Know Yourself

Every day, things happen that push your personal boundaries. It doesn’t have to be anything too different from ‘the norm’ for you to feel any strain from the situation. Not for me anyway. I can find pressure in situations that are completely calm and contain no pressure. I think it is the way that my brain is wired.

I have problems with anxiety, which I have discussed before, and sometimes situations can make me on edge. Today, for example, I was the ‘designated driver’. It wasn’t anything specific that made that choice, went into town with the family, and it was my car we took. Which is fine. But there it was Highland Games day in Burntisland, so I drove down there, family in tow, to have a wee walk around. We ended up in the pub, and as the driver, I obviously couldn’t drink. Which is fine, I don’t have to drink all the time. But, the pubs were heaving. It was really warm, and room temperature diet coke wasn’t really helping. People kept bashing against me, and it was making me really anxious. People we knew came in, and it didn’t really help. I was needing some fresh air away from the crowds, I could myself starting to panic.

My family, being who they are, were like ‘We’ll come too’. So everyone went outside, and it was okay. We drove home, and I had no panic attack. But, then the rest of the family wanted to go to the pub back in the town that we live. I had to say that I wasn’t going to go. When my nerves have already been on edge, I know that it is probably not a good idea to drink alcohol. After all, there is a high chance that the anxiety I had experienced earlier would return.

I think it is important to go with what you feel is right. Don’t feel like you should do a particular thing if you don’t want to. Use your previous experiences when going forward. I know that if I have panic attacks, alcohol can affect the negative thinking that causes them. So, to be safe, it is always a good idea to stay away from it. And, I think that is a good idea for anyone who has mental health problems, to be aware of possible triggers and problems.

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Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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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