Locked Down

Today, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, put mainland Scotland in lockdown. Again. COVID cases are on the rise, and hospitals are struggling to deal with the increased demand. As frustrating as it is, I completely understand why such rules are required, and it is important that the public do their best to abide by them.

Everything is so annoying, because it feels like everyone has sacrificed so much already. Births, deaths, weddings, all major events that we have had to miss out. And to make those sacrifices to find out that the country is almost just as bad as it was 9 months ago, when this first started.

Everyone just needs to ‘keep the heid’. Keep calm, and do our best to follow the rules as much as we can. It won’t go on forever, we will get there. Eventually.

Looking Forward

I look at this title, and I roll my eyes. There is this doubt, that everyone will be feeling, which asks us if it is worth even planning anything for this coming year. Is really worth getting our hopes up, that 2021 will be better than 2020?

It’s all rather pessimistic, and I think that modern society (from politics to marketing) wants you to be like that. It means that ‘they’ have the answer, that ‘they’ can make everything better. Go back to the good ol’ days, where things were more in your favour. This perfume will make your life a success, this politician will get rid of the things holding you down, this car will allow you to live the life you deserve.

Dreams. That’s what everything is selling to us. A better life for a the cost of a few pounds, or a vote on a bit of paper. And, people would like to believe that a better life would be so easy. I mean, if buying a new £30 pair of jeans would make all my problems go away, I’d snap up multiple pairs. But, that’s not the way the world works. There is no short cut to happiness or success, you have to work for what you want.

I sometimes am guilty of telling myself that I have put effort into things, which is why it is so unfair that things haven’t happened for me. But that isn’t true. Not really. I think about stuff, then I kind of half-arse it, and then get upset the stuff hasn’t turned out how I wanted. The audacity, I tell you.

So, I’m trying to make myself more responsible for what happens. Make the effort to do things fully. Work to my strengths. I know I am good at doing things in short bursts, for example, tidying for an hour at a time. Breaking things down like that helps me do more. And, if that’s what I need to get things actually done, so be it. So that when I look forward to things, they actually happen. Which would be nice.

Welcome 2021

I swear every year gets faster. It feels like I have only just written the first post of 2020, and it’s already a year ago. Obviously, 2020 didn’t really live up to anyone’s expectations, with COVID scuppering most people’s plans for the year. But we survived, we got through it, so hooray for us.

At the start of every year, I always try to create resolutions, plans to try and live by. It never happens. It sometimes starts well, but quickly falls apart. Usually, by the end of January, most plans have been given up, and I seem resolved that maybe life won’t get any better. As if, I have already hit peak life, that things are ‘all down’ from here. Which is a rather pessimistic way to feel about things.

But, 2021 is still a blank slate. A fresh start. A perfect opportunity to try and make the self-penned book of 2021 better than that of 2020. Not that it’s hard. As you can tell, from this and other things I have posted, I am pretty defeatist, pretty negative. If things don’t go the way I intend, I find it really hard to keep going. Lots of hobbies, books, tv shows and more end up abandoned for this very reason.

It’s why, I thought hard about what I would like to make better about 2021. And I, after speaking to my doctor, the biggest thing I need to change is my mindset. To be more positive, to not let the bad stuff knock me down every time. Which is hard, because my rubbish mental health has me constantly in the ‘down’ mood. So, I am going to spend time trying to find things that naturally lift my mood. Working out is good for that, apparently, and it would always be good for my joints, which are becoming a bigger problem as I get older.

I think what is important is not give up. As I often ‘don’t see the point’ of continuing anything once the initial novelty has gone. So, to try and not be so defeatist will be a huge challenge for me, and I do think that it will be a positive change for me. Just keep going, plodding away, no matter what happens. Will see what happens, I guess.

Hope that anyone reading this has a fantastic 2021.

Festive Tidings

Christmas is over for another year. All that preparation, and it’s over too fast. Well, I say it’s over, but it’s more the fact that it is behind us. Things have been hard, because the busy-ness of the festive period is usually super busy. This year, due to COVID restrictions all over the world, things are different. Everything feels like it’s at a distances. Messages over social media, FaceTime, and posting gifts through doors and mail boxes. It’s strange.

It has been hard to let people know you are thinking of them. I just haven’t known what to say to folk. It’s no secret that I have really struggled this year, and that’s not something you want to share during a period of goodwill. It has been nice, to not be working, to be at home with my family. Because, despite a lot of businesses being in lockdown, I have worked this entire year, almost normally. So, it has been nice to have a few days off to eat, drink, and fall asleep.

What have I enjoyed most over this Christmas:

*Gave some gifts to the people who matter most– The best reaction was from my nephew, when I gave him a toy that he was so surprised about. He was so excited, the box was ripped open instantly.

*Spent time with family- I am fortunate enough that I live with family, so I have been able to relax with them. I am usually so exhausted from work, that I head to my bed after dinner. So it has been nice to have my dinner with them, and do things like play games.

*Watched lots of movies– I’m bad at watching movies, again because I am usually too tired. All the movies watched were family films, the new Jumanji films, Brave, Minions, and others. I normally get bored too easily, so family movies keep me entertained most.

*Ate loads of food– I always worry about what I eat, that it’s always too much. So, it was nice to forget about it for a while, luckily I don’t have a sweet tooth, so all the sweets around the house weren’t too bad. When I get stressed, I am erratic with what I eat, so it was nice to be eating proper meals, with my family. Eating wasn’t a solitary thing, like it is when I’m working.

Lost

I have been thinking, recently, about my mental health. Of how I don’t feel it has got better over time. Because that’s what I was told that I had to do, give myself time, and things will get better.

Sometimes things do feel a bit better. I can laugh with my nephew, have a joke with a friend over lunch, or laugh at the TV. It doesn’t mean the bad thoughts have gone away. The feelings of failure, of uselessness, still sit in my mind. And sometimes, I laugh too hard, or won’t stop talking, and it is purely to try and seem ‘okay’. I sometimes find my patience running thin, where I will get angry, at the drop of a hat, over nothing. Sometimes, I drag myself to work, and that is all I have energy to do for that day. Sometimes I eat some junk food, to make myself feel better, but it doesn’t work. I feel worse. A girl my size should only eat healthy food. But food that needs preparing is difficult when you don’t feel worth the effort.

I had a think back to the last 10 years or so. There have some amazing highlights, holidays to countries I’d never visited before, gigs with great music, and better friends. Nephews coming into my life, that are happy to see me, no matter what. But there is a shadow, in my mind, against all the happiness.

A shadow which makes me ask whether I really deserve to be happy. That doubt keeps me rooted in place, struggling to take any kind of step towards anything new. I am constantly reminded that I should be happy about what I do have. And, it makes me feel selfish, because I don’t feel I am making the best of the situation that I am in.

I am trying. I am getting up every day for work. I do my job to the best of my abilities. Going out and doing a physical job everyday, has helped. If my mind is occupied, I don’t feel so bad. I can focus. Sometimes. Sometimes, even work won’t stop a panic attack on the shop floor, or the anxiety that I have done something wrong. The idea, that I have annoyed someone. So, I work. But I also apologise way too much, especially when feeling bad. I don’t want anyone to dislike me over something that I did, when my irrational brain was in charge.

I honestly thought that things would be better by now. But they haven’t. If my words read like a broken record, that’s nothing compared to what life actually feels like. Sometimes I wish I had a reset button on For my brain.

———————

This post has come from a note I made on my phone, during a panic attack. Writing sometimes helps me feel better. But it may read a little muddled.

Frustrated

I have been finding a lot of things difficult at the moment. Like, silly things. Like messaging people, or making phone calls that I need to. It is so silly. It feels like something I should be over by now, but it seems that I am getting worse.

I always feel like an intrusion.

Like I am an annoyance, that people can’t get rid of. I think that the simplest way to explain it, is that I feel like such a negative person. Like, I know that my life isn’t bad, but yet I feel so bad every day. I upset myself over the smallest thing, other people don’t need that in their lives. I mean, especially this year, life has been so stressful for everybody, that people don’t need a wee rain cloud coming over too.

If my brain worked properly, it may tell me that this is nonsense. But that is not the case. So I overthink everything. Every message that I send, has been written and rewritten so many times. I scrutinise everything so much. It is so stressful. Sometime I type messages, and leave them unsent. I plan to look at the messages again, but my inboxes give me so much stress, that I forget, and never reply to people.

So, I feel like if I message people I am imposing myself, but if I don’t reply, I am just rude and not very nice. I spoke about this not so long ago, but it is still something at the forefront of my mind. I think that is an issue made worse by constantly been near things like my phone and computer. There are notifications everywhere, like information overload. And, a lot of the time, these notifications are because I haven’t done something. And that makes me panic, it makes the feeling of uselessness even worse.

I try to switch my phone off. Try to step away. But, it feels like I am still not doing enough. But, I don’t think I could ever do enough.

I Liked A Thing.

I have just finished working my way through ‘Sadie’ by Courtney Summers. I have mentioned that my attention has been difficult, due to my brain not stopping thanks to anxiety. So, I listened to the audiobook, which kept my attention, and allowed me to become engrossed in the story.

The book starts, with a podcast. The Girls, is a true crime podcast, presented by West McCray. It features West trying to track down a teenage girl, Sadie, who has been reported missing by her Aunt. Sadie, is 19. Her little sister, Mattie, has been found dead. Sadie is trying to track down the man she thinks is responsible for her little sister’s murder.

The narrative of the book alternates between West’s Podcast, and Sadie’s point of view. As Sadie moves her way through small town America, West follows, sometimes a few months later, and interviews the people Sadie meets. The story is unique in how it’s told. How the truth is fed to the reader in small tidbits, just enough to keep you hanging on. As said, I listened to the audiobook, which I believe helped me get engrossed into the book more. The podcast, however, does exist. Simply search ‘The Girls’ into your podcast site of choice, and listen as you read. Listening to the interviews actually brings a new dimension to the book, which makes everything feel so much more real.

You can always tell when you enjoy a good book, because you are thinking of it long after you finish. And that is what I feel right now. I have missed this feeling.

Lost In A Book

I have been complaining on here about my lack of focus. That I have been finding it really hard to focus on anything at all. Over the last few months it has felt like I have worked, and that’s it. I have to go to work, so in these testing times, that is the only ‘thing’ I do. I am grateful for the routine, and to be able to see different people every day. But, you need to be able do other things, stuff to help keep you sane.

For the last few months, I have been subscribed to Audible, and like most subscription services I seem to accidentally sign up for, I forgot about it. I have always preferred music to listen to, over spoken media, like podcasts or radio. I like a wee sing-a-long, especially when travelling to or from work. Spoken word, seemed to be something that I automatically tune out.

So, noone was more surprised in me, when I decided to listen to an audiobook, on a whim, during my breaks at work. I chose The Beekeeper of Aleppo, by Christy Lefteri. I found myself so absorbed in the tale of Nuri and wife Afra, as they flee their homeland in Syria. With words being spoken to me, I found that I was able to entirely focus on the story, which I found so gripping. It was the first bit of media, that I have been able to lose myself in, for a very long time. It felt like such a release.

Since finishing the audiobook, I have found myself adding several books to a ‘to listen’ virtual pile. I hope that I can continue to enjoy books, in this new way. I find that listening to a calm voice, reading a story to me, and takes me away from whatever is on my mind, at that moment. And it is nice.

Stuck To A Stop

2020 has proven to be a very challenging year for everyone. And, as a person who uses her creativity a lot, be it writing, scrapbooking, or drawing, I have found it suffocating. Which is why this blog has been rather quiet, compared to other years.

The things that I see and do, are what helps get my brain ticking over on what I should create. At the moment, for most of 2020, I have been working, going to the supermarket, and then going home. There are only so many interesting things one can get out of the monotony of it all. I try to be productive, try to think about what media I am consuming. So, I try to think about the programme I watch on the TV, or the computer game I am playing.

It’s not working though.

I feel like I am stuck in a cycle. I think and write about the same things all the time. It is not on purpose, but my thoughts seem to retread the same steps because I am not seeing anything else. It’s hard not to talk about masks or COVID restrictions, everywhere you go. Because that is everywhere, and it is something that worries me a lot. This feeling that the governments of the world are dealing with something unprecedented is not a nice one.

Sometimes, though, I think about what matters most. And I suppose it’s honesty. Talk about what I experience, as it is important. You see, I think I do that already, but it is focused around my mental health. So, the picture of me, that this site holds, is not a complete picture, it shows only a side of me.

So, I am going to try and make this more fun. Going to still talk about my mental health, because (unfortunately) it is the biggest thing in my life. But going to try and write about things I like, the music, the shows, the games, and the books. I am not the most articulate of people, but i want to write about more. I’d say it’ll be a ‘lifestyle blog’ more, but I see that and I see lots of things I am not. So, I will simply say that it will be more varied.

Anything is better than this continual bashing of my head against an imaginary brick wall.

Sick of it all

I’m sick and tired.

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.

Please visit SAMH for advice and help on mental health at https://www.samh.org.uk