‘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?
One lie, that having poor mental tells you is that you are alone. That no one else feels the way you do. It is a lie that cuts you off. Makes you feel like you are not good enough for anyone who is around. That what you experience, is such a burden on everyone, that maybe it’s better to remain on your own. So you don’t bring other’s down.
Logically, these lies don’t make sense. Having poor mental health, is something that thrives in loneliness. Or that is what it feels like for me, anyway. If people are around, or if I am kept busy (like at work), I don’t often feel so overwhelmed. It does still happen, to be honest, but because my brain is focused elsewhere, I can deal with things better.
But that can be a problem. When I first started having mental health issues, I spoke to people. I reached out for help, I was told to ‘grow up’, that it was ‘hormones’, or was just because I ‘needed the right guy’. This all felt like rejection, as if rather than understand, people deflected with useless fake solutions. So I waited. I hoped it would go away. I made a mess of things, in the hope I’d feel normal. And it hurts. It manifested at a previous work place were I was told, by my manager ‘you have a job, you have a place to live, you have nothing to be depressed about’. I wrote on Facebook, years ago, and was told not to be such an attention seeker.
In the end, it feels like not saying anything helps me. There is only so many times people can ask for help, and for it to be thrown back at them. Or even ignored. It’s easier to not be with people, because then I don’t run the risk of being made to feel worse. So, I spend time alone, which is when my mental health is worse.
This has come into my head, after a recent news story brought suicide and mental health to the forefront of people’s minds. And the same people, who berated me, who called me an attention seeker, expect folk to reach out to them. Say that they can help. But they did the opposite. Or maybe it’s only certain people that folk want to help. I’d never be that person.
I have written about my mental health a lot on this blog. It is something that I have struggled with since my teenage years, and I find that writing about things is a lot easier than talking about them. But there is something that I don’t really talk about.
The constant feeling of disappointing people.
I am classed as ‘high functioning’ with my mental health, because I can work and generally do ‘normal’ things. Work helps me, because I find the routine helps with my anxiety, it is something regular, where I can get my head down and work hard. It distracts my overactive brain from overthinking things. I can talk to colleagues about nothing in particular, and it is good.
A lot of the time, anxiety hits after work, where I think about what I have done wrong, and I ALWAYS think there is something I have done wrong. And it sometimes takes me a while before I can get myself together enough to go and do anything else. Sometimes, it’s just too hard.
I feel like it takes a lot of energy to be ‘okay’ for work. I make myself go on because I need money, I need work so I can do the things I like. But sometimes, it means I don’t have the energy nor the mental capacity to deal with things outside work. And that means I can’t always make it to things. When things are out of my routine, my anxiety can be triggered. It means I can have a panic attack at anything.
My anxiety means that I sometimes can’t enjoy social events, as I fear I will get upset and ruin it for other people. Bring people down when they are doing something good. So, I find myself denying requests to go out, or not being forthcoming in arranging things with people. But, instead of feeling bad for ruining an event, i feel bad for letting a friend down. And I feel the assumption is that i don’t care. But that is not the case at all.
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.
I have tried to be honest when I write on here. And it has proven to be something very helpful when dealling with my mental health. Because I find it difficult to speak to people about what I am going through, writing into the void seems a lot easier for me. It,unfortunately, doesn’t mean things become easier to handle.
One of the managers from my work is leaving, and people had organised a nightout for him. I was working all day, when this was happening. But, I thought that I might turn up for a bit, and at least buy the guy a beer and wish him luck. Seemed like a good plan, I’d just go up after work, stay for a few hours, stick to soft drinks and drive myself home. It seemed like a good plan. But then, anxiety happened. I knew everyone who was going to be there, I knew the pub, it wasn’t a big deal. There is no telling my brain that, when it starts getting ahead of itself though. I had a panic attack. I ended up struggling to breathe and crying over nothing. In my car. Like an idiot. I had been fine all day, I don’t know why I felt so bad all of a sudden. I decided to get some food and see if I felt better, but I ended up getting a migraine and going to bed early. I felt awful that I wasn’t able to go out. I am trying to go easier on myself, but it is hard.
I feel that I cancel a lot of plans these days, and it is hard. I feel like a constant let down, and it’s a horrible feeling. Like, how are you supposed to ‘be there’ for people, when you physically can’t be anywhere? It makes me feel like such a shit person. And that makes me want to stay locked up in solitary confinement even more. When I speak to people, or try to, I get told to stop over-thinking. I can’t help what I am thinking about, it isn’t like I consciously decide to over-react. That isn’t how it works.
I just wish I could find out how ‘it’ does work. Would make things a bit easier. At least I’d be able to explain it to the people I disappoint.
You don’t need to read very much here, to realise that I can get stressed out over nothing. Silly things, can have such an adverse effect on my mood. It doesn’t even really matter what it is, really. But that happens to everyone.
These days, we are so used at getting anything we want so easily. Years ago, if we wanted to know anything, we would have to have went to a library and researched. Now? A simple internet search can find you everything from historical information, to recipes, to watching cartoons. No longer do people have to wait months for new programmes to air in their respective countries, they can find an online service to stream content the same day as it is aired in the country of origin. I tell you now, my 12 year old self, would be utterly spellbound by this concept alone.
However. The internet becoming so important in daily life, does create an issue. Especially, when like today, your connection to the internet is a steaming pile of donkey shit. Yes, my internet connection, both my home broadband, and mobile 4G, have been playing up. It means, that it has taken till this time of night (10.30pm) before I could get a connection steady enough to post this. That is flaming ridiculous. Couldn’t listen to Spotify, couldn’t watch Naruto (sshhhh… don’t judge) and I had problems messaging my friend, because I use Whatsapp or Facebook messenger. I was angry. For most of the day.
It does make me think, what would I do if there was no internet. If I wanted to sit by the TV, I’d have to put on a DVD or stick to the schedules, instead of watching Youtube or … Naruto. (I am obsessed with Naruto, like a child, all over again.) I think it is very easy to take for granted on how simple it is to stay in contact with people, thanks to services such as Facebook. A service that can even link with your calendar on your phone or PC, to remind you of events or birthdays. The internet has simplified so much, that when it isn’t there, we come to a loss. If there is no connection to the web, everything can seem like it takes so much more extra effort.
Maybe we have just got lazy.
Everyone has moments in life, where they go from the top of a hypothetical ladder, only to then end up at the very bottom of another. The most common example of this, happens during childhood. When you are one of the oldest kids in Primary School, to start as the youngest again, when you go to High School. There is nothing bad about that, it is just something that sometimes happens. It can through everything up in the air, and make you reconsider quite a lot in your life.
I happens in adulthood as well. For example, I worked in a department at my work for over 3 years, I was settled, it was a really nice atmosphere and work was fun. But last week, I was moved to another department. There was no major changes, even my shift patterns stayed the same, the only thing that changed was the process I now had to do. And as easy going I tried to be about the whole situation, I couldn’t help feeling a little hard done by. Like, the whole ‘why me’ feeling, with thoughts of ‘what did I do wrong’. Being most experienced in one area, just to be moved back down to the least experience, is not a particularly nice feeling. And it is a feeling that is quite hard to get out of.
But, like a lot in life, these situations become easier if we have a better mindset. So rather that focusing on what I am missing out on, I am trying to shift focus onto what I am gaining. For example, the work situation, yes it is a pain, but it is also a new experience. Which in a workplace which is as ever-changing as mine, it’s only a good thing to be as experienced as possible. So, maybe that is a good thing. Another good thing is, that despite how anti-social I can be sometimes, I do like meeting new people. I like to be on good terms with people, used to be quite obsessed with it, actually. So, I try to be nice, and helpful, so that folk thing nicely of me. I have already met so many nice people at my work, and have created friendships that will last for years to come. Which is a good thing.
The hard thing is, that as well as staying focused on the good stuff, I also have to ignore the negativity. Some of the people who moved departments with me, really hate it. Like, all they do is complain. And when you are already struggling to be positive, someone being overly negative isn’t really that great. I remember my first job, being told during training that the mood of people you encounter, is contagious. It was all based on how if you smiled at a customer, they’d smile back, and carry that small positive action to someone else, and make the world a wee bit nicer. But the same happens with negativity, if the first voice you hear in the morning is ‘I can’t be bothered, this place is shit’, then that thought infiltrates your perception on what happens that day.
I guess, the main thing is to keep going with a smile if you can. It is hard, but it makes so many things easier. Well, maybe not everything, but even if it makes one hour of a day slightly easier, it is worth it.
As I get older, I find I can see the appeal of living alone with cats more and more. Sometimes, I just haven’t got the patience to deal with other people’s rubbish. That’s not saying that if someone has a genuine problem, I wouldn’t be there. Of course I would. It is people’s continual moaning about things. Adults refusing to do their jobs, or bitching about each other, like children.
I think it irritates me so much, because I find myself getting pulled into the middle of disagreements. I make a real effort to try and be on friendly terms with everyone I know, and when someone pulls me into their disagreements, it really triggers my anxiety. I think, this is mostly because I panic if someone takes a dislike to me, for any reason. Because of this, I hate getting pulled into any conflict, and that is what happens if people bitch about one another. It is a situation, where I stress out too much.
I think that every person should be looking for ways to improve themselves, even if it is just to make their own life more enjoyable. We are on this planet for a relatively short time, so we should make sure that we have a good time whilst we can. There is so much negative things occurring, that are completely out with our own control, so maybe we should try and make the bits we can control a wee bit better.
Of course, there will always be situations that annoy us. Times that make us bang our head against the closest wall in frustration. But I guess you have to try and change your thinking. If someone wants to ruin their day by complaining about things or people, let them. They may need to let out their frustrations. If that is the case, then there would be no ill-meaning behind anything, they may still like that person, it is just that they did one thing which was irritating, People are irritating, we do have a special way in annoying one another. Sometimes people can be best of friends, other times they can irritate one another. It is just how things are. No two people are going to agree with absolutely everything.
I think that is where I struggle. I can understand that people can have their own thoughts and opinions, and can maybe clash with one another. I just don’t like clashing. The fear of conflict, the idea that things could escalate, and people could ‘fall out’. It is like I jump the gun. I don’t particularly dislike anyone, and I don’t feel comfortable that a conflict could arise when I haven’t actually done anything. I am a bit scared that I will end up being the ‘bad person’, and that is something I don’t like. I haven’t ever intentionally hurt anyone, and the idea that I could hurt someone, stresses me out.
Maybe getting a wee flat and a lot of cats is a good idea. Animals just seem a lot more straight-forward than people. If anyone needs me, I will be searching for my new life of spinsterhood.
It’s the week of Christmas. That time of the year which is filled with good feelings, twinkly lights and gifts for those who mean the most to you. It is a period which has always made me happy. As a child, that may have been mostly because of presents, but that has changed as I have got older. The festive period has become more about taking time away from work, spending time with family and meeting with friends we maybe don’t see as much as we should.
The meaning of Christmas, is supposed to be focused on the Nativity. Something that I liked as a child, when I attended Sunday School. The best thing about Sunday School at Christmas, was that I got a book as a gift. I loved books, and books as presents was right up my alley. I don’t have any particular negative feelings about my experience with the Church. In fact, I did crafts every week and read stories, it was perfect for me. But, then I got a little older, and decided that I wanted to go horse riding every Sunday morning instead. And, that was the start of me finding out my own mind.
When at Sunday School, we were always told that we could pray, if we had problems. Unfortunately, the problems of the stereotypical teenager came into play, and praying didn’t help. It was this idea, that the answers would be given to us if we prayed. It isn’t really that simple, and all it did was confuse my already confused brain, more. So I tried to find another way to help ease my tensions, which involved writing things down, drawing or reading a few chapters of a book. I picked up hobbies, that really helped. And, as I started to learn and experience new things, I kind of stopped trusting in an ‘ultimate power’. Nothing bad about people who do believe, but I just couldn’t get past what I thought.
Why do I still celebrate Christmas?
Well, I still like the stories, they are stories from my childhood that still make me smile. I like the idea that a couple struggling for shelter, would get help from a complete stranger. It doesn’t really seem to happen in life, but people can be good to each other. But life has taught me, that good behaviour isn’t exclusive to a religion. I like the festive time because it is a time I get to spend with my family. It is the one time of the year, where we are allowed a little ‘down time’, and appreciate what we have. No work, just a lazy day at home with my family, where we do very little. I get to buy presents for people, and whilst it seems awful capitalist, I feel like gifts help show people I appreciate them. They are a ‘thank you’.
We do not get a lot of opportunity to shut off from the world, and it is nice to have the opportunity to do so.
Appologies as this has become more of a ramble than I intended. But a lot of people, don’t understand that people can enjoy Christmas, without being overly religious. It is my personal thoughts, and I don’t intend to offend anyone. If you celebrate a religious holiday during this festive period, I hope you have the best time. Everyone has to believe in something to get them through life. I just prefer to believe in the goodness of people. Happy Holidays.