I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin – day 26

It’s been a week since I last wrote a blog. I’ve had another week of minor mood swings, but largely I’ve slept well, kept active, and been relatively happy. This has felt like one of the easiest weeks so far on my withdrawal.

The caveat is that it’s hard to tell if what I feel is because of withdrawal or if it’s just how I’m naturally feeling. Which brings me to today. I’m seeing my GP this afternoon for the first time since I decreased my antidepressants by half. We will discuss my progress and whether it feels right and appropriate for me to withdraw completely once my doses of 50mg have finished.

I am quietly confident she will agree to full withdrawal. Watch this space.

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I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin – days 16-18

I had a really bad night on Friday. I was at home alone with my dog and couldn’t even face putting the TV on to get rid of the silence. I needed the silence. A long cry later, plus a good night’s sleep, and I felt much better on Saturday. I had a restful , productive weekend with my husband and dog.

This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek in the UK and this year the focus is on body image. I have struggled with my body – trying to love it, currently hating it, previously being proud of it, a whole yo yo of emotions about it. It’s exhausting. A few weeks asgo I visited my Mum for her birthday and she handed me a shoebox of old photos and assorted tidbits I’d collected as a child and a teenager. In there was a passport-sized photo of me from my year 11 school photo, smiling away. The smile masked a raging war inside my head that continues to this day. I turned to my Mum, holding the photo up and said, “I thought I was fat when I was 16. I was nothing of the sort.” – I wish, so much, I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self that she isn’t fat. She is healthy in body if not in mind, she will go through storms and come out of the other side, she is loved, and she is important. It was a sobering moment.

So on this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek I am trying to love my body a little bit more each day. I’ve written a mental list of all the things I like about it – my eyes. My hands. My rugby-playing legs. My daft, Wigan laugh. My hair, which my hairdresser still finds hard to believe is naturally coloured and not dyed. My long fingers – “piano-playing fingers” as my piano teacher used to say. I am holding this list in my head and reminding myself every day there are so many things to love about my body. It was useful this morning when I hopped on the scales and found myself despondent at yet another weight gain where I had expected a loss due to a week of health eating and exercise. Our bodies are nothing if not perplexing at times!

I’ve never really believed in affirmations, but I am discovering their worth now I am actively saying them to myself. Here are mine:

  • “You’re overweight” has become “you are going to the gym, walking more, and eating better – the weight, in time, will come off”
  • “You are pale” has become “you care about your skin and actually the sun is not all that good for it anyway”
  • “Your bum is enormous” has become “many women pay to have surgical procedures to get a bum like yours – embrace it, whilst acknowledging you’d like it to be a little smaller”
  • “My boobs hurt when I run” has become, as above, “many women pay to have surgical procedures to get boobs like yours – embrace them, whilst acknowledging you’d like them to be a little smaller”
  • “My thighs chafe” has become “you are moving and exercising more, hence why the chafe; in time it will go”

And so on and so forth. They’re silly and cheesy and I find this kind of affirmation stuff cringey at the best of time, but I am proud of taking the small steps to move to a more positive mindset. It can only help. I am the size and the shape I am – I am me.

“Love your body, because you only have one.”

 

I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin – days 10-14

4th May
Spent my day with my father-in-law, who is in a [very nice] care home. Almost got broody whilst playing with my four-year-old great nephew and one-year-old great niece. Almost. Then the one-year-old started screaming and broodiness promptly left. It was a good day.

5th May
Clearly woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning – either that or withdrawal moodiness kicked in. Walked over to Otley with husband and dog to watch the Tour de Yorkshire. Got chased by a pack of cows, fell over some barbed wire, and screamed at my husband. We bickered for the rest of the day. I hope these mood swings aren’t a sign of things to come, but they feel ominous.

6th May
Woke up bright and early on a Bank Holiday no less, feeling refreshed. I then proceeded to cry for an hour because… well, I don’t think my body nor my brain need reasons right now. Watched the Ted Bundy film with friends and had a good time. Ignored my brain telling me to get absolutely smashed and refrained from buying alcohol in the Co-op. That road doesn’t lead anywhere good.

7th May
Back to work. Had a positive, productive morning, but spent most of the afternoon with earphones jamed in my ear because the noise level was too much in the office. I sent an email to my boss reflecting on my imposter syndrome – eyes welled up as I wrote, but I held it together, thank fuck. Trotted off to the gym, did my best, toughest work out since joining, and managed to ignore everything on social media pertaining to the L*v*r*o*l result. I love hate football.

8th May
It’s raining. I wish I could have stayed in bed.

I walked a thousand miles to slip this skin – days 8 and 9

I have slept well, I am feeling good. I have had an exceptionally busy week at work and I think that manifested itself in my dark cloud moment on Wednesday evening. I woke up with new impetus on Thursday and a day of wall-to-wall meetings at work, whilst exhausting, motivated and refocused me on my work. I went home last night, post-gym, feeling buoyed and content. Those dark clouds will roll by when least expected, so I take these wins where I can get them.

Today I feel good – I am going to a Springsteen club night in Leeds tonight, very excited! A room full of Springsteen fans, beer, and music?! Perfect way to kick off the [much needed] bank holiday.

P.S. for anyone who suffers from anxiety and/or panic attacks, the [free] Chill Panda app is working wonders for me. Not a sponsored plug, just a bit of advice from someone who regularly needs to take a breather every few hours. It worked wonders for me yesterday during a long meeting in a cramped, hot room.

I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin – day 7

Wow, a week has passed. I slept well last night despite some initial restlessness. No weird dreams or sleep talking, and I woke up on time without feeling like death warmed up.

I’ve had a good, productive day at work – and yet, it’s 5.05pm, I’m sat at my desk writing this and a dark cloud has descended and I can’t pinpoint why.

Or rather, I can pinpoint why, but I just don’t want to say. This blog is helping me get a lot of stuff of my chest, but some things I’ll keep just to me.

Hopefully the cloud lifts.