Crumpet of courage

I haven’t written for a while. I’ve been thinking about it and wanting to do that everyday. I was bad then I was better then I was on holidays and then I was still good and recently I’ve been bad. It’s life. I have been reading books and discovering things about myself. But I also discovered that other people turn their pain and fight into something positive. I discovered a very nice shop and before I find time to share more what has been happening I’d like to share the Crumpet of Courage from Spiffy 🙂 http://www.livespiffy.co.uk

It’s all about small steps, spring and well-being

In my last post I said I’d write about few things. I said I’d reflect on holidays, diet, applications and the course I’ve been to. It would be too long for one post so I think I’ll concentrate on the course and holidays first.

I love spring. When the weather becomes nicer and the flowers start flowering I think the world is a better place. And although I do feel better I still get my usual fears. So even though I love spring, the feeling this morning reminded me of last year summer when Graham had chemo and then the memories keep coming back. And then it’s just an easy way to remember seizures and here we go again. The memories are so vivid.

But the fear is not as overwhelming. And it’s not as overhelming not because it became so much better. I think I learn better ways to cope with it. But if I let my mind go wild,  it will overpower me easy and quickly. It feels a bit like an animal in a cage. Exactly this – a wild anima in a cage. But it is still there, still alive and still wild. Maybe I should give it a name?

I still struggle to fall asleep. I’ve found Melatonin a great help. I went recently to Poland where it is widely available. And actually recommended for shift (especially night shift) workers. But what I found really interesting is that in Poland I had absolutely no problems sleeping. No fear.  The holiday was actually so relaxing – I relaxed more than I imagined. Or hoped. And I don’t know if it is because all what happened last year happened in my house in UK. So I have no bad memories in mum’s house in Poland. Or maybe it was the thought that there was someone else with me in the house (mum). So I didn’t feel alone. Maybe it’s the feeling of being alone which is daunting. So although I do know that mum wouldn’t be much help in an emergency situation… maybe just knowing I wasn’t alone was enough. But I have rested and I have relaxed. I haven’t relaxed mentally so well in ages. I could say that my fear-wild-animal in the cage was asleep.

But on the positive –  since I’ve been back I attended a Wellbeing at work course. It was work related but we have talked about wellbeing in physical and mental sense. We were also discussing what’s available in my place of work but also in general what is good for our wellbeing overall.

I thought I’d summarise few things here so I wont’ forget what’s been said.

First of all change – The less we think of condition (reason) the less likely we are going to make changes. People continue to practice unhealthy behaviours because of incorrect perception about the risk they bring. If you perceive condition/reason as serious – you will more likely change habits.

We should be doing 30min of physical activity five times per week. And we need many different types of exercise, yoga, body pump, spinning or resistance exercise (I need to check what resistance exercise is and how can I fit it into my routine!). I was also thinking of doing some yoga. Need to check yoga CDs or books. Or you tube. I’m not very good with YouTube I have to admit.

The other thing for me to check is Dr Jayson Funj and his recommendation about fasting. Which would go nicely with my low carb diet and book by Tom Kerridge. So, just to touch on that – 25th of March I started low carb diet. I knew Tom Kerridge lost a lot of weight but I didn’t know that he did exactly that. Low carb diet. I got his book as it was a very good price on Kindle… only about £2!! so recipe book is not the best on Kindle but  hey, beggars can’t be choosers!! I got inspired by his introduction and advice. I think it summarises the diet very well. I only glimpsed on the recipes so far, but will have a proper look later. They use quite a few fairly expensive and fancy ingredients so not sure how well it will suit me.

Apparently Happiness is 50% genetics, 40% our control and only 10% external circumstances. I’m not sure what can or can’t we do about the genetics, but 40% in our hands is huge, isn’t it?? And we are not happy when we are stressed or worried. I had no idea that a stress curve existed. Because when we don’t have enough stress – we are in stagnation, have no motivation to do anything. The same if we have too much stress – we start to have physical symptoms and be unhappy which can lead us to being Overstressed and eventually to a mental breakdown. So the point is to keep ourselves in the middle – it’s always about balance. Too little stress isn’t good for us either. I have not really thought that some stress is needed. It motivates us. So we can have many activities to manage stress. We tend to do things to di-stress. We can do things like walking, yoga, reading, meeting up friends – which cover up the stress but don’t take it away (called palliative). Or we could for example drink more alcohol or eat chocolate – they help us feel better for a short while but the stress does come back and they can be harmful (called Indirect activities). And finally we could do meditation or mindfulness for example which would be a Direct activity which helps us acknowledge the problems and improve the situation.

It is recommended to have a selection of palliative type activities so we don’t rely only on one. They help us to reduce stress. I think it also works for worrying and anxiety. That leads us to the Fight or Flight response of our brain. I admit this is something I have to look into more. But one sentence I’ve heard which caught my attention was: in stress our mind can manage only two decisions – it either fights or flight. And nowadays, in current society exposure to prolonged stress keeps our mind in that state for too long. Plus neither of them really works. You can’t fight or flight really from your problems. To help ourselves dealing with stress it is recommended to increase physical activity or keep stress diary and mindfulness.

Interestingly we covered a bit of CBT as well.

We have an event A and we have it’s consequences C. And event makes us feel in a certain way. But in between A and C is – B our perception of the event which can change the consequences. This is a pause. In fact instead of REACTING to an event we should pause and learn to RESPOND to it. it is so powerful, isn’t it? We have a choice how we RESPOND. And the way we respond we can learn. Pause is good. We can re-train our mind.

I think I’ve written it before here but it comes back to the positive affirmation and law of attraction. If you say something often enough you will believe in it. And we tend to do that we negative things and take them as facts. “I’m useless”, “I’m fat, ugly, worthless” etc etc But instead let’s talk to ourselves “I’m pretty, sexy, intelligent”. Why do we believe more ourselves talking negative things than positive?? I’m sooo guilty of it. But actually – why do I repeat to myself all those negative comments and BELIEVE in them but when I try to say something positive I dismiss it straight away. Oh no, let’s try it. Let’s talk to ourselves positively and imagine if only it’s true – if we repeat it often enough we may actually believe in it as well 🙂

Thoughts are not facts. Especially negative as they can cause more harm. Change your mind, imagine you are in a court and put your thoughts for a judgement. Challenge your thoughts like in a court. What evidence do we have it is true? Our brains have a negative bias.

We are spending too much time to try to control things we have no control over. What we can’t change we need to accept and try not to make judgement. That brings us up to John Kabat Zinn as someone who brought us mindfulness. And as in a circle  – brings me back to Headspace. Meditation. Something I started last year and stopped.

And just to end this rather long post, apparently we should be doing 3 things each day to promote mental wellbeing.

  1. something which makes us happy
  2. something which gives us sense of achievement (even small, like cleaning, knitting etc)
  3. something which makes us close to someone, intimate (can also be small – to open up to someone or even just stroke a cat

There are also 5 ways to wellbeing. CLANG

  1. C – CONNECT friends, family, relationship at work or outside
  2. L – LEARN learn something new
  3. A – ACTIVE physical exercise
  4. N – NOTICE take a notice, mindfulness, be in a moment, practice gratitude, consciously think of few things you are grateful for
  5. G – GIVE give to others, but don’t forget to give to yourself too.

But if I go back to the beginning, where I said that my PTSD/anxiety – my fear – I cope with it better. If I look back – I did unconsciously exactly what’s been recommended in the course. I love my friends and appreciate friendships so much in life. I try to learn something new – I signed for swimming lessons and I do mean to learn Spanish. I try to be more active. I practice gratitude and positive thinking. And I learnt to give and be kind to myself. And I think the diet helps as well.

So overall – small steps. It’s all about small steps. You can’t overcome fear and anxiety all at once. And that’s what I wanted to do. But the small step technique is like a water going around a stone. If it goes long enough it will finally make a change.

Happy Easter if you celebrate! 🙂

 

I’m so hopelessly in love with spring

It is true. I love spring. Spring brings me hope. Maybe on top of everything else I also suffer a bit from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or maybe it’s just my excuse. But the longer the days get, the more sunshine there is – I feel so much better.

I’ve been meaning to write something but I got so busy with my studying. I feel I have taken a bit too much for myself and I have no time for anything now. But once my presentation is done I should have some more time and then I’ll update you what’s been happening.

I haven’t gone very far down my book list. I have finished The Worry Trick and it’s been good. It has helped! But anyway, for now something which I love – magnolias. I cannot express how happy those flowers make me 🙂 So below is magnolias overload 🙂 enjoy!

List of books

I made a list of books I would like to read. I think it’s overly ambitious for this year only but as I go along I’ll write how I feel about it 🙂

  1. One
    1. K. Piper “Confidence. The journal”
    2. K. Piper “Start your day with Katie”
    3. Justin R. Adams “The Mindful Life Journal”
    4. Regina Brett “God Never Blinks”
  2. Two
    1. Dale Carnegie “How to stop worrying and start living”
    2. Kevin Mears, Mark Freeston “Overcoming Worry”
    3. Matt Haig “Reasons to stay alive”
    4. Matt Haig “Notes on a nervous plantet”
    5. Derren Brown “Happy”
    6. Victor Frankl “Man’s searching for meaning”
    7. James Redfield “Celestine prophecy”
  3. Three
    1. Eric Berne, M.D “Games people play”
    2. Karen Kristin Amend, Mary Stansbury Ruiz “Hand writing analysis”
    3. Allan&Barbara Pease “The definitive book of body language”
    4. Joe Navarro “What Every Body is Saying”
    5. Thomas Harris “I’m ok, you’re ok”
  4. Four
    1. Jessica Shank Coviello “ECG Interpretation made Incredibly Easy”
    2. A Wiley Brand “Business writing for dummies”
    3. “Communication skills for dummies”
  5. Five
    1. John Teasdale, Mark Williams, Zindel Segal “The Mindful Way Wrokdbook”
    2. Alica James “The Unworry Book”
    3. Yong Kang Chan “Empty your cup”
    4. Aston Sanderdson “Self Talk”
    5. Grahame Cossum “Make peace with your harshest critic”
    6. Melanie Fennell “Overcoing low self-esteem”
    7. Harry Heijligers “‘The anti-procrastination mindset”
  6. Six
    1. Katie Piper “Beautiful Even After”
    2. Katie Piper “Things get better”
    3. Katie Piper “Confidence”
    4. Gill Sims “Why mummy drinks”
  7. Seven
    1. Pete Sanders “First steps in counselling”
    2. Margaret Hough “Counselling skills and theory”
    3. Nigel Benson “Introducing Psychology: A graphic guide”

New Year

So here we are, completely brand New Year 2019.

I have never liked New Year or any new year resolutions. But I’m optimistic this year. So far 😉 I have made few resolutions. Actually 3 resolutions, two of which are pretty straight forward, while the third one is complicated. And I ‘m going to use this blog to help me achieve the 3rd resolution. Or possibly all of them. Actually I could think of couple more sub-resolutions, but apparently the longer the list is the more difficult to keep up.

  1. Loose weight
  2. Get rid of toxic relationships
  3. work on my anxiety
    1. finish college course
    2. finish all my crafts projects

I think that’s the updated current list of my resolutions. I might have had few others leading to this point but I decided to these. I am going to use this blog to make them happen. I think losing weight unfortunately is pretty straight forward but extremely difficult – eat less, move more.

Getting rid of toxic relationships….. not much more to dwell on either. I wish I could recognise them before they become toxic, that’s all.

ANXIETY though is a huuuuugggeeee subject. I’m so glad I started to write this blog as I can go back to what happen a year ago and kind of step by step follow my way to self-discovery. I never knew I was anxious. When I heard that on one of my therapies it suddenly made sense. I still haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I know that’s what I have – generalised anxiety disorder. And it’s hard to live with it. It is a bit better to live with it knowing what it is. But it is difficult to change your own mindset.

But its always been anxiety. Yes, I have been down and almost depressed. But I overcame that. Anxiety stayed. It is a very very uninvited guest. But I’m going to work on it. I started already but it hasn’t helped hugely. I did my CBT course, which helped but the more time goes on the more difficult it is to actually remember the techniques and it’s easier to slip into old ways of thinking. I tried mindfulness but I haven’t got time for it. I know I should make time but that itself causing anxiety! So, we’ll do it step by step. I made list of all the books I have to help me work on my anxiety. I will list them in a separate post so I can then see how am I doing with progress on reading them. There will be books I just want to read as well. And then I thought I’d make weekly reviews of my week and progress. Some of the books are daily positive quotes and to be fair it is difficult to remember it all, so I think reviewing it weekly and summarising what is the most important will help in progressing.

Dark clouds on a blue sky

A little bit of time has passed again since I last wrote. I’m in a strange mood. Overall I’m fine. I’m not depressed and my anxiety definitely reduced. I have a plan what to do in a case of a set back. Not much is happening in life but that’s ok as I prefer when things are stable. I have enough of ups and downs for a while. I started diet again. I’m trying to be good Monday-Friday but allowing myself for a treat on Sunday. I eat what I want but measure the portions and calories. I know I should introduce more exercises and I used to exercise more but I don’t feel quite in a right set of mind just yet for it. Although I do know that exercise actually does help with feeling better.

But despite all of that…. life doesn’t feel like mine anymore. It’s a really strange thing to describe. It’s difficult to name in proper words. Everything is the same but at the same time it all changed. I think the recent events mainly did it but also I changed due to the events and due to the counselling. I suppose it all needs time. One more quote from the R. Brett book is “give time time” to work. It will take some time for the time to do it’s healing.

I live with a constant fear at the back of my mind that something bad will happen. The fear of a seizure is still there, but I can control it more or less. But so many bad news appeared during this year that I feel I have to be prepared for the worst. Yes, that’s an anxiety itself. I just realised. I prepare myself again to be prepared IN CASE things happen.  That just shows that sometimes writing or naming things helps to look at it from a different perspective.

I think that’s the main problem with an anxiety and depression. It’s being caught up in you own cycle of thoughts and not being able to look from outside. Until it’s starts to crack. Either by time or therapy or complete coincidence or a trauma. When it starts cracking there is a chance. But it’s difficult for it to crack. Throughout the therapy I was afraid that all my exercises and efforts will fail as one day I’ll just go back to the old ways of thinking… but now I realised that once you KNOW  what to do and that there is a different way – it is actually difficult to go back. You may be a long time – in between. Like me, suddenly caught up thinking old ways – but realising it. And after you realise you can do something.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about friendship. I decided to stop contacting people first and see who will contact me from their own will.. so far not many ha ha.

I don’t know who reads this blog. I doubt anybody does lol I don’t think the person I have in mind certainly does. But I have experience an end to a friendship. A very abrupt end. And I’ve never realised it’s like in a relationship – someone may decide one day it’s not for them for one reason or another and walk out. They may put the blame on you. I don’t feel guilty but I feel very upset it ended as I didn’t see it coming. I know I can’t do anything and need to give this person right to chose what they want. But I do feel upset they think it was my fault. Or maybe it was an excuse to finish the friendship anyway. I was told I didn’t do enough and it’s a very strong thing to say. And it’s a difficult thing to take on when I know I did all I could. I wasn’t given a chance to explain myself. I feel in peace though in my mind. I probably could have done things differently if I KNEW how this situation would turn out. BUT I didn’t know. And also I did what at the time felt right. I only did what I thought was right. I have never ever wanted to hurt my friend. That would have been the last thing on my mind and in fact it would probably never actually gone through my mind. I trusted her and I respected her. I miss her. I miss our friendship. I tend to talk and work through problems. But I have to respect not everybody does. I’m not perfect. I’m far from perfect but I still think even I deserve a second chance…

So that was a black cloud on my blue sky. This year’s events is still a shadow on it. Everyday-ness is still greyish but there are people in much worse situations which much happier attitudes. Time. I just need time and I do believe it all will fall into places.

I just have to keep going and never look back.

Illusion

“How shall I attain Eternal Life?”

“Eternal life is now. Come into the present”

“But I am in the present now, am I not?”

“No”

“Why not?”

“Because you haven’t dropped your past”

“Why should I drop my past? Not all of it is bad”

“The past is to be dropped not because it is bad but because it is dead”

 

 

Anthony de Mello “One minute wisdom”