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Farewell 2017

2017 was one of my hardest years. I went through physical illness as well as battling mental illness. I’ve taken so many painkillers it’s not funny at all – and my biggest wish for 2018 is to need less of those.

This post is my way of looking back; Remembering, dealing, saying goodbye. It might not be worth it for anyone else, in that case, it’s just for me.

It’s not fun for me to look back at 2017. I went into the year with great energy from having lost 12 kgs – almost half the weight I was supposed to lose in total, and I was on a roll and ready to continue. It felt so doable and it felt like something I could conquer!

It didn’t even last a week. I got sick with stomach problems and the next 10 days were terrible. Stomach aches, throwing up and barely getting any sleep were some of the stuff I battled those ten days – but I was happy when the ‘bug’ finally went away and I was able to regain my energy again.

Then came the middle of march. And it started again. And it lasted almost two weeks, then, on a day where I had requested homemade pizza for dinner at my parents house with my entire family, a quick visit to the doctor turned into a hospital stay – and me on a ‘no food’ regulation, until they decided if I was going into surgery that night or not. That evening I could barely talk or think about anything but food. During a short nap in the hospital bed I even dreamed of swimming in lasagna and cream sauce.

12 days. That’s how long it took before I was released from the hospital again. It had taken a while – and a lot of pain – but they had actually found the reason for my illness and had given me enough morphine to take the pain away, until my body fought the inflammation in my pancreas. That was the diagnosis: Pancreatitis caused by gallstones.

I left, completely worn out but happy to finally put a name on what had been wrong with my body – and most likely also the reason for my ‘attacks’, like I had in January. But my body had suffered and my energy levels were low for a very long time, moths after even. Weightloss became impossible.

Along with fighting the low energy and gaining my normal body functions back, I fought my mental health. The physical pain hadn’t made my depression and anxiety disappear. It sort of felt like they had been put on hold? Does that make even make sense? I don’t know. But I know, that it felt so much harder to battle it after the hospital stay.

My energy was low and my depression was strong.

My family and few friends were the only thing that kept me going for a long time. Exercise didn’t happen at all – it was too hard to leave the house, and even when I managed, my energy didn’t reach very far at all. Something that used to be easy, like going grocery shopping to the nearest store, became exhausting. Everything was hard. It became a battle.

It’s hard living like that. Expecting one thing from yourself and the results being something else. I kept going like that through summer and fall mostly. I don’t know how life went by like that. Sitting here I remember my family holiday during summer and one during fall – everything else is blurry. Did I even live? Really live? If i’m being honest, I think I just existed. Took the pills I was prescribed. Participated in a study that might help depression, but didn’t help me. I went to see my family sometimes, but nothing major happened.

Major… hah. Well. Except I became ‘major’. No. It’s not funny. I ate like crap most of the days. Candy was easy to buy and way easier than to cook something healthy. Accessible. My weight went up. In december I reached 98 kgs again. Now just 5 kgs away from my starting weight. So much work has gone out the window.

It makes me sad. Makes me want to give up – throw in the towel. Except, I’m not allowed. I need to be down to 78 by the time my teeth have been moved enough to do my jaw-surgery. I haven’t mentioned that yet, but my teeth have been reason for a lot of pain this year too.

I got two wisdom teeth surgically removed in January, and three other teeth pulled out in October/november. All that hurts. I got braces, that a whole new battle – keeping them clean, having sore teeth, wires poking me. It’s not fun. But; it’s part of a journey that is leading to something great.

That’s how 2018 starts, I hope. As part of my ‘something great’. I even see signs of it already; 1) I might actually be on some medication that seems to work (finally), 2) I’ve been doing group therapy – which, I believe, will be a great tool for me to get better, 3) The braces doesn’t hurt as much now that they’re on – even when they get tightened it’s not as bad as I had expected – and I can actually see my teeth have moved so it’s going the right way!

It’s on it’s way. My ‘something great’. And I’m ready for it!

 

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The hardship of anxiety on everyday basis (and venting!)

When you don’t feel like seeing any people at all – how are you gonna function then, when you have a roommate and she has her boyfriend over all the time? Suddenly things like going to the bathroom, cooking or even just going to get a drink becomes work and something you postpone and try to avoid.

I wrote “you” in the text above, but really it should be an “I”. Cause living with a roommate and especially her boyfriend has been, and is still, hard for me.

It is of the very real and tough parts of dealing with social anxiety and depression that isn’t something I can just avoid.

Honestly, this blogpost is partly to show a side of how it is to live with anxiety and depression for me, but maybe mostly it’s my need to vent about this to someone, without being held accountable too much, cause at this point I don’t want to do anything. Roommate is moving out soon and what happens after that, I’ll just deal with as we go.

Venting goes on.. Her boyfriend is over way too much. It really feels as if I live with both of them. I try avoiding them, cause I really can’t deal with it. It bothers me that he is around all the time. It bothers me that he seems so comfortable here, walking around in his boxers, cooking in the kitchen while she watches tv in her room – and most of all, that he is here when she isn’t!

I don’t trust him. I don’t know him. Don’t even know her, we’re “just” roomies, not friends. But she’s signed a contract. Pays to live here. I don’t know. I trust her like that. But not him. If he wanted he could go in my room while I was gone and steal. He could come in while I am asleep and do stuff. Or steal my rent money when it’s waiting to be picked up by the lady from upstairs. He could do all that – and then just leave and not return. I doubt that he will. Honestly, he seems fine and all but still.

He takes up so much time in the kitchen, spends hours cooking, either alone or with my roommate. And then leaves it at complete mess.

And they spend hours in the bathroom – sometimes they both shower twice a day – and seriously, when you’re living with someone don’t take an hour in the bathroom between 9 and 11 pm!! Most likely it’s also around that time that the other person (in this case me) will want to go in and brush their teeth and stuff like that before bed. It’s beyond annoying. And also don’t use my towel after I’ve told you not to.

Maybe also remember to clean the counter after cooking. And the stove and oven. And swipe the floor after showering.

… Can anyone tell that I’m not particularly sad about this girl (and boyfriend) moving out?

Sorry guys and girls. I guess I needed to vent more than I realised, I’ll try to leave my frustrations on the doormat now and move on. 

Temporary fix

The best one – and the first one that comes to mind: Cleaning my room by shoving everything into the closet.

It clearly solves the situation right away, but it’s only temporary. It’s obvious that the second I open the closet I will see the mess, I feel be bothered by it when I start looking for stuff and at some point the closet will overflow and the mess will pile out.

While battling anxiety and depression for over a year now, I’ve felt some of the same things as with the closet and cleaning up.

I’ve learnt how to deal – and how to temporarily get better. I’ve found out how to shove my feelings aside and hide them, but the problem is that it is not a permanent solution. It is temporary. At some point the stuff will come out, it will overflow – pile out. I wont be able to hide my feelings forever – I wasn’t. Stuff came out and I had to deal with it all. Try at least.

The big improvement for me is still yet to come – but I’m hoping it will come soon! The important thing is that I’m working on it – working on learning how to deal with the mess and not just stuff it into the closet.

It’s still a work in progress though – and I’m still very glad that I have space in my closet to keep things from everyone else.

 

Important appointment

Psych-ward. Is that what they called it? Tomorrow I have an appointment at the psychological hospital, the department for anxiety and depression.

Me being me, I sit at home, nervous about it. And I do what I always do when I’m nervous: I keep myself awake instead of going to sleep at night.

The thought is that if I sleep the time will pass faster and suddenly it will be time for the scary thing, by keeping awake the time passes slowly and I get mor time to prepare (or in reality – more time to get even more nervous). It’s not a good way to deal – but it’s how my body reacts. Even if my mind tells me that it’s not a good plan at all and that there aren’t actually any good things about the strategy at all.

I don’t know what I am scared of about the appointment tomorrow. Not really. I mean, part of it is that it’s a place that I’ve never been before. Part is the transportation. But mostly I think it is the talk part. Will I be able to convey my feelings and thoughts? Will they be able to understand? Will they offer a treatment that I like? Will they want to do things that scare me?

Honestly, I have no idea what will happen after the first appointment. It’s only a talk where they get to know me and then decide where to go from there – but I have no idea where we would go. Therapy? Maybe. I don’t even know the possibilities.

What is keeping me relatively calm and motivated to go is the fact that it is a step towards getting better. Feeling better. Going away from being sick. It’s the goal. It’s a step and hopefully a step in the right decision, even if it is very hard to put on my shoes and start walking.

Went looking for sunshine

– guess where I found it?

It’s an early morning – too early. Actually I havn’t been to bed yet. These last few days night and day have been switched around for me, no particular reason why. It just happens.

But since I was up, I decided to go see the sunrise. I wanted to see when the grey night turned into the colorful day. But I live too low, there are too many buildings and fences and trees around me, so I went on a walk to see it. Walked for a while to the highest point I know, only to finally get there and realise that it was surrounded by even higher buildings, so I could see even less than at my own place.

I was feeling rather sad about this – more than I thought i would. Tears were actually starting to run down my cheeks as I walked back. I don’t know why. Didn’t understand my own feelings, I was just so sad. So upset. Disappointed.

And then. Then as I took the turn into the road where I live suddenly I was bathed in orange light and I saw by shadow on the ground in front of me stretch out far.
I turned around, and there, there was the sun, just rising up above some trees and clouds in the horizon. And I smiled.

I’m not sure if there’s some big life lesson to be learned about this. If doesn’t come to you right in the way and the place you want, to stop looking around so desperately for it, and instead be patient and let time take it’s course? Maybe not. But either way, today I got what I wanted, even if it was right there I started out looking for it.

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Feeling crowded and overwhelmed

It’s been a while since I felt like this. Heart rate picking up, sweat starting to appear on my face and a rush inside me that just tells me to get out and away from everyone. But I felt like that today.

I was out. Since getting home from the hospital, my energy has been very low and actually I wasn’t quite up for going out today, but I had a package waiting to be picked up that could not wait any longer so there was a big reason to go. So I did. And it was good. However, while my energy kept up – it might even have spiked from the fresh air and walk, I got worn out in a way I hadn’t expected, even if I maybe should have.

I was in line for the cash register in a store, and ahead of me was guy who had both a wife and two children who ran past me in the small isle, and he was busy speaking to the employee in a different language that I didn’t understand. So busy in fact that when it was my turn he didn’t move and I had to literally go stand right between the two men as I paid – while at the same time, suddenly there was another man behind me, who they also knew and he joined the conversation.

I’m not against having different people in my country. I’m not against them speaking their own language – but it made me so uncomfortable to be caught in the middle, with none of them even taking notice of me or making room. It wasn’t considerate of them. It just wasn’t.

I’m so happy I only had two items to pay for, and then quickly I was able to move past the first man (who by the way still hadn’t moved!) and get out of there and find a space for me to breathe and get my body to calm down again.

Being crowded triggers my anxiety. Not being able to get away easily, being surrounded by people. Strangers. It’s not a good feeling for me, and somehow among all the worrying if I would even be physically able to handle the trip I forgot to include the fact that I might meet other obstacles.

The good thing about it all though, is that I made it. I got myself to calm down and stayed another half hour in the shopping center before I left. I felt with a good feeling. I’d done what I came for, I’d gotten what I needed and I was in a good place going home.

A question for you

This is simple. What do you do on those days when everything seems meaningless? Just a day when you wanna throw in the towel, stay in bed forever and not do any of the things that are expected of you.

I’ve been having a few too many of those days lately, so I am honestly looking for advice.

You have value!

… and so do I.

I often forget that. Tend to bring myself a little bit down. Not on the surface, but right below that, I have lots of thoughts about putting myself down. I have trouble believing I’m good enough.

I think of myself as an ordinary person. Often that is what I am. Normal. Ordinary. But often I go beyond that. I put myself lower than that. Lower than everyone else. Give myself lower value. Grade myself harder.

I have bigger expectations towards myself than towards everyone else, and that makes me fail so much harder. But it’s not fair!
When I think about it logically it makes no sense. Why should I be held to higher standards than everyone else?
What will happen if I don’t raise my expectations towards myself that much? I don’t know. Sometimes I try, but I never really succeed. I can believe it on the outside, but inside it’s still nearly impossible to live up to what I expect from myself.

I am an ordinary person. I am normal. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not special at the same time. I have value. I should not put myself down even when I feel like I’m not good enough. Not unique enough. Not extraordinary enough. Cause I am.

My family tells me. My friends say the same. I just need to believe it myself too, even if it might take a lifetime to make myself believe it truly.

 

Breaking down in tears

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I did it, I broke down in tears in the middle of our group. And I don’t care. I felt safe and loved and no one were judging me.

It was a song that triggered my feelings. It is in danish, but the main content of it – what made the tears well up is something along the lines of this:

Now you are simply allowed to be my child, not my servant.
Now, be little – not adult.
No one makes demands from you. No one judges you.
You are allowed to be weak, let go of all responsibility.
The danger is, that you’ll forget how much of a jewell you are.
That you think too much about the sorrow and need of others, instead of your own.

Now, you can listen instead of talking.
You can just receive, and not always give.
You are allowed to cry – and to share your pain.
You will be held and you will feel our peace.

I ended up curling up in my seat and felt the tears spill over.
A friend next to me laid her arm around me and hugged me. We didn’t speak. People sang, she sang. I just cried. I cried and listened.

I let the words fill my heart and my body. I tried to let go and just.. just be. Just listen. Just take what was given me.

Afterwards I felt lighter. I felt relived. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and it felt good.
As bad as it can be breaking down, the feeling after is worth it all to me.

I just hope I can hold onto this feeling for a while now. I will try to believe the good things.