I’m sick of constantly saying sorry for things I can’t help. But if I didn’t say sorry, I’d feel guilty.
I’m sick of having to explain why I feel like shit, when I ‘don’t look depressed’.
I’m sick of being a burden. Everyone has their problems, mines are just trivial.
I’m sick of being exhausted. Getting up and functioning takes all my energy, even worse if I have to try to be ‘happy’.
I’m sick of being called an ‘attention seeker’ behind my back. I thought we were friends.
I’m sick of letting people down. Be it a text, a phone call or meeting for a coffee, it’s so hard to interact with people when I feel like this.
I’m sick of crying all the time. When my anxiety hits hard, I cry a lot. It can happen anywhere, it usually happens after a panic attack, and it’s embarrassing.
I’m sick of being told that exercise/ healthy eating/bubble baths will cure my depression.
I’m sick. I have had problems with my mental health since I was a teenager. Asked teachers, and told it was hormones, and since then I have struggled. I try to muddle on, but sometimes I am at breaking point. I am maybe not the best friend, sister or colleague, but I am trying my best.
Today I have been doing maths. It was never my favourite subject at school, I didn’t like it. Some stuff made sense, whilst others flew right over my head. And I never knew why. I was so frustrated.
I have returned to the ‘Land of Maths’ thanks to the course I am doing through the Open University. I am doing a degree in Computing and IT, to try and improve my career opportunities. Without a degree, it is very hard to step into a higher role at my work, or any other. So, I can do it part time, alongside my full-time job. It’s nice to have something to focus on. I did take a wee break, because my mental health was rubbish, but now I am back studying again.
Before I start my maths course, in October, I have a ‘refresher’ set of mini-courses to go through, to re-familiarise myself with things. It’s recommended to go through the pre-courses, to help give people an idea of what is coming up in the course. Part of me just wants to skip it, but it is always good to challenge yourself. And it is all for a better future, so it’ll be worth it.
It feels like you have to give out your email address to every company you deal with. I get it, it’s easy contact between a company and their customers. Easy advertising. It seems like nothing, when you think about one company sending one email. It quickly becomes more than one company, you can get multiple emails every day.
It is something that, I feel, can get overwhelming at times. Especially now, when we get every email as a notification on our mobile phone, tablet or computer. One or two emails, can quickly becoming hundreds. Something, that maybe a person would ignore, unless it was a business email. But it’s not like that.
I always have the habit of over-thinking things. Especially as I feel that I try so hard, and fail to do most things that I attempt. So I see something, like my unread email inbox, and feel like it’s yet another thing that I fail to control. If I was more rational, I would know that the emails are junk, so don’t worry about it. Unfortunately, my brain is the polar opposite to rational, most of the time. So I seem to have over the top reactions, to nothing.
I have been going though the emails, and requesting to be taken off mailing lists. I hope that this will reduce the junk coming through. If it doesn’t work, I may have to remove my emails off my phone. Which, I’d rather not do. There is often important information hidden between all the rubbish.
It’s strange the things that can trigger my anxiety. It is very complicated. Sometimes a circumstance will start the panic, whereas other times the same circumstance doesn’t even come up on my radar. It just makes it all very difficult to understand, let alone try to explain it to other people
At the moment, my health is not my friend. With feeling sore all over, constant feelings of sickness, dizziness, and bouts of anxiety that can have me standing crying at the most embarrassing times. I have sought medical advice, so hopefully a solution is coming. But, it doesn’t stop me feel horrible every day.
One of the best pieces of advice, I have found, is to focus on things you enjoy. Because part of my problem is relating to my mental health, I end up doing things that I have done a thousand times before. I think this is something that I have mentioned on here fairly recently, but today I wanted to go into more detail.
One of the programmes I have been watching, again, is The Hills. It was a show, which appeared on MTV from 2006, that aired for 6 seasons. It was about young women, work and enjoy social lives in Los Angeles, California. The show was the first of that ‘US reality’ stuff that came on to my radar. There were always rumours, of scripted reality. Where things did happen, but they were edited to make a story, or sometimes situations were entirely fabricated. That didn’t bother me so much, it was simple tv. And some of the girls, Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port in particular, were interested in doing something creative. Yes, it was fashion, something I had never had much interest with personally, but I still found it interesting to see part of a creative industry I hadn’t seen before. It was something that I would watch whenever I got the chance. And when I found the whole series on Amazon Prime, I couldn’t resist watching it all. I have always been bad at watching ‘whole seasons’ of a show, but I have watched all 6 seasons in a couple of weeks, which is very fast for me.
I have also been trying to journal more. Write down nonsense, draw pictures, stick down memories, just create something. I usually sit and write a few pages before bedtime, and it helps clear my mind. I have some ‘study music’ playlist on in the background, and make the experience as relaxing as possible. I have found it is a good way to wind down after a busy day at work. As I am more relaxed, I am starting to fall asleep quicker. This means I am more rested, and able to deal with how challenging the next day will be.
On my Apple Watch, there is an app called ‘Breathe’. It guides you through a process of focusing on your breathing. It’s like meditation. Helps calm everything down, helps get my thoughts in line a little. I haven’t really tried meditation before, and maybe it is something I should do further. Especially in times, like these, where I can very easily become overwhelmed.
My immediate aim is to try and find more things that help calm my brain down. Try to let myself go enjoy something, even if it’s just a distraction. A lot of people will quickly dismiss distractions, as a waste of time. But, when life is hard, sometimes a distraction is exactly what is required.
A few years ago, I remember reading something (can’t remember where), which stated that a person’s personality was created by what they see around them. I thought this was interesting, as it was something I hadn’t thought of before.
The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it. I became aware of picking up phrases or mannerisms from people I liked. And if anyone had unfavourable qualities, I would stop myself from doing the behaviours I didn’t like. And people can do that automatically, based on some kind of instinct.
Then, I come on to the subject of role models. How many times have you opened a website, or a newspaper, to see headlines proclaiming that some pop star is ‘an awful role model to young girls’. People don’t ask to be role models, it is something that just happens. The image portrayed through media, often tries to show a person in a positive light. This positive light, is what can influence the behaviour of others. A lot of the time, there is very little conscious fault involved on either side.
It isn’t just kids who are influenced by the behaviours of people they admire. Everyone is. If you watch a tv show, about a person who adores baking cakes, you may see that joy in that person and think, ‘I’ll bake a cake too’. If you see someone, in your actual life, or on TV, who is motivated and works hard, it could push you to work harder towards your own goals.
And if someone, anyone, can encourage you to be a better person, there can’t be anything wrong than that.
Over the years, social media networks have come and gone. Instagram, is a social network that I have used since I learned of it’s existence, back in my college days.
It’s the social network that provides me the most joy. I can post opinions, memories, or even wee stories of my day. And, in return, I get to see what other people create. I have made friends, followed artists and people that inspire me every day, and genuinely have fun on Instagram.
Instagram seems to get pulled up as the worst social media site, especially for the content that young eyes can find. People need to understand that social media sites run off what information you give it. What information and hashtags you may use, is what helps create the content you view. I think people need to be educated on how to use social media, before they start blaming it for everything. Social media makes money by curating a timeline that a user will interact with. Because heavy interaction, means there is more chance of adverts being seen, clicked on, and maybe sales made.
I follow accounts of artists, friends and people who post stuff that encourages me. I save topics like ‘alternative’, ‘Naruto’, ‘BlackPink’, ‘journaling’ and many more. I am not interested in fashion or make-up, so I find that I don’t get recommended pages of models and diet focused accounts.
Parents should always be aware of how social media sites work. Educate themselves. If you don’t like what you find, you protect your child. Teach them how to use social media responsibly, show what dangers lie on the internet. Because it should be taken just as seriously as dangers outside in the real world. If a parent refuses to understand how a site works, they can’t expect their child to.
My instagram is like a journal, a bit of a visual blog. I post what catches my attention, rather than just selfies of myself. I understand different people use it for different reasons, and that’s okay. But having such a outlet, has helped my mental health. If I am struggling, i try to go for a walk to take some pictures. And it really helps me gain some focus. It makes me sad that some people see everything on the internet as bad. To me it’s the opposite.
I have lived in the same area, since I was a child. I have been told that I need to ‘move somewhere else’. As if you can only experience life, if you have paid stupidly high rent for a teeny flat in a city. I will scoff at that, but at the same time, seeing friends buy houses, get married, and have kids, makes me sad. I work hard, but I stay with my parents, in my 30s. It’s very depressing. I have worked constantly since I was 16, and have tried previously tried college. I have struggled with my mental health, but ignored it for many years. And these feelings, of seeing friends ‘do more’, made me feel worse. I look at my life and see that I have wasted my time. Wasted a life. And that’s where depression takes hold. That if my life was worthy, I’d be in a different place.
Sometimes, I need to get away from these thoughts. And I do this by getting out the house, going for a drive, or for a walk. The good thing, about living where I do, is that there are so many good places to explore. I live on the Fife Coast, just across from Edinburgh, and I can easily get to the sea, or to the countryside. I can find peace, in walks on my own. With nothing but my own thoughts, where I can try and get my broken mind in some kind of order.
The thing is. Sometimes my over nostalgic brain would see any changes that have happened, and feel sad about them. Which, if you live in the town you grew up in, happens quite a lot. Walking down a set of stairs, can make you feel quite sad. Today, for example, I went into the town’s public park, somewhere where I went with my parents as a child, and friends as I got older, but hadn’t been in so long. And it changed. Not really for the better.
The park felt a little unloved. Paint peeling off benches, broken slabs, empty planting areas, it seems a little neglected. Which maybe rings a little too true to me, in the metaphorical sense. It was peaceful, which is what I needed, but that was it. I am like that, functional, but not really making any marks.
Sometimes, usually after a few deep breathes, you can see things you have forgotten. The things that you haven’t noticed for years, or maybe haven’t seen before. The things you look at ‘through new eyes’, that look completely different.
I started thinking today, that age seems to make a person more cynical. It begins to get harder to see past the negative stuff, because that’s what you’ve come to expect. So, maybe we need to remind ourselves to keep a part of a childish outlook. See things in a hopeful way, and look past the bad bits to see something positive. But that is hard.
In the UK, there has always been an abundance of magazine publications, all suited around whatever hobby or interest you could have. Model trains, cross stitching, running, photography, almost anything had a magazine. My big interest was always music. And, in the days before you had music recommendations at a click of a button on Spotify, you had music magazines, and the odd radio show.
From, when I started earning my own money, I always bought music magazines. It started off with Smash Hits, moved on to Kerrang, Rocksound, NME and Q. There then became more niche magazines, Big Cheese covered punkier stuff, then Metal Hammer got heavy metal. Magazines would often give away free tapes, then CDs, so you got a taste for the bands you were reading about. I always liked different music, so I would buy different magazines, to try and absorb as much information as possible. If you wanted to find out about music out with the Top 40, you had to work for it. Which is why magazines were so important to me when I was younger.
Unfortunately, more and more of the publications that I used to buy, are closing. With Q Magazine being the latest victim. After 34 years of publication, the magazine has published it’s final issue. And it is hard to imagine, in these days, where music seems instant, that a major way I discovered music seems to be dying away. There was a time, when pondering a career path when I was at school, that I thought about journalism, in particular, music journalism. I had never been the most accomplished writer, but I loved the idea about showing appreciation for something I loved. To shed light on bands and albums I loved. It sounded pretty magical.
These days, if you like a certain genre, or listen to certain bands, the music streaming service you listen to, will recommend new music. It’s seamless, and almost effortless to find something new. I liked reading about a band’s exploits, about their history, and understanding about the band members. I also loved reading reviews on gigs, especially if I was discovering a new band. It’s not the same anymore. Even pop music, there is no music on TV anymore. When I was younger there was Top Of The Pops, CD:UK, even Popworld. Shows that created a buzz, and added a bit of personality to the most generic bands.
The biggest issue that I have with my own mental health, is the lack of feeling. The numbness that seems to take over everything, that just seems to make everything seem rather pointless. For me, it means that I find it very difficult to find any drive, because there is no reason to do anything. It makes me really down.
It’s why writing, and doing anything creative, is so hard. How can you find something to create, when your mind is stuck looking at a metaphorical grey wall? And, even if I can force something creative, I find that I go round in circles. Saying the same things, drawing over already drawn lines. It’s something that is really hard to get through. When people say that they have a creative block, a lot of the time they say it because they are struggling to create anything at all. For me, especially recently, it’s creating stuff that’s been done before.
People always say that, when life is challenging, you have to power through it, and get out at the other side. But, my problem is, that how do you know when you are at the ‘other side’? It just feels like there is one thing after another, it is never ending. And it’s hard. I think, that when you are younger, your are told that the hard stuff is things like work, and bills. These things are almost abstract when you find yourself struggling with just the physical and mental strain of simply getting out of bed.
The world feels like it slowly coming back to some kind of normality for so many people, as a lot of countries are experiencing a decrease in Coronavirus rates. It’s meaning that people can see friends and family, businesses can open, and folk can go away on holiday again.
I work where I have to wear a mask, and my work has been open throughout. Other than more cars on the road, I don’t see much of a difference from when lockdown was in full effect. The changes that have occurred in workplaces, like mine, will stay the same for the foreseeable future. Must wear masks, must social distance, and loads of Perspex screens have appeared, to help people social distance whilst they work. When these things started popping up, I knew this wasn’t going to just ‘go away’ like a lot of people hoped. But, I did my best, and worked on.
Last Friday, Scotland made it compulsory to wear face masks in places like shops. Whilst I do think it’s late, I understand why it’s there. It’s not something that bothers me. Wearing a mask in a supermarket is more comfortable than wearing one whilst doing physical Labour. And when I have been in shops, everyone, even kids, have had masks on. I am happy I haven’t seen anyone kick up a fuss, as we all have to do our bit to keep one another safe.
As more starts happening, I have found that I have become accustomed to work-supermarket-home. Where, before lockdown, I would be looking to get out every day, I’m now happy relaxing at home, reading my book or watching crap TV. I have got used to spending more time with my family. I’ve enjoyed not feeling obliged to ‘go out’ to keep myself busy. There is plenty to do at home, that I haven’t done in so long.
So, I think, I’ll watch the folk who have enjoyed lockdown, go out and about. I might just grab a book and enjoy my new normal.