Crazy busy week.

Last week was half term for college, so I had a week off. For the first half my sister flew over from Dubai for a few days, which was really lovely, and then for the second half I flew back to Dubai with my sister. It was only a short visit for me, I was only there for 4 full days, it was crazy busy trying to fit everything in however I had a really lovely time.
On Wednesday after picking my sister up from school we decided to go for a walk along the beach, completely unheard of for us, I was going to go on my own and just have a quiet walk and sit on the beach for a bit practicing some mindfulness. But when I told my sister I was going for a walk along he beach she said she would come too, which meant I didn’t get any mindfulness in on the beach but we had such a lovely time it was even better. After a short walk and a sit down on the beach for a while we decided to go for a drive round Palm Jumeirah, so we set off, my phone plugged into the speakers in my car, blasting Taylor Swift’s albums out of it. We sung at the top of our lungs the whole drive and to me it was a true moment of happiness spending time with my sister and having such a lovely time.
On Thursday I went into my old school to see my old school counsellor who I’m still really close with and we had a really lovely chat. Seeing her is always a highlight of my trips to Dubai and one of the things I miss about living in Dubai is not being able to talk with her properly, she is probably the one person that knows me best in the world. That evening me and my Dad went to the Dubai Horse Races, as he had been given corporate tickets to the event, so I got all dressed up and went with him to that which was quite nice.¬†Friday I went shopping, then to visit some close family friends and then out for a nice dinner with my Dad and sister to our favourite steak restaurant.¬†Overall I had a really lovely visit, all be it quick and busy.

However I got no college work done because I was so busy despite taking the work with me. Which meant on Monday, after getting back on Sunday lunchtime I had to do it all. I misjudged how long it would take me, I had two law assignments to finish but I had done the majority of them so didn’t think it would take me long. Well that was a mistake, I spent nearly 10 hours completing them on Monday, not good for someone with chronic pain, however I incorporated lots of breaks and mindfulness so that I wasn’t just sat there for 10 hours working. After having to re write my research report twice to make sure it was within the word limit, I had both parts of the assignments done and felt rather pleased with myself that they were ready to hand in on Wednesday.
It was back to college on Tuesday, I had psychology and we were given our marked research reports back. Personally I didn’t believe mine was very good, but turns out I got a merit which I was pleased about until I saw the breakdown of what sections were what grade and I was one section off getting a distinction overall, so that made me annoyed at myself.
Handed my law assignments in yesterday and my law teacher told us that we are not doing an exam in law now, instead we are doing an alternative assignment worth the same. So that is much better for me and my rubbish memory. Have also handed in all my study skills work and just have to complete the mock interview next Wednesday with my course tutor.

I’ve had a busy week, being in Dubai and travelling and all this college work I had to do and attending college as well this week, so I’m pretty exhausted and have gone to be at 8pm two nights running now. I’m giving myself a couple of days break from college work, I don’t have anything that’s pressing just a couple of small homework tasks and some notes to do. Was meant to see my psychologist today but she had to cancel as she wasn’t feeling well, so not seeing her till next week now. I’m in the unusual situation where I’ve got nothing to do all day, but I think I’m going to have a self care day, do some mindfulness, some colouring (which I have just taken up), some reading and hopefully taekwondo training tonight.

Tomorrow I am off up to Surrey with my Mum to stay with her best friend and her family for two nights, which I can’t wait for because I haven’t seen them in ages and will get to see two of my favourite little people (her 12 year old twins), and hopefully her other daughter and son as well!

Saturday me and my Mum are going up to London to meet my new friend and her family. She and her sister both have NDPH, she is 18 and her sister 11. Our Dad’s know each other through work in Dubai and put us in touch. Coincidentally enough before even knowing about this connection or knowing who I was they were readers of The Never Ending Headache, which is crazy to think about. Been in touch with them quite a lot and I’m really looking forward to meeting them all.

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Compassion.

I like to believe I’m a compassionate person, well actually I’m told fairly frequently that I am. I was told as recently as today, by someone who I love a great deal, who I respect and deeply value her opinion and the advice, help and support she gives me. I truly don’t think I would be here today without her, she has talked me round off the edge a number of times and without her I don’t know where I would be. Don’t get me wrong I’ve put in a lot of work to get here, but if I didn’t have her support I don’t think I would have ever been at this stage in my life where I feel pretty okay despite pain.

Yes I’m a compassionate person, I care deeply about other people whether they be family, friends, people I’ve only just met, or people that read my blog. I’ve only spoken to a few of you but if you read my blog then you must have found it for a reason, you must have been searching for something most likely headache related, as that’s what my blog is about. But if you’ve been searching that means you’re looking for help, possibly guidance and most probably to help you feel a little less crazy (you’re not by the way!) and less alone. I hope reading my words help on some level, because that’s an aim. This blog isn’t purely for my own benefit but for yours too. I care deeply about helping people, and it’s what I want to do with my life eventually. I care a heck of a lot about people struggling with anything no matter how big or small it may be.

The problem is, I’m not very compassionate to myself, like at all. I’m just not very nice to myself, I say things to myself I wouldn’t even dream to say to someone else, so why do I tell myself these things, say these not very nice things to myself? What does it achieve? Well the answer is anxiety, anger, disappointment in myself, all negative emotions that aren’t good for my journey with acceptance.

The lovely woman who told me yet again today that I’m very compassionate has also often told me that I’m not very nice to myself and compassionate towards myself. My psychologist has noticed it as well and says I need to develop my inner compassionate mind. When I last saw her she sent me some recordings that will help me develop it more and be maybe just a little nicer to myself. So self-compassion is something I am working on.

I feel like this is probably a problem for a lot of people in chronic pain, are you self-compassionate? Or are you like me who tells myself things like I’m rubbish, no good at anything, can’t achieve anything, that I’m stupid, that I’m unworthy, that I deserve pain when in fact I’m not any those things at all. I am good at things, I can achieve things, I’m not stupid and I don’t deserve pain; however that is what I’ve got and I’m learning to accept that. I have high expectations of myself and am a bit of a perfectionist, nothing I ever do is good enough for my standards and it’s a bit of a problem. Even if I achieve something there is always a voice in the back of my head that I should have done better than I did and that voice needs to go.

I know I need to be more self-compassionate but I’ve recognised that I need to improve on this area of my life so now I can begin to take control over it.

A big achievement.

After the horribly stressful week I had last week, this week has been good.

Firstly I went into college on Tuesday for psychology and my teacher said she was going to hand back our first graded assignment which gives us credits to be able to get into university on, this assignment was a research plan. However she said that not everyone had passed it, me being me who has absolutely zero confidence in my own abilities sat there convinced I had failed. She handed them back and to my absolute surprise I got a distinction (the highest mark you can get), I went into a slight state of shock because I just couldn’t believe it. I texted my Mum and she said that I underestimated myself which is clearly true. After the lesson I then went to my skills development appointment and the woman I see said she thinks I’m a bit too clever for my course which was also a shock because most of the time I feel very dumb and like my brain doesn’t work properly, and I am not entirely sure I believe her on that one. However I seem to keep being proven wrong about that clearly.
Showed my law teacher on Wednesday what I had done so far of my assignment and he said that so far it was good and well written and gave me some tips on how to improve it to hopefully get a distinction.

It has kind of given me a bit of confidence in myself which is good because I have literally zero of that, and it has also given me a bit of confidence in psychology because I worrying I wouldn’t be any good at it at university. I’m proud of myself for getting a distinction, I really wasn’t expecting it but I’m thrilled about it. For me it is such a huge achievement considering how I was this time last year and how I thought I was doomed to stay the rest of my life in bed miserable and in pain living off my parents. I can do this and I can achieve things despite pain!

My sister also arrived yesterday which has been really nice, I haven’t laughed so much since the last time she was here, she is really quite hilarious. I have now got a week off college for half term though I’ve got a fair bit of work to do. I’m off to Dubai on Tuesday for 4 full days. Haven’t got much planned other than seeing one of my favourite people on Thursday. My Dad also got some free corporate tickets to the Dubai races and asked me to go with him on Thursday night so that should also be good. Am looking forward to going there for a few days it will be a nice break.

Small achievements.

Today I combated some of my stress and actually had a pretty okay day. I have been feeling incredibly stressed over the past week, everything was getting on top of me and I had no clue how to de-stress and do everything I needed to do.

Yesterday I went into college firstly to attempt to do some work in the inspiration room and secondly for an appointment with my law teacher to discuss my assignment. I sat in the inspiration room for 3 hours staring at my laptop getting more and more stressed by the minute. After almost 3 hours I went to the nurse so I could inject my lunchtime medication and told her how stressed I was, so she let me lie down in the nurses room for half an hour before my appointment with my law teacher. I did some mindfulness whilst I was lying down but was still feeling incredibly stressed, anxious and on edge. I then went to see my law teacher and without me even having to tell him I was stressed he asked me if I was stressed and/or anxious, he could clearly tell. I told him both and that I hadn’t decided on a topic for my assignment that everything was getting too much and I don’t know what to do and how to handle everything. So he said he would decide on an area for me to do my assignment so that I didn’t have to make the decision myself which was clearly causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. He then went through possible research questions for the topic and what I needed to include. The appointment with him was incredibly helpful, and we talked about some of my issues with pain and depression. I left the appointment feeling like a bit of the weight on my shoulders had been lifted because I now had an area to focus on for my assignment, though still stressed about actually writing the assignment itself. My law teacher said he wants to see as much as I can get done by Wednesday in the lesson, which is good because I work well to deadlines.

Today I woke up from a not very good nights sleep, but decided to take a trip out to town for some coffee and breakfast, I took my iPad with me and some notes for my assignment. Sat down in the coffee shop put my headphones in and listened to some Taylor Swift (a personal favourite of mine) to block out the noise of everyone around me. I then set to work on typing some notes for my research project plan and got a fair bit done before I decided to go home. It was a nice morning and I really enjoyed some time by myself listening to some music and doing something productive.
After getting home I saw down with my laptop and all my notes and set to work on properly typing up my research plan and also my research project. Each has to be 1000 words, and I actually got loads done, had quite a few breaks because I need to pace myself, but I managed to complete 500 words of the plan and 800 words of the project.

I’m really pleased and proud of myself for actually getting a lot of the assignments done despite how stressed I am feeling. So that is quite an achievement for me, all be it only something small. Today was quite a good day and the pain isn’t too horrible, did lots of mindfulness as well throughout the day which was good.
I have work and Tae Kwon-Do training tomorrow, so I probably won’t do any more of it tomorrow, but Monday I hope to do some more and have it nearly completed by Wednesdays lesson where my law teacher can look at it and give me some feedback.

Stressed.

Saying I’m stressed would be an understatement, I’m beyond stressed so much so I had a bit of a breakdown last night to my mum and was in floods of tears. I very rarely cry, often I feel like crying about things but the tears never seem to come. However when I do very occasionally cry it’s because something is so overwhelming, and I need to make a change because something is seriously up.

I’ve been trying really hard over the past week and a half to put things in place in order to try and feel better and help my depression. My pain management techniques, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation etc etc. That part was going okay, and I started to enjoy and look forward to my mindfulness sessions each day and I started to feel a bit more positive about everything. However college work kind of took a back burner, I’m unsure of how to manage everything in my life, how to do all my pain management and all that involves and attend college and get the work done outside of college. I don’t know how to do it all. I want to feel better and that’s a priority but how do I do all that and college work, I feel like I can’t do it all and I am so stressed about it. I also find it extremely difficult to get work done outside of college as well, pain gets in the way and I don’t feel able to do any of it most of the time, and I’m so focused on trying to get better depression wise that I’m finding it difficult to manage everything else I have to do.

I have a mountain of college work that needs to be done but how do I manage it all effectively with incorporating pain management; meditation, relaxation, pacing, self care etc etc. I just don’t feel able to do it all.
Yesterday I had college, I had already emailed my teacher to tell her I hadn’t been able to do the homework, it was an issue of priorities. I hadn’t been able to get it done in the two weeks we were given to do it because of the pain, it came to the day before and I still hadn’t done it and the pain was bad yet again. It was either push myself to do the 1000 word homework and not be able to attend the lesson the next day because of the pain or not do the homework and attend the lesson. My teacher said it was fine to extend the deadline so I had an evening of rest and managed to attend the lesson yesterday. Not only do I have the homework on my mind that needs to be done, I have two law assignments to do by the 25th of this month and I still haven’t decided on a topic to do them on, so I have that hanging over me as well.
It doesn’t seem like a lot but when you consider that this time last year I was doing nothing and bed bound the majority of time, it’s a lot! Yesterday I was in the lesson and I was so stressed about the amount of work I have hanging over my head and the fact that the pain is bad I left the lesson early and went home. Where I eventually ended up having a breakdown to my mum and was in floods of tears.
Today I had law at college, still stressed about everything but made it through the lesson, however it was mostly just our teacher talking to us about cases for assignment topics and not much work was involved. Was then meant to have a one on one with my teacher about our assignment but time ran out before he could get to me.
I then had my weekly appointment with a lovely woman who listens to how I’ve been each week and tries to support me in any way she can. I told her I was extremely stressed about all this and she suggested speaking to my teachers first and also coming into college on a Friday to try and do some work in the inspiration room which she runs for select people who need a quiet place to escape or work. So I’m going to try and do that on Friday, I also have an appointment in the afternoon with my law teacher to discuss my assignment and my difficulties. Today when I got home I emailed my psychology teacher as well to tell her about the current issues I’m having with all this, she knows some and that I’m sick etc etc. But she emailed back a nice email saying she understands my dilemma, that she wishes there was something she could do to help, that I am doing well and meeting deadlines better than a lot of other people in my class and that I have potential; which was nice to hear. She said that if there was anything she could do to help just to let her know, and not to worry too much about deadlines or leaving class because she is fine with it and understands the reasons behind it. So that was okay.

I’m still feeling very stressed and not sure what to do. I can’t quit because that is failure and I can’t deal with anymore of that; I have to do this, I need to achieve and I need to be able to do something meaningful, I need purpose.

The issue is that last spring/summer when I managed to get myself to a better place I had little to no demands, I could focus all my time and energy on getting to a better place. But this time although I know that I can do it because I’ve done it before, I have college to keep up with and focus on as well and it’s proving to be very difficult and stressful and I’m not entirely sure what to do or how to cope with it all.

3rd place in 40th Anniversary South West of England Tae Kwon-Do Championships!

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Yesterday I competed in the 40th Anniversary South West of England Tae Kwon-Do Championships. It was a great day spent with quite a few people from my club and hundreds of people from the South West of England who were competing. Supporting everyone and competing was a fantastic experience to be part of!

I competed first in patterns, where I got a respectable score, though not good enough to place. However I was pleased with my score and that I didn’t make any mistakes on my pattern despite being very nervous. I then did a team event with my instructor and two others from my club, unfortunately we didn’t win, but it was great to be part of the team.
Then it was my individual sparring event, and I am pleased to announce that I came 3rd!!! Though I did take a cracking kick to the eye in my last fight, was a bit shaken up but pulled myself together and continued with the fight and held my own. However unfortunately the girl I was fighting was incredibly good, a lot better than me and she won. Though I still took 3rd place and was over the moon.

I went to this competition not expecting to place in anything, so I was very surprised and happy to have taken away 3rd place, even have a nice shiny bronze medal to show for it, as you can see from the photo! To me it was just an achievement to enter a competition despite chronic pain and illness, so to come away with 3rd place is beyond amazing to me.

However due to the kick to my eye I am now in a lot of pain. My eye obviously hurts a lot and is bruised and swollen now and it seems to have made an impact on my headache which is now raging. But you know what, it was worth it!