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Unread 09-11-2017, 04:25 PM   #1
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Default Learning to live in my body

I'm putting this here because depression is probably my main issue, although do also suffer from GAD and am a master at dissociation - and I may have some Bipolar aspects (still exploring that) and possibly even be somewhere on the high functioning A spectrum (still processing that).

Just over a year ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. This was not exactly a surprise, for several years I had been slowly eating myself into the grave, a complete sugar and comfort food junky, and also in a job that was pretty sedentary and involved lots of seated computer time. Even though at the time my depression was reasonably well managed clearly I was still headed down a self destructive route, just a slower one. I was also taking Mirtazapine, which was having enough effect on my mood for me to manage to stay functioning and most importantly get a decent night's sleep (and also seemed to make my dreams more pleasant) - however this was making my physical health worse as it further reinforced my carbs addiction and messed up my insulin resistance.

After the diagnosis - which was pretty bad btw - I had one of the highest levels of blood glucose (HBA) my doctors had seen and they initially wanted me on insulin although I resisted this - I decided it was a wake up call. I went cold turkey on all sweet foods for several weeks (not even artificial sweeteners or fruit) to prove to myself that I could be in charge, not it, and made some drastic changes to my diet and exercise/activity levels, took up yoga too. It worked and after 9 months I had lost 3 stone and had healthy blood sugars and BMI. However what I had not realised was how this would then have a knock on effect on my mental health. Sorry if this is a bit tldr.

I am 56, and never in my entire life have I had a positive relationship with my body. I think this was why I neglected it for so long. Frankly I hated myself and particularly my body, this is not just an appearance thing but a sense of feeling completely uncomfortable in my body, I wanted to hurt it (and have tried cutting etc before), I have never been comfortable with touch and physical contact, and have never taken care of myself, not even hygiene or clothes (just the bare minimum to be presentable at work). However this new regime of exercise and healthy living was forcing me into a new relationship with my body. I started having to buy new clothes for one thing because all my old stuff didn't fit me anymore. I actually started to get compliments about my appearance at work and for the first time ever to feel the beginnings of wanting to make some effort with how I looked. All of this was having such a positive effect on my mood and self esteem that I decided I was going to slowly come off Mirtazapine as I felt it was the last thing holding me back from overcoming my carbs addiction. So 4 months ago I started reducing the dose, under doctor's guidance, and came off them in late April.

Good idea/bad idea? I'm still working this out. Unfortunately the immediate bad effect was on my sleep. I knew this could happen but it was still really bad, it's like someone had turned on all the lights in my head at night, making it impossible to get to sleep, and even if I did drift off eventually exhausted, staying asleep was even harder. Of course this started to have an impact on my stress levels and mood but I carried on, got the doctor to prescribe me some Zopliclone (he would only give me 10 at a time so I couldn't abuse it) and started trying herbal etc remedies, eventually finding some relief from Melatonin but by the time I got to the summer hols my stability was starting to unravel.

This is getting long - I'll split it into a couple of parts
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Unread 09-11-2017, 05:01 PM   #2
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I don't do holidays well. I'm one of those people who needs an external focus, particularly one where I can see myself having a positive effect on others and where I don't have to brood about myself. One of the ways I have survived over the years I've had depression (which is since my early teens) - and in particular to deal with pretty constant suicidal impulses and panic attacks - has been to use a dissociative strategy. It goes like this - when people depend on me to do something the amount of guilt I would feel about letting them down becomes greater than the bad feelings I have inside about myself. So I have to put my needs to one side and just get on with the job. This is how I managed to be a parent too, I just focused all my self on my daughter, put my own needs to one side and got on with the job of looking after her. tbh I recognise how this got started. I had a suicidal mother, who would almost every day tell us she was going to throw herself in front of a bus or cut herself or something, and actually nearly did that a couple of times in front of me. As a child you learn pretty quickly under such circumstances how to dissociate. I learned hard how to keep my feelings and needs inside, because she couldn't cope with those, they made her ill, and also became an expert at reading her moods and judging how not to cause friction or rock the very fragile boat we were on. tbh I also spent a lot of time away from the house completely - outside in the garden or fields and woods near where I lived. In short I am an expert in swallowing down my own feelings - like some sort of poison pill - in order to focus everything on others. It may have had some negative consequences but it has also kept me alive.

I don't do holidays well then because I don't cope well with having 'me' time. I don't like me time. This summer, because of my healthy living focus I planned very hard to fill my time up everyday with going out walking and cycling. However it's been a very rainy depressing sort of summer, many days I couldn't get out so was stuck in and because of my dropping mood at this point was unable to make use of my time in other ways such as through painting and music which have in the past been useful outlets for my feelings (think pressure cooker valves; I'm something of a human pressure cooker). So my mood has been steadily crumbling this last few weeks. I have had some days in utter despair, in pieces, crying non stop, clumsy - dropping things, knocking things over, forgetting everything, unable to even do the simplest thing like fry an egg, shaking and shivering physically, feeling nauseous, thinking very dark thoughts about self harm, even writing letters, making plans, and every now and then trying to will myself into action to do it. The one thing that always holds me back is my daughter, I could never put her through what I was put through, but it is taking more and more of my energy to hold myself back from that edge. I realised I couldn't do that on my own but have no friends, can't talk to family about this for obvious reasons, so ended up referring myself to the local mental health team and am just waiting for them to get started. But I realise that they will try and get me to go back on the meds, and I feel this time I need to resist this.

Sorry I'm losing the thread a bit, let me come full circle and get back to the point. Learning to live in my body - OK I came to a realisation recently in yoga. I was struggling with my tense, knotty tangle of a body, learning how to balance myself, and it came to me that maybe I am at this point right now for a reason. Not something mystical but just an internal process that started with my new relationship with my body. It's like for the first time I have managed to get my body healed to a point where it is healthy enough for it to need my mind to do the same. This is about balance. I think just as physical pain is your body's way of telling you to stop standing on that nail or whatever it is causing those sensations, so too is psychological pain your minds way of telling you to do something about something in your life; past, present or future, that is causing you harm. In yoga I realised that I can't be in my body easily and need to establish a new relationship with it, but to do that I need to resolve or at least learn to live in a less destructive and dissociative way, with those feelings. While I do recognise that meds may help give me the motivation or some energy, and in no way am I advocating for anyone to give up their meds if they feel they are helping them, for me right now I want try without first because I also worry that in the past they have tended to blunt my feelings and made it harder for me to really deal with them (just as a painkiller may mask an underlying illness). Sometimes you need pain to make you do something about what is causing it. I'm really in a bad place right now but I'm also really starting to think I have an opportunity to learn to live with myself on a new, firmer, footing and that the last few months have taken me to the point that I needed to be at. Maybe I even need to fall to pieces a bit more to put myself back together again?
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Unread 09-11-2017, 05:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Learning to live in my body

I'm sorry you've had a tough time. You have a good way of looking at it. I hope you put all the pieces back again and feel better about everything. Sending big hugs.
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Unread 09-13-2017, 05:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Learning to live in my body

Oh crap after waiting ages to be picked up by the mental health team I got a call today to say I've been referred to a guy - who does CBT. Not happy about either really. Although I'm technically male myself I don't get on with men or interact much with men as a rule and not a fan of the over rated CBT.
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Unread 09-13-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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Unread 09-14-2017, 02:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Learning to live in my body

I think I'm going to have to tell them I don't want a male therapist, just frustrating as this will further delay things and I know I should not be prejudging people but I find it hard to trust men and the fact that he also only does CBT doesn't appeal as I need a more psychodynamic/humanistic and empathic approach (I know CBT inside out anyway and have exhausted its shallows).
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