26th March: I’m just like…a fisherman with fishhooks in his hand (and sticky out-y ears)

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So I am an idiot
I don’t know what to do.

I wish I could just start this year over again. Except that I still wouldn’t know what to do.

I feel like when anyone suggests I ‘just need a break’, then it would be as useful as saying to a fisherman who keeps getting fishhoods stuck in his hand, that he just needs a break. But duh, if course as soon as he started handling fishlines again, he would be getting them caught in his hand again. What he needs is to learn how to avoid getting fishhooks stuck in his hands, while still continuing his job. Isn’t that obvious? so it should be the same obvious for me: I just need to deal with my work properly.

But I don’t know where to learn/how to learn/who to learn from about not getting fishhooks stuck in my hand. Or my work upsetting me.

Whenever some tells me I’m doing fine, I feel like it is the same as if they were trying to tell me my ears didn’t stick out. That doesn’t help anything! Because obviously they (the ears) do! In the same way that obviously I am not doing fine with my work. Because I’m so far behind with my deadlines, and no one else seems to end up in tears over their work or clawing at their skin over it.

I do feel a tiny bit of comfort knowing that I will be seeing Celine (CBT Lady) this Thursday. But that seems like so many days away. Days keep drifting my so fast, and if I’m just waiting for Thursday to come, then that will be yet another week gone by without achieving anything. And there’s nothing to guarantee (obviously) that there’s anything that she can do to help me. Especially as she isn’t a university person or knows anything about my course etc. Or knows anything about me at all, for that matter.

So what do I do? Today’s Saturday:

  • Talk to parents this weekend? Don’t want to worry them. Nothing they can do anyway.
  • Talk to tutor on Monday? Two days gone. What help can he be? (see ear story, as well as I don’t want him to know my problems with my work in case he doesn’t care anymore to help me)
  • Phone dr’s on Monday? Two days gone + more waiting for Dr to get back in touch/be able to see me. I don’t think that medication is the answer anyway. Am coping ok with mirtazapine even though it isn’t helping much/at all yet. He’d just say to give it a proper chance to work. University wise there is nothing he could say from his position to help (see fisherman story). 
  • Phone Enise (uni nurse shrink) on Wednesday? She’s always too busy anyway, would have to wait to see her properly, that would be another week gone. She’d probably just say wait for my appt with Celine anyway. 
  • See Celine on Thursday. The only thing already set up. But not sure what she can do with helping me find practical solutions (see fisherman story). 

Conclusion:
Don’t know what to do. I guess just wait til Thursday to see Celine as that is already planned. Just accept this week is a write off and try to get what I can done in the meantime.

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25 March: Mirtazapined

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So I went to my dr, being a good little Zee following Enise’s instructions. I’d made my list of things I wanted to ask him, so I may have stretched my appointment to a mammoth 32 seconds.

At first I tried to explain that I really didn’t want to be on anything (said through tears, which didn’t help make a strong argument), with my main concern being about side effects:

Sleepiness: I said I was worried that if I was sleepy, it would really mess up trying to meet uni deadlines, especially with them fast approaching. To which he just said, ‘well we can sort out more extensions. That’s easy. And you look like you could do with the sleep anyway’. Gee thanks, I must look terrible. And the whole point is I don’t want to have more extensions, which will just prove I’m incapable of coping with deadlines.

Appetite increase: I tried telling him I was concerned that  I couldn’t manage to organise and eat proper meals as it was, so what was I meant to do if the pills gave me an even bigger appetite? But he gave me a look to shut me up, just saying that he thought it would be a good thing if I improved my appeitite.

Weight gain: I didn’t bother to raise that issue after his previous comment.

Alcohol: Dr assured me it would be ok to drink with it. Yay! And now I’m just ignoring that sticker on the box warning ‘DO NOT DRINK alcoholic beverages when taking this medication’. At least I don’t swig the pill down with a shot of vodka.

So I am now £7.20 lighter (but luckily haven’t noticed extra physical pounds yet), have a little med certificate for uni, and have been taking the mirtazapines (15mg/day) for a week.

For the first couple of days (I’ve been taking them for a week now), I took them religiously at 6pm, had an early supper, went for a little walk in my neighbourhood and then went to sleep at 8pm. Maybe just getting those longer hours of sleep helped, but the honeymoon period lasted all of two days and now I’ve had to get back to doing my uni work and can’t afford to sleep for 12 or 16 hours or whatever my body would like to do. Things aren’t better…yet…I guess I need to give them a chance…but omg I just feel like my blood is simmering away the entire time. That irritating icecream van with its blood curdling tune was too much this evening.

24th March: So I wasn’t fired from CBT after all

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10 days ago I felt like I’d been fired for failing the CBT self-help. So it was a nice surprise to get a letter today from another CBT Lady within the IAPT scheme in my uni town area (henceforth referred to as CL/Celine), inviting me for an appointment next week.

So they haven’t dropped me at all. It would have been nice to know that when I was so worried. Or maybe SG had told me but I wasn’t in a state to remember. The letter even felt quite personal, and she’s given me an appointment for the end of March. Interestingly, she explained that I was being ‘stepped’ up from Step 2, which had been with SG, to her, to do face-to-face CBT.

I had to look up what the steps were, as I was a bit scared of having been at level ‘2’, as if I’d been so bad I’d bypassed 1. In fact 1 is just the first step of going to the doctor. And now reading the steps, I’m irritated I’d been put in at 2, rather than 3 from the beginning, which is the stage where medication is used. I’ve been on/off medication from my home dr since 2003. So shouldn’t I have been put in at that stage from the beginning? Which is also the other irritating thing, as initially Enise had suggested I could meet SG or (person who became known as) Celine, as if they were the same, and I went with SG just because he was in the same town as me, and I’d been led to believe Celine worked in the next door town. Well it seems Celine has been at the med centre the whole time, which would have been fine for me. I wish Enise had just told me to see Celine, or at least have explained the different steps them.

Oh well I guess I can’t be too irritated as I can’t do anything about it now, and I’m glad there is still help for me and that I haven’t used it all up already (except I am irritated I didn’t start with Celine earlier. If only because it may have meant I could have had a happier year).

Fingers crossed Celine can help. I’m glad we should have a proper amount of time to work together. I just hope she can help, as from reading about the various steps, I was lucky that I did see SG face-to-face as much as I did, as normally it seems that step is done through the telephone or internet. Which I declined from the start. So in fact maybe he had been doing as much as she will do anyway. I’m not really sure how she can do any more, as she only works at uni once a week as well. But at least I can have hope.

<From the 31st March I met with Celine weekly, bar the Easter break, for 11 sessions. She really was great, and I finally felt like I was making headway in dealing with my silly hangups. A lot of this things we did were structured worksheets, described in a lot of the posts with the tag Celine, but the useful things, and difference between her and SG, (steps 2/3), was that she supported me when I needed to question thigns nad when, by the book, things didn’t help me. Whereas with SG, he gave me the book, and it was tough luck if they didn’t apply to me, or I couldn’t make sense of things. >

23rd March: I was feeling the stress, getting in tangles

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I need some mental oil/lubricating. Like cooking angelhair spagetti. Need a slop of extra virgin olive oil. Or maybe some Johnson & Johnson’s baby hair detangler? Kind of like some good fungicide from my previous mental analogy. But what is it in terms of getting uni work done????????????????????????????????????

So far I’m struggling by myself as everyone around me, while I know they want to help, are from a very particular part of my life, yet none of my problems are because of just one thing – I could cope if I just had to/could do just the one thing. So probably from their individual perspectives I should be fine. Like lecturers – I can ask questions about the work, but they don’t do questions about how I feel about the work/how the work makes me feel. They don’t do feelings! Likewise, doctors can deal with issues about brain chemicals, but don’t do issues that are affected by those chemicals – in my case right now, uni work. SG isn’t much more in tune either. On the face of it, it seems that my work isn’t really that bad – in isolation it isn’t – and brain chemicals aren’t really bad either – if they were I’d be bad all the time, but I’m not. So what is he meant to do? I can see perfectly well that it is my thinking which is the problem – not work or chemicals. Same with Enise, although she is half way between chemicals and work, she is also neither, so cannot help with either – as much as I know she would like to.
So I guess it comes back to me, that I am the only one who can know what goes on between the stuff of chemicals and work, as well as chemicals work themselves. But I don’t know how to do that, as it comes back to needing a good detangler…and I’m back in that circle again….

urrh just wasting time and it irritates me so much…………. I wish I could bang something really really hard.

22nd March: I’m just like…sticky spagetti

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My brain is either all sticky, or is like paper in a hurricane. I feel like I have a thousand and one thoughts swirling round which really don’t matter yet I’m trying to juggle them all in case some of them are important or useful.

But trying to keep them all is just counter productive as I spend the time trying to keep hold of them, rather than deal with the important ones. Or even identifying them.

Hmm think I should keep an art diary.

I have the image of me tangled up as spagetti. I really still honestly believe that I have all the things and thoughts I need to do well, but they’re all tangled up with each other, and with a lot of other crap I don’t need, if only I had the time to de-crap them.

That doesn’t make sense but it doesn’t matter.

I just need to straighten out all the tangles, get rid of what I don’t need and I think I could be nearly there. But need help to do that as I’m just tangling myself up further. Especially not writing them down. Maybe if I did write them down then I could detangle them myself. Except I really need to be getting on with my essay and don’t have time to even write that I need to spend some time detangling myself.

Anyway. Will start that process later. At least it is written down that I will do it. One less thing to keep juggling in the air.

Too tired start. Spent whole day telling myself, others that I’m happy with my work, I’m keen on it, and enthusiastic. So exhausting! And trying to convince myself that I’m not tired, that it is just my body/mind playing tricks on me. Which is exhausting in itself too. Mind conservations make me tired…but even more too tired to do anything about it. It’s now 12.51am, so maybe I really am just tired. Don’t know. So much still to do. But need sleep.

So…the options:

  • sleep in the studio – wake up early to continue essay?
  • Or go to sleep at home – better sleep?
  • Need shower badly, but going home to a broken shower won’t help either. But maybe it isn’t broken. I suppose worth a try.

What a crap load of options…

<29th August: I still often feel like I need a good dollop of extra virgin olive oil in my spagetti brain. But I think I am getting a bit better at just calmly working bit by bit at whatever I am trying to do, doing my best not to overwhelm myself. I have no idea which option I went for on the night of the 22nd March. Hopefully I did find a working shower somewhere.>

15th March: Fired from CBT

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So I have been fired from my CBT style guided self-help with SG (=Stress Guy with the NHS who comes to my uni once a week, as part of the IAPT scheme in my uni town). Well at least I’ve come to the end of my allotted sessions and, well, they haven’t exactly solved my issues! Even though I really have tried. I just don’t believe the alternative explanations that I try to come up with when writing the thought diaries. Even though I really would like to. I still think that maybe I wasn’t coming up with the right ‘rational’ thought. If I could have done that, I think I would have been more likely to believe them and changed my thinking. I do see the theory behind it all, and I think it could work, if only I knew how do it properly.

Anyway, SG summarised with saying: “You seem to have some very deep seated core beliefs that are not working for you.”

Duh…

I guess this is implying that simple CBT isn’t going to go deep enough to change them. Though in my first point, I think there is the potential that if I could challenge them effectively, then I could be happier.

Talk of ‘core beliefs’ seem to be very similar to what my home dr said about me (who, considering he delivered me as a baby as has been my dr ever since, knows my mental state better than anyone), that maybe me worrying is simply just my personality… Well I don’t like my personality in that case!

The other worrying thing is that if they are pinning my problems to my personality, rather than an illness, it is like them saying that probably there are no ‘treatments’ or ‘cures’, and that I’m not going to be able to ‘get better’. I feel like I might have a shred of empathy for someone diagnosed with a terminal illness. Something that will never improve. Now that really is a depressing thought!

There seems to be a catch 22. It would seem I just need to learn to cope better, and adapt to my personality. But ‘coping’ seems to consist of challenging negative ideas so that they would not affect my mood so much. But, if it is simply my personality to have those ideas, I’m not going to be able to see them as having an alternative rational explanation, as it is a trait rather than an illness. And that trait is making me ill.

13th March: I’m just like…a fungi ridden field

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One of the things Enise (uni mental health advisor) said to me in trying to convince me to reconsider antidepressents, and it’s something I’m coming round to agreeing with, is that there is not reason I should be unhappy. So I ought to change something to let me enjoy myself more and be happy. Perhaps, as I say it isn’t the uni work itself that is upsetting me (evidence against: everyone else can cope, I’m not normally dumb, I’m already doing as much as I can to keep up with it), and I’ve been doing my best with SG’s guided CBT, I need to look at something else to change, like chemicals. And that means a change in medication.

I made up the analogy to help me figure out what I feel like. As I’m studying landscape architecture, it seems apt to think about problems with vegetable crops (and yes I’m weird):

I feel like I’m a field of soil with a fungal problem: if the crop were being damaged by caterpillars, then you can see them and could go out and kill off the caterpillars. But if you have a fungal disease in the soil, the crop will die off even though there is nothing visibly wrong with it. And for a fungal disease, you can’t go out and manually pick it off, you have to go after it with horrible fungicidal chemicals. aka anti-depressants. Similarly, if you have a fungal disease in the soil, if you trashed the affected crop and replant the following year, you’d end up with just the same problem in the next crop as you haven’t dealt with the root of the problem. aka if I deferred the modules I am taking this year, I would still be just as stressed by them next year, unless I change how I am feeling now.

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