Forget Me Not

I have completely forgotten to post on here. I have no real excuses, just that time has got away from me. As it has the tendency to do, sometimes. I have committed to this blog for another year, as my payment for the domain has been made again. So, although I may be absent, I won’t be gone.

Thanks to my anxiety, I am very bad at relaxing. I always have to be doing something. When I am not busy, the negative thoughts can take over. I am trying to get used to being relaxed, without feeling any negativity about doing so. Which is easier said than done.

I have been on holiday this week. No work, no full week, just relaxing. Which has been hard. I have been doing some reading, learning some Gaelic, just taking things a bit slower. It has been nice. This has been my first proper time off in 2021. It was needed, because everything at work was getting on my nerves.

I am off work next week too, so I hope this relaxation can continue.

Failed

A few years ago, I made the decision to go back into further education. The course that caught my eye, was about IT and Computing. I thought that it would be something that could give me the best employment opportunities going forward. As the technology sector is only going to go from strength to strength, in the next few years.

As I did the course, I loved the programming, finding out about networks, and how things worked. It was so informative. There was a maths unit to do, which I had expected. Back at school, maths was never my strong suit. I preferred writing and reading, over numbers. But I got stuck in. My mental health declined, so I had to come out of the course. I then thought I’d try again. At a later date. Which was 2020, the course is due to finish later this month. I have struggled again. Missed deadlines and everything. And I feel so low about it. I feel utterly useless.

The reason I felt I needed to go back into education was, that I was finding it difficult to progress in the workplace. I work in a corporate environment, and held my job for over 7 years. I have worked since I was 16. When I was at school, I was told that there was two ways to get somewhere, firstly, get a degree at university, and secondly, experience through work. As I have got older, it has become clear, that it is hard to be taken seriously for new roles, without a degree. There are positions that people can’t be promoted into, because there are so many graduates (some with no work experience) to step right into roles. And it is a bitter pill to swallow.

I don’t know what to really do. I have emailed the university, to inform them of my concerns. I am actually distraught. I have failed at everything I have ever tried, and it’s a horrible feeling. I feel so worthless. The last few years, I have lost family and friends, which made my bad mental health worse. I have come of my mental health medication, as it wasn’t working, and everything feels so much more raw. Put that with a tendency to forget dates, and finding the Maths unit really hard, everything just fell apart.

I still feel like I need something to improve my prospects. But I don’t know if it is better to switch to something that I actually have a passion for. Or do I try again. I certainly don’t want to give up. I want to earn enough to be able to live comfortably on my own. So, do I try again with this maths road block, or do I try something like English literature, which I know love, but might find another roadblock?

I wish that work experience counted for something.

Round, Round

Life is monotonous sometimes, isn’t it?

It feels like I am going round in circles at the moment. It is so frustrating.

It’s like I am walking round surrounded by a dark cloud. Sometimes, the sun peaks through, and I can see a path ahead. But it’s short lived. That cloud comes back, and it takes all my focus to see my own two feet, let alone anything else.

My problem is, that every time I think things are getting a little easier to see, the darkness comes back. So, I feel like I make no progress. That I get so far, and end up back at the start.

Sometimes, it seems easier to make no effort at all.

Wired Wrong

I used to always ask for help. Go to a teacher, and tell them what I was feeling. It could have been about my weight, sexuality, or anything. I was always told, no one can help you fix a problem, if they don’t know about it.

So, I’d ask. For help. For advice.

The only answers that I got, were that I was ‘wired wrong’. Something, my teenage self, turned into being my fault. As if it could be anyone’s ‘fault’. It was my own fault that I felt so disconnected with the people around me. I’d speak to the doctor, they’d give tablets, but not really listen.

As I have grown up, I have continued blaming myself for not processing things the same, or for letting certain things effect me. I stopped asking for help so much, as it was embarrassing that I was doing this myself.

Over the last 6 months, I have had regular phone calls with a locum GP, who actually listened. I have spent time doing meditation, and I have no medication for my mental health. Which, is terrifying. But I am taking every day at a time. The GP mentioned that every person is wired differently, that’s why we are all such different people. There is nothing to be ashamed off. I just need to learn how my brain processes things, and find out what works, for me.

I turned 37 last week. It should never have taken this long for someone to make sense of what was happening. To find a way to help me understand why I was feeling the way I did.

Things aren’t all rosy. I still get panic attacks. I still assume the worst. I still start a dozen different jobs, and finish none. I still worry that I have offended everyone, and apologise for it constantly. But, it feels like I can find a way to work round what happens. To learn to love the behavioural quirks that make me, me. Which is a challenge and a half, I tell you.

My doctor said something that stuck. ‘Life comes with a standard manual, one that works for a large percentage of people. It doesn’t work for everyone, which is why we can write our own manual. Our own directions, that help us make our own way through life.’ It sounds silly. But it was strangely comforting.

Stressed

There is a voice in my head. It tells me that I am not good enough.

The volume can depend. Sometimes it’s whispering, which is drowned out by other thoughts, other activities. But, sometimes it shouts. It’s deafening. It becomes impossible to focus on anything.

I work well with a plan of action. When I have something definite to focus on. But, any change to that plan, is enough to send me into a panic. I quickly feel out of control, and don’t know what to do.

Switch off!

How hard is it to switch off?

To be able to relax, fully enjoy a hobby or activity. To not let things bother you. To be able to silence your brain, to enjoy a tv show.

Facebook is constant, full of people you thought you could trust, making comments that prove you wrong. The feeling of being let down, and that you never know who anyone is, not really. People defending saying racist slurs, because they have always said it. People defending blaming a virus on Asian people, despite the fact Coronavirus was a thing before the pandemic. People laughing about identifying as a helicopter, whilst people they know are feeling threatened because of gender being in the news. The people who speak about mental health awareness, whilst laughing about your problems, behind your back.

It’s not just that. It’s everywhere. The TV is full of people trying to validate their right to berate people. Newspapers give, the most vocal bigots, newspaper columns. They get radio shows. TV shows. Infamy for being intolerant.

I remember being told when I was young, to treat other people the way you want to be treated. That if a person isn’t causing harm, let them be. And it frustrates me, that people treat others poorly l, just because they are different to them.

It’s very overwhelming. To see the hatred. The hatred of anything different. My high anxiety brain always reminds me that I can never do enough. I just want that part to stop.

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Important links:

Stop Hate: http://stophate.org

Stand up against racism and inequality: http://sariweb.org.uk

Human Rights Campaign: http://hrc.org

Citizen’s Advice: http://citizensadvice.org.uk

Mind: http://mind.org.uk

Oops

I forget to write.

That’s nothing. Sometimes I forget to do basic things like clean up after myself and basic hygiene.

I forget because I sit and stair at a wall. As if the seams of the wallpaper are going to give me the answers to life. Which would maybe be true if there was conscious thought involved. There isn’t.

A glance at my phone, can tell me that time has passed, sometimes hours. But when I think, it’s like someone has an eraser and just rubbed out what was there.

It’s frustrating, because I can’t rationalise what happens. And that causes my anxiety to spike. Causes me to worry that I’ve done something stupid.

Luckily, I am normally alone when this happens. Staring at my tv, although the screen is blank. I am also sitting, which is also good. It seems to be when my mind is not busy. It’s like it switches off.

It is annoying. I really don’t know how to make sense of how my mind works.

Because half the time, I don’t think my mind works at all.

New Habits

The hardest thing about life, are these assumptions that we grow up with, from childhood. This idea that everything that you learn, is the same stuff that will carry us through the rest of our lives. Whilst this may be true for some, not every behaviour that we learn is correct.

A lot of times, the behaviours that we learn, are ones that are the best for our individual situtaion that we may have been in. For example, I learned at a young age that it was easier to binge eat my feelings, rather than bother anyone with my problems. This, was something that I felt that was most convienient at the time, but in the long term, it was an issue. My behaviour around food came about in my teenage years, when I started having mental health issues. A lot of people thought it was because I was earning my own money. Whilst having money certainly didn’t help my situation, it didn’t start it. Before my first job, before I earned any of my own money, I was hiding extra food in my room, to binge on later. I was maybe 13 or 14 at the time.

When I started putting weight on, people would make fun. The thing that was my coping mechanism, a way to feel better, was now a reason to feel bad. It didn’t fix anything. It made things worse, I doubled down on what I was doing, and would eat more as I felt worse. During that time, I think that there was this attitude to ignore bullies, you don’t ‘grass’ them in. It felt shameful that these people’s silly comments were getting to me, so I used food as a release. And it never went away, it just became worse.

Over the last few years, I have been trying to work on my mental health. And much of that journey has been spoken of in this blog. It has led to me thinking about my coping mechanisms, which includes my relationship with food. I have started an account on MyFitnessPal, in the aim to record what I am eating. Because when I binge. I mindlessly eat, so I am trying to recognise every food that I eat. Something that sounds basic, but it involves relearning so much stuff.

I guess, what I want to say, is that no one is perfect. Not every behaviour that you have learned is one that will stay with you, for your entire life. Despite the belief that childhood is where you learn new things, you learn something new every single day. As they say, every day is a school day.

Fixing Myself

Before I checked my blog, I couldn’t tell you when the last time I posted was. The internet has been a particularly stressful place, so far in 2021. Conspiracy theories and abuse seem to be thrown at anyone with wifi access, and it makes it difficult to create anything. It feels like anything you create for the internet, leaves you open to abuse. Which has always been a risk, but it just feels so much more intense. It doesn’t help that my last post, was about work problems. Things that had driven me to the end of my tether.

Fortunately things changed. I spoke to my manager, and they helped fix the situation. Which was good. It helped me feel confident that I wasn’t the ‘bad guy’ in the situation. I spoke to my GP over the phone, and he was happy that I had spoke up. As, we had previously spoken about me being proactive about my personal situation, and that I shouldn’t ‘suffer in silence’. So, I felt positive, my colleagues supported me, and made sure that I was okay. So I didn’t feel alone anymore.

I thought that maybe being proactive in other areas in my life would help. So, I have started trying to control my unhealthy relationship with food. So, I opened up the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and started tracking everything. I mindlessly eat, I do it as stress relief, have done. In fact, previously my doctor likened my over-eating to self-harm, as it was a way to punish myself. So, I am writing down everything that I eat. To try and recognise what I am taking in. It is helping, I feel so good that I have kept complete track of my food intake for the last two weeks. I am tracking at around 1700 calories a day, which is a deficit, and should help me lose a wee bit of weight too. But that isn’t essential. I just want to feel better.

I then applied for a new vacancy at my work. A learning trainer, it would be a promotion. I have trained people before, and I think it is a job I would be really good at. I sent my application away over a week ago, but haven’t heard anything back yet. It’s the first time I am looking towards the future, rather than just stewing about my current situation.

So I am feeling a wee bit positive. Which is better than last time. I am trying to step back into the world a bit more, function a little better, so I’ll maybe post a wee bit more.

Don’t Know What To Do

I feel lucky. I work a basic, entry level job, but I like it. The work I do helps me focus, and silence my over-thinking brain. There have been times, over the last year, especially, I have felt at the end of my tether, and work was all that kept me going. I can’t go for a pointless drive, I can’t pop round to my friends, I can’t go out for a coffee, but I can go to work. I have friends and colleagues that help me when I am struggling, mentally or physically. I have been in my current job for over 7 years, and I still get new challenges, and I like that.

Recently, I have come across a problem. A person who I work with, who doesn’t seem to like me. That, alone, is something that bothers me. I mentally go through every interaction between us, and ask myself what did I do wrong. Because, I assume that everything is my fault. I feel like that Labrador dog who wants to be everyone’s friend, and can’t seem to understand why not everyone wants to be a friend.

It’s not just that though. Several times, this person has triggered a panic attack in me, by speaking to me like I am an idiotic child. Thinking that they can speak down to me because I am younger than them. By inferring I am stupid, and by doing so right in my face, I panic. And, this person blocks me in, physically, so I can’t leave till they say their bit. Which is normally a rant, whereupon they are right and I am usually wrong. When I do have a panic attack, I am told to ‘grow up’. It has been going on for months, but it came to a head last week. After shouting at me, like I was stupid, I felt panic arising, so when they had finished I went to the toilets to calm down.

When I have a panic attack, my heart goes crazy. I start shaking really bad, and I can’t catch my breath. The panic becomes worse, and I will normally start crying. Which is embarrassing, and is why I prefer to have such things in the private space of a toilet cubical. So, I calmed down, and began to walk back to my work area. As soon as I got near, I started panicking again. And quickly I was doubled over, struggling to breath. When I had last spoken to my doctor, he had said that if there is a situation which triggers my anxiety, I need to take myself away from the situation. So, my panicking self caught the attention of management, and walked me to a break room, so I could explain what was happening. I said that I couldn’t work with this person anymore, as I need to look after myself and my mental health. The managers seemed to understand.

I feel stupid. I know I have to look after myself, but can’t help feel like it’s my fault. It’s not a nice feeling.