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Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:30 am

Hi

I'm going to use this thread as a record of my moods and progress in addressing my mental health issues.

I'll be importing a lot of posts from a site where I no longer feel comfortable. I've cut out irrelevant words where I was saying hi, asking after others, thanking people for responding etc so I may appear to be talking to myself, wasn't, promise. :lol: I'm going to be very honest about my thoughts and feelings in this thread. Maybe some people will find it of use, others may find it upsetting but I'm doing this for me, read if you choose.

While I wouldn't expect anyone to wade through the imported posts I hope that I get the odd response to new posts so I know that I am not simply talking to myself.

Cheers

ATTMP
Last edited by andthistoomustpass on Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:56 am

8/11/16

Wish I had more emotional resilience.

Was really looking forward to attending an event tomorrow. Email this evening to say canceled.
My reaction was disproportionate. Almost bereft. My reaction was to over eat by a long way. Compulsive once begin and bought the food knowing that. Like a part of me I'm not aware of made the decision to purchase and eat.

Multiple motivations behind overeating. If I had to guess; Comfort, punishment, self sabotage, habit and simply why not? Food does taste nice after all. Put on about 3 stone since spring and I was very overweight to begin with. Over 22.5 stone now. Seem to be trying to break my own record, or my stomach.

Over the years I've quit smoking, brought booze intake down to around 4 pints per week from a ridiculously high level some years ago and have even given up dwelling on the distant past. Food is a major challenge. After all, not like I can go cold turkey (hehe).

19/11/16

I've been able to identify the emotions behind the overeating on this occasion, and some more which probably underlie the depression and anxiety too. Only step one but further than I've managed before. The canceled event was for those with MH issues. A place I felt safe and accepted. Something I never had as a kid. Cancellation brought to mind feelings of fear and rejection which I felt too much of as a kid. All seems a bit simple and too pat but makes sense to me. Now I can put a name to these feelings and others, perhaps I can address them.

20/11/16

Time to admit that I'm really not coping.

Therapy starts soon but I think I'm best calling in sick to work tomorrow, seeing the GP.
Not an easy thing for me to do. I try to keep on, not let things get me down or I might not get back up. But I've been so run down for so long, I've had this cold longer than I've had my pants.

Took Friday off to start prepping for big day Monday. Woke up in a ball of snot.
Northern man mode switched on, tried to prep all weekend anyway. Power through.
Hasn't worked. An hour ago I was doing the maths... 'if I set the alarm for 2am, I'll get 6 hours sleep
and can carry on with prep...' When I'm already so run down, madness.
30 minutes ago, I caught myself going into a full on panic attack type thing.
Pulled myself out just in time. Thanks Mindfulness.

Sod the job, sod my commitments, sod my career. Don't really care about any of them anyway.
I've no wife or kids to worry about. I can take some time off and see what happens. I won't get sacked, just may have to drop a pay grade or two when I go back. Not the end of the world, just feels like it ;)

I was really chuffed about identifying my emotions in the post above. Problem is, once you identify them, you have to live with them. Have I always felt this alone? I think I have. Me against the world. Day after day, month after month, year after year. It feels like self pity to say it. After all I've got a couple of friends, can get out and meet people, etc. Still feel utterly alone though, always have.

Funny thing though, I'm not suicidal. That has to be a plus. Maybe identifying those emotions is helping after all.

21/11/16

The deed is done. Sick note in office and prescriptions in my pocket. I may as well enjoy the break as it all would've been the same in the end. Still have a job to go back to when I'm ready so can't complain compared to some. Oh well whinge over. Have cash in bank and under docs orders to relax. Fun time. Wahey!

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:03 am

29/12/16

I'm posting because I want to set out in writing, and maybe get some advice, on where I am today following my mini melt down which you helped me through last month.

I went back to work after a couple of weeks. Didn't feel up to it (still don't, had real trouble leaving the house yesterday morning) but I needed to protect my employment and besides, when you fall off of your bike, it is best to climb back on ASAP. Just have to be careful to take time out for me and not to push myself too far.

Week 5 of medication and I think it is beginning to kick in. I'm also receiving talking therapy (week 3) which is really making a difference and I'm continuing to push myself psychologically so I'm not sure how much of the changes I'm feeling are attributable to the meds alone.

My ability to sleep has improved massively (albeit I'm posting at 4am) but my focus is continuing to suffer. My emotions are all over the place at the moment. Totally unpredictable and always strong. For me, depression and repression are deeply linked. I think the way forward is to change the habits of a lifetime by stopping repressing my feelings and learn to identify and tolerate / manage them. Mindfulness comes in handy for this and I've started teaching myself Acceptance & Commitment Therapy techniques, which appear perfect for me. Any advice on managing emotions would be welcome.

I've developed a totally unscientific and inexpert theory that anxiety is simply the by product of adrenaline. That it can turn into fear but it also can turn into excitement, anger, love, lust, etc. So it's not necessarily a negative to feel anxiety. I've also accepted what is common knowledge, that the body produces adrenaline to aid physical action so the best way to deal with excess adrenaline (and therefore excess emotion) is to exercise in combination with Mindfulness, ACT and CBT techniques to manage my thoughts and feelings. Continuing to force myself to get out and meet new people, see other points of view, is also going to be a central pillar of my recovery.

That's where I am and what I believe at the moment. As we all know, it could all change at the drop of a hat but I have planned a way forward that I believe will help and I have memories of better days in the recent past to remind me it is possible to enjoy life.

30/12/16

I am miles better than where I was in November. The anxiety that's surfaced since I started Sertraline led me to taking leave from work again today However, the anxiety reduced after a good long walk and I had the energy to go and see a friend and have a good chat

Maybe I'll walk (mindfully) the few miles to work next week (with a spare shirt cause I'm a big, sweaty fella). I'm sure it will help

Hopefully I'll feel better next week either way.

18/02/17

Logged in to set down where I am in writing so that I can think clearly.

I set out a plan in my last post. I'm a chronic and severe depressive so I forgive myself for not finding the wherewithal to follow it. Will try again.

I'm managing work stress reasonably well although worried how being so down and concentration issues are affecting my performance. I am continuing to get out and socialise and enjoy it but it is getting much harder. I'm very much in hibernation mode, want the world to leave me alone.

An old thought keeps popping back into my head which was always a trigger for deepening depression and ideation. I'm very worried that it has returned because it indicates subconscious issues but I know it is just a thought. The meds are definitely helping with the anxiety but aren't scratching the depression. I need to make an appointment with GP to discuss this. I am putting a reminder in my calendar to try an ensure I don't 'forget' again.

The therapy is definitely helping. I am glad that the focusing on the distant past part is over but it did feel good for my experiences to be heard and acknowledged. Therapist agrees with my initial thoughts that I need to learn to recognise and accept my emotions and that is where we are heading which is good. I'm worried about how soon the therapy will end though. Worried that I will still be this far down the hole when it does.

The therapy is good. I suppose, like everyone else, I don't fit neatly into one diagnostic type and my 'emotional mask' is deeply ingrained so it has taken a lot of time to get across my personal responses to emotions and events.

The triggering thought for ideation is prosaic. It only comes when I am overtired. The feelings underlying it, if I had to guess, are feeling deeply alone and cut off from others, worthless, inadequate, hopeless, stressed and fearing failure. On the surface I'm a very positive, outgoing, jovial, if anxious and occasionally ar*ey, person so most of this is hidden from those around me.

Getting plenty of sleep is the best way to avoid the thought. It's not that I can't sleep, I have a routine which works every time. It's that part of me refuses to go to sleep. Probably a response to the nightmares and anxiety dreams which are very common.

I know what I need to do to work through the most debilitating issues and I have help, I just doubt it is going to work. Still. Got to try, and try to be as positive as I can in my approach, if you don't try the certainty of failure is 100%.

19/02/17

I'm not badly off for support. I've a few friends and I go to a self help group as well as the therapist.I don't go into details about how badly I feel outside of therapy. I'm not able to open up to others without serious amounts of alcohol which only makes my mood worse for the rest of the week.

I'll manage, I've come through worse spells.

20/02/17

I keep getting out and doing things outside of work and I often enjoy myself but the further down the hole you slide the harder it is.

I'm relying on a Churchill quote at the moment 'keep bu**ering on.'
Just get through each day and keep trying to play my hand as best I can.
I may not be much good at the game of life but it is the only game in town.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:08 am

03/03/17

Progression and Regression

This thread has turned into a bit of a blog for me. Writing here is really helping to keep my thoughts in order.

Progress. I've managed to get through about half of the post which has piled up this year and taken associated action. I want to finish that and have a good spring clean.

Progress: Following a lot of research, I know what I would diagnose myself with . I'm not seeking a diagnosis but it helps to know I am not alone and I am proud of how far I've come since it was at its worst all those years ago.

Progress. The analytical therapy has moved on from fact finding to treatment and I now have fewer doubts about it because I can notice progress in my feelings and behaviours in the areas focused on in the last two sessions.

Progress: I carried out an activity today which I always hate and dread (it's a thrice yearly thing).
It didn't feel so bad this time. For the first time I've not resorted to alcohol to block out the associated emotions.

Regress / Progress: I have overeaten in response but not to the extent I normally would.
Regress: The deepening of depression and despair which normally follows the activity is here.
Progress: It is not as strong as it usually is.

Thanks NHS therapist :)

Progress: Booked an appointment with GP to discuss changing meds as not convinced 50mg of Sertraline is right for someone with my history and, although it is helping to manage the anxiety, it's not scratching the depression. The other side of that argument is that it is doing something. I need clarity of thought in my work so can't have a medication or a dose which leaves me muddle headed and even the side effects associated with switching to a different SSRI may cause a serious and long term problem with my income stream so careful thought needed but the locum may not particularly care.

I'm also going to discuss the availability of those light boxes for treating SAD.
Although I may not have SAD, I do get down much more in winter and I expect it will help. If the purchase price is within my means I'll consider buying my own if need be.

Good news: GP is accepting Saturday appointments
Bad news: The weekend surgery is being run by a private company
A wake up call for me to get involved in the fight to save the NHS. Any demos or activism, I'll be there (health permitting).

Overall I'm in a much more positive place than I was in my last post.
A sliver of hope is still hope.

05/03/17

Not left the sofa since Sat Morning. I'm just trying to find my way back to were I was before Friday took the wind from my sails. I'll get there. Nothing good comes easy.

25/03/17

Another post to help me keep my thoughts in order.

Spring is here! Feeling better just for that reason.
Still very depressed, motivation is still absent, not meditating, not shaving, not cleaning house, reading post, getting to work on time or getting out as much as I'd like but overall I feel better than I have for a long time.

A big part of that is my continuing to try to identify and face my emotions instead of repressing them.
My NHS analytical therapy is fantastically helpful but I've a long way to go and I am worried about it coming to an end too soon. I intend to discuss that in the next session. I intend to write down a list of my current symptoms and feelings beforehand to aid communication.

ACT techniques have also been useful. I want to find the motivation to continue investigating ACT and practising the techniques.

A lot of why I am feeling better is that my distress on interacting with others and my anxiety beforehand and afterwards has noticeably decreased. I am seeing others in less black and white terms. I still have serious issues in this area which have always badly affected my personal and professional functioning but there is real progress.

I still engage in a number of compulsive behaviours which are not enjoyable and take up huge swathes of my day but the compulsion to overeat and drink has receded markedly and I am currently eating healthily and feeling better for that. Light but regular exercise is the next step to feeling better physically. I am still indulging in other ways to punish myself but I can only slay one dragon at a time.

I am still procrastinating a great deal, wasting more of my time but I forgive myself so long as I am trying to improve. My self esteem is still very low but I think it is heading out of the negative and into the positive. I still have powerful nightmares and anxiety dreams and, consequently, part of me is still not choosing to go to sleep.

I saw a locum GP to discuss my medication but he refused, any changes will only be made following a consultation with my regular GP. Appointment booked. Still intend to investigate those light boxes for SAD too.

Overall, I am feeling positive about my progress and the future.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:12 am

07/04/17

I'm up late (early!) because I fell asleep on the sofa early evening. I must have needed it.

Not much has changed since my last post but I am feeling a little better than I did then. The progress is continuing Losing weight is helping. 20 pounds down in the last few weeks. I'm not going hungry either, just eating the right things and have cut out the unhealthy snacks and bingeing on meal deals and pasties, etc. The binge eating was to punish myself. I spent a therapy session discussing it and the compulsion stopped. I hope I don't slip back. Slimming World has been recommended by a colleague. I hope I sign up, I think the moral support will help.

My doctor isn't keen on upping my meds due to the potential impact on a physical health issue but she has ordered tests to see if it is doable. Her preferred option would have been to switch meds and remain on the lowest dose. I don't want to change my meds right now because I am too busy at work to deal with the side effects of the transition. It may sound silly to put work first but it is really important to me that I complete my current plan. I will benefit greatly in the medium to long term if I do. I have picked out a light box to buy now and put away for autumn. It is not actually a box but a sort of visor I can wear on the commute, I don't mind looking odd if it helps. I just need to place the order but doing things for me is always so difficult. A lot of self hatred and a need to punish myself underlays that.

The therapy is still helping but I've sort of stalled. At my therapist's suggestion, I want to write letters, which will never be posted, to various family members. I think it will really help but I am finding it really difficult to get started. There is a lot of fear associated with doing this. Hopefully I will manage this weekend.

13/04/17

I make plans but rarely follow them all through but I manage one or two and that is a victory each time.

Easter weekend and my mood has dropped like a stone. Not a surprise, feelings of isolation, misery and hopelessness plus intrusive memories of childhood, none good. I grew up in a house were everyone was crazy, everyone was miserable and in pain. We took it out one one another. I was the youngest and crap rolls downhill. I just need to try and do something constructive over the long weekend ( more plans ). I will recover because this too must pass.

15/04/17

Feeling much better today. Managed to get out and meet some peeps for an hour. Used the rest of the afternoon constructively until fatigue hit and I headed home. All in all if I manage to remain constructive for the rest of the long weekend I'll be quite pleased come Tuesday.

My plans are great but that doesn't mean I follow through. I'd love to complete one per day. Normally it's one per week on a good week and the rest fall by the wayside but I'll take that one and treasure it

26/04/17

Woken from one of my nightmares (I keep trying to spell that as knightmare, children's tv is insidious, I don't even remember what the show Knightmare was about ) I get them a lot. I don't want to go back to sleep, feeling too battered to risk another. I tried to analyse them this time. Shame, guilt, failure and fear seem to be my driving emotions today.

I'm trying to move forward with identifying my feelings and I notice that I'm feeling a little guilty for not supporting others on this site for a long while. Partly that is because I have just been feeling too vulnerable to emotionally connect with others problems and partly it is because I am trying to avoid creating a role for myself in my own mind, trying not to give in to the need to justify my needs by giving more than I take, trying to accept that I am a worthwhile person and accept your welcome here without needing to compensate you all for what I feel is my deleterious and obnoxious presence. Does that make sense to anyone?

I'm really tired but won't risk sleep yet. I will continue reading a book for a bit and try to catch a nap before work. The book is a great distraction, quite an easy read. The Kraken by China Melville. It is a thriller set in London where magic (of a sort) exists within our world. Ordinary person falls into a hidden world within our own. It's an old idea but a goodie. The style reminds me of Neil Gaiman's writing style which is strong praise as I loved American Gods. It also reminds me of some of the fantasy books I read as a child. That's it from me for a bit. G'night (morning!) and thanks for listening.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:17 am

03/05/17

Woken by nightmares again. At least I know that this time it is a reaction to a couple of steps forward I took yesterday (carried through one of my plans and moved forward with another) so, at least this once, I can take it as a positive. Move alarm an hour or so forward and go back to sleep in a little while.

09/05/17

Updating my thread to record what I'm thinking today.

Therapy today and a lot to chew over. A lot of anger at my mother's behaviour when I was a child and the manipulation and undermining which continued well into adulthood and the person she is today who still tries to drag me back into old patterns, almost like a vampire who has drained my life to feed her own. Of course, it is never that simple and I'm sure part of her loves her children too but that isn't enough to put up with the rest. She is not my responsibility and I think I am finally done with the last of my relatives I have any contact with.

The thing is I could and can feel the physical sensations which I associate with anger but the emotions are closed off, I'm not really feeling it. I've mentioned before that I have great difficulty recognising and accepting my emotions. I may also have mentioned that I have great difficulty even defining "I". It is difficult to think about myself. It is, I suppose a long ingrained defense mechanism. If you don't feel you can't be hurt. If I repress my emotional self I can keep it safe, hidden, and I can be more in control.

If I want to feel better, if I want to feel anything, if I want a reason to live then I have to drop that defense, allow myself to feel and to show my feelings. Get a real sense of "I". Not the professional me, not the socialising me, not the mental health me but a merger of these states of mind with the emotional me I feel I keep safe from the world and that I feel I keep the world safe from.

It is not going to be easy and I think mindfullness practice will be key to breaking down this barrier in my mind as well as taking risks, expressing emotions, being emotional, letting go of control. Oooh, scarey!

12/05/17

I always get out in some fashion these days, work forces me out even when I don't fancy it. Drinks with colleagues last night left me with a very sore head today but at least it's wkend. I'm still a blocked pipe emotionally and have slipped back into compulsive eating for the last few days but I am practicing being more open and noticing when I am slipping back into my more harmful ways of thinking.Still angry but I am slowly moving past the thought that I have to put other people's wants before my own needs which is massive for me.

14/05/17

Doing stuff for me is... problematic and I didn't manage it yesterday but I'm determined to go for a short walk and visit the cinema today.

14/05/17

Well this is... interesting...

I've been trying to open up my emotions, unrepress, and it is happening a little. Very uncomfortable right now. I want to continue with this to progress. I have a couple of activities in mind over the next few days but If I don't get much further by therapy on Monday I will try my best to leave myself open and ask the therapist to break me down. She has enough ammunition I'm sure. She may not do it because although she agrees I need to unrepress, I think she will also be worried about the potential impact on me, I know I am. Something needs to break though, I feel like an unexploded bomb right now. Not potentially violent but just like I desperately need to scream, shout, laugh, love, cry. I remember crying, not being a little damp-eyed but proper fat teared, snot-bubble blubbing, as a kid. It was a great release. Maybe it could be again. I'll survive one way or another.

20/05/17

I finally saw the new Alien this evening, after meeting up with some people for a chat.
I enjoyed both the company and the film. Drinking and overeating again though.
I want to try to experience emotion without turning to bad habits to get me through but baby steps it is.

26/05/17

Plans, plans, plans.

I've discovered a new way of thinking, I'm almost feeling compassionate towards the parts of me I usually struggle against as an enemy. I'm seeing my drives towards self destructive behaviours as misguided attempts to keep myself safe. Today I am going to start trying to gently educate that part of me instead of trying to ignore it, repress it or beat it into submission.

Plan one. Work. I have a habit of avoiding those jobs which open me up to the possibility of negative evaluation. This leads to procrastination and obvious problems with productivity, putting my financial future at risk. Today I am going to try to allow the fear to be there and crack on anyway.

Plan two. Meeting some friends after work. I'm going to try to notice when I am slipping into 'safe' behaviour styles and try to act as I want to, not as I think my friends would want me to, to be more... well me.

Plan three. I am intending to pursue plans to meet a new friend over the bank holiday, even though that is seriously scary as it opens me to the possibility of judgment and rejection.

I accept my thoughts and feelings are a part of me but I also accept that I can control my actions.
If I don't manage some or all of the above then it is not the end of the world, just a result of who I am right now, but I really want to try, which is also a result of who I am right now. Who I am right now is good enough.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:31 am

27.05.17

An update for myself so I can track this project

Plan one. Work. I have a habit of avoiding those jobs which open me up to the possibility of negative evaluation. This leads to procrastination and obvious problems with productivity, putting my financial future at risk. Today I am going to try to allow the fear to be there and crack on anyway.

Did OK. Spent Friday on a job I'd been putting off for ages. Engaged in a few distraction activities / procrastination bouts but fewer than normal and I completed the task. More work to be done on this but a good first step.

Plan two. Meeting some friends after work. I'm going to try to notice when I am slipping into 'safe' behaviour styles and try to act as I want to, not as I think my friends would want me to, to be more... well me.

Again, a good first step. Engaged in a number of safety behaviours but was more honest about what I did and didn't want to do even when that went against the preferences of others and it went well.

Plan three. I am intending to pursue plans to meet a new friend over the bank holiday, even though that is seriously scary as it opens me to the possibility of judgment and rejection.

My friend canceled. I knew some other people were getting together so I joined them instead. Engaged in a lot of safety behaviours and didn't really enjoy myself due to the hangover from the night before but glad I went, met some nice people. A poor first step but understandable as it was a last minute thing so couldn't stick to original plan. At least I got out of the door. I'll keep trying.

All in all, very positive results. I want to get better at recognising when I am slipping into safety behaviours and choose not to. I've noted down the specific behaviour patterns and will be more aware of them next time. Every journey starts with a singe step.

29/05/17

I am using this thread as something of a notebook so I can read back what I may not remember tomorrow and in the months to come.

This recognising safety behaviours stuff is good. Overtired and slipped down the misery hole for the last hour until I recognised those thoughts for what they are, a search for a conclusion. A way to cut to the chase, avoid uncertainty, avoid my feelings. The feelings of a lack of security and control led to me hiding in a horrible place but a place I recognise, a place where I feel that the worst has happened. A place where I can be safe. After all, if you have nothing, expect nothing, hope for nothing, then nothing is the most that can be taken from you. I do not want to feel like this and I can choose not to. I can choose hope. Not as simple as flipping a switch but I'm definitely feeling a little better. I want to keep this up.

01/06/17

So tired. So wish it was the weekend. I've a lot to do tomorrow and I'm going to be exhausted. I don't have trouble getting to sleep. I know that if I lay down this second I would be out like a light but I don't want to. What is it I'm scared of about going to bed, going to sleep? It's more than nightmares. It's more than ruminating on the day or anticipating the following day. I've not used my bedroom in years. The sofa it is every night I'm at home. Maybe the evening, alone, is the only time I feel safe and in control. Maybe it is about control? This time is my time where I can chose what to do. No, that's not the whole of it either but safety and control are a big part of it. I feel like I could quite easily sit here for a year, not moving, not sleeping, not leaving this time and this place. I feel scared to move, scared of everything. Checked the doors are locked umpteen times tonight as usual. I'm scared of going upstairs. I'm scared that I am not alone even though I know I am.

02/06/17

I'm ok just exhaustion leading to dramatics. I lined up a nice easy day at work and spent some time with a friend straight after. Could be far worse.

03/06/17

I'm not sure what the GP would or could do. I have made it clear how bad I am feeling and we've been in protracted discussions about changing / increasing my meds. I will be speaking to her again on that point but physical health issues restrict the drugs / dosage she can prescribe. I am actually in a much better place than I have been for a long time. Although it is causing deep discomfort, it is good that I am recognising and expressing emotions and showing vulnerability, albeit online, rather than doing the whole repression thing.

Mindfulness is great. Been struggling to engage with it in recent months Distractions can be really useful but trying to avoid using them. Trying to 'sit' with my feelings, identify them and accept them as part of me. Allow the thoughts and feelings to be there while recognising that I don't have to believe them and I don't have to act in accordance with them. I'm focusing on controling my actions while letting the thoughts and feelings be. As crap as I felt Thursday night, it represents progess. At least I was feeling something and not totally disengaged.

04/06/17

Diffusion techniques help me to distance myself and recognise that I am not my thoughts and feelings, that they are a story I tell myself and that I don't have to believe that narrative or act like it is true. It is important to me that I focus on experiencing and accepting my emotions. It is important to me that I am not ashamed or scared of them. I was frightened, I am glad I was able to admit that to myself and others. Identifying and exploring emotions with self compassion, even the crap ones, is a massive step forward. Not so much brave as something I want to do.

It is no more than what everyone with MH issues does everyday. It's changing the instinctive habits to fight myself or hide from myself which is tough. Deflating the automatic pilot to take control of my life is also a struggle but it is a struggle worth having. Being able to laugh at my situation helps enormously. (Anyone spot the Airplane! reference.)

06/06/17

Thanks for the compliments. I find them tough to accept because if I show I have positive feelings about myself, that is something which can be taken away which is painful, therefore compliments are not to be accepted openly but insults are to be encouraged. What strange rules I live by. Understandable given the sort of childhood I sadly suspect I share with many here. Hugs to you all.

Just setting down where I am today.

I wanted to reduce procrastination. Today I got loads done until I began to flag later in the day. Good progress here, now if only I can convince myself it will be a victory to clean the house .

I wanted to be more me around others. I want to push on with this and there was clear progress over the weekend. Felt very uncomfortable because so used to playing a role but the discomfort is a good sign. If it ain't hurting, it ain't working.

I wanted to take risks with friendships too, be more open and vulnerable. Edging forward here but progress all the same.

I'm starting to feel more emotions, approaching them mindfully, with curiousity and self compassion (as much as I can muster). It was fear last week (that is still here) but tonight's dominating emotion is sadness. Enough sadness to wrap the whole world in. This isn't a bad thing, I hope it means I am starting to accept my emotions, allow myself to be vulnerable, to be me.

I am getting to know myself better in another way. A few days ago I tuned into my self talk for the first time that I can recall. I knew I had a low opinion of myself but wow! A constant background chatter of blame and insults, bullying and rejecting myself. Makes me realise how strong I've been to keep swimming against that tide.

I've a few therapy sessions left and I hope I can get more in touch with my emotions while I have that support. The therapist has already given me the tools to recognise my 'safe' but ultimately harmful habits and I have made some progress in addressing them. More work to be done there. It will take time but now I see a path forwards where I couldn't before. I simply have to chose to walk down that path.

That's all I wanted to say.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:36 am

14/06/17

Quite proud of some of my actions today.

1. Acted in my own interests by refusing to take on work of no value to me or to my role. Didn't get angry or het up about it. Just said no with a brief explanation. I think I may face an attempt to pressure me into changing my mind tomorrow but I am resolved.

2. Had lunch with a work friend and confided some of my personal history and struggles to her, shame notwithstanding. It was really important to me to breach the barrier between the 'me' I am at work, the socialising 'me' and the mental health 'me'. This was a massive breach. I want to work on widening it now. Also feel that there is less to be ashamed of.

In general, I am still exploring and encouraging self compassion and I want to continue to notice and address the behaviour patterns that have been identified in therapy. There is reason for hope. I am also beginning to understand the concept of letting go of the past. Self discipline and pushing myself to take action and not procrastinate.

I am proud of myself. I've come a hell of a long way from the days when I would only go shopping at the all night shop to avoid other people and would have a panic attack at human contact . I've made massive strides in the last 6 months too. No longer constantly fighting myself. No longer trying to suppress and fight the *bad* me. I've also stopped seeing others as *bad*. l want to push on with identifying and accepting emotions and accepting me. Lots of behaviours I still want to address and develop too, lots of comfortable masks I want to throw away which will mean taking a lot of risks and a developing a lot of self discipline but I am looking forward to the experience . Generally, wow amazed at my progress so far. Now if only I can motivate myself to clean the house (that's becoming my catch phrase)

Note to self re last post. I was right, there was another attempt to push some rubbish my way at work. I batted it away like a pro!

20/06/17

Bit of a dark post this evening. This sitting with and exploring emotions is good, even when it is bad...

Full of self hatred right now, want to punish myself, want to bring these feelings to an end by bringing me to an end. I won't act on it. I am in control of my actions (mostly) and my moods are cycling faster than Bradley Wiggins at the mo so I know these feelings will pass soon.

Source of self hatred. I was thinking of an event a few years ago. A member of my family did me a very bad turn. I knew he would do it and I allowed it to happen. I went, as I am now, straight into framing it the same way as I framed events as a child. Straight into it's my fault, I don't deserve better. Straight into blaming myself for his behaviour. If I was better I wouldn't have allowed it to happen. If I wasn't weak I would have fought for my own interests. I am scum. If I wasn't my family wouldn't hate me, wouldn't display such contempt. I have to be better. If only they would care.

Why should I blame myself for another's actions? I don't intellectually but my inner narrative of self hate is deeply embedded. I grew up in an environment of hate, fear and contempt. I was rejected and abused by my family, those I loved. If they are all singing from the same hymn sheet of vicious insanity then they must be right.

Typing this out has helped. Learning a little self compassion has helped. I am not responsible for the actions of others. It is okay for me to choose not to fight. Their world view is so warped, why should I trust their judgment on good and bad. I am so glad I am not like them, full of fear, hatred and bitterness towards the world and everyone in it. It wouldn't of mattered how I acted as a child, who I was, they would have still treated me in the same way. It was never about me. It was about them and their demons. They treated each other abominably too. I was the youngest, I got the worst of it and didn't have other examples to see how vicious they were.

I deserved better. I have a right to stand up to them. I have a right to say no. I have a right to make demands in my own interests. I have a right to insist. I have a right to feel sorry for myself. I have a right to be angry. I have a right to let it all go. I have a right to put myself first. I have a right to care about myself. I have a right to fight. I have a right to react emotionally. I have a right to hate them. I have a right to be me.

Thanks for reading this. Feels so much better for getting it out. My mood has already cycled away from hurting myself. In case anyone is worried, I won't self destruct. Feel able to sleep now.

21/06/17

I'm just coming to the end of a course of cognitive analytical therapy where all this was discussed in my disconnected logical way. As I connect with my emotions and underlying thoughts I'm actually starting to feel it and hopefully starting to deal with it. Posting here is an important part of fighting my shame at having these thoughts and feelings.

Why should I feel ashamed? Because I start from the emotional position that it is all my fault, that I am making a mountain out of a molehill, that they were in the right and I am defective for complaining about it. That it is my job to serve the needs of others, I don't matter. That everyone who reads the above post and this one thinks that I am laughable and a disgusting person, that I have no right to waste everyones time talking about me, that I shouldn't try to lean on anyone else. I know none of that is true but I still believe it.

I am scared of exposing myself to judgment, even virtually, I am also scared of the consequences of saying I do matter, that I am a worthwhile human being, of believing it. It is unknown territory after all. Next plan is to try to do things for me, to try to act in my own interests. I have a bunch of stuff in mind and will give them a go.

26/06/17

Another sofa bound weekend. Not good. I've slipped into one of my most ingrained behaviour patterns; If I don't take any action then I won't provoke a response. There will be nothing and no one I have to deal with except me beating myself up for wasting another two days of my life.

I want to see life as something to be experienced not as something to be endured. I know how to go about making that change but putting it into practice is another matter. I want to be more self disciplined and to remember that my fears can't hurt me unless I let them. I want to remember that I am in control of my actions. I want to focus on what I want and act accordingly. I will get there, the power is in my hands.

26/06/17

If I don't give myself goals I won't move forwards and I so want to move forwards. I am going to start a diary of what I do in the evenings and at weekends and if each activity is constructive or enjoyable, both, or neither. If I start with a commitment to one constructive or enjoyable action each evening then I can move forwards from there. Baby steps, not sprinting, hopefully treating myself with compassion not contempt.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:43 am

01/07/17

A good start to my plan. I have ticks for all days but Friday and feel better for it.
I have been sofa bound so far today though. It is in my power to choose to act differently.

03/07/17

End of week summary for my journally type thing.
Did well up to Thursday. Friday and Saturday were a bit of a write off activity wise but I did need to catch up on a lot of sleep so that was a positive. I am not happy with the amount of time I spent procrastinating though. Doing lots of sudoku puzzles and watching TV as a distraction all day Saturday wasn't enjoyable and I didn't achieve any of my goals. Sunday was better, slept through to midday, again a positive as must of needed it. After which I spent a couple of hours refreshing my CBT (constructive if still avoiding my priorities). I was actually really chuffed with how much I have internalised in terms of dealing with thinking distortions, interpreting events, and not blaming myself for every little thing. I've come a very long way in the last few years. After that I went out and met some friends. I made a conscious effort not to slip into 'safe' behaviour patterns and be in the moment. The result was that I really enjoyed myself. Big plus.

Still avoiding dealing with my priorities though. I think that procrastination is another safety behaviour. After all, changing your life is challenging and scary. Not mad at myself, just keen to do better next week / weekend.

10/07/17

Week 2 of my commitment to take at least one action or activity each day that is either constructive (in my interests), enjoyable or new. It's going well. Week nights were patchy but that is down to lack of sleep, sleeping in and starting and finishing work later, leaving little time for me. On the other hand, It's great that my job gives me the flexibility to manage when sleep isn't great. For the first time in ages I've had a really constructive weekend, actually addressing my priorities . Really chuffed with myself and feeling so much better for it. Even did a little hoovering when I got home yesterday. Which is a real change from how it has been recently.

I have also been aware of a massive change in the last few weeks. I have always struggled with identity and the concept of 'I'. What I want, what are my values, etc. Always felt like 'me' was a person hidden deeply and safely inside. With help from my therapist, being more open with others, dropping my masks where appropriate and getting in touch with my emotions seems to be changing that. I'm not sure what I am trying to express exactly but I feel much more present, I now feel like there is a 'me'. Still baby steps but wonderful progress all the same .

Thanks for reading.

12/07/17

Another post of something I don't want to forget.

I've sort of realised in the last couple of days that I don't need to be scared of my feelings. I am not the person I was when they were overwhelming. I will not explode No one will explode at me I will not hit anyone No one will attack me I will not go crazy and I won't be rejected for showing humanity. I will not lose myself; in fact I will gain myself.

Realising is one thing, accepting it will take longer but... progress!

26/07/17

More observations that I don't want to forget. I mentioned being scared of my own emotions. I am also noticing that I repress because I feel I don't have to right to upset others, that their feelings and actions are my responsibility. They are not. I want to try to change this view, to give others the respect of being responsible for themselves and me the freedom of not being responsible for them. Acting on this post and the post above will be to challenge some really, really, REALLY (hehe) deep seated thoughts, beliefs, feelings and ingrained patterns of behaviour but I think these are foundation bricks of my low self esteem and I really want to smash them.

27/07/17

My moods are all over the place. Feeling like utter crap right now. I know why but complicated to explain, all related to my attachment and rejection issues and grief for having missed so much of life and lack of hope for the future. My mood will switch again by morning but right now I'm deep in the abyss and can't find a ladder. Never mind, This too must pass and will very soon.

A mood diary is a good idea, I was looking at an app for that. Don't fancy paying for so little but I can do my own version that's perfect for me.

One moment I'm feeling better, then worse, then better, then worse, then better.... at least I'm feeling stuff but I don't know whether to dress for the beach or for a storm. I took yesterday and did stuff for me. I socialised in the evening, before meditating, saw a friend after work today, organising a night out tomorrow, making plans for the weekend including a little light exercise. I'm observing and noticing myself, sitting with emotions and taking baby steps at changing behaviours. On paper I'm doing all I can think of to move past this but my moods are everywhere, opposite states from one minute to the next. Maybe this is just something I have to put to one side, maybe it will fade of it's own accord if I press on...

An appointment with my doctor is long overdue but so is changing drs. I've lost faith in her for a number of reasons. The last straw was at yet another appointment where I was asking for a change or increase in meds (originally prescribed by another GP at the surgery after my doctor had said no stating the impact on physical health). My doctor told me if she changed or increased meds she wouldn't know if the therapy had worked. I didn't say anything at the time but after thinking it over I'm clear that I AM NOT A GUINEA PIG. If a change in meds may help then I want to try, and the repeated excuses and delays when I went back, blood tests, etc became silly. I'm already on one SSRI, trying another can't be that much of a risk. I finally got her to commit to changing my prescription at the last appointment but she wanted another blood test and time to research. I then dropped down too far to make the appointment to go back. I have some time off work coming up and will do it then, check out other local surgeries too.

30.07.17

Doing things for me is difficult, not a matter of prioritising, just tough to do but with time off work ahead of me I will have the energy to spare to sort meds out and maybe switch doctors too. I slept for 14 hours after getting home early hours of Saturday. The sleep was broken but has helped tremendously all the same. Nightmares have reduced considerably since I switched to taking meds in the mornings instead of at night. I've got my final couple of appointments with the psychotherapist coming up and I have heard of a group beginning in October run by the MH Trust which I would like a referral to so I'll ask about that. I am still ensuring I do things for me most evenings / weekends so that is going well. I've plans for the next few days too. 1 foot in front of the other and all that.

31/07/17

It is important for me to accept my emotions, not hide from them.

I am so sad right now, grieving for a life not lived, grieving for the family relationships I so wanted but couldn't have because the family I grew up with were tortured souls who, all but one, took their pain out on the people around them. The one remaining tried to be better but still inflicted pain without always meaning to and ultimately was too full of his own pain to support anyone else. Pain was all we knew. I have always chosen not to be like that, to care about others, I have kept my soul alive, as much as it hurts. But always so fearful of other people, fearful of myself, full of self hatred for not being good enough for the family no-one would have been good enough for. Full of the belief that I am to blame because that is what I was taught. Full of the belief that I am scum and should hide myself away like a troll under a bridge so that I don't hurt or frighten others, so that I don't provoke violence, humiliation and shame. I am no angel, but I didn't deserve that childhood, I don't deserve this life. It is simply the hand I was dealt.

The question is can I find the key in my own hand. The key that unlocks this prison of which I am now the sole jailer. Can I change my core beliefs, accept the past and let it go? Can I move into the future? I'm not sure I can.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1461
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:57 am

02/08/17

For me; unpleasant feelings are as important to sit with and express as positive ones. Feeling them is not a cause to seek help or a reason to create conflict in my mind by papering over them with a kick up the bum & a fake smile. They are a part of me it is important to accept and not be ashamed of. Only then will those thoughts and feelings lose their power to dominate my actions. That doesn't mean wallowing, far from it. It means experiencing them and letting them pass naturally.

03/08/17

It is a quirk of my own mind which is the issue. I have trouble accepting that I have the right to feel angry, sad, etc. so when I get a positive or helpful comment in response to expressing these emotions I may interpret it in an unintended way and use it as justification to invalidate my feelings... Is that crazy? HELL YEAH! I want to stress that I am in no way criticising any post from anyone here. It is my distorted responses which can be a problem for me.

On the plus side; actually beginning to recognise, allow, express and work through my feelings of sadness appear to have lightened my load. My thinking rather than my mood appears to have significantly changed for the better. It is either the work I have done or that I forgot to take my Sertraline the last couple of days. Not sure which but I suspect the former, it feels like a blockage has been cleared. Still many more baby steps ahead on this but looking good.

05/08/17

I've been engaged in Cognitive Analytic Therapy, it, and the therapist, are helping a great deal. I've also been self teaching myself Acceptance and Commitment Therapy from a self help book which is about accepting uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

The essence of CAT seems to be firstly; talking through your experiences and identifying the damaging thoughts, feelings and habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviours which stem from these experiences. Second is noticing when you are slipping into these unhealthy places. Third is identifying how to exit those patterns and take control of your actions.

I'm not sure how much of the help I've received is strictly part of CAT and how much has been the psychotherapist adapting it to suit me. For me it was clear that a lot of my discomfort is caused by repressing emotions and so we have focused on identifying and allowing emotions to surface. It's been slow going, it was only this week, session 21, that my therapist commented that I seemed in touch with my emotions for the first time. Well worth all the effort.

09/08/17

Where I am at today.

Hmmm. What is it they say about football, a game of two halves? That's a good way of thinking about where I am today. I am still making the effort to be in touch with my emotions, and to avoid damaging personality states. I am still feeling the benefit of accepting the sadness I've been feeling recently. My reactions in social situations have been much less calculated and more natural too and I am more relaxed as a result. I'm getting out, meeting new people, doing new things and doing small things for me most days, even though I don't feel like it. All that is good.

The other half is that I am not doing any substantial things for me, I'm avoiding those, even simple things like arranging a dental check up. I am also ignoring my to do list. As much as I am talking a good fight, I am largely retreading old victories in socialising, etc as a way of distracting myself and avoiding moving forwards. I am still eating compulsively and doing other damaging stuff. Having said that, I have done very well in some ways recently. Particularly in that I have developed a real sense of "I". My shredded ego appears to be recuperating.

As much as I loathe my current way of life I have a lot of fear around making substantial changes. I've broken them up into small steps so as not to have the emotional load of labeling them as BIG changes but I am still avoiding them. I am going to be more watchful of my motivations and try to make sure my actions are in line with my newly identified values.

Being tough with myself is counter productive, instead I am going to try to notice when I am off track and gently coax myself back, focusing on questioning each choice and action before I make it to ensure it is in line with my values and goals. Will it work? Dunno but I'll give it a da*n good try. If I can be compassionate with myself and believe in myself enough to overcome the fear and allow my actions to match my attitude then I'll be on a winner.

11/08/17

I've noticed changes flowing naturally from acceptance and I'm not really there with acceptance or emotional freedom in many ways but taking action and building experience to challenge negative beliefs are also important. Baby steps but still taking steps with the emphasis on making the attempt, not the result. Learning to accept fear and improve self esteem and self compassion are important skills for me to learn next.

I'm really proud of the changes I am making, considering my starting point, I'm doing really well.

12/08/17

I've been locked in avoidance behaviours and procrastination for a couple of weeks now. I believe it comes down to fear of making a change, of letting go of my negative predictions for the future, fear of embracing life.

I'm letting myself feel fear at the moment, encouraging it with a sense of curiosity in the hope that I will learn to accept it. It kinda feels like every horror movie I've ever seen playing all at once. I'm going out soon and I want to retain this feeling in a social setting. Anger and loneliness are the emotions I want to become familiar with and accept next.

Accepting my emotions is an objective all of it's own but I hope that accepting fear will naturally lead to me being able to deal with my resistance to getting better, I am resisting every step I take but I am beginning to recognise that the key to freedom is in my hands.

I intend to revisit CBT though the David Burns book, Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy and his book on Self Esteem. I feel that, as well as my resistance, the lack of recognition of my thoughts and emotions, the lack of a real sense of self, prevented me from getting the most from CBT previously. The NHS analytical therapy has enabled me to have a much better chance of effective outcomes. Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to cry again too.

I also intend to buy the book 'Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life, turns out it is by the founder of ACT and I hope that armed with the results of the analytical therapy and having challenged my resistance through CBT techniques, and continued practice of my mindfulness skills, I will be in a position to get the most out of ACT too. I may even look for a private therapist to join me on the journey should it be desirable once I have revisited CBT.

I am still intending to ask for a referral to a group being run by my MHT and, with September approaching I want to make good on my intention to buy a light box and glasses for the darkening days. It may not help but there is a chance it will. They are affordable so nothing more to lose by trying than the cost of a few weeks of junk food. It is a chance well worth taking.

I've been eating healthily again for the past few days, one of the incentives behind that was struggling to fit into my seat for a show last weekend. I felt ashamed.

Shame fighting is another of my plans. I've been very open in therapy and here and I intend to visit a self help group on Tuesday and seize the spotlight for a bit, be very open there too. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my past, present or future. I am doing the best I can and that is all I can ask of myself or anyone else. If people have a more judgmental view then I pity them for it because I have found that it is only when I stop judging others that I stop judging myself.

Talking of shame fighting, I have always refused to be open about my loneliness, about my need for a partner. The shame is rooted in my basic feelings of being sub-human. That the appropriate response of anyone hearing I wanted a relationship would be pity, horror and disgust. I think I am able to address this now, be open about my interest in women without alcohol and without shame.

I've got a lot of plans here and, realistically, it is likely to be another 12 months at the very least before I have gotten close to completing them but there will be benefits with every step. Ever since I began to address my issues after a suicide attempt in my late 20s my life has gotten better with each step. sometimes it is two steps forward and one (or six!) steps back but the truth is that I have felt better and gotten more from life each year, increasing age nonwithstanding.

14/08/17

First chunk of CBT done today, the new viewpoint from having a different book is really enlightening of course it will be a balance as I may try to use absorbing this lot as a way of avoiding other stuff. I really am likely to do that but at least I'm aware of how sneaky my subconscious can be so other priorities tomorrow and then some more of this Wednesday.

15/08/17

Shame fighting is another of my plans. I've been very open in therapy and here and I intend to visit a self help group on Tuesday and seize the spotlight for a bit, be very open there too. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my past, present or future. I am doing the best I can and that is all I can ask of myself or anyone else. If people have a more judgmental view then I pity them for it because I have found that it is only when I stop judging others that I stop judging myself.

Well, I did it. I told the facilitator I wanted 5 minutes, it was closer to 25 with an unexpected feedback session after I opened up and outlined my story to a bunch of strangers and I listed everything I was feeling ashamed of at that moment. I've briefly listed them again below.

The fear and negative predictions before and during are almost amusing to look back on, as I can see from my original post, I was expecting to be judged harshly, or to be cut off for wasting peoples time or for being whingey or inappropriate. Of course that never happened, they were sympathetic, supportive and showed real understanding. The facts that I was abused sexually, physically and emotionally as a small child, and emotionally right through to adulthood, the neglect as normal approach to parenting, the way my self esteem was so shredded that I saw myself as sub-human and was planning suicide from 6 / 7 years old and the fact that I have been isolated through so much of my life and have engaged with life so little are all things I was and still am ashamed of but I had no control over the behaviours of others when I was a child and I have done the best I can since. Doing our best is all we can ask of ourselves and of others.

During my monologue, I was mentally preparing my ripostes for verbal attacks which never came. As I told the group after, there was probably 2% of me that expected to be physically attacked for being myself. Really glad I went, It brought shame to the surface for me to try to explore with self compassion and provided proof to that 2% that those fears are unfounded.

Feels like the shame and self-blame has actually reduced which was the hope. It is another step on drawing out the damaging emotions, thoughts and beliefs I've been carrying around for all these years.

It was not an easy thing to do, really proud of myself. I'll accept this and forgive myself for not doing anything else productive on Tuesday.

This post hasn't been too easy to write either, thanks for reading.

15/08/17

I felt great for opening up today and I feel a little better in general, more hopeful, less ashamed and guilty which, hopefully, will reduce the need to punish myself and treat myself badly, but it is a journey. My post here was another step. I have noticed a few positive changes in how I am thinking and feeling. The big kahuna is if they flow through to changes in my behaviour. Not pressuring myself, just observing what happens. Anyhow, back to CBT today and maybe do a few other bits too.

17/08/17

Had the 2 best nights of sleep I've had in ages. :D
Last edited by andthistoomustpass on Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.


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