My 2020 Vision

Happy New Year.

What do I want for the year?

Try to experience life in the moment: I sometimes worry too much about what could happen, rather than focus on what is actually happening. It is something created by my anxiety, but I want to try and change how I think about stuff. It seems hard, but it’s worth a try.

Get healthier: this is on a lot of people’s resolution list. I don’t care about weight really, I just want to feel better. I am trying Veganuary, in the hope I will feel better. Luckily a lot of people are trying it, so there is so much support. Again, I might not get it perfect, but it has to start from somewhere.

Draw more: I think I used this last year. I have purchased an Apple Pencil to use on my iPad, so that I can draw digitally. I just need to practice more. It’s always hard using a new tool, but it is something a wee bit exciting. If anything decent happens, I’ll share on here.

Write more: this is definitely something I did say last year. But 2019 kicked me in the butt quite hard. My mental health was rubbish, and that lead to me not wanting to do much at all. So, I hope that I post more than I did in 2019, which shouldn’t be too hard.

That’s it.

I like giving myself vague targets, because it makes it slightly easier to aim for. Because sometimes, if you fall too far behind, you just give up. Or I do.

Not Everyone’s Pal

Anxiety has a habit of convincing a person, that everyone hates them. Or I get that anyway. That I could be the nicest person in the world, and everyone will still hate me. Over the years, it’s a feeling that has become so overwhelming that I try to make the opposite happen.

I feel like I have to be liked by everyone. I try to be friendly and helpful. I try to be the kind of person I like. Sometimes it’s like I become a Labrador, who is up in everyone’s business because they crave a pat on the head. But sometimes, I can be the nicest person in the world and someone still won’t like me.

I haven’t done anything wrong, but this other person doesn’t see eye to eye with me. And I take it really personal. Why don’t they like me? What did I do wrong? And my mind jumps to the worst conclusion, that everyone really hates me, they just don’t tell me that. It makes me become hyper aware of every little thing I do, as if I am trying to find the annoying bits.

If logic played a part in mental health, it would tell me that what I was feeling was silly. That not every person in the world is going to become friends, and that is okay. Doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong. It’s just the way life is sometimes.

Unfortunately, logic rarely has any space in my anxious wee brain.

Brain explosion

A head exploding. Apparently.

Sometimes it feels like everything is too much. It’s like I have so much to try and focus on, it’s like my brain is going to explode. There is too much to get done, and I am far to indecisive to pick what needs to be done first.

There is so much going on that my attention flits between different things. I always have a list of things I need to get done, and every night I come home and do none of it. Which is bad enough. But I sometimes have time sensitive things that needs done, and I can’t do it. It’s like my brain stalls, and I simply sit and do nothing instead.

When I try to get myself moving, it is never just the one think my mind picks at. No, everything comes at once. ‘I have washing to do’, is joined with ‘I’d better study’, then ‘I still haven’t finished that book’. And finally ‘look at this political mess, everything is f#*ked’. Now separately these things seem okay, but, all together it’s another story. It all adds to my anxiety, the panic I feel when it seems like I can’t do anything.

It’s this feeling of failure, when I can even do the most basic of goals. I over-think and become overwhelmed. It’s not a nice feeling.

Social Media Care

I remember when I started using social media, many years ago (in fact, 10 years ago), it was a place of excitement. It was new for everyone, it was filled with normal folk, as advertisers hadn’t really jumped on the bandwagon yet. Social media became a place of freedom of expression. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this isn’t the case anymore. No matter what you express, it feels like there are always people about to try and pick holes in what you say. Like, I try to be kind and advice-like when I write, but people like to jump on what I say to be all ’that isn’t how it is to me, so you are lying’. And these people are usually anonymous profiles who seem to spend all their time hating other people.

It is important to look after yourself in an atmosphere that can be so destructive. So, I thought up I few things that I use, when social media gets to me.

1) Block button. Every social media site has the ability to mute or block certain users. This is good. You might have a friend who is posting annoying rubbish for a TV show you hate, you can mute them for a while. This means, you are still following them, but you don’t see their content for a while. Blocking means that the person is unfollowed, can’t see what you post or anything on your profile. This is a good way to cut out people who may be harassing you.

2)Take time out. Go for a day or so without social media. I usually simply put my phone on airplane mode for a few hours, like when I am studying, so that I can focus without the constant pinging of my phone. If that isn’t enough, and you want a few days away from the distraction of your Facebook timeline, delete the app from your most used device. A lot of the time, we check social media constantly because it always seems to be there. And it not being there, can free up a lot of time.

3)Don’t read bad comments. Sometimes, you could post a picture of an apple on Instagram, and it would attract bad comments. If you see this happening, try not to feel down. These people seem to get some kind of thrill of bringing people down. You can disable comments on many social media services, as well as make it so only your friends can comment. You will find that people are a lot less confrontational if they know you, or have to share their identity.

4) Just laugh. Try not to take social media too seriously. A lot of the content that you will be shown on sites like Facebook and Twitter are there to get a reaction. So they will either be content you agree with, or content you massively disagree with. For example, I would say I am ’left-leaning’ when it comes to politics, so the stuff I get shown is either supporting that stance, or is wildly opposing those views. So, try not to take everything as gospel, and just laugh when people do. It also can defuse a situation building up within yourself, as laughter does make you feel better.

5) Be kind to yourself. If you find anything on social media to be causing any kind of negative reaction to yourself, then step away. You are the only you there is, so it’s important you look after yourself. If there is too much BS happening, then go and read a book, play a computer game or whatever social media is distracting you from.

You can be selective over what you show on social media, and it’s important to remember that. Because everyone else is too. A lot of people show part of themselves, whether it be a nice or a nasty side. So if someone attacks you, then remember it is just what they think they see, it’s not actually you.

Head In Sand

Recently I haven’t been sharing at all. Which is not like me, but it’s hard when you are dealing with something that you’d rather not be dealing with.

Unfortunately, life is not that kind. I have been sick, had a major crash with my mental health, had course work due in and the busiest time of the year for the ol’ day job. And it all kind of left me functioning, but that was it. I didn’t want to talk about it, still don’t, because I didn’t want to think about how much stuff was happening all at once. It’s kind of calmed down a little, my coursework is done and Christmas is a week a way, which means no overtime. And it’s allowing me a little time to reflect on why I burrowed myself away from the internet.

For years the internet was where I could let my feelings go, where I could write about stuff that no one cared about. It was very therapeutic and it was completely disconnected from my real life. However, every day there seems to be more merging of both my private life and the one I talk about on line. People who I know in real life, are able to access what I am writing.

Now, this doesn’t seem like a huge problem for some, as they see things being made public, and surely it doesn’t matter who reads it. But… that’s not really how it goes. In my life, I try to put a smile on as I soldier on through whatever the day throws at me. Inside, I may be falling apart, but I don’t want people to see it. I always feel like my mental health issues makes me a burden on others, so I don’t want them to know. That way people don’t feel pressured into being nice, they are being nice because they want to, not because I’m not right in the head. And when these people I share my daily life with can read what I really feel, I feel like I have let them down. I mean, surely I should be able to talk to folk, right?

So, sometimes it is easier to bury my head in the sand. Pretend things are okay, when they aren’t. It’s not perfect. But, it can get me through times where I don’t have the strength to deal with questions about things that I don’t know how to put into words. That’s what writing helps me do, sometimes, put what’s in my head into words that (kind of) make sense.

Being ‘You’

Every day, we spend time with people, be it work colleagues, friends, family or even the person who serves you every morning in the super market. And, every person assumes you are being ‘you’, and that is what they judge you.

But, is that really you? There is a school of thought which believes that the way you act towards a person, goes of what you want to be perceived as. That a person is completely multi-faceted and isn’t the same person towards everyone. When thinking of this, I have a look at myself. I always try to be honest, and have an ideal of treating others the way I want to be treated, myself. That is the basics of how I act, but it changes depending on who I interact with. The person who I am at work, is different from the person I am with my family, which is again different from the person I am around friends.

These things happen automatically, and people can only perceive you as the person you are towards them. But this means, that very few people will know you 100%, they don’t know every side of your personality. Whilst this is completely normal, it is totally bizarre when you think about it. That you spend half your life with someone, and you’ll only know what they are like when you are there, you will never really know what they are truly like with other friends or at their work. When you let a person into your life, what it comes down to is how much you trust that person.

This was a random thought that I came across the other day. And after thinking about it for a while, it boggled my brain a bit.

Freak Out, Let It Go

I have been suffering panic attacks more than usual over the last few days, and have ripped into a few people. Something that is so unlike me. So, I hope people read this and kind of understand why i may have been strange with them. 

My mind must be wired wrong, or something. It doesn’t take very much, for the bad thoughts to start coming into my head. If I think someone is angry at me, I start feeling that it’s my fault. That a better person would have not made anyone angry. Of course, in a calm state I would know thinking like that is irrational, but when you start to panic, nothing seems too much. 
The first sign that a panic attack is coming, is that my heart starts pounding like a hammer, and i can feel it getting faster. I can feel my breath starting to catch in my throat, which if bad, can cause me to get a strain like a stitch. And as it all gets worse, and i lose more control, I can get dizzy. I shake so bad that physically can’t do anything. It is horrific. 

If I can feel a panic attack coming on, I will try to take myself out of the situation triggering it. If I can. Sometimes it comes on so fast that I can’t react. I can try to force myself out of the triggering situation, but that is hard when everything goes to jelly, and sometimes you can’t even see straight.  

Anxiety is crippling. People have presisted in talking to me, when I’ve had an attack. I struggle to get thoughts together enough, and if I reply it is usually so far out of my character. I could tell someone to fuck off, really offend them, and i haven’t even thought about it. I have some times been in such a panic that I don’t even remember what I have said. The feeling that someone could be angry with you over something you can’t control is awful. And it can make it worse. It is a vicious cycle of shaming yourself and then panicking because of the shame. 

The worst thing is, it there may actually be nothing specific to set me off. Someone could say ‘hello’, and I could start wondering if there is something wrong with me that I have been talked to. That I didn’t answer right, and that I am an idiot. And if I think someone thinks bad of me because of myself, anxiety strikes. 

I have become a lot better at dealing with anxiety. I recognise when I get a feeling of my heart starting to race, or when breathing gets hard. I try not to put myself in a situation where I could triggered. It does infuriate me, that sometimes, that is not enough. 

It’s a hard thing to get someone to understand, but I thought I’d better try. I’m tired of apologising for something that no one seems to really understand. 

Fearing Change

Time flies, doesn’t it?

One minute you are wasting seemingly endless summer holidays with neighbourhood kids, and the next you are plotting celebrations for your 30th birthday. The idea of my youth, was that I would grow up, be fiercely independent and have wild parties to indie rock bands whilst sipping on a cold alcoholic beverage of choice. It is with a crestfallen heart that I admit that my high flung ideals of adulthood have to come to light.

There is nothing in  particular that has stopped me from achieving my idealistic view of growing up, it is just life getting in the way. Being out of employment is just the icing on the cake, of the grand joke that something called fate has in mind, for me. The only changes that I have in my life, are ones that I could really do without. They are the kind of changes that have you worrying about ‘what is the meaning of it all’. Something that I haven’t found a suitable answer for.

I feel that this is why I don’t look to favourably upon change. I have this unrealistic need to live in the past, where I have this blinkered view that things were better. They weren’t. Coping with things just now is nothing something I do well, so from where I am situated, I it is easier to focus on things in my past that make me happy. I think that is why I am quite childish in a lot of aspects. I’d prefer to watch cartoons and listen to music, rather than deal with the Inland Revenue. Despite the volume of changes that have happened so far in 2013, I am afraid of stepping to the unknown to do something else, in case I really have had it too easy, and fate wants to teach me that.

If I am to be brutally honest, I don’t really believe in ‘fate’, a person makes their own life. It’s just every attempt I have made to get my life in gear, something has happened that has sent me right to the back of the grid, and it seems much too hard to try again. Maybe a little self-belief will help me get things into some kind of order.

But isn’t that what everyone needs? A little self-belief.

Cool Original

What do you think is cool?

I ask, because no matter what you feel, there will always be someone out there who disagrees with you. Liking and disliking things are feelings that are part of our personality, part of what makes you, you.  I always remember being told as a kid, ‘if everyone liked the same thing, the world would be a boring place’. Which is true.

I am glad we don’t live in a world of clones, where everyone thinks the same things. I like the discussion with other people on a variety of topics. I like persuading people why a particular album or book is brilliant. I like the fact that people could recomend things that I may like. If we were all the same, then there would be none of that. And I think that it takes the excitement and sense of adventure out of life.

But with people having a difference of opinions, then there is also the people who don’t appreciate the free-will of others. They have the belief that their viewpoint is correct, and everyone else is in the wrong. And it is this lack of understanding which causes a lot of problem in our society. Be it religion or politics, peoples’ lack of understanding that other options exist causes wars and conflict. It is unnecessary. People have this part of their personality, which gives them the ability to comprimise and reason. Too many people do not employ these qualities, and prefer to dislike those who differ in thoughts to themselves. And think about it, to do that can lead to a person segregating themselves from everyone around them.

I guess I just think, that if I am allowed to think in a certain way, everyone else should be able to think they way they want to. Fair is fair.

Shouting Out To Echoes

It doesn’t take much delving into my online life, to realise that I use the internet and social media a lot. I put a lot of ‘myself’ out there for people to see. Whilst this may be an over-exaggeration of some of my qualities, it is not as true to myself as it is sometimes made out.

I like to have a level of privacy about my life, despite the fact that I share it online, via various services. I have things that I have no problems with sharing because it is mostly just whining about something of no real importance. But, sometimes I think about it, and I am not really sharing. Whilst some of the input garners a reaction from maybe 2 or 3 readers, the majority of people who see what I read, just ignore it. And, it makes me wonder why I do focus on making input on a regular basis, if it is just to be ignored. If I post something big an emotional, and instead of the help I crave, the only vision I have is of tumbleweed blowing across the webpage. I think that is why I don’t post too much truthful aspects of my life, because I am not like that. Ironically I am quite introverted in nature, and have always been really shy. So the idea that some stranger knows the inner workings of my mind, kind of freaks me out.

I suppose, as much as I do things like blogging as a form of expression for myself, there is always the need for it to connect with someone. To get a response from someone who feels in  the same situation as I am in. It is not something that happens very often. But when it does happen, when I get a comment or email for someone who agrees with what I say, it feels great. It feels that my tendency for over-sharing has some kind of purpose. And it means a lot, that someone could not only be bothered to read the trash I write about, but they bothered enough to comment.

I guess, no matter how much I pretend this is ‘just for me’, it is always nice to feel get a shout back from the abyss of the internet.