Hi all,

Sorry for the recent silence, things have been very busy recently with my work. To be honest, I can barely believe that it’s now March, it feels like it should still be February.

Things have been going really well the past month, and I am really happy with how things have progressed. I met the psychiatrist for the last time, and they were pleased to hear that I had come off medication, and given how well things have been going, recommended that I keep it up, although leaving the door open for me to go back if that is ever what I need. Hopefully it won’t be, and I think that I am in a better situation to make sure that I don’t, but it’s good to know that it is possible if I really need it. Not to say that being on medication is something to avoid, but if I don’t need that to help me, then I am glad to be getting on without.

Apart from that I have been carrying on with the mentoring scheme that I have been attending weekly. Like I’ve said before, this has been really useful for me. It’s helped me to understand what I think about myself, and how I can get over that. It has perhaps made me realise that I don’t need to be in control of everything, that I can’t be. So I think I am (slightly) more accepting of when things don’t go well, and am trying to move away from blaming myself for every little negative thing that happens. It’s been difficult to do, but I have decided to start noting down when I am feeling stressed or am having some negative thoughts (in a book my girlfriend bought me which says ‘Fill me with your issues’), just so that I can then try and logically think about them, in a way that isn’t just me being trapped inside my head getting wound up about things.

So that’s how things have been going recently, and it’s generally been pretty good I think. What I wrote above has reminded me of a course I attended briefly about 18 months ago on ‘mindfulness’, and has encouraged me to perhaps think about utilising that again (clearly it didn’t get as well ingrained as I had hoped). The idea of it was to help the user distract themselves from the negative thoughts  and the automatic responses to them that can often become out of control by just thinking about what there is in that moment and recognising it.

One definition I found on the internet says that “Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, with compassion, and open-hearted curiosity. Through cultivating mindful awareness, we discover how to live in the present moment rather than brooding about the past or  worrying about the future.”  Mindfulness originates from Buddhist teachings, but that doesn’t mean that it has any religious connotations, and you certainly don’t need to be religious or spiritual in any way to make use of it! The basic idea is to get yourself focusing on everything that you feel at that moment, whether it is warmth, a tingling feeling in part of your body, an ache, or any other bodily sensation, and just accepting it. It can actually be pretty relaxing, and at the time I thought it really helped. It is a shame that I didn’t carry on trying to utilise it, as I think it could be quite useful. I read a very interesting book on it called ‘The Mindful Way Through Depression’ and also attended a course run by my university specifically for those suffering from depression, stress or anxiety. I think that it can be very useful, but it is one of these things that takes a decent amount of practice to get used to. Not that it means that it isn’t worth the effort, I just feel that perhaps when I decided to try it, I was not in the best state of mind, and would love to try and use it again, especially since it might help me distract myself from those little niggling thoughts that sometimes appear and like to stay around, recognising them for what they are but then letting them go and focusing on the moment.

Well, that is probably enough for now, but I will try and write again reasonably soon without leaving it so long this time!