And so it begins.

As expected, doing the OCD presentation a couple of weeks ago brought up all kinds of feelings and I entered last week just feeling anxious.

Every day, anxious about something and it was the urgent kind of anxiety. If we don’t do the washing now the world will go to shit kind of anxiety. It also messed with my sleep, I’m used to not being very good at sleep but it’s fair to say I’ve not handled it properly. Like my OCD symptoms, I’ve bumbled through them, crying through the bad days hoping to hell it’s only short.

I usually manage my sleep, if I need to get up early with herbal sleeping tablets and if I can get away with it, a large gin. Now usually it’s not enough gin that I’m passing out drunk, it’s more of a extra large measure enough to take the edge off and allow some calm in my mind. I’m almost certain it acts as a placebo as I can usually sleep about 10 minutes after the gin sans juice meaning it’s unlikely to have actually done anything at all but I feel better for it.

That is until the morning, when I wake utterly despondent I’m unable to sleep normally like the snoring Gary next to me. Why can’t I sleep like everyone else? Why do I have to be different? Ordinarily, that night I won’t have to wake early the next day and I go back to normal, however not this time. Not because I had to be up early, but because I’m ready to tackle this.

I resolved, contacted OCD Action for support, contacted a therapist and started reading a CBT book and actually started doing a bit of CBT each day.

We’ve ran into a problem mind, therapy, they don’t exactly fit the schedule. I work Monday to Friday normally 9-5 depending on where I’m travelling to and so do therapists. I found one that works Tuesday night, exactly the time I have running club which helps body and mind for me so I’m in a bind. They also cost a fricking fortune, I want to go private as I’ve not had great experiences with the NHS near me and the current wait time is about 6 months. But they’re charging on average £80 an hour! £80! Now I get it, I should look at this as a long term investment, small injection of cash now and long term health, forever. But seriously, no wonder we have a mental health problem in this country, most people don’t have that kind of money, £320 a month! That’s nearly half my mortgage. It hurt that private treatment is restricted to the wealthy. The problem is that they’re in short supply, there was a list of perhaps 2 or 3 CBT therapists within a half hour drive of my house. If I lived in central Cambridge the number ups to 10-12. That’s not many really, in Ely there are about 25,000 people meaning about 6,000 people will have some form of mental health problem annually and 3 private therapists and I looked, no NHS therapists. Disgraceful. I’m now looking into ‘virtual’ therapy, see if that helps. If those with mental health problems find the strength to seek help, there bloody well should be help available.

I’m always happy to chat and you can drop me a message on the ‘Contact’ tab, however I’m not a mental health professional and if you would like this support please see the ‘Support’ tab.

New job means new anxiety!

I started a new job this week, I’ve been dreading it, not only way I required to get up early, but also drive for 4 hours a day, meet new people, and I was panicking about fitting everything in. I’m in Sales, a very people focussed job for someone not great at people in my private life but work wise I’m great at it.

So anyway, first, sleep, I have a love hate relationship with sleep, I’ve mentioned it before that I struggle with it if I need to get up early as my brain panics. What if we don’t get up? What if we look tired? What if we’re late? So the answer, panic for weeks then don’t sleep. I use herbal sleeping tablets and if I really hate myself, alcohol, which I did this week and managed a solid 3 hours sleep. So I was shattered, drove without trouble and started my new job. I panic, who will I meet, will they like me, will I be any good? Everyone I met was genuinely lovely and the day passed by quickly, drove home relieved, but anxiety crept in again and I think I managed 5 hours sleep. Got up, drove, accident meant I was late in which I felt terribly guilty for, did my day and drove home to a terrible run and the start of a cold. The next day I worked from home as did I today.

I’m already worried though, it’s a different kind of sales, one I’ve not done before and whilst I know 4 days in I’m not going to be outstanding at it but I’m worried I’ll be shit. It’s requiring me to be outstandingly organised and I usually am. Anal in fact, everything is packed, organised and sorted, we never run out of things at home and everything gets done. However my head is running away with me, fear I’ll be rubbish and if I’m rubbish I’ll just stop.

I needed to change jobs, the last one didn’t suit me, didn’t motivate me, just wasn’t me. I’m already enjoying this more but I don’t want to mess it up!

In other news, I turned a year older last weekend and you’d think I would have rang it in happily. Well no, I rang it in more than a little upset. Earlier that night we’d been out for my sister-in-laws birthday, I’d been surrounded by her skinny, attractive, fashionable friends, I simply felt fat and frumpy, why didn’t I look like that? Why didn’t I have the body confidence I was promised in my late twenties? We then got home and I realised I’d lost my make-up bag, I was pissed, pissed I was useless enough to lose it and pissed about how much money had just been chucked down the drain. I felt ugly, fat, useless and poor, then the clock chimes midnight, my birthday hits and I feel old. Cue over an hour of sobbing, crap sleep and waking before 6 to feel just as shit. The day got better but what a start!

My feelings have been all over the place recently, made me irritable, snappy and frankly fed up! Made worse by spending my Friday night cleaning the house which no one enjoys! Hoping it will better, hoping!

I’m happy to chat and feel free to reach out on the ‘Contact’ tab, however I am not a mental health professional and if you would like this support please see the ‘Support’ tab.

Holiday blues

So been a few days since I posted, I’ve had a long weekend away in Wales and it was the most incredible time. We spotted dolphins, went on the fastest zip wire in the world, climbed Snowdon, saw pretty little villages and bounced on giant trampolines in caves. Couple this with so much ice cream, too much food, too much sun and too much drink then you have the makings of a perfect weekend. We had an amazing time, really did not want to come back. But back I am and back to work.

I’ve always found holidays tricky as they fill me with a constant state of anxiety. I pack at least a week before and several times to ensure I won’t forget anything and I’m a ball of stress the week before ensuring everything is done. House cleaned, clothes washed, cats sorted, everyone knows of travel plans like it’s some grand adventure and not 4 days in Wales.

I also don’t like booking holidays, it fuels my anxiety around money. I’ve always stressed about money, concerned I would run out and end up homeless living on the streets, despite all my better judgements of knowing this is unlikely the thoughts still persist. My reaction I don’t spend money, then I miss out, get annoyed and go on a spending spree resulting in guilt and anxiety leading to no spending. It’s resulted in me being very good with money, probably too good as I don’t wish to fritter money away on pointless things. This means to get me to actually book a holiday is no mean feat.

When I’m on holiday I’m all gung ho, you’d be forgiven for thinking I own all of the money in the world then I get back and the guilt starts and the spending reigned in. All because I’m anxious. It takes me a few hours to settle into it but I enjoy the break from real life and as such, the relief from anxiety as I get to be someone else for a few days. The last day, the anxiety kicks back in, getting home, will we get home ok? Have the cats survived? Run off? Is the family ok? Back to work, will I have been fired due to someone unknown instance in my 2 day absence? I fret all the way home and am flooded with the break of anxiety has the dam of reality breaks and it all goes back to normal.

I remember my anxiety about money starting, I was 16 thinking about driving and university with barely a penny to my name. I panicked, started working more hours, not going out and taking loose change from around the house. I’m not proud of it and it’s not an excuse but I was fuelled by fear. Fuelled by ending up on the streets. Now my family would never allow this nor would I get myself in that situation but anxiety does crazy things. Throughout uni I must have been the only student who left with more money each term as I saved my loans instead of going out. This anxiety has stayed with me, I’m much better at managing it, it actually stopped me moving out of my mum’s for years, didn’t want to see my savings disappear would rather live at home forever than give in to the anxiety.

Things change though, priorities change and you slowly learn to manage it. Gary and I bought our house last year and it was months of anxiety but I’m much happier now. For all those crazy days I want to go on a spending spree I have the one week rule, if it isn’t necessary then I have to wait a week, if I still want it, I get it. Stops me feeling guilty and reduces unnecessary purchases just because!

These things all take time, years in my case but it gets easier!