Forever Grateful 

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I had person centred counselling for just over a year. It’s just finished this week (09/02/16) due to my counsellor being unable to continue at the centre anymore as she’s studying and going on new placements.

I wanted to write this blog to reflect on my experiences and to let people know what to expect from counselling.


I have had face to face counselling and other therapies in the past but not felt able to open up or its only been very short term and not allowed me enough time to build up rapport and trust with the therapist/counsellor or I’ve felt too ashamed and not at ease.
The reason I sought out this counselling was that for many years, I’ve been sat in the “client’s” chair and passed from pillar to post and told various professionals aspects of my life, I knew what I needed and I knew that I was the best assessor of my own needs.

I am troubled of being abused during childhood by my parents and raped in 2010 by a friend.

I knew I was ready to face these demons but I knew I was going to feel anxious about the counsellor, whether we’d gel and if we did, how it would go and would I have the courage to talk in a face to face setting; differently to me being silent, looking away, not turning up to sessions or not engaging with the therapy/counselling.

I knew I’d feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, like I was being a burden to the counsellor and like she’d find it disturbing what I was opening up about my experiences, but it was a rape and sexual abuse counselling service so I told myself that she would be prepared for what I would bring into the session.

 

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I went into my first session and I was nervous, I did feel anxious, I did need reassurance, I did ask questions and I did feel scared.

But I know that’s natural, it’s nerve wracking taking your driving test or going for a job interview or taking an exam so sitting in a counselling session with a stranger provokes the same feelings inside and causes anxiety, fear and uncertainty.


The counsellor put my mind at ease and answered my questions. She told me there was no rush and that she wasn’t going to think badly of me or judge me and that she’ll always talk to me about everything and if she does have concerns about me, she’ll talk to me about it before discussing it with her supervisor.

That’s the good thing about counselling, it’s confidential and non judgmental.


The counsellor always listened to me, didn’t pressurise me to talk, was very patient, was super caring, warm and kind, didn’t seem freaked out by my emotions, thoughts or experiences, didn’t judge me, didn’t think badly of me or that I was dirty and the way in which she responded to me has made it easier for me to talk about it in the future.

Counselling isn’t about the counsellor giving advice or making suggestions, it’s about listening, giving you time to explore your experiences and painful experiences if that’s why you go to counselling and allowing you space to work through these experiences with the counsellor in a safe environment because ultimately, you are able to make your own decisions and take control of your own life and you are in control, and you have all the answers within yourself.


I learnt about techniques for dissociation such as using your senses – spraying perfume for smell, someone or me rubbing my arm, or feeling the chair or what I’m sat in – touch, looking at things around me which I can see – sight. These things are to bring me back into the present moment.

I also learnt a good technique for dealing with anger and frustration – which involves writing things that are bothering me on paper and ripping it into shreds and screwing it up.


I was able to share my fears, memories, experiences, mental health, physical health, abuse and how I deal with it.

The counsellor was amazing and it helped me enormously as I know I have began the process of unraveling the knots!!

I will be eternally grateful to the counsellor and I will miss her a lot.


Saying goodbye is hard but as my saying goes goodbye for now but not forever!!


If you ever read this remember how amazing you are and I will never forget you!

I will make you proud of me one day – you’ll see!

you are one in a million and a shining star!!!



Thanks for being there for me!!


Good Luck with everything!!

Useful Links

http://www.childline.org – 0800 1111 – open 24/7 – free

http://www.samaritans.org – 116 123 – open 24/7 – free

http://www.youngminds.org.uk

https://www.papyrus-uk.org

http://www.getconnected.org.uk

Contact Us

https://www.survivorsuk.org

https://www.thecalmzone.net

http://www.supportline.org.uk

http://www.thesurvivorstrust.org

 

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Ouch……My back!!! 

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I’ll tell you my story and then I’ll tell you about the condition afterwards. 

  
I started having pains in my neck, shoulder blades and lower back about ten years ago. I know it was then because I remember having them when I was 23 and I had started a particular job at 23. I saw the GP, who said it was probably muscular. A few years later, I was involved in a car accident, a car hit the back of us at force and I had whiplash and I had a really bad neck, shoulders and back which I don’t know if that has aggrevated any pre existing condition or made pain worse. 

  
I’ve also been having migraines and severe headaches since I was about 15 and used to be on painkillers at that time, then years later I was under the care of a neurologist who has prescribed me preventative migraine medication which I  take daily and another migraine tablet that you take at the onset of a migraine but you are limited to about two tablets a week. I must admit the migraines and headaches have dramatically decreased with the medication which I’m thankful for, I did have a brain MRI which came back clear and I was diagnosed with chronic migraine. 

   
I’ve had pains in my legs since I was a child, I used to be told they were growing pains but clearly they’re not as I’m an adult and still get them! I get them down my calves, in my feet, in my groin, in my ankles, pain in my knees, it hurts standing up still for more than a few minutes, I get burning in my feet, I get aching, I get tired. I get cramps, numbness, pins and needles, sometimes I can’t feel my legs. I’ve seen them in biomechanics and she said she’s going to refer me to physiotherapy and that she’s curious to know if all my problems with my legs are connected to my back! 

  
I’ve had a lot of struggling to wee (urinary retention) and the last few days, I’ve been going once a day, sometimes twice. I have said this a few times when I’ve been in hospital and told my gynaecologist, before any of us knew what was going on with my back!

  
I’ve been having a lot of back pain recently, but I don’t like to complain of physical pain at my age. Just feel really embarrassed and ashamed and that there are other things of mine they’re dealing with other than more things! 

  
I had an MRI scan on my pelvis and incidentally they noticed an issue with my back. The gynaecologist rang me to tell me and that he’d referrered me to Orthopaedics. 

  
When I had a follow up with the gynaecologist, he told me I have Spinal AV Malformation. I asked him what it was and he just said its where the arteries and veins are tangled together. 

  
When I saw my GP, She explained that the consultant in oncology and orthapaedics and tumours had suspected I had sarcoma cancer and that a multi disciplinary meeting team (MDT) had taken place and that I don’t have cancer but that it is definitely a Spinal AVM. She said she was going to contact them and tell them how much pain I’m in and  take it from there. 

  
She prescribed co codamol but it wasn’t even touching the pain. I saw her the week after and she put me on tramadol for the pain and she said she could see I was having muscle spasms so prescribed a short course of diazepam as well. I thought maybe the hormone injection had made the pain worse but when I contacted the Endometriosis nurse, she said she’s never known back pain to be a problem, she said muscle pain yes, but not back pain. 

  
I’ve cried, that’s how much pain I’m in and I feel so helpless. I don’t know if the AVM is bleeding and that’s why it’s hurting so much, but I know that the only way to find out if it is bleeding, is to do an MRI scan or CT scan. 

I’ve been referred to a hospital that specialises in spinal problems. They are going to have an MDT meeting and look at my scan and look at my GP’s referral and my symptoms and then contact me about what the next step is. 

  
I’m struggling to clean, to lift, to bend, sometimes it’s difficult and slow pace walking up and down stairs as my legs have seized up or feel ‘strange’ or because my back hurts so much. 

  
I’m so embarrassed writing all this!! 
Anyway that’s my story and now I will put some information that I have retrieved from the Internet about AVM’s and Spinal AVM’s. 

  

 

What is an AVM?

1) A congenital disorder (one present at birth) of blood vessels in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord that is characterized by a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins connected by one or more fistulas (abnormal communications). 
2) An abnormal communication between an artery and vein that may be present at birth or may result from injury or infection. Blood may flow directly from the artery to the vein, bypassing the small vessels where oxygen and tissue nutrients are exchanged. These unusual malformations are often found in the brain and spinal cord, but may occur anywhere in the body. 
Normally, arteries carry blood containing oxygen from the heart to the brain, and veins carry blood with less oxygen away from the brain and back to the heart. When an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) occurs, a tangle of blood vessels directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins.
What is a Spinal AVM?
A Spinal AVM is an Arteriovenous Malformation that is located within, on or around the spinal cord.
What is a Dural Fistula?
An abnormal direct connection (fistula) between a meningeal artery and a meningeal vein or dural venous sinus. (Also known as an arteriovenous fistula)
What are the symptoms of a Spinal AVM?
A lot of the time people don’t have symptoms of a spinal AVM and it’s been known that when there is a bleed within the AVM and the person is in pain or having loss of bowel or urinary motions that is when they may conduct an MRI or CT scan and then notice the person has a spinal AVM. 

Symptoms of a Spinal AVM can be almost anything. The most common symptoms that occur are: numbness, weakness, sensation irregularity, problems with balance, burning or hot sensations, paralysis, headaches and random pains throughout the body. Symptoms can range greatly and can affect your body in ways that you wouldn’t think possible. For example, a Spinal AVM can also affect your bowel movements, urination habits & abilities, concentration and many other systems within your body.

The severity of your symptoms also depend on the size, location and type of AVM.

What types of AVM’s exist?
Type 1 Spinal AVM: Dural Arteriovenous Fistula
Dural arteriovenous fistulas are the most common variety of spinal cord AVMs, comprising 80-85% of spinal AVMs. These lesions show a male predominance (80-90%) and generally present in late adulthood, ages 40-60. Presentation is generally with radiculomyelopathy, followed by slow but progressive neurological deterioration. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is very uncommon in dural AV fistulas, and acute deterioration in neurologic function is unlikely. 

Site of pathology in these lesions is within the dural root sleeve, where a direct arteriovenous fistula develops, generally with a single dural artery feeder vessel. Additional small feeding vessels from adjacent levels may also penetrate the dural and contribute to venous outflow. Hence these lesions are not true AVMs but instead AV fistulas. Venous drainage of the AV fistula is by a high-pressure, low-flow arterialized vein intradurally. Venous dilatation may extend rostrally and caudally from the fistula site. Eventual drainage is to the coronal venous plexus. Increased pressure in the coronal venous plexus yields spinal cord dysfunction, via chronic venous hypertension and loss of autoregulatory tone. Increased venous pressure yields chronic spinal cord ischemia, cell loss, and cord atrophy. Impaired autoregulation yields direct transmission of changes in systemic arterial pressure to the spinal cord without the normal dampening effect of the venous plexus. 
Goal of treatment is isolation and obliteration of the fistula and draining veins, which normalizes venous pressure and corrects venous hypertension. Two different therapeutic modalities are possible: embolization of the feeding vessel, via endovascular techniques, and direct surgical ligation, through laminectomy and direct intradural exposure of the fistula. Fistula obliteration yields correction of the lesion; resection of arterialized veins is not necessary and may actually be traumatic to the spinal cord. Embolization in well chosen cases is a safe and effective therapy for dural AV fistulas. In cases where the site of origin of the AV fistula is a large radicular artery and embolization may be difficult or dangerous, direct surgical exposure is preferred. 
Type 2 Spinal AVM: Intramedullary AVM

This is a true intramedullary arteriovenous malformation of the spinal cord. These lesions are characterized by a compact intramedullary nidus, with feeding vessels arising from the anterior or posterior spinal arteries, or both, and drainage into an arterialized coronal venous plexus. In contradistinction to spinal AV fistulas, flow within these lesions is high pressure and low flow, with rapid filling on angiogram and early venous drainage. 

Intramedullary AVMs have equal incidence distribution between men and women, and generally present at a much earlier age (average age of presentation: 24). The clinical course of these lesions is marked by progressive and fluctuating myelopathy, often overlaid by periods of acute neurologic deterioration secondary to hemorrhage within the AVM. Sudden apoplectic presentation, often with profound neurologic impairment and possible transverse myelopathy, is common in spinal AVMs. SAH (hemorrhage?) often occurs in these lesions, occurring in 50% of cases. While dural AV fistulas are more commonly found in the lower thoracic and lumbar spine, true intramedullary AVMs occur throughout the cord, and hence presentation with upper extremity symptoms is possible. 
Treatment of intramedullary spinal AVMs involves initial embolization of feeding vessels using particulate matter. Immediate clinical improvement is often noted after embolization, through reduction in arterial steal and improved cord perfusion; however, recanalization may occur over time, with continued risk of hemorrhage. Hence, surgical resection of residual nidus after embolization is generally considered. 
Type 3 Spinal AVM: Juvenile AVM
Juvenile spinal AVMs are extremely rare lesions. These lesions are again true AVMs, with an intramedullary nidus which may occupy the entire spinal canal at the involved level. Cord tissue is present within the AVM interspaces. Extramedullary and even extraspinal extension of the lesion is possible 

Juvenile AVMs are large and complex lesions, with multiple arterial feeding vessels often arising from different cord levels. Hemodynamically, this lesion manifests both high flow and high pressure, often yielding an auscultatable spinal bruit over involved levels. They occur most commonly in adolescents and young adults. Presentation and treatment are similar to type II AVMs; however, prognosis for these lesions, considering their size and vascular complexity, is understandably very poor. 
Type 4 Spinal AVM: Perimedullary Arteriovenous Fistula

These rare lesions are similar to type I spinal AVMs, in that they are not true AVMs but instead arteriovenous fistulas. The fistulous connection in this lesion is intradural but extramedullary, with feeding vessel or vessels arising from the anterior spinal artery. Venous drainage is via an enlarged coronal venous plexus. No small vessel network or glomus is evident connecting arterial and venous halves of the circuit. These lesions were first described by Djindjian, and then classified as a type IV spinal AVMs by Heros et al. 

These lesions may present in young adults, but presentation in the third to sixth decade is more likely. SAH is possible with intradural AV fistulas, with subsequent acute neurologic deterioration. A gradual but progressive neurologic deterioration is common. Three subcategories of intradural spinal AV fistulas have been recognized, with different treatment options appropriate for each. The simplest of these, the type IVa, features a single feeding vessel, often the artery of Adamkiewicz, with low flow through the arteriovenous shunt and moderate venous enlargement. Endovascular techniques are difficult with these lesions, due to the small size of feeding vessels. Surgical excision is therefore often mandated. Type IVb AV fistulas are intermediate in size, often with multiple feeding vessels, and more marked venous enlargement. Venous ectasia may develop at the site of shunting. Embolization in these lesions is easier, due to the increased size of feeding vessels. In cases of incomplete shunt obliteration with an endovascular approach, direct surgical excision may be necessary. The largest of the intradural AV fistulas are the type IVc, which feature giant, multipediculated fistulas, high blood flow, and large, tortous draining veins. Spinal ischemia may develop in these lesions secondary to vascular steal. Due to the size of these lesions, surgery is technically difficult and may jeopardize the spinal cord. Treatment is hence through combination of endovascular ablation, followed by surgical excision of retained elements. 

Why do AVM’s occur?

It is unknown why AVM’s occur. They’re usually congenital, meaning someone is born with one. However, they usually are not hereditary. People probably do not inherit an AVM from their parents, and they probably will not pass an AVM on to their children.
AVM’s have also been known to be a result of an injury that did not heal properly but this is uncommon. 


How common are AVM’s?

An AVM is estimated at around one in 100,000


Do AVM’s grow or change?

Most AVM’s do not grow or significantly change although the vessels involved may dilate. There are some reported cases of AVM’s shrinking or enlarging, but this may be due to clots in parts of an AVM causing it to shrink, or to redirect to adjacent blood vessels toward an AVM.
It is also true that the prolonged irregular oxygen distribution and/or pressure on the spinal cord can slowly increase nerve damage.


What causes an AVM to bleed?

An AVM contains abnormal and, therefore, “weakened” blood vessels that direct blood away from the normal tissues. These abnormal and weak blood vessels dilate over time and may eventually burst from high pressure of blood flow from the arteries causing bleeding.


What are the risks of having an AVM?

The biggest risk of an AVM is the possibility of a stroke. In order to have a stroke, the AVM must hemorrhage. The chance of an AVM bleed averages between 1 and 3 percent each year. Over a 15 year period, there is a 25% chance that an AVM will bleed causing damage and stroke. The more bleeds that occur, the higher the risks are that another bleed will follow at any time.
The average risk of a bleed over 10 years from diagnosis is approximately 30%. If the AVM shows signs of “wear & tear” such as aneurysms, it is more likely to bleed (like 50% or more). Over 30 years from diagnosis the risk of a bleed averages 66% but may be as high as 90%.
In the case of a Spinal AVM, the biggest risk is a stroke of the spinal cord. Depending on the location of the AVM it is almost most certainly going to cause some kind of neurological damage or even paralysis. If the AVM is high enough, and large enough, it may also go into the lower portion of the brain and cause an additional brain stroke. Each time a bleed occurs, normal tissue is damaged. This results in a loss of normal function, which may be temporary or permanent.
In the case of a brain stroke, there is a 10-15% chance of death and a 20-30% chance of permanent brain damage.


What should sufferers of an AVM avoid?

If you have an active AVM in your body, no matter where it may be… you should avoid straining… try not to lift, push or pull anything more then what feels comfortable to you. Do not push yourself. Try to keep your blood pressure from reaching high levels. Avoid smoking .(Smoking will raise your blood pressure, and weaken your veins over time and could increase the risk of a bleed.)
Avoid any medications or medicines that will thin your blood or increase your heart rate/blood pressure. Anything of this sort could increase your risk of a bleed and also make a bleed much worse should you have one.

If at all possible, keep your stress levels as low as possible. 


How are AVM’s diagnosed?

Most AVM’s go undiagnosed until a bleed occurs. Some AVM’s are found incidentally, meaning they’re found during a test for some other medical condition. Most people find their AVM’s between the ages of 20 and 50.. and if they’re not found by 50, they will usually go unnoticed for the remainder of the persons life.
The best ways to determine the existence of an AVM is by either a CT scan or an MRI scan. These tests are very good at detecting AVM’s. They also provide information about the location and size of the AVM and whether it may have bled.


What treatments are available for an AVM?

Well first of all, it must be determined if the AVM can be treated at all. Some AVM’s are untreatable. In general, an AVM may be considered for treatment if it has bled, if it is an area that can be easily treated and if it is not too large.
The best treatment depends upon what type it is, the symptoms it may be causing and its location and size.
There are currently only 3 real treatments available for AVM’s that may lead to a resolution. All of which are invasive and dangerous.
1. Surgery – If an AVM has bled and/or is in an area that can be easily operated upon, then surgical removal may be recommended. 
2. Stereotactic radiosurgery – An AVM that is not too large, but is in an area that is difficult to reach by regular surgery, may be treated by performing stereotactic radiosurgery. Focused-beam high energy sources are concentrated on the AVM to produce direct damage to the vessels that will cause a scar and allow the AVM to “clot off.”
3. Interventional neuroradiology/endovascular neurosurgery – It may be possible to treat all or part of the AVM by placing a small tube (catheter) inside the blood vessels that supply the AVM and blocking off the abnormal blood vessels with a variety of different materials. These include liquid tissue adhesives (glues), micro-coils, particles and other materials used to stop blood flowing to the AVM.
When an AVM is completely taken out, the possibility of any further bleeding should be eliminated.


How do I get help/support?

The first and most important way to get help and or support is to talk to your doctor. Make sure they know what you have and how serious it is. Make sure that all your questions are answered.
Your doctor may be able to provide you with a Social Worker should you need that kind of help as well.
If you’re aware of your options and are looking for support groups, donations and maybe some other people to talk to about AVM’s, then there are many websites available for this sort of thing. 
Share your story with as many people and places as possible. Help yourself by helping others.

  

Daily blog of hormone injections (prostap) and HRT. 

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I have been diagnosed with adenomyosis and am currently awaiting a laparoscopy to see if I have endometriosis. I am currently being treated with a hormone injection called prostap which is a monthly injection which causes an artificial menopause and I will be starting HRT (hormone replacement therapy) called tibolobne tomorrow (11/01/15)

For more information on prostap read here: Prostap

For more information on tibolobne read here: Tibolobne

For more information on adenomyosis read here: Adenomyosis

For more information on endometriosis read here: Endometriosis


I have decided to write a daily blog on my journey through the artificial menopause and HRT and how it affects me.

Day 1 – 08/01/16

I got my injection today. It was embarrassing because they wanted me to do a pregnancy test and I couldn’t do one as I was unable to pass water. One of my struggles anyway. I reassured them there was no way I was pregnant so they were able to give it me. I was expecting it to hurt but it didn’t! I felt tired later on that day and had a sleep and I did bleed a little, apart from that I had no symptoms from the injection.

Day 2 – 09/01/16

I woke up late which is unlike me as usually I’m waking up in the night and waking up early. I know I’d been up at some point as the heating was on but I had no memory of getting up. I was so groggy, I could barely open my eyes. I felt like I’d been asleep for an hour!! I ended up going back to sleep for a couple of hours until the afternoon. I was still tired, groggy, very grumpy and lethargic when I woke up. My eyes were heavy and I had stomach pains and pain around my ovary area. My back was really hurting. I have back problems anyway and when I had my MRI scan, the gynaecologist said it showed up that I have spinal AV malformation and that he had referred me to the orthapaedic department.

I have an appointment with her on 11/01 for her to examine my back. It took me ages to get out of bed and have a bath and get ready to go out. I ended up getting a bath then falling asleep again until it was time to go out! I was ok when I when I was out apart from the pain in my back was immense. I bought some over the counter co codamol until I can pick my prescription up for pain killers on 11/01.  I went to bed about 10:30pm and tried to sleep from about 1am onwards. I couldn’t sleep. I was restless all night, irritable, hot and cold, kept getting up, couldn’t settle, kept kicking the covers off (good job I’m single!!!) the pain in my back continued all night long and the pain in my ovary area was bad. I took the co codamol which helped a tiny bit but not much.

Day 3 – 10/01/16

It’s just gone 9:30am and I’ve been up all night. The pain in my ovary area has eased quite a bit but my back is still hurting. I don’t know if the injection has aggravated my back! I’m going to have a soak in the bath and see if that eases it and relaxes me and put some fresh bedding on and just have a duvet day and take it easy today.

Day 4 – 11/01/16

I woke up really tired and feeling unrefreshed. I had some pain in my left side today and a bit of stomach pain but nothing bad. My back is still hurting and I went to see the doctor who has said she will contact the orthapaedic surgeon  in relation to the pain I’m experiencing in my  back as she doesn’t know if is the spinal AV malformation that’s causing the pain. She prescribed some pain killers for me and I collected the HRT tablets. So Day 1 of HRT…..fingers crossed for positive effects!! I’ve been very tired tonight and extremely emotional and tearful, I don’t know if it’s just that everything in my life is getting to me or its the injection …… Of both?! Anyway a nice chat with my friend and support from a mental health worker helped me get through the night.

Day 5 – 12/01/16

My back pain isn’t as bad today, it’s still bad but not as bad so that’s good. Still a bit of abdominal pain but not much, only slight. I felt really tired in the evening though! I have been getting a couple of hot flushes today!

Day 6 – 13/01/16

I’ve been so tired today, although I didn’t sleep too well last night. I’ve bough some menopause multi vitamins today so I’ll see how they balance me out plus keep my Face and skin clear and hopefully get me on an even keel!! The pain is relatively low today although I have felt sick!!

Day 7 – 14/01/16

I’ve felt ever so tired today and got really bad pain in my back! I don’t know whether the pain in my back is related to the adenomyosis or the spinal AV malformation! Been feeling very tearful and emotional as well. 

Day 8 – 15/01/16

I’ve had a lot of pain in my back again but I have been moving things around so not sure if that has made it worse. Was emotional and tearful again tonight. 

Day 9 – 16/01/16

Still experiencing pain in my back. Also been feeling hot and cold and mood has been up and down. 

Day 10 – 17/01/16

Today was very stressful. My Nana has had a fall, however is ok and didn’t need treatment. We were at the hospital for several hours and my back was really hurting! At least my Nan was ok that’s the main thing 😇

Day 11- 18/01/16

I’ve been so angry and up in the air today, mainly because I’m in so much pain with my back and I only had thirty minutes sleep last night! 

Day 12 – 19/01/16

Went to see the GP today about my back.  She’s prescribed some stronger pain killers and making a referral to a hospital tomorrow to see what they can do. 

Day 13 – 20/01/16

The tablets are a godsend as they are helping a lot. It’s also helped that I’ve had a good friend and good company. 

Day 14 – 21/01/16

Big mistake – I hoovered today which wasn’t clever when you are crippled with severe back pain. I’ve had to abandon it as I’m in agony!! 

Day 15 – 22/01/16

So today instead of using the Hoover, I used the brush and pan and the same thing happened. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Might have to get a bloody cleaner! That might make me feel lazy!!! 

Day 16 – 23/01/16

Started my period today, had some cramping, but only mild. I’m amazed how  little discomfort I’m in compared to normal! 

Day 17 –  24/01/16

I’m still not having much discomfort, just a bit of niggling and a lighter than normal period. Still crippled with back ache and wanting a lot of chocolate!  

Day 18 – 25/01/16

Having a medium type period. No pains although still got back ache. I asked the endometriosis nurse would the injection have made my existing back problem worse and she said she’s never heard of that happening. So looks like my back pain hasn’t been worsened by the injection! 

Day 19 – 26/01/16

Felt OK today, although quite tired. My back is really painful so have just been resting. The period is still ok and not causing me any issues. 

Day 20 – 27/01/16

My period has been quite heavy. Not as heavy as usual but still quite heavy. I feel quite upbeat today and have been in a fairly ok mood. 

Day 21 – 28/01/16

This period is still heavy and the back pain is horrendous. Today have just stayed in as have felt pretty rubbish!! 

Day 22 – 29/01/16

I feel like this period is going on forever!! It’s still pretty heavy and I can’t wait for it to end! Got my 2nd injection a week today. I expected the first month to be really bad but its actually been good! I’m surprised!! Just hoping the second one and so on continue and that I get even more relief! 

Day 23 – 30/01/16

Been quite upbeat today, but started the day unable to wee. I hadn’t had a wee from last night until 4:30pm today even with running water from the taps, it still didn’t make me wee. Only had two wee’s today. Period more a less finishing now. 

Day 24 – 31/01/16

Had a rubbish nights sleep and did some cleaning today which really aggrevated my back so ended up in floods of tears. I’ve finished my period now thank goodness. Only managed to wee three times today. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! 

Day 25 – 01/02/16

I woke up really early this morning and didn’t end up going back to sleep. I’m so glad I’m not having a period now, however I feel really tired and still struggling to wee! 

Day 26 – 02/02/16

 I’ve only had one wee today which was later on in the day. I’ve also had a bleed but quite light. Mood is ok through the day, however I found myself to be feeling irritable, grumpy, tired and ratty in the evening. 

Day 27 – 03/02/16

Today again, I have only been for a wee once which was late on in the evening. I’ve been feeling quite tired today, in an upbeat mood during the day but then that changed and I became irritable and grumpy again and like everything that could go wrong goes wrong!! 

Day 28 – 04/02/16

Today, I’ve had a wee twice! Had quite a stressful day, though the evening was nice. Still feeling tired and grumpy! 

Day 29 – 05/02/16

I missed my second dosage of prostap today, felt too poorly and tired. Had a migraine and runs, feet really hurting and really really tired! Had a wee today about 4 times. 

Day 30 – 06/02/16

Felt so angry today,but to be fair everything is disastrous this week! Feel frustrated and furious! Had a sleep early evening which has helped a little. Had a wee twice today. 

Dedication song to my counsellor. 

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Can’t believe this song is nearly 16 years old!

Anyway love the lyrics for my counsellor so here goes. This is dedicated to you.

I Turn To You – Melanie C.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lsjKK_s_nyY

“I Turn To You”

When the world is darker than I can understand.
When nothing turns out the way I planned.

When the sky turns grey and there’s no end in sight.

When I can’t sleep through the lonely night.

I turn to you. Like a flower leaning toward the sun.

I turn to you. ‘Cos you’re the only one.

Who can turn me around when I’m upside down.

I turn to you.

When my insides are wracked with anxiety.
You have the touch that will quiet me.

You lift my spirit. You melt the ice.

When I need inspiration, when I need advice.

I turn to you. Like a flower leaning toward the sun.
I turn to you. ‘Cos you’re the only one.

Who can turn me around when I’m upside down.

I turn to you.

Where would I be? What would I do?
If you’d never helped me through.

I hope someday if you’ve lost your way.

You could turn to me like I turn to you.

I turn to you. Like a flower leaning toward the sun.
I turn to you. ‘Cos you’re the only one.

Who can turn me around when I’m upside down.

I turn to you.

I turn to you. When fear tells me to turn around.
I turn to you. ‘Cos you’re the only one.

Who can turn me around when I’m upside down.

I turn to you. I turn to you. I turn to you.

“Northern Star” (2000)

THANK YOU SO MUCH XxX

The Unwanted Girl 

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My heart aches for something that I’ll never have, that money can’t buy, that nobody can surprise me with, that despite my desperate attempts and social services failed attempts at finding one, the one thing, I’m lacking, yearning for, needing and seeking is a Mum. It sounds pathetic, but I guess if you’ve always had one then you wouldn’t understand the need. 

  


I grew up in a violent, abusive, non loving family home. I wasn’t wanted. That was made very known and the best thing was that I should have been given up for adoption as a baby or a young child and given a chance of being loved and wanted by a family. But no that wasn’t the case. I went in care when I was a teenager but by then it was too late. The damage was done. I was scarred by the trauma I’d encountered and who wants to love a teenager! Most of the foster families available wanted young children. 

  
I know I can’t change the past, but I’m angry that I didn’t get the chance of having a loving family. My life could be so much different now! 

I see my friends doing nice things with their mums and I know that I’ll never be that girl doing that. I’ll always be the one that nobody wanted and wants. I guess it’s something I have to accept and come to terms with. 

  
People tell me to love myself, but that’s not the same! Yes we all have our inner child within us that we have to love and take care of us…….but in terms of love,comfort, spending time with someone, the company…..you need the contact of the other person!! 

  
I have grown up, I’ve had to……had no choice but I’m still a child in an adults body needing that love, comfort, reassurance, guidance and care. 

I have a lot going on in my life and it scares me who will be there for me through it. I’m blessed to have good friends, and I don’t know what I’d do without them 🙂 

Although I know nobody is going to be the Mum I’ve been pining for all my life, I guess I’ll carry on regardless and focus on the positives. Sometimes having a family causes more problems than not having a family! 

  
If you are affected by this post and need someone to talk to contact:

Children and Young People:

Childline – 0800 1111 – open 24/7 – free 

http://www.youngminds.org.uk
https://www.papyrus-uk.org
http://www.getconnected.org.uk
Samaritans – free – 116 123 open 24/7

http://www.careleavers.com

Adults:

Samaritans – free – 116 123 open 24/7

http://napac.org.uk/contact-us/
http://www.thesurvivorstrust.org
http://www.afteradoption.org.uk
http://www.careleavers.com

My physical health battles

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I have suffered with stomach pains for such a long time. I remember getting stomach pains, heavy periods and receiving pain relief from the doctors as a young teenager. I have taken the contraceptive pill and when I was collapsing and experiencing further problems with my periods I was prescribed Mefenamic acid which is used to treat period pain and was put on the depo provera injection for several years which stopped my periods completely. 

  
I refused to have a smear test so the doctors took me off the depo injection. Due to having an eating disorder and being on psychiatric medication, my periods have been irregular. 

I have been having stomach pains, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, struggling to urinate, heavy and painful periods, back pain, leg pain, painful bowel movements and constipation, pelvic pain amongst other symptoms that I’m unsure are related or not. 

  
I have presented to GP’s, walk in centres, A&E, rang NHS 111 and have been seen by various doctors. I have been turned away to be to told it’s likely to be stress, anxiety, mental health related, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, stomach bugs and have been sent away with paracetamol, Buscopan, peppermint oil, co codamol etc despite me being adamant I know it needs investigating further. 

  
Fortunately, I have a patient and understanding GP who could see the pain I was in and referred me to the Gastroenterlogy department. I had an ultrasound scan which showed an ovarian cyst, they performed an endoscopy but due to me wretching so much during the procedure, he was unable to get into my stomach and give me any more sedation. They performed a barium meal, which indicated I didn’t have a stomach ulcer but I could have duodetitis which is inflammation of the duodenum. I had a breath test which didn’t suggest I had h pylori in my body which again ruled out infection and a stomach ulcer. They were concerned about the weight loss but said the vomiting, nausea and heartburn is probably acid reflux and altered my medication which has helped me in terms of reducing me needing to be sick in the morning. I’m due to be seen again in March. Gastroenterlogy, alongside my GP referred me to gynaecology in relation to my other symptoms. 

 

I have been seeing a gynaecologist for a few months. He seemed to think my symptoms are suggestive of endometriosis and sent me for a MRI scan. The result of that came back that I have adenomyosis and spinal AV malformation. 

Adenomyosis is a common condition where the inner lining of the uterus  breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus. Adenomyosis can be all over the uterus or in one place. It’s symptoms include heavy periods, menstrual cramps, irregular bleeding, bloating, abdominal pain and pressure and pelvic pain.

  
For more information on adenomyosis including how it is diagnosed and treated read the following link: Adenomyosis information

In order to determine if I have endometriosis, I will be having a laparoscopy in the next couple of months – Laparoscopy booklet .This is key hole surgery where it is the only  definitive way of determining endometriosis and if it’s here, treating it. The only disadvantages are the pain and discomfort after surgery and if endometriosis is found the possibility of its return. 

  
 

Endometriosis is a common condition where endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus. It becomes stuck in the pelvic and stomach area. 

  
Endometriosis causes symptoms including; painful periods, leg pain, back pain, pain during sex, pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area. 

For more information read the Understanding endometriosis booklet. 

  
I’ve been taking cerazette – the mini pill and it’s not helped. I’ve been using Tranexmic acid and Mefenamic acid and nothing has changed. 

  

I’m due to start prostrap injections this week with HRT tablets – tibolobne. I’m feeling anxious about the side effects and the pain becoming worse to begin with but I’m trying to have an optimistic view as its worth a try. Then I’ll see what the laparoscopy brings and if the prostrap injections work then it might be a hysterectomy as that’s the only cure for adenomyosis and I want to be pain free. 

  

In terms of the spinal AV malformation I’ve been referred to orthopaedics as that might explain problems that have been going on a while. 

All I can do is just sigh a breath of relief and know that none of this was “in my head” – that it’s all real and that I’m finally getting the treatment I need. 

Useful links:

https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/understanding-endometriosis

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/28/endometriosis-20-things-every-woman-and-every-doctor-should-know

http://metro.co.uk/2015/10/08/5-things-not-to-say-to-someone-with-endometriosis-5420977/

http://www.endometriosis.co.uk

http://shetrust.org.uk

http://www.myendometriosisteam.com

http://m.adenomyosisadviceassociation.org

http://www.pelvicpain.org.uk/index.php?page=adenomyosis

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hysterectomy/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  

Eating Disorders – They can happen to anyone. 

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There is a lot of stigma attached to eating disorders. Having an eating disorder is perceived as a teenage girl who is very underweight, when in fact eating disorders affect children, teenagers, adults and elderly. Both boys, girls, men and women and transgender. It doesn’t specify a particular type of group and criteria of people.

Eating disorders can range from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).


Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and affect over 725,000 men and women in the UK and claim more lives than any other mental illness with one in five of the most seriously affected taking their own lives. (Beat,2016)

For more information click on the link below and visit the UK’s Eating Disorder charity website:

Information on Eating Disorders – Beat Charity UK 2016

Mind have some information on eating disorders – Mind – Eating problems 

From what I can remember, I’ve never been a great eater. I was told that as a baby I didn’t like milk (I still don’t!!) and that as a toddler I wasn’t eating and the health visitor had to come out and help my family encourage me to eat.

Food was used as control against me by my parents. I was deprived of food and also made to eat food I didn’t like and was force fed when I didn’t eat or didn’t eat in the way they wanted me to. I think these factors contributed to my eating disorder.

When I was 11, I weighed 3 stone. I was bullied at school for being underweight. The other children used to call me cruel names and physically and mentally taunt me. Life at home and at school was unbearable. Some days I didn’t eat my lunch at school at all and some days I ate a tiny bit. I hated eating. I had no interest either. I hated queuing up as well, the bullying, the fear, the anxiety and the worry.

I started seeing doctors and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) as a teenager due to concerns from school and they and Social workers were concerned about how underweight I was. They said I was anorexic.

As I was growing through teenage years I stayed slim and when I was 18 I was just under 6 stone.

I have been preoccupied with staying slim and restricting food. I went on the contraceptive injection depo provera and put on weight.

I got a bit settled and went up to 8 stone, then 9 stone.

I wasn’t happy as I prefer being slim but people starting saying I looked healthier.

I ended up on a medication that put a lot of a weight on me. I was so angry and depressed about me putting on so much weight. But there was nothing I could do. I was going to the gym but it wasn’t coming off. I wasn’t eating more. It was that type of medication that just ballooned me! I came off the medication and lost some of the weight.


I was treated at a specialist Eating disorders centre and they diagnosed me with EDNOS.


They said I am restricting but my body weight is in normal range and that because I have purged and used laxatives and diuretics to help keep my weight down that this is most suitable diagnosis and that I’ll need to go back there when I’m a bit more stable.
I think it’s hard to just put a lifetime of disordered eating, of control, restriction and understanding of reasons behind in just a few sessions. I did do the homework set out and I did engage. It was  just hard because of family and health circumstances.


Recovery from eating disorders is possible and there is help and support out there. It’s just taking it one step at a time and realising that it can’t be  accomplished overnight, that doesn’t mean it can’t at all.


If you have an eating disorder, just take it one hour at a time. Take the help you get offered, reach out to those around you, don’t suffer in silence.

For help and information contact:

BEAT – Eating Disorders UK

Adults (18+) – 0345 634 14 14. help@b-eat.co.uk

Young people – 0345 634 7650. fyp@b-eat.co.uk

SAMARITANS – Emotional Support 24/7

Tel – 116 123 (free from landlines & mobiles). Email – jo@samaritans.org

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) 

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I was first diagnosed with BPD when I was about 16/17 years old. I have had other diagnoses as well as but BPD has always remained and my current psychiatrist who I’ve been under for years is adamant that I have BPD. I’m now 32.


BPD is a mental illness which is more commonly diagnosed in females. Most people who are diagnosed with BPD have a history of child abuse. This is definitely the case with me. We struggle to deal with our emotions and here are some of the common symptoms:


I can relate to most of the above. I have massive fears of abandonment and rejection and struggle coping with loss and change. I have terrible highs and lows, sometimes lasting hours other times days to weeks, I have difficulty trusting people and see things in black and white especially from love to hate, I have poor self image hence having an eating disorder which I will write a separate piece on, I have difficulty managing my emotions and feelings; sometimes lashing out, feeling frustrated, uncontrollable crying, agitation, anger, anxiety, I have impulsive behaviour which has been reckless driving, spending and substance abuse and I have self harmed for nearly 20 years during periods of stress and distress and have attempted suicide a hell of a lot of times and had thoughts over a billion times no doubt. I have paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and this is mainly under control but not always. It’s worse when I’m very stressed and worked up but I experience it every day.


Black and white thinking is very common and borderlines go from idealising someone to hating someone!!


It’s like we don’t have a middle ground. There’s just good and bad and damn right ugly!!


There is a lot of stigma attached to BPD. I have been accused of being manipulative and attention seeking when really I am desperate for support and to be heard and  am not good at vocalising myself sometimes so sometimes speak or act without thinking. I know I have been judged by the very people who are meant to help you, not judge, but on the other hand there are a lot of people out there who take me at face value and try and understand the reasons for why I feel the way I do. These people are the ones who should be educating the ones who are going into the mental health field or those already working in mental health with old fashioned views and opinions.


There are many medications and psychological treatments for BPD. I’ve been treated with anti depressants, mood stabilisers, anti psychotics, anti anxiety tablets, beta blockers and tranquillisers.

I’ve had counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT) and am going to try Mindfulness and maybe Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).

There are supportive ways you can be there for someone with BPD, show you care, if they ask for space give it them but let them know you’re still around should they wish to speak later/again. Let them know they are important to you, that you do love and or care about them, that you can see why they’d be upset/angry – try see it from their point of view, that you’re not judging them. But most of all take time for yourself too.

Don’t forget someone with BPD is a human being too and also wants to have fun and do the same things as other people. Don’t assume they don’t want to join in or not be included in things! Even if they turn down your invite it will make them feel special that you have asked them!

Mind have a booklet on Understanding BPD.

You can also contact Samaritans 24/7, 365 days a year for free by ringing 116 123.

Remember you’re not alone. 

I might not be free of mental illness but I’m taking each day as it comes 🙂

My favourite quote: 

Smiling through the tears. 

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How many of us have said we are “fine” when really we feel like shit?! I bet we are all guilty of it and if you aren’t either you are lying or I’m jealous of your fabulous life!!


I’m going to just be blunt and say feeling shit instead of depressed etc just to cover everything…..shit means shit simple. It pretty much sums up my life really. It’s been shit and I feel shit…..but……there have been a lot of good things too hence the smiling through the tears title!

 


I am quite a resilient woman, I can be positive at times, I am fairly independent, despite my own shit will always help others and will always get up when I get knocked down. I somehow seem to have this strength and oomph that no matter what or who knocks me down, I get back up fighting.


Some days I can take the world on and other days I don’t want to even lift my head off the pillow. I cry and cry and my body aches with mental pain and anguish. I just feel shit and I know that either the day is going to be a write off or that I’ve got to force myself to get up and do things to make myself feel ok even if it only does it by 10%! It’s better than nothing!!


Mental illness can take over your body as well as your mind and affects various aspects of your life but it can be managed and there are various things out there to try to help 🙂

Whenever you feel “shit” –  know that you’re not alone, there are millions of sufferers in the world who have felt and who feel shit too and as a community we can send mutual support around the world and know we have each other in our thoughts.

“Smile and the whole world smiles with you.”     

Never let go of your dreams, set goals, do things you love, do what makes you happy, choose positivity over negativity, eliminate toxic people and toxic things from your life, eat healthily but spoil yourself too – a little bit of what you fancy does you good 😉 be kind to yourself, love yourself, be a good friend, take good care of yourself and remember the most important person in the world is YOU!!

Thanks from the bottom of my heart xXx

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Thank you never seems enough when someone has done so much yet it means so much for me to say.


There have been so many people who have cared about me and done so much for me over the years that I simply cannot begin to explain in such a short blog space how much these people have meant and do mean to me.

I am and have been truly blessed to have met some truly amazing, kind, caring, compassionate, fantastic human beings that have given me strength, hope, courage, determination, wisdom, love and faith that without their guidance and support, I know I wouldn’t be here today.

Life has sure thrown me some crap but I always manage to kick its arse!! That’s because I know I have had your support and encouragement.

Thank you for having faith in me, for understanding and when you don’t for telling me you don’t and letting me help you understand, for believing in me, for not judging me, for caring about me, for loving me when I’ve felt unloveable, for reaching out to me when I’ve pushed you away, for holding me up when I’ve been falling down and for not giving up on me.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I will be eternally grateful.