Working On Us – music.

Hi guys! 🙂

It’s week #9 of Beckie’s Working On Us prompts at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

and this week’s topic is music.

Because I already share loads of music with you as part of my song of the day series, and all of it is music I like that has some sort of a beneficial effect on me, this time I decided I’ll only participate in prompt #1.

 

  • Have you ever received music therapy as part of your treatment?  If so, what kind of music was introduced to you? – Maybe not exactly as part of my treatment as such, but there was music therapy at the boarding school for the blind where I was going to, and I did take part in it for some years. Back then I had already a lot of emotional/mental health issues but I only sort of knew that “something’s wrong” and nothing more specific, I didn’t want to know even in a way, and some people in my surroundings also knew about it to some extend, at least what was obvious and visible. I liked music therapy a lot. As far as I can remember, we mostly listened to classical music, some soundtracks or electronic music, but we had some other music too. What I – and all the others who participated – loved the most were relaxations. We’d listen to relaxing music and the music therapist read some guided imagery to us. You could follow it, or just let your mind wander, or not think about anything, or fall asleep, just relax. I was struggling with stuff like racing thoughts at that time and didn’t sleep much at all so that could sometimes be very very helpful. And I loved the sort of exercises when we were listening to a piece of music and had to imagine some sort of situation that it would fit to, or what it represents.
  • Do you listen to music ( if/when) you meditate?  If so, what kind of music do you listen to? – I don’t meditate a lot actually. We’ve recently started to do some Christian meditation – me and my Mum, usually once a month – but I’m not particularly good at meditation, I have real trouble with shutting up my mind and focusing on just one thing at a time. If we do that, we usually don’t listen to music. But, also quite recently, I’ve noticed that my generalised anxiety has worsened which makes some things more difficult for me, like settling down for sleep, I’ve been overthinking and ruminating more since a few months and I still have yet to discover what’s the exact reason if there is any. Anyways, because of that, I started doing some more visualisations and imageries, especially before sleep, as a way to relax and soothe my brain. I’ve always liked that but now as my anxiety has sort of relapsed, I think I should do it more often. And when I do it, I do listen to music. It’s usually some sort of calming, instrumental music, for relaxation and meditation, though I try to be aware of what I’m listening to as much as I can and not listen to new age-y stuff. Also gentle, calm folk is good, or electronic but not too electrified music. I love harp, especially Celtic harp and especially solo, but almost any type of harp will do to me, and I find this instrument extremely soothing. Also Enya’s music calms me a lot. Sometimes I will just listen to nature sounds or such but usually I need a bit more to create some sort of fuller relaxing image in my mind based on the music I’m listening to.
  • If you have never tried music therapy as a treatment, what types of music calm and/or mellow you? – Apart from what I’ve mentioned, it’d be all my music crushes, who always fascinate me, inspire me and are sort of like antidotes for all sorts of negative things, not always necessarily their music calms me down but always gives me positive vibes. Other music I find calming is acoustic pop, some indie, maybe chillout and such but not too jazzy, psychedelic rock/folk, lighter alternative rock…
      • Do you believe music helps everyone and there is really no use for therapy in this regard? – I do believe that music helps everyone, it can help immensely, but it doesn’t mean that music doesn’t have additional therapeutic values which can be used when they are needed, and I believe that it’s beneficial effects are even more pronounced in people with mental illness or mental health issues, even other sorts of chronic illnesses or disabilities. And music has that quality that it helps to release emotions, or express them, you don’t have to be the one who creates the music to be able to express yourself through it, I believe. I think there aren’t many other ways that would be as universally effective in this, and people with mental illness often struggle with releasing their emotions in healthy ways, and that’s why I think it’s mostly so therapeutic for us.

Question of the day.

Hi guys! 🙂

Have you experienced any minor annoyances today?

My answer:

Well, the last couple of weeks hasn’t been particularly easy for me and I’ve had a lot of particularly low depression, and now a lot of anxiety. Overall I guess things aren’t bad, on the outside, so I can’t think of any external minor annoyances that would be major enough to actually mention them, but my brain is not very cooperative at all and all messed up, and I could say that’s what annoys me the most. Just every single thing stresses me out or I overthink it for what feels like ages and can’t stop it.

How about you? 🙂

Working On Us – Mental Health Prompt.

Beckie over at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

has a weekly series on her blog called Working On Us – Mental Health Prompt, and now is week #3 of it, and I thought I’d join in! Here’s the prompt for this week and my answers. If you haven’t participated yet, I encourage you to check out her blog and to do so. 🙂

 

Here are a few coping statements, do you agree or disagree?  Even if your answer is yes or no, please explain:

  1. This situation of sitting on a fully packed train either makes you feel uncomfortable or unpleasant, but I can accept it? – Yes, I can accept it if it’s just the crowd. It will make me feel a bit uncomfortable and anxious and I simply don’t like crowds too but as long as I don’t feel overwhelmed by other stimuli, am generally doing well and don’t have to interact with those people I will deal with it.
  2. Can I ride out the wave of anxiety, or do I feel like I need professional help now? -I suppose I could benefit from the right professional help, as some things can be very difficult for me to deal with and figure out on my own, I’d been in therapy for many years but had to change therapists a year ago and stopped working with a therapist with whom I worked for many years and whom I really trusted. Since then I had two therapists and didn’t have the best experience with either, I’ve also had some experience before I started to work with that therapist whom I trusted so much and it also wasn’t particularly positive. So I feel a bit conflicted here. Part of me wants to reach out and figure out things and get professional help, but part of me is scared of trying once again and feels very sceptical, and there are other things that complicate it slightly. So I’m trying my best to deal with it on my own, with the help of my family, friends and some medication which I take on an as needed basis most of the time.
        1. Do you practice coping skills? If so, what works best for you? – I do. The coping skill that is most important for me is being around my Russian blue cat Misha, cuddling with him and spending time with him, he really helps me. Listening to music always works for me. Distracting myself with a good book. Good quality sleep if I can get it. Comfort food. Writing is the easiest way for me to express myself, so it helps too. Talking to my Mum or reaching out to friends, I think I’m gradually getting better at it, reaching out for support used to be incredibly difficult for me and still oftentimes is, I’ve always felt pretty uncomfortable reaching out to people or telling them about my problems because everyone already has plenty ofthings going on for themselves so I didn’t want to bother them, and I used to strongly disagree that talking about your problems makes things better and easier as many people say and thought that it can actually make things worse, now I can see it does help sometimes although it’s still a challenge for me to talk to people. Doing something funny that makes me laugh helps too, or listening to sounds that soothe me.

Question of the day.

What have you been up to these days, besides work and/or school?

My answer:

Not much really. My Mum’s been on intermittent fast for about a month now, she wants it to be her lifestyle and just a part of her normal life now, and she wants to keep in shape with it. I thought I could do that too, and started on Monday, not because of any dieting or such and not with an intention of doing it like all the time, just kind of detoxicate a bit, maybe a week or two. And I wanted to do it for spiritual reasons as well, I find fasting very helpful for me in a religious way, your mind is clearer, but fasting like fasting, not eating anything for a day or even more, is challenging for me because I start feeling very weak easily and my blood pressure drops even more than normally so that doesn’t make a lot of sense to do that. If you don’t know what intermittent fast is, it’s basically like you set yourself a time period in which you can eat, and have a usually 16-hour break when you don’t eat anything, so for me it was like I finished all the eating at 6 PM and had my first meal at 10 AM. Might sound very difficult and horrible if you are used to eating a lot, or eating very frequently, but it’s easy to get used to it and in my opinion not a big deal. But I didn’t stick to IF for longer than until today morning. It’s steaming hot here, also since Monday, so in a way you eat less because you aren’t as hungry, but I found that if I’m not eating anything at all other than drinking water or teas for so long it gets draining together with the heat and I feel exhausted and really not well. Although maybe it’s just a coincidence. But I thought I’ll wait with it for some time that will be easier for me, if I’ll be still up to it then, it’s not something I have to do or feel like I need to, just out of curiosity mostly.

So as I said it’s very hot here, and I’m not liking it very much. Warm is fine but I hate the heat and am not getting along with it one bit, today I laid in bed with a migraine for most of the day, I still feel lucky it didn’t last longer. My room and Olek’s are particularly roasting hot but I don’t like the idea of moving somewhere else for the time of the heatwave, and living in the living room for example, where it is much calmer but also it’s an open space and everyone walks in and out so I’d go mad. 😀 So we have to share a fan with Olek and I’m seriously considering getting myself an AC and regretting that I didn’t do that in winter when they are not quite as pricey, even though I thought about that last year. 😀 Yeah that’s a dilemma. 😀 I probably will have to if it keeps like this. I hate that I don’t have the energy for doing much at all these days but that’s probably also due to the heat, so I’m really not up to much.

I also feel pretty low and just out of tune overall recently and have a lot of anxiety and ruminate just about anything for ages and can’t stop it which is exhausting. Don’t know why that is, I mean generally if there was such a profession as ruminator I would be a billionaire by now but that thing now is far worse than I am normally and is really stressing me out, I can literally zone out and just think about the worst, gloomiest or scariest things, and I just feel very easily overwhelmed and unsettled and kinda like I’m overreacting emotionally to everything. I’m currently on my period which is certainly not helping things but it’s finishing so I don’t think it’s just that. The positive thing is that my sleep cycle is surprisingly good these days, it’s not normal for me when I’m feeling low and anxious like that. I mean it can take me quite a while to settle for sleep and get out of Ruminland at night but when I do, I sleep without waking and it’s restful sleep. We’ll see what it’ll be like today though, because I slept a lot during the day with the migraine, and mentally didn’t feel like there could be anything better than sleep that I’d feel more up to, but I still feel pretty tired so hope it’ll make me sleep at night.

So, how about you? 🙂

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Scared.

Long rant and unbossoming ahead, so be careful. Also TW for talking about emetophobia and all the obvious related yucky stuff. And about surgeries, and other related, possibly triggering, yucky topics. I will love you if you’ll get through all this, however it’s definitely not something I expect you to do, I just wanted to get things off my brain.

I’m having an absolutely shitty day, with lots of anxiety. I woke up very anxious because I had some gross nightmares for a second night in a row, but hey, that’s not the first time, so I thought I will get out of that murky place in a while. And I probably would, but then other things started happening. Particularly one thing a while ago.

Zofijka’s friend came over. She is, I dunno actually what’s with her, I guess she has some cold or something, anyway she is coughing a lot, but she seemed to be OK besides and they played lively as always and with lots of scream, as always. I was writing an exhaustive email to my pen pal, because I wanted to do it much earlier but haven’t been very well organised so didn’t manage, plus I wanted to distract from my other anxieties doing it. It wasn’t something very private or that I’d have to concentrate a lot on doing so I had the door open, the more that Misha was going in and out all the time.

And suddenly I heard someone running to the bathroom, the one that we have upstairs and that is beside my room. It was Zofijka’s friend. She was choking and then it sounded like she was gagging. So, well, I just froze. I couldn’t do anything, even just turn on the music or close that stupid door or do whatever. This is usually my reaction when I hear someone vomiting. Then Zofijka came to her and they talked silently and after a while they walked out. I don’t know what happened to her, I guess her cough was just so intensive. I know she had a brain tumour and isn’t fully recovered from it and Zofijka was mentioning that she had different things happenign to her as a result of it, but still objectively it didn’t look like something major. But I don’t want to know what it was… Or actually, I want, but I don’t want. That’s the best way I can describe it. But I think I don’t want more than I want. She looked like besides the cough she’s just OK, she played with Zofijka they were running and stuff, but now they just are sitting in Zofijka’s room and watching something. Obviously I wonder whether she has some flu or something and whether it’s contagious. I hate overthinking about such details. I wonder whether she’ll sleep with Zofijka. I generally like when other kids come to Zofijka for night, which may be surprising for you if you know me even just a little bit and how socially freaked I am, but everyone of us likes it, because then we don’t have to pay so much attention to her, she can be really really absorbing and exhausting long term, so it’s nice when another child comes to her for a weekend and she has something to do without either Mum or me having to constantly watch her, keep her company or endure her moodswings. BUt if she’s sick… and Zofijka will catch it too? And these scary bacteria and all will be all around our house… Grrrr!!! Scary!!! But I can’t stop thinking about it. Even if it isn’t anything contagious, I’m still scared, and I feel absolutely helpless about it at the moment.

I’m trying to distract, listening to music, I snuggled with Misha for a while when he wanted, went down to my Mum to smalltalk with her, but realised my Dad came back and they’re arguing so… well, ugh, I was reading blogs, tried to finish that email I started to write which didn’t go that well so I’d have to rewrite it, and now I’m writing here in hopes that if I’ll get it out it won’t feel so scary. More than an hour has passed since that little incident and I still can settle, and it scares me too, because I feel like it’s way too much time to process such a little thing, I don’t even know whether she actually vomited. But I just still feel so shitty, shaky and nauseated and cold and hot and dizzy and my thoughts are racing. Before that happened I planned to eat something soon but now I can’t think about eating anything without getting more nausious. Actually I’m rather surprised it affected me so much because I was doing better with my emetophobia recently. My family were sick in March and I had a lot of stress with it and other stuff combined together and although it WAS very tough, they were sick for a long time, I got through it more smoothly than this thing now. And I also feel like some major mood dip is starting for me, or maybe it’s just my anxiety trying to convince me that just everything is pointless. I took my extra anti-anxiety med but it doesn’t seem to do much.

And that other thing that scared me, not as much as the previous one, but now it all just combined into one scary monster in my brain, was something we talked about with Mum earlier today. Mum woke up having awful muscle cramps in her neck – she has issues with her spine so it’s like normal when she sleeps long in one position, and last night she slept very heavily. ANyway she wanted to make an appointment with her massagist as soon as possible. Then it reminded her that she also wanted to talk to him about me. Because of my feet and my muscle contractions that came up again when I started doing those five Tibetan rites with her. I agreed that she could talk with him about me and that it perhaps would be good if he saw me. Well I actually don’t remember if I had ever told you that I had a surgery for my Achilles tendons when I was 10. The orthopaedist I saw said that the source of the issues with my feet are the Achilles tendons which are to short so they’d have to lengthen them. They told me I would be in plaster for six weeks and how the surgery would look like. But it was all very brief and I didn’t really know what is going to happen, how I imagined it to be was completely different, and it seemed a very distant future. And when it finally happened it happened very suddenly, just the doctor told us out of the blue he can operate me in a week so we can come soon and that was it. So I had this operation, in pretty awful circumstances which I won’t go into now, and then I woke up hearing my Dad and nurses complimenting my new white high boots and how fashionable they are, and then I realised I had plasters allover my legs. Like, the surgery area was my Achilles tendons and maybe some part of my calves, while the plaster was all the way from my tighs to my toes so that I couldn’t even bend my legs. I think it had to shock me. I saw people in plaster before, like my Dad had his leg broken a few times, but I never thought you can be like this – I just though people who have something in plaster walk with crutches and do everything normally, like my Dad did. While I was actually bed bound. I think my parents weren’t prepared for such a big thing either, which only contributed to my insecurity around this. I actually felt much more like I was after some major accident than a minor surgery. Mum asked them to discharge me after the surgery and so they did, but I didn’t feel any better emotionally when I was at home. My existence started to be absolutely monotonous and depressive. This was the same year when I started integration school for a while in hopes it will work out for me, and Zofijka was born, so a lot of changes in other fields as well. I was overwhelmed that all the independence I had to the day of surgery was actually taken from me and I had to ask people for help with literally anything, like my Dad had to carry me to the loo and all that felt incredibly humiliating. I spent most of the time alone with not much to do since I couldn’t even change my position a lot. Mum was very occupied with Zofijka who was a very screamy baby and also we were moving houses and there was a lot of hustle with it so that she was mostly out of the house and then coming back in the evenings. I remember that I felt then that I was never going to recover or things will even get worse, that it will turn out I will have some weird complications or something. I think apart from all the boarding school shit etc. it was one of the things that screwed me up the most. That year many of my worst anxieties were brought to life or exacerbated, and I think then it was exactly when my first full episode of depression started, but it was diagnosed much later. It was then when I first was actively suicidal, and lots of other rubbish happened. When they finally took off the plasters of me I was very unsettled. In fact, when I was going hme after the surgery I was rather numb, but when they took the plasters off I felt like everything suddenly bursted out of me and I was a sobbing mess and noone, including me, could actually figure out why. It wasn’t the end though and the recovery afterwards and all the physio was even more traumatising and scary for me. When I finally recovered, after some time it turned out that the whole thing was actually waste of time and didn’t help much, and also that the plasters didn’t necessarily have to be that huge. I couldn’t recover emotionally for much longer, like even the songs I heard on the radio that I heard back then in the hospital or that were often played when I was after the surgery could bring me back to those feelings and experiences, and I could just feel situations as if they were now, or I had dreams in which it all was starting allover again, or a deep conviction it’s going to happen again, also that depression in which I slipped after the surgery has stayed with me for a long time. But I hardly ever talked with anyone about it and if so, very briefly and not going into my feelings. The only thing I am happy about with that surgery is that at that time I was luckily at home, not at the boarding school, otherwise I would have to go through that hell there, my Mum even told me once that she actually regretted I didn’t have the surgery there because it would be all easier logistically, so well, I should be thankful. Then Mum also brought me to another orthopaedist after a few years, and he told us that actually all that could be done with my feet, should be done when I was a baby and then everything would be OK, but what we could do at that moment was a surgery called Grice-Green’s surgery. I was just frightened, the more that this guy in turn described it all to me with lots of details and it seemed dreadful to me. However, somehow the thing was soon brushed under the carpet and of course I didn’t want to be the one uncovering it. My feet deffects aren’t so serious that they would affect my every day functioning significantly, or be very troublesome to live with, so I didn’t care and still don’t care much about it.

But where I’m going to, is that this massagist my Mum goes to is also a doctor. And it just scares the shit out of me that he could tell me I need another surgery or even anything similar. Of course I’d refuse, I won’t put myself into such things again now when I have the choice, but it all just… I think it triggered me. Because since we talked about it my brain is just flooded with memories. I feel so damn frustrated that I still haven’t got over with it. Like maybe I have a bit, but it still feels scary. I haven’t thought more about all that stuff for a long time now, I didn’t want to, and now it just all goes through my brain without me actually controlling it, like eveb the very details of that time and it makes me wanna scream. My Mum says he won’t do it, that he will just work on my muscles, because in recent years I’ve been getting a lot of contractions and stuff in many of my muscles, but particularly in my legs, and it actually is a bit disturbing for example with my horse riding or now with the Tibetan exercises. But some catastrophising parts of my freaky brain don’t want to believe in it.

Finally she called him and asked him if she could come, and then she went to him, and talked about me. She told me he said that these muscle contractions can also be neurotic, and that he’ll see me tomorrow at 12. I feel soo anxious about it.

Another thing I feel anxious about with this appointment is that I hate strangers touching me, even more if I’m just in my underwear. Mum says he wouldn’t care about it and how I look and stuff, that she was anxious about it too, but he has seen too many people to care about it, and she is sure I will like him. But for me it’s not about him. I don’t care if he’ll think I’m pretty or ugly or if he’ll care about how I look at all. It’s about me. I really really hate when people pay so much close attention to me, yuck.

So yeah, am very anxious today, but will have to get over it somehow. My emetophobia has calmed down a little bit as I’ve been writing and this girl isn’t sleeping with Zofijka, and also nothing very bad couldn’t happen to her, Zofijka would already tell me for sure.

I feel exhausted by all that anxiety, it’s been a while since the last time I can remember it being so intense, so I think the best thing I can do is to just shut off my brain and go to sleep, if I’ll manage, and hope tomorrow will maybe be better. Mum says she feels like having period and actually I would be glad if she would. It isn’t a Christian behaviour to wish someone a period, but then I know Mum would be stranded at home for the first day and we won’t go anywhere. I know I will have to see him and I know it could help me but I feel like right now I’m definitely not prepared. All that anxiety is, I guess, not adequate to the situation, and I would like some more time to digest it. I definitely wouldn’t like to come to him and freak out completely and lose the control over my anxiety, have a panic attack or something, which, in my current state of mind, would be very possible. Or I just hope this appointment will go better than I think it may. I just hope I’m only catastrophising with all this.

OK, sleep well, world. .