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.
At the moment, my health is not my friend. With feeling sore all over, constant feelings of sickness, dizziness, and bouts of anxiety that can have me standing crying at the most embarrassing times. I have sought medical advice, so hopefully a solution is coming. But, it doesn’t stop me feel horrible every day.
One of the best pieces of advice, I have found, is to focus on things you enjoy. Because part of my problem is relating to my mental health, I end up doing things that I have done a thousand times before. I think this is something that I have mentioned on here fairly recently, but today I wanted to go into more detail.
One of the programmes I have been watching, again, is The Hills. It was a show, which appeared on MTV from 2006, that aired for 6 seasons. It was about young women, work and enjoy social lives in Los Angeles, California. The show was the first of that ‘US reality’ stuff that came on to my radar. There were always rumours, of scripted reality. Where things did happen, but they were edited to make a story, or sometimes situations were entirely fabricated. That didn’t bother me so much, it was simple tv. And some of the girls, Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port in particular, were interested in doing something creative. Yes, it was fashion, something I had never had much interest with personally, but I still found it interesting to see part of a creative industry I hadn’t seen before. It was something that I would watch whenever I got the chance. And when I found the whole series on Amazon Prime, I couldn’t resist watching it all. I have always been bad at watching ‘whole seasons’ of a show, but I have watched all 6 seasons in a couple of weeks, which is very fast for me.
I have also been trying to journal more. Write down nonsense, draw pictures, stick down memories, just create something. I usually sit and write a few pages before bedtime, and it helps clear my mind. I have some ‘study music’ playlist on in the background, and make the experience as relaxing as possible. I have found it is a good way to wind down after a busy day at work. As I am more relaxed, I am starting to fall asleep quicker. This means I am more rested, and able to deal with how challenging the next day will be.
On my Apple Watch, there is an app called ‘Breathe’. It guides you through a process of focusing on your breathing. It’s like meditation. Helps calm everything down, helps get my thoughts in line a little. I haven’t really tried meditation before, and maybe it is something I should do further. Especially in times, like these, where I can very easily become overwhelmed.
My immediate aim is to try and find more things that help calm my brain down. Try to let myself go enjoy something, even if it’s just a distraction. A lot of people will quickly dismiss distractions, as a waste of time. But, when life is hard, sometimes a distraction is exactly what is required.
I have always enjoyed playing computer games. I like platform and racing games. I like games I can dip in and out of, without getting lost about where I am. I need a game that isn’t too complex. Mostly because my attention span is really bad, so there are times where I will leave a game for weeks at a time.
I remember my first console was the Game Boy. I played Mario, Kirby, games that were easy platformers. There was no saving, sometimes there would be a code for a level, but normally when your character died, you had to start again. The games were made to pick up and play time and time again. This suits my wondering mind. Games these days, tend to be focused on a person committing hours of gameplay. Which isn’t good for me. It means I don’t ever get very far in games.
Animal Crossing is an example of a fairly modern game, that I can play. My progress is slow, but a player is incentivised to play a little every day. And that works fine by me. I am also finding that because I am at home more, I am playing more. Animal Crossing is about a person living with cartoon-like animals, something young me used to imagine about.
I bought my Nintendo Switch last year, and these last few weeks are probably the most I’ve played it. Other games I have on it are Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing. I also like playing the old Nintendo games like Mario from the SNES.
I don’t really like playing games on my phone. I own an Xbox (which I am using to watch Masterchef) as well, the games played most are Crash Bandicoot and GTA. I think GTA is the only modern franchise that I play, but I believe it’s because it’s quite episodic, and you can play short missions. Which makes it strange that I don’t like mobile games, because they are made to be played for short times.
I’m currently sitting on my break at work. I work in a warehouse, which is part of a large distribution network in the UK.
When people say they are key workers, it’s usually on the front line. Doctors, nurses and care staff. The people who need to be out working, to help those who are wick and need care. That what people assume a key worker is. But there is a whole lot of other jobs still working, banking services, supermarkets, take aways, people collecting bins, delivery folk and people who work in the hundreds of warehouses up and down the country.
These are the unsung heroes. People often tell me that my job is for the worst kind of people. Those people are still going out and working, so that people who can’t go out still get what they need. I’ve mentioned a few days ago, but being able to work has helped my mental health so much. I am not focusing on the news, I am able to focus on my job.
It is important that people remember those who are working. Those who are unable to stay at home. Respect workers. If you don’t value the workers, then don’t use their service.
Beginning to get a little bored of sitting at home all the time.
My anxiety thrives during periods where I am not busy. There is a sense of dread that rises up, and over takes everything. This feeling that, you are wasting your time, that you should be doing something useful.
So I try to keep busy. But, like everyone else, I end up losing hours at a time to social media. Which means I do nothing, so feel awful. I then put on a show, or movie, one that I have seen before. But the feeling is still the same. I have had panic attacks over not using my time efficiently. I am trying to read more, books that are sitting in a pile, that have been waiting to be read for months. I have downloaded Animal Crossing: New Horizons for my Switch. Trying to go out for fresh air every day.
I am still working, and that has helped immensely. I can go to work, and have some kind of normality in place. Although, even work, is far from normal. Having a routine helps keep my anxiety at bay, and it means I only have a few days a week where my anxiety spikes. I just hope that my work is able to stay open, because I really am concerned about what would happen if my work closes down.
These are strange times. Because of the advice on the Coronavirus outbreaks, people are being asked to stay at home. And if they do go out, it can only be for work, food shopping or daily exercise, and you must keep 2 meters distance. The rules seem simple enough.
Unfortunately there seems to be an abundance of people who are ignoring these rules. They are having house parties, meeting friends and just behaving like normal.
The thing is, this isn’t just about me, or you. It’s about everyone else. The people who have illnesses they are unaware off, or conditions they are aware of. The people who pick things up, and get it worse than everyone else. Everyone knows people like this. You and a friend pick up the same cold, you get the sniffles and they are floored with it.
Think outside your own bubble, think about the other people. This is about making sure your neighbours, friends and relatives get through this, as well as you.
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’.
How many times in your life, has that small phrase been mentioned? It happened a lot at school, maybe when you pointed out that kids were calling you names. It was classed as ‘poking fun’ and that you were told that you needed a ‘thicker skin’. Back then, it felt like real bullying only happened when punches were thrown. Words? Only a baby lets words hurt them.
Words hurt me though. They still do. People make throwaway comments, and I just have to pretend that I am unaffected. I hear every comment. Every time someone sneers about my weight. Every time someone makes a big deal over what I am eating. Every time I am called an attention seeker. Every time I am told that because I work, I don’t have mental health issues. Just because I am an adult, doesn’t make the words hurt less.
When people say nice things to me, I am likely to not believe them. As many people do. The negative things take priority. I feel like I’m not good enough, so these negative things are what I need to improve on. That’s why people say bad stuff, right?
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.
Some would say smoking, not exercising enough, or drinking too much. I would say that most people’s bad habit should be talking about other people. Talking poorly about a person you don’t know, or only partly know.
A person only starts to think about this when it is them being spoken about. It is for them that an area turns quiet as they walk by, hushed voices giggling to one another. People speak, and sometimes their words get back to the person they are about. And when you are struggling to function, to hear others speaking nonsense can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Normally in this situation, people don’t realise the damage they have done till it’s too late. It can be hard to admit that the words that you have spoken could have really hurt someone. Because, that is never the intention. People talk rubbish about others to help ease their own frustrations about work, life, or whatever.
I know that I have been at both sides of this. I have talked crap, but I have also had crap said about me. And it is something that I have been thinking about a lot. I know that, personally, I want people to like me. I want to be friends with everyone. Of course, that is something that is not always possible, you cannot please everyone. And, to hear that people don’t like me to the point that they’d talk as soon as my back was turned, broke my heart. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I would worry about something like this for weeks. I would analyse every little thing I did, to see if there was anything that would offend anyone. It’s compulsive and irrational, but I can’t help it.
Recently, I’ve tried to change things. Focus on myself, and do what makes me happy. I wouldn’t purposely harm anyone or anything, and that should be my focus. Some people won’t like me, but that’s okay. I’m going to just try do what I like. Keep my mind busy, so that I don’t worry so much about what other people say. It’s easier said than done, though.
Everyone goes through a period of illness. A period where you just want to close yourself off from the world until you feel better. And it happens to everyone.
I have talked previously about how I sometimes have panic attacks, and they can vary from hyperventilating to bouts of being sick. The worst thing about them, is that they can be set off by nothing in particular. I can be working away perfectly happily, and suddenly I will feel inadequate and start panicking. This normally involves crying. I shouldn’t need to inform anyone, publicly crying at the age of 35 is really embarrassing. It is even worse when you can’t explain why you are crying.
For a lot of people, mental health often impacts them most when they don’t expect it. And that, makes it very difficult to deal with. It means that people have to almost re-learn their own behaviours, to try and combat them. Whilst problems, like depression and anxiety, can be suffocating at times, it can mutate the issue to another level when you have to try and explain it to someone else.
For a long time, I felt that I was doing something wrong. I’d experience mental health issues, try to speak to someone about, and would find myself belittled. I wish it was a rare thing, but most people who have suffered with mental health issues, have been told at sometime to ‘grow up and get over it’. These throwaway comments can hurt someone who is going through a time where they feel vulnerable. And it can make it difficult to try and talk when you do feel bad, as you automatically assume that everything will just be thrown back in your face.
As I said before, sometimes I my anxiety hits hard and I can be physically sick. When this happens, I will tell people that I ‘don’t feel well’ rather than trying to explain it’s mental health related. When I say that I have been physically sick, people as if I’m okay, and leave me alone. However, if I state my anxiety is giving me hell, then people want to know exactly why I am feeling like this. It’s difficult because I know a lot of people just want to help, but if I had the answers, I would be able to help myself.
People need to realise how they speak to people with mental health issues. Don’t belittle a person, and don’t be too prying either. It’s difficult, but someone suffering just needs you to be there and respect where they are, mentally. Don’t expect a person to come forward with loads of answers, because a lot of the time, they don’t know what is causing them to have a bad mental health day/week/month. What they don’t need is 50 questions fired in their direction.
I hope, at some stage, I’ll be able to say, ‘my mental health is shit’, and that be enough. But till then, I just appear to constantly have a vomiting bug.