Sunday, 28 February 2021

Why it's OK to have Bad Days

Recently I had a massive setback- well, what I thought was going to be massive, and because I felt like I had gone so many steps back after making so much progress in the last year, I thought I was back at square one. I was so mad at myself and felt so stupid and weak because it took something so small to undo all my progress, but all I needed to do was take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes it WAS something so small, so why am I giving myself such a hard time for it? We all have bad days, it's totally normal, but that's all it is- a bad DAY. Not a bad WEEK. Not a bad MONTH, it was 24 hours. Tomorrow you will wake up and have the opportunity to start again and decide you are in a good mood, yesterday was a write off and you're not going to let how you felt then affect how you feel now. For now, acknowledge the bad day, accept it as being totally normal and let yourself feel a bit shit for a bit! I feel like this is where I went wrong, I tried to block out the bad day by forcing myself to be productive and busy and happy and social, when it was actually doing much more damage than good. I should have just let myself cry in bed watching Real Housewives for a couple of hours before I felt ready to move past the feeling.

Obviously it's easier said than done, because you can't just turn your emotions off and on as you wish (if this was the case then mine would be all the way off for the rest of eternity!!!!!!), and I know I've touched on it before, but just by writing yourself a to-do list, no matter how comprehensive, to complete the next day gives you something to take your mind being all up in your feelings again, and ticking off each task as you complete it makes you feel productive and you'll go to bed feeling like you've achieved something, as opposed to feeling like a useless lump. (Been there MANY times, my friends!)

Depending on how bad my day was, my list will consist of anything from making my bed, doing a YouTube workout, going for a walk and listening to my audiobook, replying to voice notes from my friends, making cookies (obsessed with the mini egg ones from Jane's Patisserie and they're so easy to make!), and it always ends with writing in my gratitude journal. I find writing 3 good things that happened that day always makes me go to bed feeling somewhat positive.

And remember! Depression looks like this:

And this:

And also like this:

You don't have to be bawling your eyes to be going through a hard time, but please don't suffer in silence. Talk to your friends or family, find something to do that takes your mind off the situation and just remember how far you've come.

On that note, I'm off for a walk in the sun with my best friend and her puppy, feeling very loved and very grateful. What a difference a week makes!

Monday, 22 February 2021

Understanding Self Worth

We all make mistakes, but at what point do we say ok, I've carried this baggage around for way too long now, it doesn't define me and it's time to let go and let me move on. I'm not religious, so what's the atheist version of repenting of your sins? Donating to an animal charity? Walking across hot coals? Helping an old person cross the road? Airing your dirty laundry on a juicy Facebook status? There has to be a point where you need to allow yourself to move past any regrets or mistakes and take a step into your future, without anything weighing you down or making you think you don't deserve nice things or you need to hang your head in shame for eternity. The biggest apology isn't words, it's changed behaviour, so you have to really want to move past it and you will.

I've carried this metaphorical baggage around for 12 months now, and believe me it has been tough! The main coping mechanism I've found that works for me has been crying, then therapy, then crying during therapy. But recently I have a little epiphany to my therapist about my self worth. I've always thought of myself as a confident girl, well, pre-March 2020 I was, probably too confident! I'm loud, I'm always the centre of attention and I love making people laugh, but I've always been that way, and that's why my friends and family love me. I love nice things, I love being spoilt and I love being made to feel special. Who doesn't?! I hear you ask! Well, that actually brings me to the reason I am writing. I didn't realise that over the last year, my self worth had crumbled so much, that there was almost nothing left. I was so desperate for someone to even acknowledge my existence that any contact, albeit short, sharp and argumentative, made me weak at the knees! I was just so thrilled to be at the receiving end of a message- any message!- that I had actually got used to being ignored or blanked. It was a 'speak when your spoken to' situation, and I was actually participating in it because I genuinely thought I was the lucky one. 

Discussing this with my therapist just brought to light what the actual fuck was I doing. I saw a tweet that said 'if they wanted to, they would' and it's so true. And if they don't? They won't! It's a minging pill to swallow but why are you giving the world to someone who isn't giving you a second thought? It's so frustrating because I am so easy to please because I'm so sentimental and I would appreciate a really thoughtful gift over something lavish any day. Even if it's a card with something special written inside (I keep them all!) Even a tub of salted caramel Haagez Daaz cos I bloody love it and it means you've actually thought of me when you've walked past Tesco. (WOW my standards really are rock bottom aren't they!)

I want to be the first person someone thinks of when they wake up and the last thing they think about when they go to sleep. I want to be the first person they wanna tell their good news to. I want to hate doing stuff without that person because I want us to be able to make and treasure the memories together forever. I don't want to feel like I'm bothering someone by texting 'hello' or double tapping more than one photo in a row on Instagram. It's a pretty recent revelation from a therapy session yesterday so no doubt I'll still be wallowing in self pity for quite while longer, but at least I know what I don't want any more. And what do I want? God knows. And it's going to be a while before I went to get serious with someone again, but when I do, I'm going to let myself be really fucking picky and not settle for anything less than someone who is sculpted by angels, worships the ground I walk on, makes me proper belly laugh on a daily basis, doesn't snore and is also God's gift. (Well, my version of it, and my friends will tell me I have very random taste in men.)

Before I sign off, I know self worth isn't just about how boys treat you, and I can do all the sheet masks and light all the candles in the world in the name of #selfcare, but nothing beats the feeling of being in love. With yourself. And I'm determined to get there again eventually.

Monday, 18 January 2021

28 and Feeling Gr8...-er Than Last Year

What a fucking YEAR! I'm not gonna do resolutions because tbf I'm just impressed that I made it through this year alive. (For legal reasons that is a joke) I'm gonna be glad to see the back of it for a couple of pretty obvious reasons. I've never really been a superstitious person, and I don't think 'everything happens for a reason', but I've learnt a lot about myself this year through the mistakes that I've made and the other various things life has thrown at me. From the dreaded break-up, to having to move out of London and back in with my parents up north, to lots of changes at work to getting COVID-19 just after Christmas, I have felt depressed, exhausted and just generally not myself.

My therapist had a Christmas break (who knew they have lives outside of listening to us cry?! Shocking.) so I didn't see her for about 3 weeks. I wish I could tell you it flew, but by the third week I felt like I was having major withdrawals (not exactly rocking in the corner of a dark room with bloodshot eyeballs but I felt myself having more wobbles that usual). I don't want to feel like I depend on her, but I do! And last week's session was a bloody massive relief. I actually had a bit of a laugh with her! It felt so good to just brain-dump all my feelings on her and her to reassure me that I'm not a crazy bitch and that everything I'm feeling is normal and ok and allowed. 'Allowed' being the operative word here because it's so easy to feel like everything your doing is wrong or stupid or a failure.

I know I said in my last blog that I felt like I had turned a corner (lol had I balls), but now I feel like I genuinely have. I feel like I've progressed from speaking purely about the break-up to actually doing some digging into myself and getting to know who the real Claudia is. (My therapist calls it 'my authentic self' which sounds so professional and weird but it's basically just understanding myself better). I was so confused about what I was doing and who I was doing it for, for the tiniest of things e.g writing a tweet. Was I writing it because it was something funny and I wanted to share? Was I writing it because I hoped M would see it and get in touch? Was I writing it because I wanted it to go viral (aka get more than 3 likes off my mates) I was confused about EVERYTHING and I was massively overthinking the stupidest things.

I finished my session feeling like a HUGE weight had been lifted off and I actually felt progress. I felt good! I still had a little cry after but instead of being from stress and sadness it was of pure gratitude for my amazing family, friends and myself for getting me through the last 10 months. I fucking hated people telling me last summer that 'time is a healer' and 'everything will work out in the end' cos I absolutely hate all that cliche bollocks but looking back now I'm a completely different person, and time really has helped! So to anyone else in my position- keep going! I'm not saying I'm totally over it and I will definitely still have my bad days but it really is just a case of concentrating on one step at a time instead of the whole staircase (deffo saw that on one of those cringe manifestation Pinterest quote boards last week but it really resonated with me. Shortly after reading I went and hugged a tree and then lit some incense.)

At the moment of writing this blog (Well, I started it on 30th December but I'm finishing it on 18th Jan), I feel like I'm in a good space. I don't know whether it's because it's just been Christmas but I'm having so many more better days than bad days- I think I had about 10 last month and only 2 this month which is a record! I know me and M won't get back together, and I don't want to either. I'm ready to start 2021 with a fresh start and a clean slate when it comes to relationships. And I'm excited for that first date excited-nerves feeling again!

Now I'm on a roll with the positives, here are a couple other good things that happened this year:

  • I get to see my best friends every week (something that hasn't happened in forever cos usually I only come home a couple of times a year)
  • I paid off all my debts (you can read about that here)
  • I saved a WHOLE HOUSE DEPOSIT! This feels absolutely mental because back in March I was still racking everything up on my credit card and now I could buy a place if I wanna! I mean, I won't lol cos *responsibilities* and I would rather spend it on travelling and making memories, but at least I don't have to worry about money. Well, for the time being anyway.
  • I got a new MacBook! Well, my parents put some money towards it for my Christmas present AND it's only gonna arrive in fucking FEBRUARY but one cracked screen, a rapidly deteriorating battery, an alarming whirring noise if I watch too much Netflix and 6 years later I am finally upgrading my lil baby.
  • I'm moving in with one of my best friends! Move date TBC because the places we've viewed so far look less appealing than Josef Fritzel's cellar but we're optimistic about finding our dream (rental) home in the next few months.