Wednesday 27 February 2013

Doctors 2/ No more exclusion diets woopwoop!

Hi everyone :)

Well I had a doctors appointment today, my last one in this town until I can afford to live with my partner again. I think it went quite well actually!

So last night I was thinking about it and getting pretty anxious actually. It's just after going round and round in circles all I've felt is my symptoms get worse and my mental health deteriorate. I wouldn't use the word 'depression' as such but I have felt like I've been heading down that path. I'm a member of a facebook group for invisible illnesses and I decided to leave a comment there just to say how I was feeling and ask some advice. My main question being: do I go in there with the faith that the doctor will say what he thinks it is, or do I say 'I think it's m.e./cfs/fibro' and see what he thinks. I got a great response with the advice that I should do both and make sure I'm listened to.

I wrote down all my symptoms again and added the new ones and little symptoms which have become more regular. I'll try and remember them all (he took the paper off me) so these are as below:

  • Dizziness/Faintness
  • Headaches
  • Joint aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Chest pains
  • Nerve pains
  • Stiff joints in the morning - take ages getting out of bed
  • Legs lock when kneeling down - old symptom that used to be once in a blue moon but happens a lot more now.
  • Clumsiness
  • Shaking (This doesn't happen all the time, mainly on the 'bad days')
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Breathlessness due to pain and fatigue
  • Confusion - as if my mind is 'racing'
  • Trouble finding words - mind fog?
  • Blurred vision although glasses prescription is correct
  • Nausea
  • Weakness - don't feel safe walking downstairs/outside sometimes
  • Overactive bladder - trying to cut down caffeine to help with this.
  • Low moods/anxiety (as a secondary symptom to the physical symptoms)
  • Sleep problems - mainly due to racing thoughts and pain
Phew, I think I've got them all down! I tried to add more detail and I put annotations like the symptoms get so bad I feel like I can't work until I'm managing them at least a bit.

So yes, anyway, I made sure he listened to this and how it was affecting my life/independence. I actually started to cry at that point, composed myself though (not easy for me, once I start crying I find it hard to stop). I think it was just due to how fed up I was feeling and the reality of this ridiculous amount of symptoms that seem to be controlling everything I do or plan to do. I do push myself too hard and face the consequences long after. I just want to be functional! I literally can't afford to put my life on hold. Being ill doesn't pay the bills. I made sure I mentioned CFS as well. I said that I've been keeping an open mind about what it could be but everytime I look up conditions with the symptoms I experience, it always comes back to that.

We went through the diets he'd tried me on and the blood test results then he checked my heart (all's fine there, probably just beating a little fast because I was shaking so much). He then asked if he'd done any neurological tests on me. He hadn't. So we went onto that next.

I felt as if I was being tested for drunk driving lol! The only thing that was missing was to stand on one leg and recite the alphabet backwards (I would've failed that one miserably!). Firstly, I had to follow a line on the floor and walk heel, toe, heel, toe. My concentration levels were stupidly low today so it took me a few goes to do it properly and when I did it back the other way, I fell into one of his chairs. It was one of those 'you just have to laugh at yourself otherwise you'll cry!' moments. Next was to walk around on heels then toes. Then I had to do thinks like follow his finger with my eyes, touch from nose to his finger and back fast as possible with index finger of right, then left hand. Then I had to smile (maybe to check facial muscle weaknesses?) 

We then addressed the blurry vision and he checked my eyes, no problems there from what he saw.

After all that he sat me down and said he reckoned it could be fibromyalgia. It was nice to hear at least a 'maybe' of what it could be instead of all these 'maybe you're intolerant to this' speculations. So basically he's prescribed me Amitryptiline, saying that if it helps with the pains then it probably is fibro, and he's referred me to a General Medical Specialist at the hospital. So I have to make sure I keep my mobile close for the next couple of weeks so I don't miss the phonecall to arrange an appointment. He's also given me a mental health questionnaire to fill in and give to reception just to check it's not depression, gad etc. I told him that, although my moods are low and I do get anxious, it is because of the physical symptoms and isn't what causes them. But of course I'll fill in the questionnaire. By the looks of it, the most I could have is very slight depression and a couple of mild anxiety symptoms. Nothing to indicate a diagnosis of either.

Finally it feels like things are headed in the right direction! I'll keep you updated on the situation. At the moment my big goal is to get well enough to work a full time job again. I want it to be ME who's in control of my life, not this illness. It does NOT define me and I won't let it.

I also want to say that my partner is such a rock to me, especially at the moment. I really really saw it today as well. He has stuck by my side through it all and never blamed me for how things are going financially at the moment. I love how close we are and how brutally honest we can be with each other. I hate bullshit and he's someone I know won't bullshit me. I respect that a hell of a lot. I even said that I would understand if he couldn't take this anymore because sometimes I feel I really am intolerable and I worry that one day I'll push him too far away. It makes me so happy that he's sticking by me though. I can't be all that bad then ;)

Ok I'll leave it here for now but to everyone who is there for me, listens, advises where possible, puts up with me (haha), I thank you SO much. You have no idea how much it means to just know I can pick up a phone or message and talk about whatever's on my mind. I hope I am as supportive to you as you are to me :)

Sunday 24 February 2013

Ponderings of a girl who thinks too much about everything.

Hello there!

Ok, so this post will probably turn out rather rambly, but the past few days I've had so much going through my mind, at speeds I cannot cope with, that it's been affecting my sleep (alongside the pains getting worse of course). I just need to get at least some of it down on paper.

Basically, I think FAR too much into things. I think about the ways people talk to me, over-analysing the things they say, how they say it, whether they speak to me in a different way to how they used to. Certain things they say stick in my mind indefinitely and when I'm sat on my own, with not much to do, I think and analyse and dwell on these things until they turn into worries.

I also worry too much. At university, when I got ill and couldn't do things like go to lectures, see people as much and attend project meetings, I worried about what people thought of me. Some made it blindingly clear that they a) didn't believe I was ill (because how can I possibly be not so ill other days?) and b) didn't care.

Others seemed to change their attitudes towards me and of course not having a diagnosis meant that I just had to explain how I'd been feeling. Again, I felt they didn't believe me. I would notice conveniently timed facebook status'. Now that does sound rather self absorbed but it did make me wonder. Why couldn't people just be straight with me?

Since uni finished I do still worry about what people think of me, especially now I'm a lot less able to meet people for financial as well as health related reasons. I worry I've alienated myself from people. When someone hasn't spoken to me in a while I worry that they don't see me as a friend anymore. When people talk to me in a different way (e.g. like an acquaintance rather than an old close friend) I worry we've drifted apart. When people don't reply to messages I get worried that I've either said the wrong thing or they just don't want to talk to me anymore. Gosh, I even get paranoid when someone deletes me off facebook, how pathetic is that! The internet seems to be a big outlet for me these days though so yes, I may post the odd depressing tweet or status, maybe it's worth just seeing if I'm ok? I'm not some attention seeker, I just need a friend sometimes. I can't be happy all the time and pretending to be happy to please other people is easier said than done!

In this world it appears that it's fine to have an emotion, as long as you bottle it up!

Oh! Before I forget, there was a point to this post other than (just) to have a good old moan:

My moods have been very low recently and due to certain thoughts I've had for quite a while, I worry about things such as depression. Good ole' tinternet has told me I need to see a gp asap because of them but you know how over the top symptom checkers can be. If those things were completely accurate, I would have died from something horrible and gross at least 10 times by now!

Anyway, if you've read some of my older posts, you will know that doctors have prescribed me things like anti depressions/anxiety tablets but I've always wondered if counselling, CBT specifically, would be worth looking into. It's something I hesitate to mention to my doctor (although I will eventually) as whenever depressive feelings are mentioned, the answer is always mind numbing, mood stabilizing, zombie making drugs. I don't want to push my emotions down, I want to deal with them through talking to a professional. I know there's always the issue of costs, especially with cuts in funding for NHS services, but I feel that mentally, I could really benefit from this. (NB: If you have been prescribed anti-depressants by your doctor then PLEASE don't listen to my feelings/experiences of them. They do work for some people.)

This is something I'll talk about in future posts if I do manage to get some sort of counselling but for now, I googled 'online counselling UK free' and found this website:

It's actually an online counselling program based loosely upon Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Obviously not intended to replace face to face sessions but I think it may be worth a go. So, tomorrow I'm going to start this and let you all know what I think of it (sort of like a review!)

Monday 18 February 2013

Survey sites and little ways to make money

Hi guys, I know this post isn't exactly related to my blog as a whole but I thought it would be an interesting/good (?) idea to share my little ways of making bits of money. Whilst I've been out of work and ill, the government has decided I'm entitled to no income whatsoever as my partner works full time (and I'm still living with him up until next month). I don't like relying on people so I thought I'd filter out the scams and have a look online at ways to help with paying the bills and buying the christmas shopping. They've come in quite handy actually and have been a real godsend when I've been worried about affording my phonebill. Plus they keep me busy when I'm not doing my course (I'll probably blog about the online course I'm doing in my next post).


Here are the survey sites I am a member of:

MySurvey: There's a fairly good choice of rewards with this site (including paypal money, yay!). You get 'points' for each survey; which can be used to buy the rewards. You can also buy actual products (like Xbox games, blenders and golfing gear I think) if you rack up a lot of points. I'd say I get 2 or 3 survey invitations a week but sometimes I can get a few more. This just depends on what you qualify for based on your profile. Just a heads up, when you start getting invitations, the sender will be Emma Morrison just so you know this isn't junk mail :) I signed up to this site in October 2011 and have found I've been able to redeem anywhere between £5 and £15 worth of paypal money pretty quickly. With quick responses to survey invites, making sure you take part in every survey and some patience, I think you could earn some good money from this website.

Valued Opinions: Your survey 'points' are counted in pounds and once you reach £10.00 you can claim a voucher. I tend to go for the amazon ones (more choice!). I do like this site as you get at least one survey invitation a day so it doesn't take long to reach your first £10.00.

Yougov: I've been a member since November 2012 and so far I've earned 250 points. I've found you do get a survey invite at least 5 days a week but I tend to screen out of these a lot (not qualify). There's not a lot of choice with rewards on this website but I'm staying with it as 5000 points = £50! It's worth giving it a go anyway. You can always unsubscribe if you get nowhere with it!

Vindale: Similarly to Yougov, with this site I find I get invitations regularly, but I screen out of them a lot. I signed up in June 2012 and have only earned $2.00. I wouldn't personally recommend this one but, due to the regularity of survey invites, maybe have a go?

Pinecone research: I've only recently started using this site so if my opinions change, I will edit this post. So far it seems ok. This particular research panel is invite only, but if you're in the right place at the right time, you can find banner ads to click on in order to join. The survey invites don't come regularly but each survey earns you £3 worth of luncheon vouchers. So far I've earned one of these. These vouchers can be used in really well known places; such as McDonalds, Burger King and Sainsburys (very useful!)

Inspired Opinions: I joined this one in December 2012 and have not received many survey invites. Only about 3 in total? I have, however, earned 300 inspired opinion points from this; with only 200 more to earn before I can redeem. You redeem your points for Amazon vouchers on this website; starting at 500 points for a £5 voucher and going up to 10'000 points for a £100 voucher. Again, I'm going to hang on with this one and see how far I get.

Panelbase: I joined this website in November 2012 and find I get about 2 or 3 invites a week. I have earned £7 so far and need to reach £10 before I can redeem. The good thing about this website is that you can have funds transferred directly to your bank account once you have reached the threshold. You can also swap them for vouchers or even donations if you like. I may add more details once I start redeeming.

Justtheanswer: I've been a member of this website since November 2012 and have earned 200 points so far. When you reach 500 points, you can swap these for a £5 amazon voucher. I tend to get around 2 invites a week but I do screen out of a few.

Populuslive: I originally signed up to this in June 2012 but just realised I didn't fill the demographic in; which is why I haven't been receiving survey invites. Oops! I'll keep you posted on this one. I may do a 'part 2' to this blog post, as I can see it is going to be a fairly long winded one.

Ipsos: I have been a member of this survey site since October 2011 and find I get invites 3 or 4 times a week. Since I last redeemed (December 2012), I have earned 1215 points. I've found that you do only get rewarded with prize draw entries for quite a few of these surveys, but when you are offered points, you reach the redemption threshold fairly easily. In order to earn enough for vouchers (rather than donations), you must reach 1380 points. These vouchers are for places like Amazon, John Lewis and Capital Bonds and are valued at £10. I would only have to take one or two more surveys in order to reach this threshold so I'm hoping for a decent invite soon!

Toluna: Now this survey site was originally called Ciao surveys, and I have to say I preferred the way it worked back then. You used to be able to redeem points for money and it didn't take too long to reach the threshold. Since the change to Toluna, you can only redeem points for vouchers (amazon vouchers being your best bet again). The points system is pretty ridiculous and it takes a heck of a long time to reach the threshold (unless you manage to qualify for the big long surveys). Since I last redeemed (at least 2 years ago), I have racked up 36750 points, which does sound like a lot, but you have to get to 80'000 points to redeem a £15 amazon voucher or love2shop voucher. You do get a lot of survey invites (at least one a day) but can easily screen out of surveys. A reason for this could be because the website appears to be extremely popular so quotas are filled fast. One good thing I'll say about this website is that you can sign up to test products; which you get to keep afterwards. You'll also get points for filling in the survey to review the products too. I currently don't need to buy shampoo or conditioner thanks to the two tester bottles (full size) of the shampoo and conditioner I like :)  

Opinion Outpost: I joined this website in June 2012 and find it's quite useful if you need a few pounds fairly quickly. I tend to get survey invitations 2 or 3 times a week and, since I last redeemed, I have earned 15 points. The threshold is 50 points; which will earn you £2.50 in paypal money. You can also earn snapfish vouchers if you like (you have to earn at least 80 points with that).

Gratispoints: I've been with this website since October 2011 and find I get fairly regular survey invites (at least one every other day). I have earned 1785 Gratispoints here which apparently I can redeem. The rewards section of the website is quite confusing however and I'm not entirely sure how many points I need for paypal money. From what I can see, so far I can redeem for spa vouchers (but it doesn't actually say the value of these vouchers). That is no use to me as there aren't any spas near me! If anyone could give me some advice regarding this website I would be very grateful.

Globaltestmarket: I know I've been a member of this survey for a while but I may have lost the welcome email with the exact date. My 'marketpoints' balance is currently 480 points. I need to reach 1000 points in order to redeem but the website is not entirely clear on the rewards offered. Again, this is a survey site which sends invitations regularly (almost every day!) but you can easily be screened out of the surveys. If I reach the redemption threshold in the not too distant future (ha) I will add more details of rewards etc.

Harris Poll: I have been a member of this site since June 2012 and have earned 260 'hipoints' so far. To earn amazon vouchers, you must have at least 1600 points but I feel it will take me a few months to reach this goal as I only get invites once or twice a week (not always qualifying for every survey either).

Springboard: I'm not sure whether or not to bother with this membership anymore as I have been with this website since Jan 2013 and have only earned £1.75 after taking part in 4 surveys. The redemption threshold with this particular site is £25 which I don't see happening anytime soon! I will keep you posted on this one.

Univox: I joined this site in June 2012 and have taken quite a few surveys a week (averaging out at about 5 per week) and have earned 1075 points. The redemption threshold is 2500 points, so if I continue to receive invitations regularly, it shouldn't take too long to reach that. The only reward offered is a $25 amazon voucher code which you redeem every time you reach 2500 points.



BzzAgent: I only recently signed up to this website, after googling genuine product testing websites. I've already received some well known stain remover to use and review and so far, it looks like this website does offer some useful products for testing.

Toluna: As mentioned before, this website offers product testing as well as paid surveys. You register your interest in certain products and I find that I get accepted for most of the products I apply for. Don't expect to get offers for this very regularly though.



Clothes For Cash: Now this website appears to be UK only so any readers from other countries, please feel free to comment if you discover something similar elsewhere! Basically, you fill the form in to receive your collection bag. In a few days time you receive the mahoosive bag. You use the instructions to fill the bag with clothes, shoes, jewellery, accessories that adhere to the company's rules. You then request a collection online and make sure you're in for that day. This collection is completely FREE btw. You can choose to have the money sent to your paypal account or to donate it. The company keeps you informed via email of what's happening (e.g. confirmation of collection, they've received the bag etc) and your money is processed within 24 hours of valuation. They pay up to £18 per (completely filled) sack and will accept sacks from half filled to completely filled. My sack weighed about 36 kg and I received around £12 for it. I would definitely use this service again although paypal payments do take a while to be authorised.


Here, I review a variety of cash for phone websites and give an example, using my current phone, of what you can expect to receive for each site. It's ALWAYS good to shop around for the best deal as you may find that one site will pay you considerably more than another. Again, these are UK companies so if someone outside the UK finds similar deals elsewhere, feel free to comment and suggest! Also, it is useful to note that the value of phones decrease very rapidly so it is best to recycle your old phone using one of these websites as quickly as possible!

Fonebank: My Nokia Lumia 800 would fetch me £72 for a working model. If faulty, I would receive £36. These payments can be made by cheque or bank transfer and will be processed on the same day the phone is received.

Envirofone: My Nokia Lumia 800 would earn me £64.04 for a working model if I opted for bank transfer or cheque. If I opted for the Argos e-voucher, I would receive one to the value of £70.44 There is no estimate for a damaged model but they DO accept and, if you are not happy with the offer, they will send your phone back free of charge. Offers are made within 24 hours of receiving the phone.

Mazuma Mobile: My Nokia Lumia 800 (working) would earn me £63 by cheque, £63 by bank transfer or   £69.30 if I opted for an Argos voucher. If faulty, I would receive £30 by cheque, £30 by bank transfer or £33 for Argos voucher.

Cash4Phones: My Nokia Lumia 800 would earn me £63.42 for a working model or £19.03 for a non-working one. Payments are made by cheque or bank transfer. 


Here are a few websites I use to receive free samples of things like moisturiser, tea bags and cleaning products. : A very varied selection of things such as Anti Ageing Cream, Twinings Tea Samples, Coffee Samples and Breakfast Biscuits. It takes a week or two to receive but is quite useful if you want to try new things. : This is quite similar to the previous website in what it offers, but on the flip side, that means you get more of the samples! : This website appears to be quite useful for new mums; with its free samples of baby food and mum-to-be starter packs. You can also get free samples of health food, snack bars, sweeteners and tea. : I do like this website due to its wide choice of freebies and regular updating. Freebies include tea, moisturiser and fragrance samples. The samples run out quickly, however, so snap them up quick! Also, check out the discount code section of the site.


Feel free to comment with any suggestions :) . It's always good to share the knowledge; especially in very broke times such as these!

Friday 15 February 2013


It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted, oh dear! I have been meaning to write a lot more often than this but honestly, not a hell of a lot has happened and I want to try and avoid publishing 'woe is me' posts all the time. The fact is, there are people in a much worse position than me who post much more positively.

I'm doing a couple of posts today; this one being an update and the next one to do with ways I've used the internet in order to help pay my bills. It's not extremely relevant to this blog, as a whole, but I figured it would be useful to put for anyone who's interested. Ok, onto this post!

Next month I'm going to have to move back in with my parents. It'll be nice to help my mum out a bit more (as much as I can anyway) around the house. My partner's dad can't keep paying half the rent for me, it's not fair on him. If I could stay here with my partner I would but finances are far too stretched and, with feeling like a burden constantly, it is seriously affecting my mental health. Now that's something I would like to discuss with my doctor but last time I even mentioned anything like that, I was instantly prescribed anti anxiety tablets which made everything worse. I don't want my emotions numbing, I want to learn how to deal with them properly so I can start 'coping' again. If my physical health does get better then, in turn, so should my mental health. If that's not the case though, I would happily consider a few sessions of counselling. I feel I'm putting too much on my partner, friends and family. They are  doing their best to understand but I don't want to bring them down with me. They don't deserve that.

Ok, back to the point. Moving back in with my parents means that I may, MAY be able to claim some sort of money. My illness is making me far too weak, dizzy and in pain to work so I am thinking about applying for ESA. I'm not sure how far I'll get with it and I certainly need to get a diagnosis from the doctor first, but I don't exactly tick the boxes for JSA. I'm not technically 'available for work' whilst feeling this awful. Another worry is that I will have to change doctors yet again. And because moving back to parents means moving cities, it takes 4 weeks to transfer notes so I will have to explain everything over again. I cannot tell you how sick I am of repeating myself. I'm going to have to write it all down otherwise I will forget what I want to say.

I have to get the train to my parents later today. I haven't travelled on my own for a while so I'm actually quite nervous about it. I'm making sure I take the quick train and, if the carriages are very busy, I'll probably stand near the door. I don't know if it's just me, but when I feel really ill, crowds just make me feel even worse. I feel like people can 'see' my illness and that makes me feel very self conscious.

Ok I think I'll leave it there for now and I'll edit if I find anything to add on here. Also, I really need to start playing around with the design and layout of this blog. It's extremely wordy and boring at the moment which I do apologise for! Usually I'm pretty quick at picking up computer-y stuff.

Friday 1 February 2013

I can't even hide it now

Today is not a good day.

I've never felt so upset and stressed and anxious in my life. I seem to have just let it all out today.

I ache, my head is searing with pain, I'm sleep deprived, I'm in a daze, and I cannot stop crying. I must look a complete nervous wreck at the moment.

My situation:

I live with my partner, who works full time with a basic salary. He pays half the rent and when I'm in work I pay the other half. When I'm not in work, a family member of his helps us out with rent. The problem is, ever since uni finished I've been in and out of temp work. I've now been out of work over 4 months and my stupid illness has been getting worse. I suppose it could be lack of routine mixed with stress which is making it worse but I simply cannot pull myself out of this. I can't claim anything financially because, according to our lovely government, one basic salary is enough to live on. It's apparently enough to pay rent, feed two mouths and pay all the bills that come afterwards. It's really not.

I may have to move in with my parents again if my health doesn't vastly improve and I find a job fast! So, it's pretty much inevitable and, as much as I love my parents, I want to get on with my life and have some stability. Moving homes and doctors all the time is not stability.

I really really want to work again because the money is running out and being ill certainly doesn't pay the bills, but how can I when I'm stuck in the house and can only leave it when someone is driving me somewhere and is with me all the time? I think, when I've been in work, I've done a great job of hiding just how ill I've felt but it's like I can't even hide it anymore. I absolutely need to have a diagnosis now at the very least. The only solid one is Vitamin D Deficiency which I'm on medication for life now (I don't even notice the difference from when I wasn't treated for it!). Other than that, I've had suggestions of M.E/CFS but never a doctor to say 'yes, this is what you have, let's try you on these therapies/get you referred'.

I wish someone could sort of take over and tell me what to do next because I feel very very lost. I miss the confident person I used to be and I wish I knew why she's changed.

I'm sorry this has turned out such a self pitying post, I just needed to get it all down. I might take it down after a few days.

*Just a quick edit.

I had a telephone consultation today with my doctor to talk through bladder diary and how gluten free diet is going. My foggy mind thought he wanted me to go over it on the phone but he wanted me to drop the diary in. Ah well, he knows what it's like now. So I have mild overactive bladder and need to cut down on caffeine to see if that will help. Also I'll be seeing him again in a couple of weeks to discuss the gluten free diet. I personally don't think it's working so I'm curious to see what he'll do next. I must've had a hell of a lot of blood tests during the last 3 years because he won't even consider another blood test hehe.

I'm really fed up of crying today! I was even on tears on the phone to the doc, but luckily I don't think he noticed. My signal was awful as well. Damn you Orange! It's not like I even live in an area that would be bad for signal, I live near a town centre for gawd's sake. But yes, everytime I spoke to him my voice was echoed back at me. I hate hearing my voice back, I sound like a 12 year old. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I'm not a particularly big fan of talking on the phone. I did Avon a year or so back and even the woman on the phone to me then asked if I was old enough!