Rock bottom

Lots of us know what it feels like to hit rock bottom. Its scary, defeating and just plain depressing. Whats worse is when you hit rock bottom and you just keep going and going and going and going. These are often the times we feel most alone and most scared, and always almost seem to follow some bugger saying ” Hey it can’t get worse” and when it does get worse they remind you ” hey it could be worse”, reminding you that things can and probably will get worse.  So for anyone out there who might feel just a little less along from hearing it, I am going to just blindly express my current experiences with rock bottom. I say rock bottom, I am pretty low and keep getting lower, if I really do find a “bottom” to this situation, I will let you know. Also – Trigger warning- I will be talking graphically about my anxiety and a tad of info my endo, so if regular period talk grosses you then seriously don’t read this on a full stomach though I won’t be getting graphic with this part of things.

Its hard to believe just a year ago I was doing amazingly, and honestly happier than I had been in almost a decade. I had a new boyfriend who was wonderful, had just gotten rid of all the toxic people in my life and I had been accepted to a brilliant university for which I just missed out on the grades. Things had never been so good, and clearly I opened my big mouth and said ” Roll on 2016!”. No stupider words were ever spoken. Honestly this is a year I feel we as a society just need to forget, never even mind our personal issues this year.

Just before 2016 started I started to get sick. Like really sick. I had a serious “period” for want of a better word that lasted over two weeks so I had to go to a walk in centre. This was followed by more doctors than I can count and not an awful amount of help. Since then I have had surgery, but things sadly could still get worse. Before the surgery I had a pain in one of my tubes and an ultrasound tech told me the tube looked blocked. Now the doctors are telling me its nothing, that I imagined this in my head and that I should take anti depressants. That’s right, because when you are not depressed and in chronic pain anti depressants are going to do so much good! Nhs logic for you there folks. Friends can see from looking at me that side is still swollen, and its bringing more symptoms than I should mention in a non endo focused post.

From here on out I just lost all faith in the chance I would ever get better and ,as anyone else with anxiety and panic disorder will know, doubt is just food for the paranoia fire in your mind. My anxiety made a comeback in a big way with my panic disorder reaping havoc right before my exams. My course work grades are constantly below my level from the pain and the anxiety, and I barely make it to my exams with this bloody fatigue, it almost feels like it would be worth dropping out all together. When these thoughts take over I honestly just get the urge to rub my hands together until the skin rubs right off, I wind up having to submerge them in cold water to avoid washing them raw.

But the thing is whether you are mentally ill, chronically ill or just going through a royally shit time, nothing lasts forever. I know right now my life is pretty messy, but it will get to a point where I can cope, and to anyone who can relate to this post- you are not alone. Life is horrible and it sucks sometimes, but I know it got better before, so it can get better again. So knuckle under until it does get better and try to steal as many good minutes as you can to make this time meaningful and to take back a bit of control. Doubt may be one of the things that can wash over your mind and ruin everything, but hope is what carrying you through.

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Not today Satan, not toady.

To be completely honest I am usually a pretty high functioning person. High functioning autism, high functioning anxiety and when I got sick I was determined to keep this up. To repress all of the pain and the negative feelings along with my mental illness so that I could keep on being productive and break down when I had the time for it.

The thing is sometimes, even for those of us who strive to always be “high functioning” sometimes things get too much. For me that’s this week. This week my anxiety is throwing everything it has at me, almost as though its trying to force me into panic attacks every time I get a minute to breathe. My hypersensitivity is running wild with all the Christmas crowding and the loud noises and obnoxious lights everywhere. On top of all this my endo has decided this week, the week where everything else is messing up, the week I have to revise and do my exams, find an 80 hour placement and still do course work and try to be a good friend, this week of all weeks it has decided its just going to give me all its got. The bloating, the pain, the hormones, the morning sickness, the fatigue, every symptom I do not need right now it is giving to me at its worst.

Honestly weeks like this I want to just make a nest on my bed ( not going to lie that does happen on occasion…) and just forget the world exists for a solid month, maybe a year.But life doesn’t really care for our wants and needs. Our responsibilities don’t just go away because we are sick and tired, if anything they only seem to get worse when we are struggling.I know I am not the only one, I am sure this is going to resonate with a lot of people, because to be honest, sometimes life just sucks with no silver lining or end in sight.

For me this week will not be a good week, but I know I will get through it. If it takes all of my remaining painkillers and all the hot chocolate in the world by god I will get through this week and ace these exams. Life is going to keep on throwing its shit at me but I will sit here with my middle finger up shouting “Not today Satan, not today”.Its important to try to stay positive, what ever your own positive is.For me my positive is being sassy and sarcastic about my situation. God life is pretty bad right now but hey at least it isn’t boring. If this is a bad time for you right now, odds are it will be bad whatever your mindset about it most likely, a mind set won’t change whats happening to you but it can take away some of the pain.

It might seem hard to have a sense of humour about these things but once you find that funny side life doesn’t seem to bad. It often feels like chronic illness and mental illnesses are actively working against us so why not treat them that way? When I give up and sink into bed in the evening I am often found groaning abusive statements about my ovaries and general lady parts as well as my brain. Fucking cortisol, push me to the edge one more time cortisol!Just you wait and see what happens! Sure, if anyone saw me they would probably be more than a little concerned but hey it makes me feel better. If your positive is looking forward to tomorrow then you remind yourself every chance you get that tomorrow is a new day and that day may be all the better. If your positive is looking forward to something good then think about it every chance you get, talk about it, fantasise and put so much energy into bringing that bright horizon a little bit closer. If your a bit of a weirdo like me then bitch and moan your way through, complain about normal people things and exaggerate to make the narrative more fun. Out of hot chocolate ? That’s it shorter episode of game of thrones, Harambe died and now this? Clearly the end of the world. Shout abuse at your body and your hormones as though they were people, what ever gets you through the day.

Sometimes life is shitty and not everyone gets that sometimes there are just bad days and there’s not an awful lot we can do about it. I have a tiny Halloween devil on my tree because I swear and abuse a figurative Satan in my life so often, is it offensive? Probably. Does it make me smile? Definitely. We can smile, and sometimes that makes all the difference, so don’t you ever let anyone make you feel lesser for how you choose to get through anything. You got through. That’s what matters.

Handling winter exam stress

With Christmas exams it’s easy to feel there aren’t enough hours in the day. I mean sure this could be due to the fact that with the recommended time for coursework, tasks,  lectures and extra reading into account we are expected to spend 63 hours minimum on our degree at a time ( legal working hours in the UK are 48) and once you account for dyslexia, the fact that work is sometimes fucking difficult and takes a fair bit longer these hours can sky rocket so yeah it’s easy to feel their aren’t enough hours. Because there aren’t. BUT there are a few things we can all do to try to take the edge off, and no not alcohol ( looks thirstily at the vodka on the side…).

Sleep

It sounds dead obvious but do not revise into the late hours. Research say it doesn’t work, we know from experience it doesn’t work and more importantly, sleep is good! Its not working, go the fuck to sleep and stop cramming. Which leads me to the second point.

Don’t cram

Do.not.rely.on.it. Just don’t. Some last minute running over things won’t hurt but seriously do not leave this to the last minute. Please? For me? I mean I know with me writing it, your lecturer saying it, your mum saying, your roommate who who has to deal with you  when you wake up cranky and steal their milk ( legitimately by accident this time) telling you I know damn well you will still do it, I just need to add.

Eat

Sleep, eat, breathe, my god what an original out of the box list this is. But I do not mean pot noodle here. I mean you are walking to and from the library, and working that brain muscle constantly about this time of year, not to mention the calories you burn to keep warm by refusing to spend the money on heating. You need real food, yep even carbs. Just remembering to eat dinner and breakfast can really just make you that little bit more effective for the rest of the day.

YikYak
I know the once ever popular app kinda lost most of its following after that whole handle business, but there’s still that one person on there who has done no work all year freaking the hell out over these exams. Doesn’t matter which uni you go to or what time it is, they are there I promise. How does this help? It doesn’t but hey you get to see people have it worse than you, so calm down, at least you noticed we had exams. If you ARE the person on YikYak freaking out over doing none of the work then god bless you sir! You make me feel better about myself every time I check YikYak.

Mind Map

Or as we use to call it, brainstorming, but apparently that’s offensive, so mind map it is. My dyslexic brothers and sisters out their will know what I mean when I say these are a god sent. Long lists of notes all start to blend into one and there’s something about filling every corner of a blank page with colour coded linked notes that makes you think for just a few minutes you might understand some of the words you wrote. Even “Basal Ganglia” looks less threatening once it’s in pretty purple pen. Even if these aren’t your thing I would recommend you give it a try even if it’s just to shake things up.

Don’t stress the small stuff

Hint- it’s all small stuff. These exams for the most part are not worth a lot of credit. It’s Christmas for god’s sake, it’s practically December as students we should be worrying about budgeting for presents, what does your secret Santa even like, and how on earth your liver is going to survive the holidays. A few small exams, some last minute fixing of course work, it isn’t the end. Wherever you are in your degree it isn’t worth it at all. Get through it and take care of yourself. One grade can be re marked, re taken or even forgotten, so it isn’t worth panicking over, so as a collective let’s keep the panic to a minimum shall we ?