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Planning to make myself well again

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Over the past few years I've pushed myself far too hard and my health (both physical and mental) has taken a beating. I'm waiting to see a specialist for my physical health problems and I'm high up the list to be seen by a therapist. I've not really had the opportunity to properly look after myself and focus on what I can do to make myself feel better. I've now got the next month or more to really focus on making myself better but I'm not too sure of where to start. I have mountains of self help books and a occasional support worker who I don't see very often, but it's a very big issue to tackle and I don't really know which angle to go for first. Lots of people have been telling me that I need to have some kind of structure in my life, which I agree with but do I write a plan do I just set alarms? Any ideas about how to go forward with this? I've spoken to my doctor and he just tells me to " take it easy" whatever that means!?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What about looking at joining something like a meditation/wellness group? Gives you structure (regular attendance) and also does something positive for your psyche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wellness group sounds interesting - I was looking at a mindfulness group but it was £25 a week which is a fair bit! I might see if I can get myself up to walking to the library to see if they have any groups or ads up cos I'm not getting a lot from google searches
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know what you're like religious wise, and I don't know what the groups are like in your area, but here in Leeds the Western Buddhist Society run non-demoninational meditation groups that everyone is welcome to attend, and i don't think they'd be charging £25 a week!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As you know I don't work due to mental ill health but I do try to have a little bit of structure to the week.

    For example I do -
    Monday - day sometimes knitting group, evenings support group
    Tuesdays - Bible study or some other free activity
    Weds - Therapy in afternoon, Evening knitting group (free)
    Thurs - GP appointment weekly, afternoon voluntary work
    Fri - afternoon voluntary work, evenings currently doing a three week course (free)
    Sat - whatever I feel like
    Sun - day at church (11am - 4pm)

    So that plan gives me basic structure, I then add other activities such as reading, seeing friends, gardening, knitting and painting at home.

    In reality I am often too ill to stick to this plan so I probably do less than half of the activities I planned and often can't do them but it's good to have a plan for activity even if I end up being too ill to do them.

    I find it helps to have some structure and often is one of the areas that crisis work has focussed on when I go to the women's crisis house for a month or so at a time they like to build a timetable with you.

    Also with the knitting for example I like to set targets else I find I don't get much done. So at the moment I am working on sock two of a pair, I am to finish it in the next week or two and have planned what day I need to turn the heel by, shape the toe etc to achieve this. Of course it doesn't matter if my sock doesn't make it on time but it is good to have something to aim for.

    I like reading self help books, I have loads of them.

    I also find that my faith helps me and like to make time to read the Bible a bit and prayer - I can't remember if you have a religion but if you do then maybe it can help you a bit alongside other forms of treatment and self help.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm in a fairly rural area (even though I live in a fairly big town) and I'm pagan (so I'm pretty up for the buddhist stuff). I had a good look at the library and I found some volunteering stuff but nothing in the way of support groups (or knitting groups) :( I'll have another good google but I'm not sure there's much around here! There's no Buddhist temple or anything like that around here either, because I used to occasionally go to a hare krishna temple too but maybe I need to look at something else.

    I need to go swimming once a week I think, but I know right now I'm totally over doing it - I carry too much, I over commit myself etc etc... I'm really unorganised and struggle to get stuff done. Tbh I'm struggling to get out of bed much for 12 a good 4 days week.

    My mind is just buzzing ATM, I'm still wondering were to start.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh but I do have self help books coming out of my arse...I might actually start another thread on that so everyone can recommend their favourites
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What about groups through your gp service? I don't mean full on therapy groups, I'm thinking more along the lines of support groups, expert patient programmes, short walks for health, that sort of thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    Oh but I do have self help books coming out of my arse...

    OMG, that sounds sooo painful - I do hope that not too many hardbacks are involved!

    Just wanted to mention that what you are doing (referring to at the moment) is the opposite of mindfulness as the art of non-doing.

    You don't need a book, or to pay someone £25 per week. Just sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place, close your eyes, and pay attention to your breathing. Which sounds such a simple thing to do, and yet to stay focussed on breathing can be very hard to do.

    Buddhism puts a certain interpretation on mindfulness, but what neural scientists have discovered is that mindfulness as the art of non-doing is a great way of giving your brain a rest. You don't need to buy into anyone else’s philosophy, or way of being, or “enlightenment”, or any of that stuff.

    When you close your eyes and focus on your breathing you are doing something through conscious choice. The reason you get distracted from that focus is because your brain has all sorts of stuff running through it just below the level of conscious awareness.

    One of the reasons for feeling tired when you haven’t actually done anything much can be because your brain is working overtime on stuff. Even when you’re asleep your brain keeps working away processing all kinds of information, some might be useful stuff, but a lot of it could be past stuff that you thought you’d dumped in the bin. There you are drifting through the land of nod and your brain carries on trying to piece together all sorts of information, rather like someone addicted to jigsaw puzzles who has merged dozens of jigsaws and presses the pieces together whether they make any sense or not. Little wonder that we often get some very odd dreams.

    A useful analogy might be to compare what happens in your brain to a computer that gets hit by malware, i.e. because the central processing unit has become busy processing stuff that you are not aware of, and probably didn’t want processing anyway, it has little resources left to do the things you want it to do. So when you ask it to do something, it responds slowly and seems to generally lack energy. Obviously people and computers are not the same, but I think it’s a useful analogy.

    If people were more like computers, then when someone became depressed any easy solution would be to reinstall their operating systems - although the complete loss of memory could leave people with more problems than the depression caused.

    As I’m new to this board, I haven’t seen that many of your posts, but my guess is that you are someone who suffers with depression. You have spoken of getting good exam results, so presumably any depression that you suffer with has not been too disabling of late.

    Studying does require people to put themselves on the line in a number of ways, and even when getting good marks, the effort required, and the risks involved with one’s sense of competence, can be quite an emotional drain.

    From the posts I have seen written by you, I get the impression that you are strong willed (some might say stubborn?) and I wonder if you have a tendency to speak your mind in a way that might distance you from some people? Could it be that such outspokenness offended some of those who should have been more supportive towards you? Being assertive with a capital A can also be interpreted by some people as a sign of self-reliance – but then, who amongst us is an Island?

    A pat on the back, and a couple of words of recognition from those whose opinions we value can put a booster charge in our emotional batteries. Coming to terms with feeling cheated out of such recognition can be hard, but maybe learning to give one's-self a pat on the back is some consolation. But my advice is not to try and turn yourself into an: “Island”.

    Perhaps you can turn the experience into a positive one by being more sensitive to the need of others to receive positive feedback, even if they seem self-reliant and quite assertive?


    Anyway, good luck with your plans for rejuvenating yourself!

    But keep in mind the basic technique of mindfulness as ‘non-doing’ if you find all the planning for ‘doing’ becomes knackering.

    Jed
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm waiting for a diagnosis ATM, but it's looking like fibromyalgia. I do have a bit of depression but it's mainly anxiety and the pain and tiredness.

    I'm just taking it a day at a time right now - its really hard to plan stuff when I can go from being fine to hellish pain within the space of half an hour. I'm also having to learn to be really honest with people - especially when I'm doing make up stuff and telling them that I'm only doing occasional stuff and I haven't got the stamina to do stuff all day. But even admitting that to myself is difficult
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I'm waiting for a diagnosis ATM, but it's looking like fibromyalgia. I do have a bit of depression but it's mainly anxiety and the pain and tiredness.

    I'm just taking it a day at a time right now - its really hard to plan stuff when I can go from being fine to hellish pain within the space of half an hour. I'm also having to learn to be really honest with people - especially when I'm doing make up stuff and telling them that I'm only doing occasional stuff and I haven't got the stamina to do stuff all day. But even admitting that to myself is difficult


    I can see now why your doctor said to take things easy. Although, I can appreciate that such advice might be easier said than done, particularly re feeling in control of how you feel and what is happening to you – especially for someone as strong-willed as you. I imagine that making plans could also be a welcome distraction from the 'here and now'.

    Jon Kabat Zinn has done a lot of work with people suffering with stress and pain due to various illnesses.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Full-Catastrophe-Living-mindfulness-meditation/dp/0749915854/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

    I know it’s yet another self-help book, but this one is based on a lot of research and evidence based methodology.

    Training your mind in a way that enables it to rest is about gaining control, not losing it. But to gain that control you must first come to terms with the paradox of not trying to control your mind.

    Which might sound like oriental mumbo-jumbo, but if you work at it you will see what I mean.

    Mindfulness can be something that you do between the planning, not instead of it.

    Jed
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've been doing some mindfulness stuff for a while but I don't think I've been getting it totally, but it's bloody difficult without the book (my best friend borrowed it and left it at her parents place the otherside of the county)!

    I might just get that Jon kibat zinn book. Tomorrow I'm going to do a mindmap of all the things I think might help and work from there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I've been doing some mindfulness stuff for a while but I don't think I've been getting it totally, but it's bloody difficult without the book (my best friend borrowed it and left it at her parents place the otherside of the county)!

    I might just get that Jon kibat zinn book. Tomorrow I'm going to do a mindmap of all the things I think might help and work from there.

    At the heart of the approach is the focus on the ‘here and now’, be it breathing, taste, etc. It can be very hard to master the technique of letting thoughts come and go without getting distracted, but it will come with practice.

    Jon Kabat Zinn has an almost hypnotic voice, and I’ve yet to stay awake all through one of his sessions. But it does help the quality of my sleep when I do drop off.

    You have a lot going on for you at the moment, what with one thing and another, and I think you’re actually doing very well.

    Try to chill out some, and go with the flow. Being relaxed gives your body the best chance of repairing itself.

    As John Lennon said: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans!”

    Jed
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Being chronically anxious and possibly borderline paranoid makes going with the flow very very difficult. But I know that over the past few months I've totally neglected "me" and doing anything purely for my enjoyment, so at the very least I need to do that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Doing things purely for enjoyment sounds good.

    It's the 'should', 'ought' and 'must do' thinking that tends to cause stress.

    One definition of anxiety is that we try to deal with things that are in the future and out of reach. Often worrying about problems that never actually happen. Such thinking can become a habit, and so your nervous system is constantly on red alert.

    One way of breaking down a habit is to do something else, something different, so doing things for fun sounds a good way to start.


    When you find yourself thinking of things that are threatening, switch to thinking of something enjoyable. If you do it enough, you will break down the habit of creating anxious thoughts. Thought blocking and diversion sounds too simple to be effective, but it can make a big difference if you work at it.

    Jed
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    One thing that I find really hard is the expectations of others of me - my housemate wanting cleaning to be done, or not doing my share of the cooking (we eat together most days), or my mother needing me to help her out with something. When I can't they seem to get annoyed with me rather than understand that I'm not doing it because I've been feeling unwell.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you explain to them how ill you've been or do you put on a brave face and try to hide it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    One thing that I find really hard is the expectations of others of me - my housemate wanting cleaning to be done, or not doing my share of the cooking (we eat together most days), or my mother needing me to help her out with something. When I can't they seem to get annoyed with me rather than understand that I'm not doing it because I've been feeling unwell.

    Maybe they will be more understanding and sympathetic when you get a diagnosis, after which they will be able to check-out the symptoms, and hopefully, will be more able to appreciate the difficulties you are experiencing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It took my mum 4 years to get diagnosed with ME so she should know how it feels, and my housemate has a chronic bowel condition which she has to take tablets for every day. I don't understand why they don't get it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    One thing that I find really hard is the expectations of others of me - my housemate wanting cleaning to be done, or not doing my share of the cooking (we eat together most days), or my mother needing me to help her out with something. When I can't they seem to get annoyed with me rather than understand that I'm not doing it because I've been feeling unwell.

    Sounds like you're drifting into the world of excuse making. Beware the warm rags of victimhood.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't get what point your trying to make? I want to be able to do stuff, and I do, but it's bloody hard when they turn around and have a go when they've asked me because they couldn't do it in the first place. It just feels like a lack of understanding and double standards
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Went to the doctors today, he pretty much said that he's 95% sure it's fibro, and he upped both my meds. I'm feeling really anxious tonight, not been able to relax all day and when I can relax ATM I just sleep. I feel like a fat cat, just eating prowling and sleeping. :(
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