a rucksack on days out with friends and I’d end up carrying all THEIR crap in MY bag. I quickly learnt that pockets were the way forward. Also because I really only drink at my local rugby club where everyone knows I’m over 18 I forget to carry ID on me. So a post it note is stuck on my kitchen table at home so I don’t forget.

So now I’ve got my clothes all sorted, my next mammoth decision is what to do with my hair! Pictures of the weekend’s events are inevitably going to be uploaded onto social media. Plus some nice ones to post on here.

As I am growing my hair to eventually cut off for charity (#19 on my list) I can’t just go short to eliminate all my problems. I already have an undercut to help me not get too hot with having long hair. Plus I shall be sweating. Regardless of the weather, I shall be sweating. I’ll be dancing and get hot, I’ll be playing rugby and getting hot so my hair is likely to go greasy pretty quickly.

Again I took to Google and found some ideas and tips from the ghd website. This is mostly due to me only having 3 hairstyles – down straight, up in a pony tail or up in a bun.

https://www.ghdhair.com/articles/festival-hair-tips

https://www.ghdhair.com/hairstyles/occasion-hair/festival

I’m thinking of plaits for most of the weekend to keep my fringe out of my face plus maybe a cool pattern in my undercut.

After making my bed look like a tip I have managed to organise and pack as much as possible now to reduce the panic and stress of last minute packing. I have also breathed a big sigh of relief.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget anything!

 

 

May’s Mission

So in order for me to Sky Dive I need to lose weight. Who knew there was a weight limit?

To keep things simple and not deprive myself of everything that is tasty I looked at my bad eating habits (too many to actually list). I came up with the challenge for Tim and I to not eat garlic bread for the month.

This may sound silly to some but we have a tendency to eat this with everything.

Spaghetti Bolognese – garlic bread

Lasagne – garlic bread

Curry – garlic bread

Mid afternoon snack – garlic bread

You get the idea.

However it wouldn’t be just a slice or two. It would be a whole garlic baguette to ourselves (hangs head in shame – also hopes people do this too).

I saw this pop up on my news feed on Facebook the other day and had to share.

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For more silly memes visit the site below

https://www.facebook.com/Garlicbreadmemes/

So we are 9 days into the challenge and we have had two pasta dishes. Luckily there is no garlic bread in the freezer otherwise it would have been cooked. I can’t say I’m missing it at the moment. Maybe it is just a habit we didn’t even know we were doing.

I will admit though – I had a garlic naan with an Indian at the weekend. But that’s completely different right?

Fingers crossed we can keep it up and possibly see a difference on the scales. Which reminds me I need to buy batteries for the bloody thing…..

The Big 30

I’m not actually sure why 30 is a milestone birthday but I’ll take it and have it as an excuse to party. I suppose it is a bit of a limbo age. You’re not old old and ready to sign up for your pension but you’re old enough to refer to everyone as “like 12” because they are younger than you. On the flip side you’re also not a teenager as your hangover takes two days to get rid of and you get excited about buying duvet sets or a new kettle.

I think it was the day after my 25th birthday I genuinely forgot my pin number for my card (my card was not contactless at this stage). So I have low hopes for my memory in my thirties!

Anyway I digress here is the big list of 30:
(Don’t forget to click on the activity to read more)

  1. Sky Dive                                                                                              
  2. Machu Picchu                                                                                   
  3.                                                                           
  4. Achieve black belt in Tae Kwon Do                                                             
  5. Start my own business                                 
  6. Buy a drink for a stranger                                                            
  7. Go to Titanic museum in Southampton                                  
  8. Climb Snowdon                                                                                               
  9. Visit Wales                                                                                        
  10. Be a vegetarian for 2 weeks                                                       
  11. Dog Agility Classes                                                                        
  12. Learn Origami                                                                                  
  13. Learn to say hello in 30 languages                                            
  14. Go to a Festival                                                                                
  15. 5km Colour Obstacle Rush                                                         
  16. Gain another qualification                                                           
  17. Visit Rome & Vatican City                                                            
  18. Make a Kiva Loan                                                                            
  19. Cut my hair for charity                                                                  
  20.                                                          
  21. Go line dancing                                                                               
  22. Disconnect for 1 week                                                                
  23. Volunteer at a food bank                          
  24. Go on a Ghost Hunt                                                                      
  25. Give Blood                                                                                      
  26. Lose weight                                                                                       
  27. Watch a Rugby World Cup Final Game                                                                         
  28. Muddy Dog Challenge                                                        
  29. Start a blog – no need for more info here
  30. Go to a Silence Retreat
                                            

 

Well here goes….

Procrastinating at work, like everyone does, I gave myself a mini challenge to tick off 30 things before I’m 30. One of those achievements was to start a blog. So why not blog about me completing my bucket list!

I am known to be honest and straight forward about everything. So be prepared for many of my tactless musings. Please don’t comment how horrible I am – I kinda already know.

I have had many opportunities and experiences to complete a bucket list already as I’ve travelled a fair bit and have eagerly volunteered myself to try new things since I was young. But as a Sagittarius I love adventure, am curious about many a subject and love to learn new things that change my life and my view on the world. So let’s begin this new chapter!