Escape

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 play park used to have a lot for all kids, this is all that’s left. Two things.

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.

There are a few of these in the public park. We used to say they were jail cells for the ‘bad people’.

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.

The old friary. Hundreds of years old.

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.

Well Read

I have been an active user on the internet since my school days. Back when MySpace was huge and every person has a GeoCities page with sparkly letters everywhere. I used forums to share my life with people I never met. It felt like a safe space, a place where I could be the kind of person I wanted to be. I never knew anyone interested in alternative music, or that were questioning their sexuality, so the internet helped me find people I could connect with.

Recently, social media has become king. Where MySpace was a thing for young people and a new way for them to connect with bands. Facebook has become a site for everyone, where parents, babies and pets all have pages. Where algorithms decide what people see, and people share everything as fact. And when you become overwhelmed by your own life, seeing the most ridiculous nonsense being shared, just to start arguments, sometimes it’s best to switch off.

Which is what I have been doing.

I have been reading a lot. I have had a massive too-read pile for a long time, I am good at buying books. And to put down my phone, and get lost in the pages of a book, has been very therapeutic. I have got books in both audible and on my kindle, that are still part-way done, but I have been struggling to focus on them. My brain gets anxious, especially when a device like my phone is concerned. I have found that physically holding a book, and feeling how far I am going, actually helps. I get a joy out of physical books that I don’t get out of ebooks. And at the moment, it has been great to focus on something that is separate from the internet connected everything else.

I have a target of reading 30 books this year, and I am on number 15. I am at the stage where I am reading a book a week, and it has helped me immensely. I am splitting books into what I will keep post-lockdown, and what I will take to the charity shop when they start accepting things again. I need to de-clutter my life, so this is a good way of working my through the waist high pile of books I have in my room. I would like to share reviews on here, but I am not the most articulate. Because I try to review every book I read. I do write them over on my Goodreads so that you can look there, if interested. If I get a little more articulate, I may also post reviews here. But I don’t know if that is interesting though.

Lockdown On Productivity

The very word, lockdown, is something that most people are sick of. Since the the middle of March, many of us have found ourselves doing everything from home. Not meeting friends. No social activities. Maybe not even leaving the house for work. Something, no matter how much we love our homes, becomes suffocating.

It is for the health of those around us, that this lockdown will continue for the foreseeable future. And, the majority of people can see and understand this, and so will try their best to stay at home as much as they can. My mental health relies on me being busy, and it is hard when I can’t do that.

I am a person who loves my own company. I like going out, wandering around on my lonesome. If my mind was hitting a brick wall, I could pull myself out of bed and go for a drive. Go somewhere else for a walk. I am finding it very difficult, mentally, as my coping mechanisms have been taken away. The ability to meet with people who help, can’t happen. It seems rather selfish, I think, complaining about things, when I still go out to work, and I live with people. But that feeling of being selfish just makes things worse. It becomes harder to deal with.

One of my last posts was about how all I focus on are things like computer games. Well, I haven’t even been able to focus on that. I feel like I am doing so little, that I shouldn’t bother. Everything I write or do, is just shit. Rubbish. And, although I know it’s just my brain and it’s skewed way of thinking, it doesn’t make things easier. I spend a lot of time, just feeling sad. Just lying on my bed, staring into space as the time disappears.

It’s times like this where I feel like I am wasting my life. But then, a lot of people are feeling like that. The months of 2020 are (slowly) passing, and everyone is standing still. Things aren’t happening, for anyone, and it’s quite scary.

**Apologies if this post seems a bit odd. It has been in my drafts for weeks and been edited at least 5 times. But today I finished it and decided to post. It’s a reminder not to give up, even when stuff seems a bit hopeless**

Work In Progress

I explained in earlier posts, that one of my aims for 2020, was to try and be a lot more creative. Something that always helps me boost my creativity is to ‘refresh’ things. I feel like it allows me to mentally draw a line under what has happened already, and focus on what is coming next. It is not foolproof, and sometimes I still struggle, but it is always worth a try.

Over the next week or so, this blog is going to be changing a wee bit. I am going to try and find a new layout that suits what I need, and personalise it a wee bit. I think that refreshing online accounts is always a good thing. It also means that if you don’t feel like you use a service or site anymore, you can get rid of it. Lessen the load, if you know what I mean. This is all the more important, if you read the reports on how so much social media, and web services, are causing people anxiety due to the pressure of ‘trying to keep up’.

Luckily, keeping this blog is something that actually helps me mentally. I don’t think many people I know actually read it, so there is no pressure. I can write honestly, which helps document my journey. I have kept this blog for years, so I do feel that it deserves some TLC every now and then. To be honest, when I fell out with the graphic design stuff, a few years back, I started to find being creative so much harder. I felt that the stuff that came freely to me, wasn’t good enough, and it broke my flow. If that makes sense.

So, if things look a bit odd over the next week or so, that is all it is. A wee freshen up.

A Good Bye

Goodbye is hard to say.

It is these days, anyway.

In childhood, goodbye was never really goodbye. There was the promise that it was more of a ‘see you later’ than actually parting ways forever. You’d see the person at the next break, after school, at the play park, or even in a few days. Most of the people you leave, you will see again, and the phrase ‘goodbye’ doesn’t feel negative.

However, as you get older, the promise of seeing people once you’ve said farewell, isn’t always so certain. People start to leave your life, and they never come back. It becomes harder and harder to say goodbye. Because the promise that was once there, the idea you’d always see the person again, has gone.

Goodbye mean last forever. Until the time comes that it does.

Accidents Happen

I am very accident prone. I can trip up over thin air, and my grip has always been really poor (I blame my small hands). Most of the things that happen in my life, seem to be things that that have ‘fallen into’ without any real thought. These tend to be situations that fare better than the things I actually plan.

But I am learning that accidents and mistakes happen. They are what makes up the experience of life (or so people have told me).


You don’t learn from successes; you don’t learn from awards; you don’t learn from celebrity; you only learn from wounds and scars and mistakes and failures. And that’s the truth.

Jane Fonda

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.

 

Working Through It

Today I started work and I was panicking. I don’t know why, as I get spikes of anxiety for no reason. It’s like I think something is going to go wrong, like this impending sense of doom. It makes me easily irritable, and I cry at just about anything. It’s completely irrational. And it is so embarrassing. No one wants to see a 30-odd year old adult crying for no reason. But then I feel ashamed, and that makes my anxiety worse. It really isn’t very nice.

Luckily, in my job, I have the space where I can just go to a quiet area and work myself. Give myself a little breathing space. It also gives me the chance to focus on my work, a chance to be distracted by something that isn’t my own over-active imagination. If the area I am working in gets to busy, I have the ability to move somewhere else. And it is actually really cathartic, sometimes. Today, I have been able to focus on what I was doing. and it has really helped.

It doesn’t always work, as because my job is monotonous, it’s very easy for the mind to start to wonder. And times like that, it’s like I can’t do anything right at all. The silly thing is, what works one day, might not help the next day. And it is so frustrating. In the UK, if you are off sick, your first 5 days are unpaid. Which means, that people are forced to try and work through issues that they would maybe be better dealing with at home.

It can be really hard, but every time I make it through a day, which has been riddled with anxiety, I feel a wee bit proud that I did it. Even if no one else does.

Water-proof

As I mentioned yesterday, I am looking to get healthier. It has become clear, that to get anything that I want, I need to really fight for it. This is something that probably seems a really obvious thing, that you have to go and get anything you want in life. When you have times where you can barely get up out of bed, no matter what is happening, it is hard to think you have to fight more than you already do.

But this is a different kind of fighting. It is fighting for yourself, rather than against. It’s about daring to think about the future, rather than being focused on the past. Which is easier said than done. Most of my problems from anxiety, come from relying on negative past experiences shape how I believe things will turn out in the future. It is something that I do subconsciously, and the resulting behaviour has been going on for years.

Trying to make my outlook more positive is difficult, and it feels like learning something completely new. Something that can be very scary, especially when it is about things such as your own behaviour. I do better when i try to do things bit-by-bit. For example, I have been feeling bloated at work, and i usually drink diet coke at breaks. Which tastes nice, but it isn’t very good for you. So I have a new water bottle, which I will drink from all day. I don’t take money with me down on the shop floor, so I am not buying crisps or anything

Drinking water should be the most natural thing in the world, but it is quite hard to drink more of it. When you try to drink more water, you start to realise how much crap you drink through a day. And, in this journey to becoming healthier, I think that paying attention to what I eat and drink is a good thing. Whilst I feel a lot better already, in drinking just water, I do need to pee a lot more.

If It’s Real, Then I Don’t Want To Know

Life is full of ups and downs. And it is strange, because whether you decieve a particular moment as either ‘up’ or ‘down’ comes from what is going on inside your own head. If you are having a bad day, very little will overcome that feeling, and you will focus on the bad stuff. However, if you are in a good mood, you pick the more positive things, and can swipe the negative to the side.

I think it is very strange that our belief on what is going on in the world, is based on our own perception, which is based on our own emotions. I obviously am not in any way a psychologist, but I sometimes think about that stuff. It obviously is something that happens when I am feeling a little reflective and more positive. When I am down, I tend to feel like that everything is collapsing on top of me, so I don’t really tend to think about anything else.

Sometimes, thinking about anything is a bit hard, to be honest. Which is why it is so easy to lose yourself in a book, movie or TV series. It can feel better to live through a fictional life, than living your own. That is something that is really sad, but it is true. These fictional worlds become a way of coping, even escaping from your own life for a short time. And, that respite, may be all a person needs to get back on form.