autism · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Massive Sensory Overload

Today’s just one of those days. Way too anxious, way too tired. Sensory overload came over me this morning in full swing. Even the power of headphones did not stop all the different senses getting too much. I’m putting it down to lack of sleep, alcohol and medication.

I was supposed to go shopping. I was supposed to buy food for the week ahead, buy some envelopes and post a letter. I forgot to get off my stop on the bus not once but three times…so I decided to get off in town. I forgot completely about what I needed to do. I made it to tesco (a 5 minute walk that consisted of too many voices, too many cars, too many tapping feet on the pavement, construction guys throwing tools around and my own breathing) but my shopping list consisted of just mushrooms because I forgot all that I needed. I wandered around the shop for a bit before realising I had to pay. I then caught the bus back…

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The entire time I couldn’t breathe. The minute I left my flat this morning I felt like a boa constrictor was perched on my throat. My chest was so weak and hollow, my breaths were fast. All I could focus on was every single noise, every single image and person. Everything but my mind. It was like walking through a dream. I completely forgot the reason why I was going out in the first place. However, I made it to a to b and eventually back to a…but my goodness. What a morning.

Sensory overloads are horrendous. Sensory overloads or meltdowns occur when one or more of the body’s senses experiences over-stimulation from the environment. Examples include; crowded places, noise, people, too much information, visual overload.


Oversensitive Sensitivities

Sound

  •  Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled.
  • May be able to hear conversations in the distance.
  • Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, leading to difficulties concentrating.

Touch

  • Touch can be painful and uncomfortable – people may not like to be touched and this can affect their relationships with others.
  • Dislikes having anything on hands or feet.

Sight

  • Distorted vision – objects and bright lights can appear to jump around.
  • Images may fragment.
  • Easier and more pleasurable to focus on a detail rather than the whole object.

Helping someone in Sensory Overload

If someone is having a meltdown, or not responding, don’t judge them. There are things that you can do to help. This can make a world of difference.

Often, small changes to the environment can make a difference. Creating a sensory profile may help you to work out what changes are needed. Three points to remember are:

  • be aware. Look at the environment to see if it is creating difficulties. Can you change anything?. Watch the person closely – changes in behaviour or indicators of distress may be small. Watch breathing patterns, especially.
  • be creative. Think of some positive sensory experiences.
  • be prepared. Tell the person about possible sensory stimuli they may experience in different environments.
  • be calm. People in sensory overload are feeling very distressed and anxious so staying calm may help them relax. Offer comfort if the person wants it (touch or words) and move away from the area that is causing distress. Be patient and wait for the sensory overload to finish.
journey to recovery · mental health blogger · slimming world · Uncategorized · weight loss

Slimming World: Week 1 & Meals

Friday’s are class days so its officially been 1 week since I joined slimming world. I have to say that its been hard. Not because I’ve wanted junk foods such as chocolate or because I’m struggling to diet. It’s hard because I am trying so hard to eat 3 meals a day that are appropriate size portions. With a history of Anorexia, I can’t stand eating 3 meals a day. I was absolutely certain I was going to gain this week because I’ve eaten so much more than I usually do. But..

First week results = 3lbs down.

I think I’ve realised that I’ve lost this weight because even though I am eating more, I am eating healthy foods that contribute my weight loss, am nourishing my body and exercising safely.

I truly feel like slimming world has allowed me to feel in control without the need to restrict and resort to eating disorder safety.

I thought it would be a good idea to post my meals each week so not only I can keep track of what i’ve eaten but so that others can get meal ideas! (side note: some pictures are repeated as I ate the same meal just forget to take a picture!)

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Homemade pasta sauce that is syn free is perfect for pasta! Made out of tomato puree, fresh tomatoes, a bit of water and some veggies!

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Homemade slimming world chips – yum! Cut a fresh potato and boil for 10 minutes until soft. Take them out and dry them for a few minutes then spray a cooking tray with frylight and cook till crisp!
journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Going Back on Medication & OCD

After 13 months of no medication and managing a range of conditions by myself, I realised I could no longer manage without some sort of intervention. I went to my doctor yesterday to discuss my anxiety and any new relevant information. She decided (based on my medical history and on new symptoms) that Prozac would be the best option for me.

Prozac is a SSRI antidepressant that positively affects communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system and restores chemical balances within the brain. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and some anxiety conditions. Prozac is a strong medication and can cause more severe side effects compared to other medication. Common Prozac side effects may include sleep problems, dreams, headaches, dizziness, shaking, feeling anxious, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss, sweating or hot flashes, flu symptoms, nausea and tremors.

I know a lot of people have negative views on the use of medication for the treatment of mental health problems; especially when a comes to a drug as strong as Prozac. For 13 months I have pondered these views myself and believe that using medication is in my best interest. You would not rob an asthmatic of their inhaler or a diabetic of their insulin; why rob a sufferer of mental health their medication if it is needed?

Whilst at the doctors, some symptoms of OCD were picked up and then diagnosed, which I think is one of the core reasons I was put on this drug compared to other psychiatric medication.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Most people with OCD will have obsessions or compulsions. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

PROZAC

I’ll now be under review continuously for medication and checks on my mental health and there’s no guarantee that this will improve my mental health. However, medication is not a magic pill or an instant cure; it just makes things more manageable and helps sort out brain imbalances.

I will keep you guys updated on everything and hope that the next few months will be positive.

journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · slimming world · Uncategorized · weight loss

Weight loss journey…

Where do I even start with food. Even before I developed an eating disorder, food was a battle. Back then it was all about having too much too eat, too big of portion sizes and not moving enough. Something changed back when I was 15 – something that literally happened overnight. I remember it was summer and I was eating ice cream on the patio whilst sunbathing. This was the last day I enjoyed eating freely before an eating disorder kicked in. The next day, I began counting calories. I still ate pizza, ice cream and chocolate and didn’t restrict much; I just kept track. Then, each week the calories began to reduce. I began exercising. Eventually, I got to the stage where a full blown eating disorder had taken over my life. We all know the symptoms.

Anywhoo, into the main reasons for this blog post. I went into recovery for my eating disorder on the 1st of September 2014. The first few months were horrendous; not being able to exercise and having people force food down you because looking at it brought you to tears. I wouldn’t even drink water. Eventually, I ate a meal and my body went into craving mode. I ate everything and anything; even stuff I hated. People assumed my eating habits had returned to normal and have been to this day…but they haven’t. I admit it. I’ve relapsed; heck I’ve relapsed. I’ve relapsed more times than stabilised in recovery. I’ve purposely restricted food. I’ve purged. I’ve screamed. I’ve cried. I’ve rejoiced at the sound of my own hunger. I’ve craved dizziness and feeling weak as its eating disorder progress. I’ve also binged and ate whatever the heck I’ve wanted. I’ve eaten takeaways and eaten out at restaurants. I’ve had days where eating 3 meals a day was easy.

My weight has fluctuated ever since my eating disorder. It goes up and down constantly because recovery has prevented me fully relapsing. I’m tired. I’m tired of watching the scales go down and I’m tired of watching it go straight back up. I don’t want the scales to determine my happiness anymore…

So I have joined slimming world. No more counting calories. No more severe restriction. It’s time to tackle 3 healthy meals a day and eating syns without feeling completely guilty. I’ve put my body through enough shit these past 4 years and I’m ready to make healthy changes…

A lot of people don’t realise that eating disorders stay in the mind way longer than the weight is restored…Healthy or overweight does not indicate healthy minds. Please, please remember this. I was a healthy weight when Ana plagued my mind. Eating disorders do not emerge in those who are already severely underweight…they emerge at anytime.

Look around you and notice those who may be struggling. Do not let them slip off the radar.

Here’s two god awful recent pictures of me…2 years weight restored and not at a healthy weight. I hate full length photos of myself so this is the first step to acceptable and realisation that change needs to be made.

Whose ready for this journey.