Taking Time Out

It is important, that in this world that doesn’t seem to stop, that you take time for yourself. Time away from your computer. Time away from work. Time away from the routine that can grate on your nerves. It feels, since lockdown happened last year, that everything feels so much more intense. People are angry, as normality appears to be keeping socially distant from us. Folk are very intolerant to views that are not their own, and as a result, give out underserved abuse.

So, I had 2 weeks booked off work. A holiday which was supposed to be spent in Cyprus, with my family. But, was cancelled, like everything else, due to Coronavirus. I kept the time off booked, because I still needed to use those holidays. So, I didn’t plan anything. I was worried, as when my brain senses no plans, it seems to go into over drive, and my mental health is atrocious.

My main focus was to just relax. Take joy in watching tv, or going for a walk. Not to have a reason for anything. Previously, I would say I wanted to read so many books, create a certain number of artworks, and lose so much weight. This has ended up with my going back to work more stressed, than I was before. Which kind of defies the point of being off work in the first place.

So, I worked hard at doing nothing. I ordered too many take aways, drank too much alcohol, and got up around noon. It was good. Maybe not the healthiest for my body, but for the first time in a long time, my mind was able to recharge. For the first time, in a long time, I feel light. I feel so super relaxed. And ready to go back to work, tomorrow.

Forget Me Not

I have completely forgotten to post on here. I have no real excuses, just that time has got away from me. As it has the tendency to do, sometimes. I have committed to this blog for another year, as my payment for the domain has been made again. So, although I may be absent, I won’t be gone.

Thanks to my anxiety, I am very bad at relaxing. I always have to be doing something. When I am not busy, the negative thoughts can take over. I am trying to get used to being relaxed, without feeling any negativity about doing so. Which is easier said than done.

I have been on holiday this week. No work, no full week, just relaxing. Which has been hard. I have been doing some reading, learning some Gaelic, just taking things a bit slower. It has been nice. This has been my first proper time off in 2021. It was needed, because everything at work was getting on my nerves.

I am off work next week too, so I hope this relaxation can continue.

TikTok

I have been frequenting TikTok recently. People will sneer, as they have done already, as it is a ‘child’s app’.

No social media app is suitable for children to be left alone on. All parents should be aware of the content their child consumes, as you would if the child was playing outside. It is just as dangerous. There are people who will take advantage, as there is in the real world. Social media is even more dangerous, as people can pretend to be someone else, and get close to a child.

Since last year, with the first lockdown, TikTok became super popular. With people downloading the app in their millions, to beat boredom. Small 15 second videos can be uploaded by anyone. People talk about personal problems, hobbies, show a talent, discuss politics, anything. And it’s one of the few things my bad attention span is able to deal with.

I started making my own videos. Just moaning about life. Talking about my mental health and my struggles in losing weight. It’s so fast to do. And I think that is key to me using the app regularly. I find with a lot of social media, you are encouraged to edit everything, like a quest for perfection. I find, that 15 seconds is so quick. I can make a quick point, and upload before I can think too much. And I find it quite cathartic.

Failed

A few years ago, I made the decision to go back into further education. The course that caught my eye, was about IT and Computing. I thought that it would be something that could give me the best employment opportunities going forward. As the technology sector is only going to go from strength to strength, in the next few years.

As I did the course, I loved the programming, finding out about networks, and how things worked. It was so informative. There was a maths unit to do, which I had expected. Back at school, maths was never my strong suit. I preferred writing and reading, over numbers. But I got stuck in. My mental health declined, so I had to come out of the course. I then thought I’d try again. At a later date. Which was 2020, the course is due to finish later this month. I have struggled again. Missed deadlines and everything. And I feel so low about it. I feel utterly useless.

The reason I felt I needed to go back into education was, that I was finding it difficult to progress in the workplace. I work in a corporate environment, and held my job for over 7 years. I have worked since I was 16. When I was at school, I was told that there was two ways to get somewhere, firstly, get a degree at university, and secondly, experience through work. As I have got older, it has become clear, that it is hard to be taken seriously for new roles, without a degree. There are positions that people can’t be promoted into, because there are so many graduates (some with no work experience) to step right into roles. And it is a bitter pill to swallow.

I don’t know what to really do. I have emailed the university, to inform them of my concerns. I am actually distraught. I have failed at everything I have ever tried, and it’s a horrible feeling. I feel so worthless. The last few years, I have lost family and friends, which made my bad mental health worse. I have come of my mental health medication, as it wasn’t working, and everything feels so much more raw. Put that with a tendency to forget dates, and finding the Maths unit really hard, everything just fell apart.

I still feel like I need something to improve my prospects. But I don’t know if it is better to switch to something that I actually have a passion for. Or do I try again. I certainly don’t want to give up. I want to earn enough to be able to live comfortably on my own. So, do I try again with this maths road block, or do I try something like English literature, which I know love, but might find another roadblock?

I wish that work experience counted for something.

Pressure

There is a building pressure, in my head.

It is accompanied by a dull ache, in my forehead.

It’s normally caused by anxiety.

The stress that I am not good enough.

I never feel good enough.

It happens when I have a chance to think.

When work slows down, and the cogs in my brain start whirring.

Every action, every word said, is scrutinised.

I can’t run away, the voice in my head just gets louder.

Drink water will help.

Eat something, suggests people who mean well.

I try to hold it together.

I want to hide away, but that’s not always possible.

I need to find an activity.

Give myself something to do.

And the stress, and the headache, fades away.

Round, Round

Life is monotonous sometimes, isn’t it?

It feels like I am going round in circles at the moment. It is so frustrating.

It’s like I am walking round surrounded by a dark cloud. Sometimes, the sun peaks through, and I can see a path ahead. But it’s short lived. That cloud comes back, and it takes all my focus to see my own two feet, let alone anything else.

My problem is, that every time I think things are getting a little easier to see, the darkness comes back. So, I feel like I make no progress. That I get so far, and end up back at the start.

Sometimes, it seems easier to make no effort at all.

Wired Wrong

I used to always ask for help. Go to a teacher, and tell them what I was feeling. It could have been about my weight, sexuality, or anything. I was always told, no one can help you fix a problem, if they don’t know about it.

So, I’d ask. For help. For advice.

The only answers that I got, were that I was ‘wired wrong’. Something, my teenage self, turned into being my fault. As if it could be anyone’s ‘fault’. It was my own fault that I felt so disconnected with the people around me. I’d speak to the doctor, they’d give tablets, but not really listen.

As I have grown up, I have continued blaming myself for not processing things the same, or for letting certain things effect me. I stopped asking for help so much, as it was embarrassing that I was doing this myself.

Over the last 6 months, I have had regular phone calls with a locum GP, who actually listened. I have spent time doing meditation, and I have no medication for my mental health. Which, is terrifying. But I am taking every day at a time. The GP mentioned that every person is wired differently, that’s why we are all such different people. There is nothing to be ashamed off. I just need to learn how my brain processes things, and find out what works, for me.

I turned 37 last week. It should never have taken this long for someone to make sense of what was happening. To find a way to help me understand why I was feeling the way I did.

Things aren’t all rosy. I still get panic attacks. I still assume the worst. I still start a dozen different jobs, and finish none. I still worry that I have offended everyone, and apologise for it constantly. But, it feels like I can find a way to work round what happens. To learn to love the behavioural quirks that make me, me. Which is a challenge and a half, I tell you.

My doctor said something that stuck. ‘Life comes with a standard manual, one that works for a large percentage of people. It doesn’t work for everyone, which is why we can write our own manual. Our own directions, that help us make our own way through life.’ It sounds silly. But it was strangely comforting.

Stressed

There is a voice in my head. It tells me that I am not good enough.

The volume can depend. Sometimes it’s whispering, which is drowned out by other thoughts, other activities. But, sometimes it shouts. It’s deafening. It becomes impossible to focus on anything.

I work well with a plan of action. When I have something definite to focus on. But, any change to that plan, is enough to send me into a panic. I quickly feel out of control, and don’t know what to do.

Switch off!

How hard is it to switch off?

To be able to relax, fully enjoy a hobby or activity. To not let things bother you. To be able to silence your brain, to enjoy a tv show.

Facebook is constant, full of people you thought you could trust, making comments that prove you wrong. The feeling of being let down, and that you never know who anyone is, not really. People defending saying racist slurs, because they have always said it. People defending blaming a virus on Asian people, despite the fact Coronavirus was a thing before the pandemic. People laughing about identifying as a helicopter, whilst people they know are feeling threatened because of gender being in the news. The people who speak about mental health awareness, whilst laughing about your problems, behind your back.

It’s not just that. It’s everywhere. The TV is full of people trying to validate their right to berate people. Newspapers give, the most vocal bigots, newspaper columns. They get radio shows. TV shows. Infamy for being intolerant.

I remember being told when I was young, to treat other people the way you want to be treated. That if a person isn’t causing harm, let them be. And it frustrates me, that people treat others poorly l, just because they are different to them.

It’s very overwhelming. To see the hatred. The hatred of anything different. My high anxiety brain always reminds me that I can never do enough. I just want that part to stop.

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Important links:

Stop Hate: http://stophate.org

Stand up against racism and inequality: http://sariweb.org.uk

Human Rights Campaign: http://hrc.org

Citizen’s Advice: http://citizensadvice.org.uk

Mind: http://mind.org.uk