National Coming Out Day

Today is a day where a lot of members of the LGBTQ+ community tell their’coming out’ story to the world. It is to encourage other people to feel safe in telling the world about their sexuality. And, as a person who knows how hard it is to try and tell people, this is a good thing. And the day should be celebrated, that people should be who they are without any negative results from that.

For myself, I have found it hard. I identify as a lesbian, I like girls, and have never really been interested in boys, past that small period of experimentation as a teenager. A lot of the people I hang out with, just picked up that I was gay. Which is nice, because that way, you don’t have to cross any barrier, its just there and nothing changes. It’s hard to type this, because I have never felt that I wanted to publicise it, in any way. It would be different if I was in a serious relationship, but I am not.

When I was younger, I had this thought that I shouldn’t expect anyone else to love me, if I don’t love myself. A thought that has stuck with me for a very long time. Looking back, I think that I believed this because of my own lack of self-belief. After speaking to a therapist,  it seems that a lot of my problems with mental health and how I view myself, has come from that part of my life, when I started struggling with school and realised that, unlike my friends, I wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted. And I kind of put my head down, and just tried to get on with it. But, as time went on, my self-worth has got less and less. Which is sad.

So, I went out with boys and girls for a while, because as well as my mental health, I was also struggling with my sexuality. Part of me felt so different from everyone around me already, I didn’t know if defining my sexuality would actually make things worse. As it happened, it didn’t, but it also didn’t make things any easier. I did date a bit, but nothing has ever stuck. And, it feels like my brain needs a definate answer of why nothing seems to last, and it goes back to the thought of ‘noone can love you, if you don’t love you’. And I can’t say when the last time I loved myself was. So I have held back.

I haven’t really publicly ‘came out’ because, at the moment, that isn’t the thing which is suffocating me. And, it’s actually okay for me. I mean, who I date, or love, is something that is personal to me. In fact, there some people who may read this, and this will be the first they have heard about me being gay. Because my sexual orientation is just part of who I am, I never thought about sitting people down, and telling them about it. I think I am very fortunate though, I have  good people around me, who are very loving and have a relaxed attitude towards a lot of things.

 

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Posted in 2018, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not All Bad

I use this blog a lot for complaining and talking about my mental health. Whilst, this has become a good place, where I can let all my agro out, it also gives the impression that all I do is wallow. Which, is actually untrue. I am very guilty of focusing on the ‘bad stuff’, but that just seems to be how my brain is wired. So, today, I am making a conscious effort to write about 5 positive going-ons in my life. I say 5 because sometimes I find it hard to think of any so this may be challenging.

  1. I became an Auntie. Last week, my little nephew Carter was born. He is so tiny and cute. We haven’t had a baby in my immediate family since my sister was born, and she is now 21. When my sister was born, I was 13 and was going through that terribly angsty, teenage phase. I wasn’t as ‘hands on’ as I could have been, and that has always made me feel a little bad. But, with baby Carter, I just want to cuddle him and help out however I can. The presence of a baby works as a reminder of not squandering life, or to me, it is anyway.
  2. Continuing my studies. This is a big one for me. I really struggled to keep ‘on top’ of my studies last semester, but I kept at it and managed to hand in my last assessment on schedule. My second year starts this week, and I am excited. I am studying towards a degree in IT and Computing, and last year was mostly an introduction. It is a course which I am doing through the Open University, which allows me to work my full-time job, as well as studying. It is a good way to try and get better job prospects for the future, still having a full-time wage. The next part of my course includes networks, robotics and automation. This is things that my work uses to get things done, so I am hoping that I can link them both together.
  3. Always at work. The last time I experienced bad mental health, I took a lot of time off work. This time around, I haven’t missed a single day. My managers and the team I work with have been super supportive when I have bad moments. I tend to cope better if my mind is occupied, the moment my brain starts to wonder is when I start panicking. My work is very good at making sure I am doing a variety of tasks, and this keeps me occupied. Work is exhausting, but it is really good that I have still stuck at it.
  4. Creativity. Doodling, writing, photography and video making. All the things that I like to do. I am not the best, but these things make me feel better. And sometimes, especially when you tell someone that you write a blog or film videos, you get dismissed. Did you know that being creative is something that people can ‘grow out of’? I didn’t. But apparently keeping a blog as I stumble through adulthood is frowned upon. People do say mean-spirited things, but I try to ignore that. Creating stuff gives me joy, and nobody should be able to take that away.
  5. Friends. I have super supportive and friendly people around me, something I don’t focus on enough. I always have people to meet with and chat to. I know that if things get really bad, I can PM  so many people for help. But a lot of the time, I just need a distraction from whatever is going on in my brain, and my friends offer that. Whether it is having a moan about work, going for dinner or playing computer games, it is good to disconnect from my feelings sometimes. But it is good that I can then be there for them too if it is needed.

 

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Cancelled

I have tried to be honest when I write on here. And it has proven to be something very helpful when dealling with my mental health. Because I find it difficult to speak to people about what I am going through, writing into the void seems a lot easier for me. It,unfortunately, doesn’t mean things become easier to handle.

One of the managers from my work is leaving, and people had organised a nightout for him. I was working all day, when this was happening. But, I thought that I might turn up for a bit, and at least buy the guy a beer and wish him luck. Seemed like a good plan, I’d just go up after work, stay for a few hours, stick to soft drinks and drive myself home. It seemed like a good plan. But then, anxiety happened. I knew everyone who was going to be there, I knew the pub, it wasn’t a big deal. There is no telling my brain that, when it starts getting ahead of itself though. I had a panic attack. I ended up struggling to breathe and crying over nothing. In my car. Like an idiot. I had been fine all day, I don’t know why I felt so bad all of a sudden. I decided to get some food and see if I felt better, but I ended up getting a migraine and going to bed early. I felt awful that I wasn’t able to go out. I am trying to go easier on myself, but it is hard.

I feel that I cancel a lot of plans these days, and it is hard. I feel like a constant let down, and it’s a horrible feeling. Like, how are you supposed to ‘be there’ for people, when you physically can’t be anywhere? It makes me feel like such a shit person. And that makes me want to stay locked up in solitary confinement even more. When I speak to people, or try to, I get told to stop over-thinking. I can’t help what I am thinking about, it isn’t like I consciously decide to over-react. That isn’t how it works.

I just wish I could find out how ‘it’ does work. Would make things a bit easier. At least I’d be able to explain it to the people I disappoint.

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Celebrate Good Times

Life has the unfortunate ability to feel like utter shit sometimes. It isn’t because anything bad actually happens, just that your perception of everything is rather rubbish. It happens to everyone, some folk more than others, and it can be hard.

Personally, I sometimes feel like my brain is tripping me up, by being negative about stuff that I shouldn’t even give a second thought. But that is not how my brain is wired, the rational thinking seems to be missing. And, it is very easy to get stuck. To become too busy nitpicking over the small things, because thinking about the ‘big stuff’, just seems to be too real and scary. I become stuck in a bubble, like a play I did at Primary School, where a girl floats away in a bubble, to a land filled with monsters. (I have no idea what it was called, I did try to find out.) Everything in the play ends up happy because it was aimed at kids, of course. But, the feeling of feeling like I am in a bubble surrounded by the scary monsters of the outside world, is a metaphor that seems to hit a little too close to home. And, although I do know that the story will end up okay, in the end, facing these monsters of reality just seems a bit too hard to bear. It becomes easy to hide in my little bubble. Like an invisible wall is protecting me from whatever bad stuff is coming. It’s not. It sounds a bit mad. And I am aware of that.

Sometimes, there are things, events, that requires to step out of your little bubble for a while. And it can be so anxiety-inducing, it is ridiculous. Sometimes, you can tip your toes into the big, wide world, and that’s it. And, that is okay. Sometimes. This metaphorical bubble, that I am using to describe my own mental health, can become a burden. Your mental health becomes a burden on YOU. And, that always makes me feel that it will also be a burden on other people. That me, and my bubble of despair, has the ability to ruin any social event or occasion, just by being there. And, when you start thinking that, it becomes all too tempting to reply ‘I’m busy’ to every invitation that you get. Thinking that everyone will have more fun without you. And that thinking is just your mind trying to keep you in your bubble, and not expose you to the possible monsters outside.

Sometimes there are events, like weddings and big birthdays, that you feel you have to attend. And sometimes, you can find the will to push outside your bubble, and do something for someone else. For me, I have to focus on the other person, because the moment I think about myself, at all, I will climb back into my bed and ignore my phone. Focus on the smiles, focus on the good times you have had before. Previously, for me, this has worked. I focused on how much the event meant for the person, or people, that I know, and I wanted to make them happy. It allows me to forget about the bubble I spend my life in and celebrate something great.  And, I didn’t feel anxious at all. It was like my bubble was left at home. It felt like I could still be genuinely happy, and it was freeing.

Now, I know that going to one event isn’t going to completely fix everything. My mental health is still like a badly scrambled egg. But, for a while, it can be nice to step away from that mess, and just experience something for what it is. I have suffered mental health problems for over half my life now, and I have come to terms that it is something that I need to live with. But it is good to know that sometimes, the life that can be sometimes so unbearable to live, still has good stuff to enjoy. And that good stuff has to be what pulls us through the bad stuff. It is sometimes necessary to remind yourself of that, once in a while.

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Nothing To Say

When you create online content as a hobby, it can get very frustrating when you can’t create. Because everything I do online, be it blogging, video creating or art related things, is a method to help me deal with mental health, sometimes it gets a bit hard. The words I write down don’t sound right, or I can’t draw what I am feeling. It feels really stifling.

When I get like that, I feel stupid, because the things that are meant to relax me, aren’t. And I get really panicky and anxious, because what kind of person can’t write a few paragraphs or draw a picture. And I feel awful. The only way I can get out of that negative state of mind, is to do something else. Recently that has been jumping in my wee car and going for a drive. I always end up at the beach, somewhere.

That’s were I am right now. Listening to the waves, smelling the sea air and reading a new book. I feel super relaxed. I am going to try and go back into my schedule of posting 3 days a week. But if I miss out a few days, or weeks, it might be that I am struggling with my mental health. And that’s okay. I just felt I should share.

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A lot of people read my posts via Facebook, who have decided they shall no longer share posts automatically with personal profiles. This means I will have to post manually, or create a ‘page’ for myself, as it still works with there. And that is frustrating in itself because Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts to your own followers. It’s a pain. And I don’t know what to do about it yet.

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Communication is important. It is how everything gets done. Whether it is you telling a shop worker what you want, reading your email list, or watching a TV show. Without effective communication, we’d be sitting staring at a wall all day, on our one.

Sometimes, that seems like a good idea.

I have recently bought my second car, after over 6 months of no driving. I was a bit worried about driving again, but I found it a bit like riding a bike. It was super easy to get back into, which is good, cause I kind of love driving. The problem ended up being with other drivers.

My dad used to be a driving instructor, and always drummed into me, and my siblings, that it is ALWAYS, mirror, signal, manoeuvre when driving. This means, if you need slow down before turning in at a junction, you should indicate first. This allows other drivers to see what you are planning to do. Seems simple, right? Not every driver follows this rule, and you will get people just turning, or breaking for no reason. You will get cars coming onto the road, right in front of you, as if you are invisible. I have a bright blue Volkswagen Beetle, it’s not exactly something that blends into its surroundings. It frustrates me. But I can see why accidents happen. A lot.

I sometimes think, that being able to read minds would be super helpful. Just so I’d get a heads-up on what other drivers are going to do. I think it would be a great ability. Like, as if you level up when you pass your driving test and unlock the ability to read minds. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to read everyone’s mind. My mind is weird enough without seeing too much of other people’s weird thoughts.

Posted in 2018, ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Know Yourself

Every day, things happen that push your personal boundaries. It doesn’t have to be anything too different from ‘the norm’ for you to feel any strain from the situation. Not for me anyway. I can find pressure in situations that are completely calm and contain no pressure. I think it is the way that my brain is wired.

I have problems with anxiety, which I have discussed before, and sometimes situations can make me on edge. Today, for example, I was the ‘designated driver’. It wasn’t anything specific that made that choice, went into town with the family, and it was my car we took. Which is fine. But there it was Highland Games day in Burntisland, so I drove down there, family in tow, to have a wee walk around. We ended up in the pub, and as the driver, I obviously couldn’t drink. Which is fine, I don’t have to drink all the time. But, the pubs were heaving. It was really warm, and room temperature diet coke wasn’t really helping. People kept bashing against me, and it was making me really anxious. People we knew came in, and it didn’t really help. I was needing some fresh air away from the crowds, I could myself starting to panic.

My family, being who they are, were like ‘We’ll come too’. So everyone went outside, and it was okay. We drove home, and I had no panic attack. But, then the rest of the family wanted to go to the pub back in the town that we live. I had to say that I wasn’t going to go. When my nerves have already been on edge, I know that it is probably not a good idea to drink alcohol. After all, there is a high chance that the anxiety I had experienced earlier would return.

I think it is important to go with what you feel is right. Don’t feel like you should do a particular thing if you don’t want to. Use your previous experiences when going forward. I know that if I have panic attacks, alcohol can affect the negative thinking that causes them. So, to be safe, it is always a good idea to stay away from it. And, I think that is a good idea for anyone who has mental health problems, to be aware of possible triggers and problems.

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment