Friday, 2 February 2018

I WANNA SAUSAGE ROLL ALL NIGHT (AND PARTY EVERY DAY)



I have to eat a sausage roll today and I'm freaking right the fuck out.

Frequent readers of this blog will probably know (because I don’t stop banging on about it), since my weight loss surgery, I’ve developed a fear of some foods.  I’m seeing a psychologist and things have been going great, until now.  My anxiety is increasing with the thought of having to eat this pissing sausage roll… and I know how much of a hardship it sounds, I’ve already had people say ‘I’ll do it for you’, and yes it does make me smile the 93rd time I hear it, part of me is thinking ‘if you could please, that’d be ace.’

I’ve been rather jolly and joking about the fact that I am having to eat a sausage roll in a medical setting, but as the day draws closer, I’m not finding it quite so funny

My psychologist and me are working using something called Graded Exposure Therapy (minds OUT of the gutter please).  So far we’ve ranked the foods I’m scared of hierarchically with the most feared (bread/pizza/doughnuts) at the top of the list and the least feared (pastry) at the bottom and all the stages (fruit/veg, rice, pasta etc.) in between.  I’d been so blasé with the psychologist about it, I thought I’d be fine, but now as the day draws ever near (I’d convinced myself it was actually NEXT Friday) the familiar anxiety beats kick in; racing thoughts, palpitations, inability to sit still, fidgeting.  They’re not as pronounced as they once were, and if I can’t sleep, my brain STILL makes me recite the cooking in prison scene from Goodfellas.  So we’ll see what 2pm holds, I guess.

In other news, I’ve been back at work now for three weeks (two weeks of half days, almost one of full) and I’ve gotten on okay (other than a bit of a blip last week when on top of all the changes made in my absence –staff changes, management changes etc. – I had a bit of a kick off and almost left because of another change that they dropped on me).  It’s good to be back in a routine, to have something to get up and go out for.  My colleagues have all been brilliant too, trying to compliment me on my weight loss (I don’t take compliments well so I try to fire back a self-derogatory remark because it’s an automatic defence mechanism I’ve developed over my life), asking how I’m getting on and genuinely giving a shit about me and the state of my mental health which is extremely encouraging.  Some people are scared to discuss mental health at work, but I absolutely advocate it.  A simple ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘Are you okay?’ could make the world of difference.

TL:DR?  SAUSAGE FUCKING ROLLS



Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Return of the Twat

So gang, that's it...no more sitting in my pyjamas all day, lusting over Gordon Ramsay or getting enraged at Jeremy Kyle...my return to work is IMMINENT.

Readers of this blog will know that following my gastric sleeve surgery, my brain went a bit (well, a LOT) wrong and I effectively had a bit of a breakdown.  I've been off work since July 2017, moping, crying, not being able to eat etc.  I cried out for psychological input and thankfully I am now receiving some therapy from one of the bariatric psychologists at the hospital.  We're still tinkering and working on the plan that will hopefully rid me of my phobias surrounding food and vomiting, and we're also going to do work on my anxiety.

Blogging has really helped me through this period in my life.  I genuinely hadn't expected to have a meltdown surrounding my surgery, didn't even consider it, let alone develop food phobias that have effectively put me on the eating disorders spectrum (according to my GP anyway).

I'm always very honest and open in my blog; I wear my heart on my sleeve and (just to use another old cliche) my life is pretty much an open book.  I had to blog for the sake of my sanity.  It's cathartic for me to do so.

But, yes, back to work on Friday 12 Jan.  It's a phased return so I should be back to full duties the first week of February or so.  Of course I'm anxious about going back, the team has changed significantly (three members of staff resigned, one was dismissed), leaving the office resembling the Mary Celeste.  But one thing I know I can do is to only do the work I can, I shan't be stressing myself out about work because that way another breakdown lies.  I've learned to leave work at work (and I know I'm lucky to be in a position where I can do just that).  I have to look out for ME now, I'm quite good at neglecting me and focussing on others or other things, but if I don't look out for me now, then who else will?  That isn't to say that the support I've received over these six months hasn't been phenomenal with special thanks going to David, my mam and the rest of the family and of course my friends.  But I know the signs of my mental health going down and so I must keep an eye on that and I'm the best person to do that (I think anyway).

To assist my return to work, I've written an email to my manager and asked her to disseminate it to the department.  Essentially it's a polite request that folk don't ask me about my surgery or how much weight I've lost (yes, I know I've been blogging about it, but that's different in so far as the readers of this blog won't be all up in my grill asking me if I can't eat cakes anymore or why I'm frightened of pasta).  If I want people to know, I'll tell them.  This is purely an exercise in self preservation.

I'm so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life (in my real life and the internet world) who have been so caring and although I realise my fears surrounding food and vomiting are difficult to understand, thanks for not being dicks about it.  You've all showed me some support in some way or another and that means the absolute world to me. 

I'll continue blogging about stuff, especially as my BMI is low enough for us to begin IVF (have to wait til May for another appointment and there'll be discussion surrounding whether my innards have healed well enough etc.) but I'm actually quite hopeful, and I try to not be hopeful for anything because I tend to get let down (eternal pessimist, just call me Eeyore) but maybe this will be a Good Year.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tara Court is feeling (slightly) better.

Oh hi.

I thought I've not filled people's FB and Twitter timelines with my banging on about mental health, weight loss, fertility problems and other such matters, so you lucky people, I'm doing a blog.

After asking for it in August 2017, I FINALLY got my bariatric psychology appointment through and it took place on Tuesday 5 Dec.  It went pretty well, with me opening up about my food phobias and my fear of vomiting, how I'm perceived by others (especially when I'm out or when I eventually go back to work), and my fear that I've begun drinking too much.

The psychologist sat and listened, didn't judge (obviously) and suggested that I see him again in two weeks so we can begin to formulate a plan of action which will include graduated exposure therapy (I know, the title of it sounds a bit seaside postcard).  I came away relatively happy.

Prior to seeing him, I saw the occupational health psychologist, who also sat and listened and didn't judge and was supposed to pass her notes on me to the new guy but must have forgotten to.  Obviously, her input is to assist in a return to work.  I'd said from the very beginning that all I wanted was to talk to someone in the bariatric service; a specialised psychologist who understands why people develop food phobias, why people don't eat until the hunger is gnawing at them, why people promise that they'll have some food when they've finished doing a long task (p.s. those things relate to me, though that last one is a new one that I want to get sorted out ASAP).

So I saw my GP today and she has suggested that my phased return to work take place in January, following my second appointment with the psychologist; that way, if something freaks me out in the next session or stays with me and I can't process it, I have time over the Christmas period to work through it and process it without being thrown back into work.  I'm happy with that.

Also of note, is that we had a fertility appointment the other week which was fairly positive.  My BMI needs to be 35 or below before they begin treatment and I'm pretty much there.  What with having abdominal surgery though, they can't actually do anything until maybe a year post surgery which will take us to July.  My insides need to heal.  I'm very aware of my age and so was the consultant who said that a) we're already funded for a round of IVF and b) he'll bring out case up with the head of department because our case is such a rare one.  We have another appointment in May and I guess we'll find out what's going to happen then.  I initially felt positive following that appointment, but I'm a natural pessimist so we'll have to see what happens.

My sleep pattern is still way off, with lying awake for hours trying to nod off whilst simultaneously reciting the whole of Goodfellas in my head (it's not as much fun as it sounds), but all in all, I am feeling better, more positive...relatively happy with my weight loss (the dietician keeps telling me I'm doing brilliantly but I think I could have and should have lost more...). 

My folks are concerned that I'm losing weight too quickly, but as I explained, post surgery is when the weight falls off because you have to get used to new eating patterns and habits (something I haven't really done yet - but I will).  My hair loss continues to concern me to the point where I've considered shaving it all off for a charity and beginning again.  People tell me that they can't see a difference, but I can feel a difference and when I wash my hair and handfuls of my hair comes out, it makes me feel like shit.  I KNOW it'll grow back, but my hair is the thing that defines me, I really wish it wasn't falling out.


And there I go, starting a blog fairly positively, and finishing on a negative.  Typical me, I guess.  

TL:DR; I'm doing better now, thanks.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Snapshots

I've just come back from a much needed break away with my parents and my niece, Gabby.  My folks thought I could do with the break, so they booked us to go to Amsterdam (comments about weed and sex workers are not welcome).

I felt guilty going away, I mean I'm still off sick from work with mental health issues (and issues surrounding food). I felt worried for what people would think when they saw my Facebook updates and photos.  There are a few snapshots where I look happy and you wouldn't guess that I'm battling with low self esteem, self hatred and depression.  Speaking to a friend, I confided my worries but I also said that snapshots are just that, a snap, a moment in time and I'm great
at faking a smile.
Faking it?

I take and post a lot of selfies, my reason for this is that I can control how I look, if my smile looks okay, my usually tend to be close mouthed because when I smile with my teeth, my top lip disappears and I look even more ridiculous.  And I tend to just post my face because, even though I am losing weight (too slowly for my liking, and I'm still convinced I'm not losing enough despite having been told that my weight loss is fine and in fact ahead of where I should be) I don't want people seeing the mess that I am.

The holiday was wonderful, and a lot of those smiles in my photographs are genuine, but they're just a snapshot where it looks like I haven't a care in the world, where I'm not concerned with what I can and can't eat (what's SAFE in my mind for me to eat and not eat), where I don't feel like an enormous whale, an embarrassment for my family and friends to be seen with...
Yes, I am scared of bread.

I'm still awaiting a psychology appointment through the bariatric service (thanks Tory bastards).  I still need help, discussing with my GP my food phobia, when I said something about not technically
being an eating disorder, she said that there's a spectrum of eating disorders and I'm on there... Great.  Imagine you went from not caring what you put in your mouth to having to check everything, to look at the protein content of everything, so I eat virtually the same things (nuts, hummus, cracker breads, king prawns, eggs, mash)  - these are my 'Safe Foods'.

I'm hanging in there, still not sleeping brilliantly, lying in bed because there's no reason to get up, same with showering...I know that's disgusting but I'm still pretty much 'Meh, what's the point'. Thanks depression, you wanker.

I know my friends and family are all supportive and love me, and I know that when I write blog posts like this, I upset them.  I'm sorry for that, I have to write down my thoughts and feelings, it helps me and God knows I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Today's Forecast Calls for Blue Skies

Hi, me again. It's been almost two months since my weight loss surgery, so I thought I'd
update you all on how I've been getting on.

It hasn't been all plain sailing as I alluded to in my previous post.  Physically it's been tough with delightful things such as constipation and crippling pain from that, but mentally...it's been, and is continuing to be, absolute hell.

I mentioned in my last blog that I didn't think I was losing as much weight as I should be; that has continued along with some new issues.  I've developed a food phobia (which is as lovely as you'd expect) coupled with a newly found fear of vomiting (if you eat too quickly or don't chew the food enough, this makes you sick.) 

So I'm scared to eat 'new' things (things I was eating before the surgery).  I have established things that I eat but I'm literally just sticking to Weetabix, beans, cheese, tuna and potatoes.  And not a great deal of any of those things.  I'm scared I'm not eating enough, but then I know if I eat too much, I'll get a pain in my chest or stretch my sleeve, which I really don't want to happen).

I'd been passing the surgery off as no biggie, because it wasn't open surgery, it was being done via a laparoscopy.  I genuinely, somewhat naïvely, didn't think it was going to be as big a deal as it was.  I mean, I was only having 75% of my stomach removed... how hard could it be?? What an idiot I am.  I'm sort of coming to terms with the fact it WAS actually major surgery. 

I've been dealing with feeling like I've made a massive mistake, due to the pain my body and brain have been and are still going through.  Can't go back though, they can't rebuild me...maybe they could shove a load of sausage casings back in and see how that goes...

So I'm trying to cope with that, on top of feelings of utter misery and inflicting misery on David and my family and friends.  I'm no fun to be around, I'm generally usually down, crying at the drop of a hat, and my old arch nemesis of Low Self Esteem is popping her head in, telling me that I'm failing at weight loss, how I'm pretty much a failure in life anyway because I can't have children and that how that even if I get to the desired weight for IVF, it won't work because I don't deserve it.  I don't deserve to be happy, I don't deserve to have a child.  She tells me that David will probably leave me when the IVF fails because I can't do anything right in life.  Happy cheery stuff like that.

I've told one of the bariatric nurses my concerns, and she's referred me to psychology...but I don't know when I'll get an appointment (cut backs to mental health services, thanks you Tory cunts).  I know I need help, I've identified my problems, I've told my GP and she was going to try to expedite my psychology appointment.  Speaking to my GP helped a bit, she signed me off for another four weeks, so we'll see how that all goes.  I've had to up my antidepressants again (as a sort of a sticking plaster until my psych appointment).

I'm so lucky to have David and my family and all my friends...and even the cats - Aslan is an excellent nurse (well okay maybe not but he's always good for cuddles).  And writing helps me out a lot.  I know a lot of this might seem extreme but I have to be honest about how I've been feeling since surgery.

I'll get there, I know I will.  I'm loved and adored and well cared for.  And I'll be a mother one day, I know this too.  I just need to see more blue skies than grey.


Friday, 28 July 2017

MY weight loss surgery.

My stomach is not made of felt.
|It is now, though, the size of a banana
So I'm 12 days post surgery and much to my annoyance, I'm not yet a size six... this is, quite frankly, a DISGRACE.

But seriously, I am 12 days post surgery and I'm still trying to get my head around the significant change that I chose to make to my life (with assistance from our ever brilliant NHS). I had a sleeve gastrectomy on 16 July. First time having anaesthetic and surgery, and first prolonged stay in hospital since I had meningitis in 1982. I was pretty freaked out by the whole idea of the hospital stay, probably more than the surgery.

I've touched on having weight loss surgery briefly in my blog before. It's something I really hadn't considered before. With my obesity and fertility issues, I was offered the surgery to help with weight loss and then the possible knock on effect from that would be qualifying for IVF.  So I went with it.

It's not as simple as people seem to think, I had to have psychological input before I was approved for the surgery.  And I have a lot of changes to make to my lifestyle.  So I thought I'd write a blog to try to explain a bit about 'my journey' (trust me, I hate that phrase as much as you do, but it's the best way to define it).

This is MY journey, no-one else's.  So to be quite blunt, my opinions are the only ones that matter so therefore:

1. Please don't ask me if I'm hungry, it doesn't help.  I am not a side show circus freak. FYI: ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is produced in the part of the stomach that was removed.

2. In the same way, please don't ask me what I'm eating or if I'm eating.  Quite frankly, that is only the business of me and my dietitian.

3. Keep your expectations of MY weight loss to yourself. I don't want you to tell me that you thought I'd have lost more weight than I have done.  I already have low self esteem so your comments will more than likely hinder my recovery.  

4. Along with physical recovery, I need time for mental recovery too. I have to relearn how to eat (effectively, I'll be relearning how to eat as my friends' baby is learning how to eat, so we can be chow pals).

5. Encouragement is GOOD. If you can encourage me in any way, that would be delightful. If you don't think you can, that's also cool, but I'd ask that you keep your negative comments to yourself please. This can hinder my recovery. 

6. It really isn't 'the easy way out'. As I say, I didn't ask for the surgery, it was offered to me. And I thought long and hard about whether to have it at all. So if you think it's the easy way out, keep that to yourself. Don't tell me eating less and moving more will help me out, I have two underlying health conditions that affect my weight as well as being on antidepressants. So if that's what you want to add to my 'journey', I'd rather you didn't, thanks. I'm well aware people think it's a cheat (including some consultants).  

I am already worrying myself that I haven't lost enough weight in the 12 days since surgery and have already begun branding myself a failure. This is incredibly unhealthy (I am well aware of this) and this way eating disorders lie.  I shall be letting my dietitian and bariatric nurse know how I'm feeling, and they will get me an appointment with the psychologist.   

I have a great support network around me including David, my family and assorted friends and work colleagues.  

So anyway, this blog might be a bit snarky, a bit unfriendly, but I needed to write this because at the moment, I need to concentrate on me and my recovery. If you feel like you need to ask me any of the above, it's probably not going to help me.

Fluffy and over emotional posts will resume soon. 


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Oh! I hugged Mini T!


Hooray for me!  I have been alive for 38 years.  It was my birthday yesterday, I indulged in pork pie and beer (because it was my birthday).  Hooray for me!

Its Mental Health Awareness Week this week, just a week or so after Piss Morgan (I am aware of that typo) complained that too many men are oversharing and should Man Up.  One twitter user replied saying that their brother tried to Man Up, failed and ended up killing himself due to anxiety and depression; he felt he couldn’t talk about it because it’s not manly to share your feelings.  This is the myth that Piss continues to perpetuate, in this day and age where the biggest killer of young men (under the age of 45).  He seems to think it’s not okay to talk about your feelings, because if you do it makes you less of a man.  He then posed the question "Is James Bond not a real man, then?" on Twitter and the internet laughed at him, because that’s all he’s good for.

Regular readers of this blog will have seen my documented struggles with anxiety, depression, incredibly low self-esteem and suicidal ideation.  These aren’t daily feelings (thankfully), and the suicide thing hasn’t reared its head in a long while.  But from time to time, it hits me.  Yesterday whilst out with David for my birthday, he took a photograph of me holding a pint (because it was my birthday).  This might not seem strange, in fact, it’s almost obligatory that he do this on my birthday.  But I hated the photograph.  I look enormous (which I am), like the size of a fully grown manatee.  He posted it to FB because that’s what he does, and soon the compliments flooded in as well as more birthday greetings.  And my dark half came out and she started her up her old game of telling me how shit I look:

‘They don’t really like you’. 

‘They’re just complimenting you because that’s what you do when someone posts a photo of themselves or their significant other on FB’ 

‘They really want to post up the truth, YOUR truth, Tara, and post ‘Sorry Dave, your wife looks like a manatee with a stupid smile where her top lip disappears so it shows all her stupid teeth’.   

Managed to get to the cinema without too much trouble and then finally enclosed my dark half back in her cupboard.  Then, as we left the cinema, (which is situated next to a gym), two blokes came out of the gym, one looked over at me then whispered something to his mate, then they both looked over and openly laughed at me.  And it was definitely not because I’d told them a hilarious joke (You know what I hate about Russian dolls?  They’re so full of themselves ).  So I was made to feel like utter dogshit on my birthday – fair dos, they didn’t know it was my birthday; they didn’t know I have such a low self-opinion but yeah, they made me feel like utter garbage.  David and James, bless them, tried to help by saying ‘forget about them, they’re idiots’ and ‘They don’t matter’ but that’s exactly how anxiety can get you. It’s true, why SHOULD I care that two blokes I don’t even know openly laughed at me?  Because I do.  Because anxiety and my dark half make me.  And I’m finding it difficult to cope at the moment.  Got another birthday night out planned with the gal pals for Saturday.  I hope my dark half fucks off by then.  

If you’re being affected by low mood, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation or any other kind of worrying thoughts or feelings, please do share your thoughts and feelings with others, whether its friends family or MIND or Samaritans, or even contact me through this blog.  Just please don’t suffer alone.   And writing my feelings helps me out so much.  I find it cathartic, which is why there are so many posts on here about mental health.

FUCK Piss Morgan.