A Testing Time

These last few weeks have flown by. It is that time of year, once again, where assements and summer seem to collide. I am studying through the Open University, which gives the ability to access high level learning, whilst still working full time. Which is what I am doing. It gives me a sense that I am working towards something, which is what I need, after being in my current job for 5 years. It is a very good thing. However, the recommended study time, doesn’t actually sound like much, like 10 or so hours a week. But once life gets in the way, that 10 hours is a lot.

Key to doing anything like this, is being honest to yourself, and honest to the people there to help. Be it people at work, friends, or folk at where you are studying. When looking for help, it is easy to forget that there are actually lots of things set up to help you succeed. Managers and tutors are their to help you, their job is to make sure that you have as much support as you need. So, just tell them what the problem is and they can help, even if it is pointing you in the direction of where you can get support.

No matter where you are, you will here people saying that the people who are supposed to care about them (like managers) don’t care about them. But, a lot of the time, when you question them further, you can find that no issues have actually been raised to their managers. As clever as some people like to think that they are, noone is actually a mind reaer, they sometimes only know something is wrong, when it is pointed out to them. So, no matter how silly you may feel, speaking up can make things a lot easier, and help release the pressure.

However, that can be easier said than done.

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I am melting

I am a winter person. I have probably said that before. But I am. My body type is like a human radiator, sometimes. I rarely get too cold, always get too hot. Which means I am not sleeping, which means I am not being productive. Basically, it is taking all my willpower not to simply ‘do nothing’ when I come home from work. Everything feels gross and sticky, and I can’t sleep.

At least the days have been nice, and I was able to go for walks down to the beach.

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Sleepiness

Seeing every hour on the clock. It’s annoying isn’t it? When you are in bed, but your brain won’t shut down. I usually go to bed to sleep between 11pm and midnight. Which allows me time to get what I need done after work.

I set my alarms, put my tablet and phone to the side, and get comfy. I get relaxed and feel great. This is the moment I have been waiting for all day, since I left my bed that morning. I’m ready to just float off to dream land.

But it doesn’t always happen.

I can start thinking about events that have happened, or, more likely, I am thinking about what is coming the next day. I toss and turn. I go for a drink of water cause my mouth suddenly feels dry. I hear cats fighting outside so listen for them to go away. I need a pee. I can’t get comfy. I have an itchy foot. Maybe I can read for a while?

After about 3 hours of struggling to sleep I put something on my tablet. Just the news or some game stream I can watch in the dark. Something that normally makes me sleepy. Something that doesn’t always work.

Working a 10 hour shift is always the most fun on no sleep. I just hope I sleep tonight. But I wish for that every night.

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Just Pretend

Anyone with mental health issues will tell you the problem that is encountered when you attempt to speak to people about it. Your intelligence is questioned. You are told to grow up. You are made to feel like you are ‘doing it for attention’. All of which makes things worse. It’s a problem made worse when people use mental health as an excuse to get time off work. Not that they suffer at all, but because they couldn’t get the holiday. If you have genuine stress and anxiety, time away could help. But when people say ‘I’ll just say I’m stressed, because they never question that’. As if it is some lame excuse like having the flu.

That excuse to get time off is an insult to every person genuinely suffering. Every person having to turn to a doctor because they feel like they are losing control. Every person who cries themselves to sleep every night, and then cries in the morning because they still have to live. A person who panics uncontrollably at every little thing, from doing the dishes to buying a newspaper. It’s not tidying up, because there is no point. It’s not showering, because there is no point. It’s eating rubbish because something has to fill the massive hole you feel inside.

It makes me so angry. And disgusted. As a person who suffers mental health issues, and know a lot of people suffering, I find it awful that someone would pretend to ‘join in’ so they could get time off. It shows ignorance of the world around them.

It kind of makes me feel a bit sick.

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Weather, It Helps

How many times do you read about mental health being affected by the seasons and weather? How many times have you scoffed at that idea? I have done that a lot. Mostly because my mental health goes up and down without any real change in the weather. So, I have been guilty of seeing the point, and then just dismissing it.

However, I sit here, looking out my window at almost 10pm, and the sun is starting to down, but the sky is blue. And the weather forecast for the weekend ahead is pretty spectacular, with temperatures soaring. As much as I want to be a stick-in-the-mud, and say that the weather doesn’t matter, I am feeling uplifted. It is easier to get up in the morning, it is easier to keep motivated and get things done.

It probably has something to do with natural light or something. I don’t know. But I think it is a nice thing. I am looking forward to my weekend (which starts on Sunday) and planning all that I can do on my time off. I feel encouraged to go outside and make the best of the nice weather. Okay, it doesn’t always help, but right now it is helping.

 

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Take a Breath

Been needing to take time out recently. Stepping away from the stuff causing me to get worked up. It is a thing that sounds very straight forward, but you can easily fall in to the trap where you believe you are ‘coping’.

A walk to the coast sometimes helps.

I have been trying to recognise what situations get me frustrated or triggers my anxiety. If I do get them, I go for a walk. Even if it is just 5 minutes outside, it helps clear my mind, as it takes me away from whatever situation is making me feel panicked. It really does help. I think it goes hand in hand with the explanation that exercise can make you happy.

If I can go for a walk, because it sometimes isn’t possible, I just stop what I am doing and take a few deep breaths. It’s just focusing on your breathing, that helps calm me down.

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Whoops

I want to apologise.

I said I was going to post regularly (every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and I haven’t. I am not going to show up with empty excuses, but be a bit honest instead. I am very good at signing up to do too much and then fall under the weight of everything. Doing a lot of work is only good if you are able to keep up-to-date with your schedule.

I fell apart last week. It is my first week being on anti-depressants for many years. Whenever I think about it, I get stuck on the feeling of failure, that I wasn’t able to cope, when I had been coping for years. Except, I don’t really think I had been ‘coping fine’. I think I have been treading water and pretending I was okay for a long time, when I wasn’t. But, I did get help eventually, which is good.

As anyone, who takes any mental health medication, will tell you, it does take time for medication to take effect. And, it can make you extra lethargic and sleepy as you get accustomed to the medication. And, I believe that is what has happened. Everything I do, has different importance. So, whilst I love writing and being creative, my actual full time job is more important. I need to pay the bills that allow me to do the things I love. So, I have been ptuting everything into getting to work, and functioning whilst I am there. And, it has been exhausting.

I am also still doing my IT course with the Open University. I will be honest and say, that I have fallen behind because of everything that has been going on. But, I am still chipping away at everything. I will get there eventually. And that is how I feel about everything right now. Deal with one thing at a time.

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