Finding The Balance

I haven’t been posting again. It has been a conscious decision for the first time in my life. It was a signing out of browsers and apps, so that I could disconnect from things a bit. I am really bad at putting pressure on myself to do things. Usually, it is meaningless things, things that are not essential. Blogging became one of those things, and it quickly became a thing that stressed me out. Which is the opposite to what writing usually has for me.

Where stress came into play, was that I would want to post a few times a week, and I wasn’t really in the mood. My mind was elsewhere, and I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But, because I had set my mind on posting something, I would start panicking that I was failing. I don’t know what you really fail at, if you don’t post on a blog that noone reads, but it was still a stress-point. My head has a way of recognising what I fail at, whilst ignoring everything else. And by recognising, I mean constantly berating myself till I feel so suffocated I get dizzy. Which is not nice.

So, I have been taking time out. Time to re-assess things. Try to find the pleasure in writing again. It would be nice. I mean, writing has been a favourite thing of mine for years, and it has helped me figure a lot of things out. Doesn’t mean I am any good at writing, but I should get a Blue Peter badge for trying. To write when I want, not because I feel I have to.

In the time I have spent away from my computer, I have tried to do things I like. I have been going on long drives in my car, which is fun. Being able to go where I want, when I want, instead of waiting on buses has changed my life. I have explored all around where I live, visited towns I’ve never been and walked in parks and woodland. It has really helped me chill out. I put a crappy CD on, put petrol in the car and just follow a road somewhere. There is no pressure to exceed, just drive safely. Learning to drive really is the best thing I have done in years.

I just need to try and find a mix between productivity and relaxation. If I can try to not stress about being productive, I am sure I will find pleasure in writing again. I just need to remember sometimes, that what my head thinks is most important, isn’t always that way.

Can’t do without

I am always saying that I use the internet way too much. But on thinking on it, I don’t just search stuff, I use specific sites and services. And the sad thing is, that I rarely travel out with those services. So, I thought I would share the stuff I use most, and why.

YouTube I watch more content on here, than I do on any other service. I watch videos in areas that I am interested in, which are usually related to retro gaming, book reviews, Japan, news or just general geekery. I look for a topic I like, and watch any videos that come up. If I like people I subscribe. Every so often, I will go through every video a channel has made, just for fun, and it absorbs hours of my
life.

Twitter I use Twitter all the time, which is not as much as I used to. Twitter has become a place for breaking news, but it’s a swing and a miss, as there is ALWAYS fake information circulating. Twitter is where I rant if I am stuck in traffic or had a bad day, I let of some steam. It can be a great place for customer services, a lot of companies these days have someone manning a company twitter profile, and will try to help. If I am feeling anxious, twitter can be an easy way for me to get help or advice, just use the right hashtags, and the internet is great. Just remember and don’t feed the trolls.

Facebook 🙄This is probably one of the most problematic sites on the internet. Mostly because some people go on it without having any kind of brain engagement. It’s good for articles, sometimes, the non-fake, click bait ones. The main reason I use Facebook is because of Messenger. Most of the people I know are within reach on Messenger, so that gets used, a lot. So it’s good for connecting with friends, which I think is what Mr Zuckerberg wanted when he started the site.

Instagram I like pictures. I like taking them and I like looking at them. And Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing sites in the world. It’s a great way to find artistic inspiration, which is something I am ALWAYS in need of. Never been into the trendy make-up and stuff, which are hugely popular on the site. But, there are things for everyone on there, and there are communities which are great for help, like anxiety and weightloss help.

Goodreads I like books, always have done. And this site is great for keeping track on what you read, and giving yourself personal goals. Something I am not very good at. It is another service with a great community. If there is a particular book genre you like, join a group and get loads of new recommendations and even make new friends. A lot of authors also reach out to readers over Goodreads, which is great.

I decided to shorten my list to 5, as I really could go on for a bit. Other services include WordPress, Amazon, Xbox Live, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Spotify and livejournal. I could waste my whole life on these sites, but it wouldn’t feel like a waste. The internet allows me to view content I want, and that is a great thing.

Summertime

In Scotland, people often joke that out of the entire summer season, we will maybe get 2/3 days of actual sunshine. Well, today was one of those days.

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I am a person who is suited to the cold. Always have been. The temperatures in Scotland usually go from just below freezing, in the winter, to maybe 25c in the summer. People always laugh when I say that I’m melting and the temperature is only in the 20s. But I overheat, I sweat a lot (gross) and I can get dizzy really easy, even when I do drink a lot. It’s very frustrating, and I have no idea I would cope in a hotter country.

I still enjoy the summer though. My favourite thing to do on a nice day, is sit somewhere with a book and some music. A nice wee read in the sun is a perfect way to enjoy the summer, in my opinion. If it’s a bit cooler, I like to go for walks. Being outdoors should be what the summer is about.

Playlister

This sound really sad, but I like making music playlists. It is on a similar track of thought which states that organising things can actually relax a person. I have always made playlists, because I like to listen to a mixture of music. The love started from making mixtapes as a kid, taping songs off the radio or from albums I had at home. There was quite a bit of joy involved, when a person who you gave your mixtape too, liked it, and would maybe get into new bands.

Last month I made a playlist on Spotify, so that I could listen to a variety of songs I liked when I was making my way anywhere. If I am out and about, I usually listen to music on my mobile phone, purely because it’s portability. But, I never just want to listen to just one band or one genre. So, by making a playlist of different songs I like, I can listen to a wee variety, and not lose all the memory on my phone.

Because I have listened to the playlist a lot, I thought I’d make a new one for April. It might be something that I’ll try every month. The songs, that I selected this month are below.

Rancid- Timebomb

Good Charlotte- I Just Wanna Live

Emma Blackery- Nothing Without You

Tessa Violet- Not Over You

CKY- Escape From Hellview

Jimmy Eat World- The Middle

Waterparks- Stupid For You

Linkin Park- Breaking The Habit

Iron Maiden- 2 Minutes To Midnight

Mötley Crew- Kickstart My Heart

Skid Row- Wasted Time

The Stone Roses- She Bangs The Drums

The Strokes- Last Night

The Libertines- Can’t Stand Me Now

The Proclaimers- Sunshine On Leith

Skids- Into The Valley

The Clash- I Fought The Law

Stiff Little Fingers- Alternative Ulster

Dead Kennedys- Holiday In Cambodia

Minor Threat- Straight Edge

MC5- Kick Out The Jams

Fugazi- Bad Mouth

T.S.O.L- Code Blue

X-Ray Spex- Oh Bondage! Up Yours!

Linkin Park (feat Stormzy and Pusha T)- Good Goodbye

Alice Deejay- Better Off Alone

Darude- Sandstorm

Paolo Nutini- Caledonia

Anti-Flag-  Die For Your Govenment

The Bouncing Souls- Lean On Sheena

Propaganghi- Failed States

Lagwagon- The Cog In The Machine

Belle & Sebastian- Expectations

Lady Sovereign- Pretty Vacant

The Casualties- Tomorrow Belongs To Us

The Unseen- Paint It Black

Time Again- The Stories Are True

Choking Victim- 500 channels

Sonic Boom Six- Monkey See, Monkey Do

The Pietasters- Out All Night

If you want to listen to this playlist, please visit here. This is until i actually figure out how to post a playlist on here.

The Computer With The Speed Of A Snail

So, after all my problems a few days ago with my computer getting stuck on an update, it eventually righted itself. Kind of. I searched various websites for a solution, to get my computer out of being stuck in a Windows Update, and the advice was just to let it run. As I couldn’t reset the computer at all, like it wouldn’t even go into the boot menu. So I left it, and went and watched a movie. Now, I don’t like leaving computers running unattended, but I sat it on the table, and let it run it’s course. A couple hours later, I found that the screen had changed, but instead of ‘installing updates’ on the screen, it said ‘update failed, removing changes’, or something like that. But it restarted a few times, and booted up as normal.

And, this is the first day since all that, that I have been able to switch it back on properly to use, and well… it is slow. Really slow. I can only think it is the broken update that has made it so bad. But, it could be a range of things. Sometimes, with the joys of mobile phones and my general laziness, I probably don’t give the computer as much of an opportunity to update itself, as much as I should. Which I am aware is breaking the first rule in the ‘how operate a safe computer’ manual. It sometimes just takes so long, and I don’t really have the time. It sometimes feels like a hassle.

Microsoft does put out a lot of regular updates, for various reasons. It could be something that can simply make the operating system on your computer work more efficiently, as there are a lot of software engineers who spend every day trying to make things work better. I am still waiting for that update which will stop Windows hogging up my CPU, but that’s another issue. And one of the biggest reasons that software gets updated regularly, from mobile games to shopping apps to operating software is for security. Especially when every device we use daily, connects to the internet. And that is part of the problem.

It is very easy to think of the internet as an static, non-moving thing. The very concrete, reliable, sturdy ‘information super-highway’. It is almost reassuring, that we can get everything we need from some massive electronic motorway. Except, that’s not quite true. The internet is more like a flowing river, than a motorway. Yes, it has a path, and it can give so much information to everyone. But that river won’t stay the same. Every bend the water takes, it erodes the riverbank. The current takes earth downstream. The current changes, and batters all kinds of obstacles. You can always rely on the river of the internet to be there, but it is never the same every time you visit. It is always changing.

There are people all over the world who are hired to poke holes in the internet. Trying to find ways to manipulate something or other. Because if someone finds a way to exploit our internet connection, it could be a way to collect our information. And the information held on the internet, that we can access through multiple devices, can all be exploited. For example, if someone finds your Facebook details, they could find a way into your Amazon account, and access your bank details. If you use an unsecured connection, and open your banking app, someone could track your activity and get your bank details. But these exploits are constantly changing. Almost as if someone plugs one hole, water starts leaking from another.  So what is a big risk today, in terms of internet security, may not be in even a few months time. So, updates to devices that connect to the internet, can help you protect all your information. As every update, of every app, has been created to try and fix any issues which could effect your security.

Which makes me wonder, I am sitting here, writing this post, on a PC that is slow as anything. And it is probably my own fault. Having multiple devices, I should probably know better. I am going to work over the next few days to fix the speed on this computer, and hopefully, I shall then get in the habit of using the computer regularly enough that the updates can actually run properly.

 

 

Retreading Old Roads

I always feel that people get annoyed with my posts popping up on their feeds. Especially, as I have committed myself to posting every day. Something that I am enjoying, even though I have struggled sometimes, posting an entry or two close to midnight. It is a challenge that I am having fun with, although it may not seem like it.

A lot of the things I talk about, relate to my mental health, especially anxiety. This is something that I am actively working on, to try and deal with things better. And, when I write something, sometimes similar thoughts run round my head, so that is what gets written about. There are times, when every point I think about my anxiety, I can think of different ideas as new ways to make it easier to deal with. Which, if I am honest, is something that I feel is essential to self-improvement. Always looking for a solution.

So, whilst I figure out what I am doing, I will go over things a few times. I might have a different angle for whatever happened, but that is what happens sometimes. Once things settle down a little bit, I am going to try and plan things better. I have a notebook, which already has some ideas written down. So, I would like to post a bit more varying content. Maybe write entries as drafts, and then post them in an order which mixes things up a bit. Writing every day is something that is still quite new to me, so it will take time for things to get in a better rhythm.

But for the moment, I am happy on here. This blog is celebrating it’s 8th birthday this year, and has become a place which is documented a large section of my life. And because of that, I find strangely attached to it. I like reading my old posts from years ago, to read about problems, which seem so insignificant now. My hope is, that one day, the anxiety I am writing about so frequently right now, will be as insignificant as my college are now, 8 years later.

Can always hope.

Busy Bee

Everyone has those times, where you get so busy and hectic, that you get completely overwhelmed. It is something that happens to me regularly, and I find that it can really trigger my anxiety. I start losing my temper, start panicking, I overheat and I get upset. The worst feeling is, that I get the idea in my head that I am only overwhelmed because I am useless. A good person, who could actually do things properly, would never have got so worked up about it. And, thinking like that, can start a cycle of demeaning myself, and feeling worse and worse.

These days, I know that if I power through, things will calm down, and with that, my anxiety will subside. And then, I can just focus on my job again. Which is such a relief. Whilst it is good to know that I can get through being overwhelmed, it is frustrating that it still happens so regularly. Anxiety, for me, feels like I lose control of my emotions, something that adds to the feeling of intensity. It is exhausting.

Although people who see me get worked up might disagree, I am slowly getting better at dealing with this. I try to simply focus on what task is directly in front of me. Usually panic attacks come on, because I see all the work I have to do, and I feel bad that the pile is ever-growing. And that pile of work, is just a badge of dishonour, letting the world know that I can’t cope. In a calm mind, I know that a work list getting bigger, is not necessarily an indication on my abilities, more the situation which is outwith my control.

Usually, at home, listening to music or a walk in the fresh air, work as tactics to get away from any panic I feel rising. So I can go off on my own, collect my thoughts, and come back and attack tasks with a fresher mind. But, in situations not at home, none of these solutions are possible. If I can stay focused on my task, sometimes I can just focus on what I am doing, and blank out everything else. But that isn’t always possible either. I have tried to hum or sing to myself when I get into situations that can trigger my anxiety. That can help. But, I get nervous of someone judging me for singing a silly Disney song. I am trying to get over that.

Not so long ago, if I was busy and got overwhelmed, I would just leave the situation completely. That sometimes meant leaving work early or cancelling on friends. I don’t do that anymore. I do push through it. I just need to deal better with what happens when I have to work through stuff. But, that takes time.

One Word Answer

Happy New Year. I hope every reader has a good start to 2017. Although, it really doesn’t feel like we should be on a new year already. Time, as they say, does certainly fly.

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The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to start afresh. To set some goals, in the hope to gain something out of the next 12 months ahead. It is a natural point where we can try to plan for the future. Almost like a fresh start. But, in reality there is more than just one fresh start a year, and by thinking that there is, so many people are doomed to fail in whatever dreams they have for the year before it even starts. But there are so many opportunities to start new things, to have a fresh start, throughout the year. Every day is a chance to make that day better than yesterday. Close the door on what happened yesterday, as there is nothing you can do for what has already happened, and focus on today.

I always do better if I make general goals for what I want in the year. As I have said previously, my aim for 2016 was to make it better than 2015, and it was. By quite a lot. And I think that was because I lived my life more day-by-day, and it made it a lot easier to focus on the positive stuff. As the bad stuff used to just ‘overhang’ over me. It took a long time, but it has made me feel better.

So this year, in 2017, I thought about what I want to achieve for the year. And most of it is things like to read more or fill a sketch book for the year. Which, considering I have struggled with productivity over the last few years. So, that influenced my overall goal for the year. Just one word. COMMIT. Anything I am going to do, I have to put all my energy into it, and keep going. However, if there is anything that I cannot fully commit to, then I leave it. I am not getting any younger. No point in wasting time on things that I can’t even spend attention on.

It is all baby steps, so I don’t expect everything straight away. But, if I can start focusing on things, I might just make progress. And that is all anyone should ever want for a new year. Progress.