Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Something I Haven’t Told You Yet and What I Have Achieved on This Journey So Far

I started this blog on New Year’s Day to chart the changes I want to make in my life this year.

I have many reasons to make changes. I suffer with depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I have also been dealing with a serious fear of judgement.

This post will update you on how I am doing with those changes and also let you know something I haven't shared yet.

The Best Version Of Kelly

It is obvious I had reason to make changes but why now? This is the bit I haven’t shared on here yet and I now feel comfortable to do so. In August and September last year I had a dreadful two months. I was under immense stress, my CFS, depression and anxiety had all badly flared. I felt most of the time that rather than living I was simply surviving. I would get up and go to work, come home and as soon as my husband was in I would go to bed exhausted and stay there until the next morning. As a result, since October I have been signed off work sick.

I didn’t share this before as it felt unprofessional but also, I was afraid of the stigma attached to people being off work due to mental health issues. As a society, we seem so quick to judge those who feel unable to work for an extended period so I hid it from you and from many of my friends and family too.

That isn’t right though as through this blog I hope to do my small part in breaking down these stigmas.

For the first three months that I was off work I felt bamboozled. I just needed to readjust, take care of myself and find a manageable balance in life again.


The Best Version Of Kelly

Then in January I decided I had to take more control back and make changes to improve my health and life in the short and long term. Hence the timing for starting my blog and starting my journey to be the best version of myself.

I guessed the journey would take a year. I realised the other day I am now a third of the way through that year. I immediately did my usual thing of being negative and I was mentally berating myself for not having made any progress on my journey. Then I challenged those thoughts. (My therapist would be so proud!)

Seriously though, of course I have made progress! I am going to split my journey into areas and share the progress I have made in each area. This will be a great boost for me and hopefully will be of interest to all of you.

I am going to also link below my previous posts most related to this, if you haven’t read them please do as they will give you a far greater insight.

Health

I am currently going through a mostly ok phase with my CFS, depression and anxiety. Ok to me may be different to ok to you. My version of what ok feels like has had to be amended as I have realised it’s not currently realistic to function at my previous level of ok. That said my conditions are currently overall manageable.

I started to worry this would make my posts boring! Whilst I am sure no one wants to see my health deteriorate again I feel you also want to hear about the tough times as it raises awareness and helps others to share too. Of course, I will continue to talk about my past and present. As for the future, I am sure I will experience struggles again with all my health issues, such is the nature of them and hopefully I will find writing when that happens helps.


The Best Version Of Kelly

The one area I haven’t yet written about in much detail is my depression. I fully intend to I just also know this is going to be the hardest and most personal content to put out there.

Diet

Whilst I still ‘cheat’ and often say in my weekly diaries I am not doing great I think I am doing myself a disservice. Compared to eighteen months ago I eat amazingly well. Yes, there is room for improvement but this is a journey and not an overnight change.

Exercise

As with my diet, I often sell myself short by saying I don’t do enough exercise. The point is that I am doing a lot more than I was four months ago and for now that is enough. It’s also wonderful that I am managing to do it without experiencing a flare up of my CFS symptoms.

Compared to most people my exercise is frankly next to nothing but for me it’s progress and that’s what counts here.


The Best Version Of Kelly

Stress Management

This an area I have yet to start working on. I have ideas of how to do this. I want to consider adult yoga (I currently do a class with the kids). I want to learn about mindfulness and meditation.

I am not going to beat myself up about not tackling one area though and I still have eight months to go anyway!

(Ok, until yesterday I was beating myself up about it but no more!)


Fear of Judgement

This one has its own sub categories!


Social / Public Events

This is one area I am doing amazingly well in, I almost don’t recognise myself!

I have appeared on BBC radio Leicester twice. I have been to several blogger events, some of which I went to alone and in other cities. I have also signed up to walk this year’s race for life pretty mudder race (yes walk!)


The Best Version Of Kelly


These are all huge achievements and all things my fear of judgement would have never allowed me to do in the past.

Each time I say yes instead of no I get stronger. Just four months ago I wouldn’t have believed any of this possible.


Fashion

My fears also prevented me from enjoying fashion. I am now making far more effort to do so. I am a regular in River Island, New Look and Topshop, before I would have felt too self-conscious and ‘old’ to go in them. 

I don’t get to indulge as often as I’d like and I still spend most days in my old faithful outfits but when I do shop I am pushing my boundaries and I love it!


The Best Version Of Kelly

Make Up

For years make up felt like a ball and chain to me. I couldn’t leave the house without it yet also couldn’t bring myself to wear anything that didn’t look natural.

Now I have much more freedom. I can go whole days without any at all and go out with eyeshadows and lipstick on without feeling I look like a clown!

Seriously, I am enjoying my make up when I use it now as it’s a choice and a joy rather than a necessity.

Driving

See my post on this one here.

I haven’t made any more progress since that day but haven’t gone backwards either!


The Best Version Of Kelly

In summary, I have made heaps of progress and I was an idiot for thinking I hadn’t. I'm a tiger!!

Next time you are being hard on yourself imagine how you’d reassure a friend in the same position, we’re much kinder and more generous to friends than we are to ourselves and looking at things that way will help you be more rational.

Thank you for reading.

Kelly x

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6 comments

  1. Hi Kelly, thank you for sharing your story, I think you are very brave. I write a blog too which has been very helpful in distracting me while dealing with my mental and physical health problems. I am not as brave and all I can say today is that I am on the second day of a phased return to work process. I live in fear of it all falling apart too and the implications . Your honesty is truly inspiring ,
    thank you ,
    J

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  2. What a brilliantly brave post! It sounds to me like you're doing fabulously x

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  3. You have done so well for first of all admitting that you needed some help and second of all making such progress. It is difficult to speak up and I am going to be writing something similar... if I can put it into words. We all need to speak up to stop the stigma around mental health and make it normal to not be ok and to ok to say this. We are far too proud as a country and change is needed. Good luck with the rest of your journey xx

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  4. You've made so much progress so far this year already it's amazing! Be proud of yourself for opening up and being honest about it. It's time the social stigma about mental illness is stopped. I can't even begin to imagine what it was Ike for you. I get anxious about going to new places especially to things like blogger events but I wouldn't consider myself as having anxiety. Added to that the CFS as well. You're doing fantastic (in my opinion) xxx

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  5. I think you are doing brilliantly. Writing is a great way to sort out your head and put everything into perspective. It helps stop you turning everything over because you wrote it down. Even when you 'lie' and say it's all fine, you can see it. I read back through my posts and I see how far I have come, no matter what I was trying to say on the screen x

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  6. Such an a honest and personal account of your everyday struggles which is really inspirational. I have MS and struggle with fatigue and have to work hard to manage my anxiety too so I understand how difficult life can be sometimes. I've only just come across your blog but I'll definitely be following you now. Congratulations on everything you have achieved so far, you are doing really well!

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