0

After Day 1 Of Working On Me

Hey guys!

Just a super quick morning update on how day 1 of focussing on working on me went!

The progress I made may seem really small, but to me the things I did were HUGE so please respect that what’s easy, unimportant and insignificant to some may be difficult, super important and very significant to others.

 


  1. I took my weight in the morning. This was my first step yesterday in getting back into a healthy routine and in being disciplined, which is super important to the health of type 4’s on the Enneagram. It was also the first step in focussing again on my health and wellbeing.
  2. Washing my hands with a beautiful Lush soap (Golden Pear) instead of a cheap hand soap. I have a strange difficulty with using Lush products because of my mental health, so ALLOWING myself to use such a beautiful Lush product for an action we do maybe 10 times a day means a lot in terms of my personal growth and in starting to love myself more.
  3. I drank a bottle of water before breakfast. Again, practising routine, discipline, self-care and focussing on my health.
  4. I had a hot, cooked, proper, fairly balanced, low calorie breakfast. My breakfast was 2 pieces of vegan bacon rashers, cooked with just a hot frying pan and dripping in a few drops of water every now and then, and a third of a tin of baked beans. This step was pretty huge for me as I’ve become somewhat un-functional due to my mental health recently, so to again shift my focus and attention toward self-care, my health and my happiness was huge.
  5. I made myself a tasty, calorie controlled coffee. Again, shifting my focus toward self-care.
  6. I made myself a lovely, hot, big bath using Lush’s Puddy Holly Bubbleroon. I got this bath product as a gift on Christmas day from my fiance, and simply haven’t allowed myself to dedicate the energy, time or enjoyment toward taking a bath using this product since then. Another action toward developing my self-love and self-care.
  7. I took the bath and did loads of little pampering things while I did! I washed my hair with the Godiva shampoo bar from Lush, conditioned my hair with TRESemme’s Remoisturising Conditioner, detangled my hair with my fingers and put my hair up in a shower cap with the conditioner still in, exfoliated my face using the Bath Essentials Exfoliating Gloves from Tesco and added a bit of Prince Charming Shower Cream onto the gloves so I could clean my face at the same time, I exfoliated my body with Lush’s The Rough With The Smooth Shower Scrub, shaved, brushed my teeth, washed my body with the Prince Charming Shower Cream from Lush using a shower pouf, moisturised my body with Lush’s Christingle Body Conditioner and rinsed everything off. Phew! For me, all of that was a MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT. I felt so, so clean and fresh and amazing afterwards. This was a massive step toward developing my self-love and self-care, and in feeling more confident about myself. It definitely instantly raised my self esteem.
  8. I drank another bottle of water! Yay for paying attention to your health, having discipline and following routine 🙂
  9. I had a nice, hot, sort-of balanced, calorie limited lunch. I made myself some sort of tasty vegan burger from Sainsbury’s (the Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Lentil Burger) with a couple of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil on the side. SO tasty. Another step toward self-care and paying attention to my health.
  10. I used some nail clippers to clip down all of my nails. My nails have been needing clipping for a really long time so this one was super satisfying. I hate having long nails because they always tear and I just find them really dirty and uncomfortable and gross. I like them JUST below the finger itself.
  11. I made myself another tasty, calorie limited coffee.
  12. I cleaned off all the old nail polish and any residue using some nail polish remover.
  13. I PAINTED MY NAILS! This step has made me so happy you guys have no idea. I took my time and painted them really, really nicely and I absolutely love them so, so much. I used the OPI ‘It’s A Piazza Cake’ nail lacquer. It’s basically an orange, reddy, dark, Autumnal, warm colour. I think it might be my favourite colour in the world. It is cosy, vibrant, beautiful, sexy, interesting, and I think it’s a colour that I associate with all seasons (the pumpkins, spices , lights and leaves of Autumn, the spices, food and gingerbread of Winter, the life and flowers of spring and the sunsets, tropical fruits, holidays and warmth of Summer). It’s a beautiful colour. This was a really forward moving step in my self-development.
  14. I drank ANOTHER bottle of water! These bottles are 600ml BTW, so this meant a total of 1.8 litres for yesterday. I know, not the MOST ideal, but I really stayed disciplined, focussed on my health and stuck to routine much better than I previously would have.

 

That’s all guys! I will be trying to work on myself today also, and will keep track of the steps I take toward me being the best version of myself and hopefully will update you all again tomorrow. I definitely feel that honestly, in just one day, I blossomed as a four so much 🙂

Storm

 

0

Blossoming As A Type 4.

Hey guys!

So, I recently discovered that using Enneagram typology, I am a 4w5. I’ve already learnt a lot about this type and after learning about the different levels of healthiness of my Enneagram type, I decided to write a blog post on blossoming as a type 4 as soon as I could.

I believe I’m at level 7 on the four’s levels of development scale.

I think if I were on any level below a 7, I would basically feel much worse than I do now (although I do resonate a lot with level 8 too). In fact, I definitely feel everything written that a level 8 feels, apart from I don’t feel that I am closed off to receiving help – which I think is the biggest distinction between a level 7 and a level 8 in my opinion. In fact, I absolutely love being helped and actively ask for help often, and although sometimes it is difficult to receive it, I’m always happy and grateful once I have. Definitely not a level 9 at the moment though – I think that level is reserved for the lowest of the low points I experience in my life (such as during my foundation year at my first University…) Although, I definitely do experience the odd emotional breakdown every now and then!

I think if I were on any level above a 7, I’d definitely be a lot more expressive than I am now, although I do relate a LOT with level 5, and I think a level 5 is basically me on a good day!

A level 7 resonates with me most because it is a state where chaos leads to one disallowing themselves from basically doing anything that they enjoy, leads to anger toward oneself, leads to depression and isolation… It’s just basically a sort of reactionary state to being in a bad situation.

My bad situation? Well, I’m just not doing great at Uni and am just generally really not very happy with my life and how it’s going at all. It could be worse, but it certainly could be quite a bit better.

So, I want to blossom.

What is it to blossom?

Apparently, according to the Google search result for “define blossom”, it means to “mature or develop in a promising or healthy way.” Synonyms are develop, grow, mature, progress, evolve, burst forth, come to fruition, flourish, thrive, get on well, prosper, succeed, be successful, make headway, bloom, burgeon and go great guns… Antonyms are fade and fail.

Basically, I’m pretty bored and fed up of being a level 7. I mean, it’s okay, but there is a lot more out there for me to experience and I know that’s the person I want to be.

I know I probably seem to be taking the Enneagram too literally, or seem obsessive, or maybe it seems like I’m just using this as another procrastination tactic.

It isn’t that I’m taking the Enneagram literally, rather that it has made me feel quite validated and I definitely resonate with this typology system better than the MBTI (it took 4 tests before I got the same result twice for MBTI, and only 2 for Enneagram).

I’m not obsessive about the Enneagram itself – rather about the prospect of being happy, healthy and successful.

I’m not using this to procrastinate, this is something I need to do so that I will find being productive easier and feel less need to procrastinate altogether.

So, I’m really excited about this. I’m excited about working on me. I work on me a lot to be fair, but in a much less direct way than I intend to now do. This should be priority – type 4’s who are on the extreme end of level 9 are LIKELY to commit suicide! I mean, what’s more important than preventing that? I need to climb this development ladder and FAST.

I’m scared of shifting my focus – scared that my future will somehow fall apart, scared that it will lead to me being unproductive, scared that it won’t work, scared that it will be a waste of time, scared that it is the wrong decision, scared that this will just lead me into an even deeper depression, scared that it might go right and I might actually end up being happy through doing this… That’s the scariest thought of all! It means letting go of who I am, who I have been, and allowing myself to live the life I’ve always wanted. That’s scary when you feel like you’re not good enough to live that life.

So, to start my blossoming, I’m going to get myself some routine going. I’ve heard nothing but good things about fours having a good routine to get them stuck into the reality of daily life. I’m not going to go nuts with a routine, but I’ll just give myself the structure that I think I actually need to be happiest.

I also really need to stay on top of my studies. I NEED to stay grounded in the reality that I’ve created for myself, but without TRAPPING myself! I need to be studying, hard, and doing the work I set for myself and meeting those expectations every single day. I need to be kind to myself and give myself realistic expectations and allow myself time to just be free, but sticking to those expectations is essential to me being happy and loving myself.

I need to begin taking care of myself and making me feel good about myself. I need to take my long Lush baths, do my hair and makeup, use my perfumes, take care in what clothes and jewellery I wear, taking photos of myself and being proud of who I am and of how I represent myself with how I look.

I NEED TO BE FEARLESS AND MAKE TIME TO DO THE THINGS THAT I ENJOY! I need to allow myself to READ my books, to write my blog posts, to edit my photos, to paint my pictures, to learn my instruments, to sing my songs, TO CREATE. I NEED TO MAKE TIME EVERYDAY TO BE CREATIVE! How else am I going to express myself? I NEED THIS. I think this will absolutely bring me the most joy in my life. I need this so, so much.

I’m going to leave it there, because I think that amount of focus is the right amount to allow me to thrive.

This is, of course, before the fact – so I will do my best to update ya’ll on my progress at a later time to say how it’s all going.

Thanks for reading,

Storm

 

 

1

It’s Time For My Tryptophan!

And I’m scared.

Not scared of the pill itself, I’m just…

Scared of this journey.

I’m scared that it will actually work, that self-medicating myself with Tryptophan will actually make me feel better.

WHY DOES THAT SCARE ME?!?

I’m scared of losing this massive part of me.

I’m scared of not being ill enough to have my struggles diagnosed…

It feels like I’ve been through SO MUCH, and that pretty much NOBODY has helped me, nobody has listened to me, nobody has given me the support I’ve needed (besides my partner) – I didn’t even reach the point of being brave enough to have a Student Need’s Assessment so that I could have more time for exams or some leniency with deadlines (I don’t think I’ve ever finished an exam paper due to time constraints and my mental health problems.)

I’m disappointed in myself for not having sought out more help than I have done while struggling, but at the same time, I’m disappointed for all the times I’ve sought out help and HAVEN’T been helped.

I don’t know, it just feels really scary and like…

It’s like I haven’t been able to function as a normal human being – my partner does everything for me, I’ve never had a job and I’m 25 years old, I’ve had to take FOUR DIFFERENT LEVEL 3 COURSES (Access to Higher Education Diploma, two University Foundation Years and Intensive A-Levels,) to FINALLY get onto the first year of a degree.

It’s just been so dysfunctional and abnormal – but that’s become my normal.

I think I’d find it hard to live up to the expectations of being a healthy, intelligent, high functioning adult with the world as their oyster.

I know this all probably sounds ridiculous and at my worst I do wish that it would just go away, but now that that might become a reality, it just feels very odd.

I’ve lost all my friends over this, I’ve lost all my hobbies to this, I’ve lost SO MUCH TO THIS.

What if just taking Tryptophan solves it all? Would I feel like all I’ve lost to mental health problems was just… For no reason at all?

Bearing in mind aswell that this is a depressed person speaking and depression, for some reason, kinda wants you to spiral downwards, to make the choices that exacerbate the situation etc. It’s self defeating. It WANTS to win.

The idea of just simply being happy, healthy, capable, sounds…. Uncomfortable.

I’m literally trying to convince myself and talk myself into trying to treat my mental health problems. How stupid am I?

It sounds so petty, doesn’t it?

It probably won’t change anything by taking this pill anyways, and this is what I’ve wanted for years so what the hell am I hesitating for?

It’s the right choice, so I’ll just do it.

Here’s to hoping my dodgy brain actually sees some improvement over the next few weeks.

I’ll update you all tomorrow, maybe, if I feel like it 🙂

I know, I’ll up the ante.

If I see improvement, I can treat myself to something I really want, like… I don’t even know… Something I’d actually be able to enjoy if I weren’t mentally ill – like a good book or something! Been years since I finished a book. Kinda impossible to focus with my racing, anxious, overbearing, over-thinking, repetitive, stressful thoughts!

Storm

 

0

Taking Tryptophan For Mental Health.

Okay, so first thing’s first.

I’M NOT A DOCTOR.

I am not the most intelligent, infallible human in the world or even anywhere close.

I don’t know the legitimacy of Tryptophan.

I’m aware that the sources I have found my information from have advertisements on the page trying to sell nutritional supplements.

I’m aware of all the different articles that have found Tryptophan to be dangerous, or ineffective.

I’m aware that it isn’t supposed to be taken without your doctor’s advise.

I’m aware that you can receive Tryptophan through diet and that most people receive much more Tryptophan daily than I would since I’m on a plant based diet.

I’m aware that it shouldn’t be taken with other forms of medication.

I’m aware of the side affects of Tryptophan and of serotonin syndrome.

Bottom line: I do not really know about Tryptophan on a professional level at all, and you definitely should do your own research before blindly following what some random human online says they think is a good idea for them.

I haven’t even been diagnosed with any mental health problems.

Seriously guys, take what I say with a pinch of salt. 

Okay, so I think I literally can’t express the illegitimacy of my post more than this, so let’s move on to some more more positive statements about my opinions on Tryptophan 😀

 

 


 

 

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed to synthesise serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the “happy molecule”.

Serotonin pathway:

5-htp-pathways

You cannot increase your serotonin directly as serotonin molecules themselves are too large to enter the brain, apparently, so smaller molecules must first enter the brain and THEN be converted into serotonin.

One of those smaller molecules that you can take is Tryptohan!

Now for a lot of people, low levels of Tryptophan intake isn’t a problem – and don’t try to fix what isn’t causing you issues!

BUT.

Depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues HAVE BEEN CORRELATED TO LOW LEVELS OF TRYPTOPHAN.

Studies have shown Tryptophan to be as effective for depression as antidepressant drugs, but is a completely natural molecule found in food.

It has also been found useful for reducing anxiety, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, ADHD, PMS, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, eating disorders and Insomnia, mood, sleep, appetite control and memory.

So, if this molecule is so awesome and the benefits of it over using SSRIs is that it can be received through diet, then why not just eat the right foods rather than taking supplements for it?

Firstly, the best sources of Tryptophan are animal products – which makes it an especially difficult amino acid for people on plant-based diets to come across naturally.

Secondly, as the main source of Tryptophan is from animal products – those foods will also tend to be very high in protein and unfortunately serotonin and Tryptophan levels DROP after eating meals containing protein because protein blocks the synthesis of Tryptophan into serotonin.

Some foods that contain high levels of Tryptophan – such as dairy products, poultry, tuna, oatmeal, spinach and other leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, soybeans, asparagus, cauliflower, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, DO actually result in the synthesis of serotonin when consumed.

However…

Tryptophan is the least common of all amino acids in your body, yet it is one of the most necessary to be a healthily functioning human.

Things such as stress, insulin resistance, magnesium deficiency, artificial sweeteners and becoming older affect your brain’s ability to turn Tryptophan into serotonin.

 

Main point to remember:

Even if you eat a LOT of Tryptophan rich foods, LESS THAN 1% is available for serotonin synthesis in the brain. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know why – read my disclaimer above. This is just all taken from a source that I’ll link at the bottom of this post.

For these reasons, taking a Tryptophan supplement often works much better than trying to obtain Tryptophan from food alone.

Dosage:

There is no official dosage and recommendations on dosage vary WIDELY, but as little as 250mg was found to increase quality of sleep.

Mayo Clinic however recommends 8 to 12 grams PER DAY for depression.

Tryptophan comes in the form of capsules (500mg capsules are what I use) or in powder form (which is recommended if one is taking large dosages of Tryptophan.)

Most supplement manufacturers recommend 1,000 – 1,500 mg per day.

If you’re not sure where to begin, the source I’m getting this information from recommends starting from 500mg per day and then working up to a higher dosage.

Safety:

Although once upon a time Tryptophan supplements were deemed unsafe, Tryptophan is now not considered unsafe at all in and of itself.

HOWEVER…

There are potential SIDE EFFECTS of taking such supplements – perhaps for some reason your brain already has plenty of Tryptophan and taking supplements will mean essentially “overdosing” on the amino acid.

Maybe somebody doesn’t take the supplement correctly, safely or doesn’t increase their dosage gradually, and also end up with essentially a Tryptophan “overdose”.

Maybe there’s just some other reason why taking the supplement doesn’t agree with you.

Possible side effects include digestive upset, loss of appetite, headache and drowsiness.

The safety of taking Tryptophan while nursing has also not been established.

One of the biggest problems with taking the supplement that I’ve read is when people already are taking SSRIs or have recently stopped taking SSRIs and then begin taking Tryptophan.

SSRIs stay in your system for a bit of time, and the effects of these pharmaceuticals won’t just be entirely depleted from one’s system as soon as one stops taking them.

Now SSRI’s also increase your serotonin levels in the brain, so essentially, by taking Tryptophan (or another precursor to serotonin potentially, such as 5-HTP or even highly increasing your levels of B vitamins also involved in the synthesis of serotonin etc), you could very well end up having an overdose of serotonin.

THIS CAN BE VERY,, VERY BAD, and can lead to serotonin syndrome (something unpleasant that I personally experienced a while ago.)

This can cause the shakes, feeling nauseous and I even read somewhere that in super serious cases IT CAN CAUSE YOU TO GO INTO A COMA!!!

SO PEOPLE.

DO NOT TAKE TRYPTOPHAN ALONGSIDE SSRIs – PLEASE.

Cool.

Now, why should you take Tryptophan instead of the more well-known 5-HTP – also a precursor to serotonin?

Tryptophan more readily enters the brain directly than 5-HTP, and once in the brain it can then be turned into 5-HTP, and then serotonin.

Also, for some reason, 5-HTP has not been conclusively proven to help depression, and further, 5-HTP is not recommended for long term use, because it as it increases serotonin in the brain, it simultaneously depletes other neurotransmitters.

(I’m aware that Tryptophan gets converted into 5-HTP so this point needs expanding on but again, I’m just getting this from the source I’m using – if you want more detail then it shouldn’t be too difficult to do a quick search and find the information you need.)

This is why 5-HTP works for some people and then suddenly stops working – and why some people even end up feeling worse after taking 5-HTP for a while.

 

 


 

How this is relevant to me personally:

Well, I’m struggling guys.

I mean I’m really struggling, and if what is the most fundamental, physical and mental cause of the feeling of happiness is a chemical called serotonin, and a natural, safe way to gain more serotonin is to take Tryptophan supplements… Well, I’m all over that.

The thing about depression and mental health problems – or even how the brain works in general, is it’s all down to how our brain is perceiving things. Yes, sometimes really bad things actually do happen and the natural response to those things is to feel despair, but even then, there are many people who experience a host of negative experiences and never become depressed or feel anywhere near as terrible as those of us suffering from mental health issues.

It’s all down to how our brain is working.

I’d never want to be, like, unhealthily happy… I just don’t want to be finding things abnormally difficult in proportion to what the problems in my life are.

I want to be able to handle things that life throws at me well, and for little things that occur daily that are currently massive struggles for me, to not even cross my mind – like how they don’t cross most healthy people’s minds.

I just want to be happy, y’know?

I just want to be normal, happy and healthy – and to perceive everything in my life through THAT lens, rather than the lens my brain is currently seeing through.

I think how your brain perceives things is literally the most important thing in life. It dictates whether you live, thrive, are successful and happy, or whether you die… Problems with how the brain is perceiving things is the reason why people commit suicide – and suicide is a massive problem.

Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in under 45 year olds?

Did you know that over 80% of those suicides are caused by males, and that that percentage is growing?

I’m a woman by the way – just thought that this was an important factoid to throw in there.

Anyways, to literally go against the fundamental purpose of life itself, and to commit suicide – and for the cause of that to be mental health problems – and for the brain chemical that causes happiness and mental stability (serotonin) to have a 100% necessary precursor called Tryptophan that is VERY difficult to obtain through diet, and for a deficiency in this amino acid to be directly linked to a massive array of mental health problems and where studies have shown it to improve such problems…

I mean, this is really important stuff.

Like, life changing stuff.

I’m not saying taking Tryptophan supplements will make somebody who is suicidal suddenly not suicidal. I’m not even saying that Tryptophan will definitely help because again, read my disclaimer above. I don’t really know enough about this stuff to outright tell anybody that.

What I am saying is that this is just really, really important and valuable stuff to look into.

It’s really important, people.

So, I started taking Tryptophan supplements around a year ago and stopped for one reason or another. I probably just got lazy, which was very stupid of me.

I’ve been really struggling recently and did some research on different foods you should consume more of / less of to help anxiety, and bam, there it was, Tryptophan – my old friend.

I still have a ton of leftover supplements – in the form of 500mg capsules, and am going to start taking them again. I don’t know when but probably soon, and probably starting with how they recommend – just taking one 500mg pill a day at first, and then upping that to 2, 3, 4 etc, until I start to feel SLIGHT negative side effects (drowsiness was one I noticed when I took them a year ago), and then I can decrease my dosage, etc, until I find my sweet spot.

Anyway, my source is: bebrainfit.com/tryptophan-serotonin-mental-health/

It just has pretty much the exact same information on that page as what I’ve posted here but maybe you’d like to investigate the site more or something.

It was last updated yesterday (13th December 2018), and was written by a woman called Deane Alban who holds a bachelor degree in Biology, and there’s more information on her on the site aswell.

Again, I don’t really know anything – I’m definitely not a legitimate source.

I’m just trying to be the healthiest me that I can be.

Storm

 

6

Waking Up At A Good Hour

Today I woke up at around 07:10 AM.

For most people, that’s a fairly normal time to wake up – or even a bit late!

For me though, it’s super, super close to my ideal time to wake up (07:00) and I’M SO MUCH HAPPIER TO HAVE WOKEN UP AT THIS TIME THAN TO HAVE WOKEN UP WHEN I NORMALLY WOULD!!!

It’s absolute bliss to watch the sun rise above the horizon.

It’s absolute bliss to have the low, bright, warm, morning sunshine beaming through the window onto my face.

It’s absolute bliss to wake up and see the Sainsbury’s car park out the window being absolutely empty, and slowly watch it become more and more busy as people wake up and begin their day.

It’s absolute bliss to feel NORMAL.

To not feel behind everybody else.

To feel like I have a lot of options with what to do with my time today.

GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY! 🙂

Storm

2

OCD Tendencies Triggers

Okay, so I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD.

In fact, I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety or depression either.

Shock. Horror.

Would is surprise you that anybody who is currently diagnosed with a mental health problem, at some point in the past, HADN’T been diagnosed with a mental health problem?

I’ve read so many places how it’s “wrong” to self-diagnose, but the truth is that the NHS system in England doesn’t really accommodate psychological diagnosis’ very well. To get onto a psychologist’s waiting lists can take months by itself, and then there’s the time on the waiting list, and then the time before a diagnosis… It’s a process.

And to first even approach a doctor, either oneself, somebody close to you or somebody who comes across you in the emergency room after swallowing a bottle of pills, will refer you to a doctor, to begin this process.

The people close to me are too go-with-the-flow to really care if I go to the doctor or not to resolve my problems. And, my problems aren’t severe enough to land me into the emergency room.

So, once things started getting bad, I did my research and came to my own conclusions, and thus referred myself.

WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT THAT?

And yes, I’m in the process of, well, waiting for my doctor to ring me up to say that I’ve been referred to a psychologist which, y’know, it’s been probably 2 months of waiting so far.

In the mean time I’m not exactly going to just sit around doing nothing about my problems, hence the research, hence the conclusions. It’s much easier to help yourself when you have a good idea of what’s wrong.

So, there’s my little disclaimer for all the people who are like “don’t claim to have something you’ve not been diagnosed with”. If you’ve even had the opportunity to get to the stage of diagnosis then that’s bloody lucky. I’ve been trying to get to that point for a really long time.

SO

I have some OCD TENDENCIES.

What I mean by that is that I’m not really convinced that I’d get diagnosed with OCD, because there are a lot of things that luckily do not affect my daily life that do affect OCD sufferer’s.

For example, my mind has never really associated not doing an action with meaning that someone I care about will die or something.

I’m not super particular about where things are in my room (unless I’ve done a good tidy up, but before that point, I don’t care too much if things aren’t absolutely perfect.)

My problems are with repetitive phrases, repeating actions to an extent, etc.

So again, here are some of my “triggers” for my OCD tendencies.


1.) When I fill up my water bottle. You see, I’m quite particular about my water intake – I MUST achieve 4 full bottles of my BRITA water bottle (600ml) from midnight of the day before until midnight of the day after. So, whenever I’m to fill my bottle of water, it has to be done perfectly. I run the water until it’s so cold that it hurts to the touch, and then there are phrases I repeat in my head until my brain is satisfied enough to move on onto a different activity. The water bottle is ALWAYS overflowing by this point! For some reason that I don’t quite fully understand, considering I know he isn’t flawless by any means – if my partner fills my bottle up for me, I simply trust that he’s done it right, and don’t worry about it at all.

2.) When I shower and do anything like shampoo my hair, condition my hair, wash my body, rinse my body, exfoliate my face, tone my face… Actually, any single beauty step you can think of. Whenever I do these things, the same thing happens as above. I repeat phrases in my head, for example “too much because ___, too little because _____, too much because ____ too little because ____, …” I know that probably doesn’t make sense but it’s basically my silly brains way of making sure I’ve completed the task properly. Even with the water thing, I didn’t repeat the phrases because they are so abstract that I’d be embarrassed to, but it’s basically my brain trying make sure that I’ve found the sweet spot and have completed the task perfectly…

3.) When I weigh myself. I like to maintain a weight of exactly 127.8 lbs, and if I don’t weigh that much (especially if I weigh MORE than that amount, as I tend to be over my ideal weight versus under), I will stress out and really try to get myself back to my ideal weight. Even if i’m just 0.2 lbs over, I’ll stop eating or something and weigh myself every 5 minutes until it’s back to my ideal weight.

4.) When moving on to any task different to the one I’m currently one, I have to repeat phrases again until my mind is satisfied enough for me to move on. In fact, when I make any decision at all, about anything. Whether I’ve chosen the right amount of presents for Christmas, whether the present itself is right, when choosing option modules for Uni, when deciding if it’s time to close my Instagram tab or…. Ugh. It’s really difficult to explain accurately.


 

This is something very closely linked to my anxiety, and I really do suffer from it. It’s the think that makes me so anxious about making decisions, the thing that often makes me take an hour to just shampoo my hair. Sometimes my brain simply will not let me move on from a task because it will deem that I haven’t done it perfectly enough.

You know what, I don’t even think I’m a perfectionist in the traditional sense. I don’t study much, the quality of my Uni work isn’t the best, my flat is far from immaculate etc. Like, I’m not ACTIVELY a perfectionist – it’s just certain actions, my brain won’t let me move on from unless I achieve them perfectly, which can take such a long time that by time I move on I have a headache, feel physically sick, tired, upset etc.

What helps me with all of the above, besides the weight thing, is me asking my partner to help me. When I ask him to fill my bottle for me I know he often thinks I’m just being lazy, but it’s because it is genuinely a MUCH bigger task for me to do than for him, and it truly helps when he just does it for me. Sometimes when I’m really struggling to get ready in the morning and I have to be somewhere at a certain time, he’ll wash my hair for me and again, I generally just trust that he’s done it right. The same for making decisions and moving onto different tasks – I’ll often just ask him if I’ve done enough to move on, if I’ve done it right enough, if he’s certain etc etc, and will move on much quicker after he has told me it’s the right thing to do versus me trying to come to that conclusion myself.

Basically, taking decisions out of the hands of someone who suffers with these sorts of tendencies is probably the best way to help (although, not taking full control – if someone were to choose an outfit for me to wear and there were very specific reasons why I couldn’t wear those items in my mind, I’d be VERY upset if they insisted I wear that outfit, if that makes sense? It has to be in ways that the sufferer actually agrees would be helpful!)

Storm

3

Depression Triggers

Following on from my last post…

I also have depression. Yay!

And I get depressed a lot.

Sometimes this can be worsened or brought on by a “trigger”.

I’m going to list some of my triggers – maybe the list will help some of you know what sort of things to AVOID if you have someone in your life who is also suffering from depression, or maybe it can be something you can relate to if you have depression, or something that can educate you, or entertain you?

I dunno guys, use it however you will.


 

1.) My relationship with my partner not being exactly how I want it to be. Maybe I overthink the situation when he doesn’t give me enough attention, which leads to me feeling really un-special, unattractive, plummets my self confidence, makes me really dislike myself and my life and wish my relationship was more than it is and ugh… Leads to depression. Guys, just to clarify, my partner is amazing. I’m just a person who needs a certain amount of attention from their partner to actually feel like I’m wanted so when he isn’t feeling very affectionate towards me, it brings on my depression haaaaaard.

2.) Not waking up at a good time. You know how nice and, well, NORMAL it feels for most people to simply wake up at like 07:00? On a full 7-8 hours of deep, undisturbed sleep? Yeah, that doesn’t happen to me. This is the earliest I’ve been awake in a while – and it’s around 10:15. I go to sleep at maybe 03:00 at night. My sleep is disturbed because I always go to sleep super anxious, and watch maybe 3 hours of TV in bed before sleeping. Before bed is usually when I discuss problems I had in my day with my partner, so I also normally go to sleep really down and ugh… It’s just proper screwed up and disorganised and it’s really really difficult to wake up happy after sleeps like I have!!! I should be in bed at 23:00, without any electronics or anything, after having taken a bath and after having a GOOD evening with my partner and a really productive day, and then just actually fall asleep easily for a good 7-8 hours. That’s all I need. It really sucks starting every single day late. Caused by depression and induces depression, a beautiful cycle. This also leads to me sleeping during the day and having an even less productive day and leads to even more depression and leads to my night sleep causing me to actually be over-rested, so I also always wake up with a headache and feeling unwell. Amazing.

3.) Not doing well on my degree. I’ve been missing SO many lectures recently because of my lack of energy and my weird sleeping pattern. I’ve been hardly working, and earlier this week I received the first grade that I’ve been very unhappy with this Semester. It’s okay, I’ve come to terms with it and have thought of a way to level out my grade to bring it back up, but it’s just upsetting. I have an assignment I wanted to hand in tomorrow that I haven’t even started. It’s just never-ending work which is just almost impossible for somebody with mental health problems to actually succeed with. I just feel lazy and really disappointed in myself for not doing better, and I know everybody else just views me as lazy and unreliable as well. It’s easy to judge what you don’t know or don’t care to understand.

4.) Not having a great support network. I don’t have any close friends whatsoever. I have my partner, my mother, my little sister, my little brother, my older brother, my older sister and my father. That’s every single human being that I feel I can turn to. I also have my niece and nephew but y’know, they’re kids. I plan to get married next Summer or possibly the Summer after, and those are all the people (minus my little sister who’s in America, and my partner who will obviously attend) who I will invite. With me having full power to invite whoever I wish, 7 people, at maximum, will attend my side of my wedding. I mean, it could be worse, I could have a small immediate family. The problem is though, that as I said before, my little sister lives in America and well, the rest of my family all live in Glasgow (I live in London), so they’re not exactly super close. I hardly see them. I hardly speak to them. It sucks.

5.) The fact that my anxiety is kinda taking over every aspect of my life. I’ve bought bags and bags of beautiful new clothes, that have just remained in their bags for literally 2 years, all because of my anxiety. No, clothes do not scare me. The decision to just wear them when I had planned to do haul blog posts with them scare me. The prospect of all the steps it takes to create a haul blog post scares me. This is the exact same problem I have with using bath bombs I bought like, 3 years ago. Nothing in my life is simple anymore because my anxiety over-complicates EVERYTHING. Which leads to depression.

6.) Winter. I hate worrying about having the heating on all the time. I hate feeling cold. I hate the static in my hair. I hate the silence and stillness. I hate how ugly it looks outside, how dark and glum it is. I just despise it. I get seasonal depression every single year without fail, meaning that although I have general depression year round, my depression gets more severe during the winter months. Which is just lovely when everybody else is so excited about finishing up work / education for the winter and about Christmas.

7.) Just not being who I want myself to be. I feel like if it wasn’t for my anxiety and depression, I’d be who I actually want to be and feel like I AM, on the outside. I’d be able to live my life in a way that reflects my actual wants, likes, beliefs. I’d have hobbies, a good routine, friends. I’d have all the tattoos and piercings I’ve wanted to have for years, would wear the clothes I love, would go out and just be happy and enjoy myself. Instead I’m just quiet, isolated, unhappy, anxious.


 

The only ways I find relief from my depression is when things actually go right, which is kinda rare?

It’s not that I’m ungrateful – I am SO grateful for what I have. I do feel that it’s difficult for me to get things right and how I want them to be though.

I’m very critical, and am a perfectionist at heart, so unless I feel like something is basically done exactly how I want it to be done, I won’t be happy. I know that it’s bad, and is something I’ll work on.

If there’s somebody you care about who is suffering with depression, keep this perspective in mind. Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, so it’s likely that similar things will “stimulate” their depression.

My advice would be to just help. Help make things in their life easier. Help make things actually go RIGHT in their lives – whether that’s getting out of bed at the time they wish they would, or going to bed at the time they wish they would, or getting them to shower before bed so that it’s one less thing they’ll have to worry about in the morning. Whether it’s through being the support that you are and taking them out, bringing some fun and excitement into their life. Showing you care about them by making them a card, giving them cuddles, complimenting them.

Helping them get their to-do list done!!!

I think that’s genuinely the biggest way to help somebody with their depression. Go onto trello.com, create a ‘To do’ list, a ‘Doing’ list and a ‘Done’ list, and ask them every single thing in their mind that they would like to get done, big or small. Fill up the to-do list, and update it every few days with new things that they’d like to do. Help them get items moved to the ‘Doing’ list and ultimately, the ‘Done’ list. Trust me, this will help them SO much!

Storm