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.

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.

Not All Bad

I use this blog a lot for complaining and talking about my mental health. Whilst, this has become a good place, where I can let all my agro out, it also gives the impression that all I do is wallow. Which, is actually untrue. I am very guilty of focusing on the ‘bad stuff’, but that just seems to be how my brain is wired. So, today, I am making a conscious effort to write about 5 positive going-ons in my life. I say 5 because sometimes I find it hard to think of any so this may be challenging.

  1. I became an Auntie. Last week, my little nephew Carter was born. He is so tiny and cute. We haven’t had a baby in my immediate family since my sister was born, and she is now 21. When my sister was born, I was 13 and was going through that terribly angsty, teenage phase. I wasn’t as ‘hands on’ as I could have been, and that has always made me feel a little bad. But, with baby Carter, I just want to cuddle him and help out however I can. The presence of a baby works as a reminder of not squandering life, or to me, it is anyway.
  2. Continuing my studies. This is a big one for me. I really struggled to keep ‘on top’ of my studies last semester, but I kept at it and managed to hand in my last assessment on schedule. My second year starts this week, and I am excited. I am studying towards a degree in IT and Computing, and last year was mostly an introduction. It is a course which I am doing through the Open University, which allows me to work my full-time job, as well as studying. It is a good way to try and get better job prospects for the future, still having a full-time wage. The next part of my course includes networks, robotics and automation. This is things that my work uses to get things done, so I am hoping that I can link them both together.
  3. Always at work. The last time I experienced bad mental health, I took a lot of time off work. This time around, I haven’t missed a single day. My managers and the team I work with have been super supportive when I have bad moments. I tend to cope better if my mind is occupied, the moment my brain starts to wonder is when I start panicking. My work is very good at making sure I am doing a variety of tasks, and this keeps me occupied. Work is exhausting, but it is really good that I have still stuck at it.
  4. Creativity. Doodling, writing, photography and video making. All the things that I like to do. I am not the best, but these things make me feel better. And sometimes, especially when you tell someone that you write a blog or film videos, you get dismissed. Did you know that being creative is something that people can ‘grow out of’? I didn’t. But apparently keeping a blog as I stumble through adulthood is frowned upon. People do say mean-spirited things, but I try to ignore that. Creating stuff gives me joy, and nobody should be able to take that away.
  5. Friends. I have super supportive and friendly people around me, something I don’t focus on enough. I always have people to meet with and chat to. I know that if things get really bad, I can PM  so many people for help. But a lot of the time, I just need a distraction from whatever is going on in my brain, and my friends offer that. Whether it is having a moan about work, going for dinner or playing computer games, it is good to disconnect from my feelings sometimes. But it is good that I can then be there for them too if it is needed.

 

An Afterthought

What happens after you achieve something that you have been working towards for a long time?

It sounds like a silly question, but it is something I have been thinking about. I have been a person who likes lists to work through. I very rarely finish all the tasks listed, but it is a handy way figure out what you need to do. But sometimes, the same task can sit on my to-do list for weeks at a time. It usually is because the task has a lot of work to do as part of it, and sometimes, I am simply too lazy. Actually, that is most of the time. I’d rather watch anime or read a book, especially when it comes to things such as housework.

But, once in a blue moon, I actually focus and do the task I have been needing to do for ages. And, when I get started, I am stubborn enough to get finished. But, when it is done, there is like a strange feeling. Because this thing that has been on my mind for so long, is suddenly gone. It doesn’t need to be dealt with anymore. It is quite a calming feeling to be honest, which is good. As a naturally anxious person, anything that can keep me calm is a good thing.

But… I never learn. I feel the good feeling of achieving something, but I still have the habit of procrastinating when other things need to be done. I annoy myself sometimes.

Top 10 Animated Movies

Because I am a child, and am sitting here watching cartoons right now, gave me a thought for an easy list blog. Needed after the last few days.

10) Disney’s Aladdin- I love music and this film a great soundtrack. It has become a bit of a cliche, but with characters like Iago, the film goes that extra mile. As a kid, this film made me really happy, and to date I still know every word to One Step Ahead. It is one where the straight-to-video sequels (Return of Jafar and Prince of Thieves) are rather fun too.

9)The Care Bear Movie- looking back on it, the animation is shoddy and the audio synching is out, but I still like it. I think it is pure nostalgia that gets this one on the list, as the story was something that resonated with me when I was little. But… I liked animals, and this having the Care Bear Cousins was great for me. The whole idea that the world has stopped caring enough that, the Care Bear’s skyward home of Care-A-Lot is falling apart. So Funshine Bear and Secret Bear set out on a mission. They don’t do kiddy adventure like this anymore. Seriously.

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8)Disney’s Lilo & Stitch- poor Lilo no pals finds a fugitive alien, and keeps him as a pet dog. This is a typical Disney film, in the sense it has fun, with the right amount of tragedy. It also has an Elvis Presley soundtrack, which marks it out as a bit different as a Disney film. Also doing that, is the whole alien and space theme, which hasn’t really taken off in Disney’s animated movies, despite previous attempts. This is another one where the home released sequels are also fun. Check out Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch and Leroy & Stitch.

7)Pokémon: The First Movie- Like most people my age in Scotland, Pokémon was the first anime most of us watched as kids. I always remember the buzz of the movie, as it ran along with the original series. Mewtwo was a pretty exciting concept, a super Pokémon. It is in a near identical tone to the original series. Team Rocket, Pikachu, Ash, Misty and Brock are all there, and it’s fun. As with much of the series, Team Rocket steal large parts of the show, with their one liners and bickering.

6)Daria: Is It College Yet?- I loved Daria, and whilst people may not include a TV movie-episode as a real movie, I do. This serves as the end of the entire series of Daria. Now, as a teenager, I don’t there was any other TV character I could resonate more with, than Daria Morgendorfer. This movie sees Daria and their classmates preparing to leave High School and head to college. This film pretty much nails that ‘end of High School’ feeling. The fear, the worry, and then realising that nothing really changes. The earlier TV movie, Is It Summer Yet, is also available and greatly entertaining.

5)Disney’s The Fox And The Hound- I have mentioned before on here that I wanted a pet fox as a kid. That was the main reason I looked at this film when I was younger. But it is great, if not tinged with sadness. A fox and a hound dog become friends, without realising they are natural enemies. This is one of the Disney films, that starts sad and ends up at an almighty climax. Talking animal movies have always been a weakness, and this is one of the best. Give the home released sequel a miss though, not a great addition at all.

4) Spirited Away- this Studio Ghibli production is just breathtaking. Little Chihiro is transported into the Spirit world, where she works for a witch to try and get home. It is a beautiful looking movie, with a fantastic storyline that sucks you in. Like, this is one of those movies, where people who ‘don’t watch cartoons’ could watch. It started to change how animated films were thought of, and really pushed anime into a bigger limelight in all corners of the world. This is just a great film to watch.

3) South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut- This film is fantastic. It, like many others on this list, runs along side the still running series. It ridicules so much, and it does it flawlessly. It is focused around the release of The Terrance & Phillip movie, and Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny, need to see it. It, of course, has lots of swearing and lots of fantastic songs, especially Satan’s solo effort. It is guilty of sending lots of kids to schools singing ‘Shut your f**king face, Uncle f**ker’, which was hilarious as a 14 year old. But it was a lot of fun. Still is, the series is still running after 20 seasons, and is still as cutting as ever.

2) Disney’ The Lion King- this is going to shock a lot of people who know me, cause I adore the Lion King. It is one movie that I know word for word, and it’s talking animals, again. The songs, by Elton John and Tim Rice were spot on, as were double act, Timon and Pumba. It is one of those movies that simply comes together. This film just captivates me every time i watch it, no matter how often that is. Both sequels: Simba’s Pride and Lion King 1 1/2 are also really great.

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1) Akira- this film is one that captivates people. I remember buying it on DVD, after watching it online a LOT, and my brother coming in and just getting pulled in, even though he had no idea what was happening. It is THAT kind of film. It starts, with a bike crash, and ends up scaring the living crap out of you, or it did me. It is hard to explain why this film is so good, but it is. It has a very harsh look to the animation, which along with the fantastically dark sound track, helps build an atmosphere I have never seen another animated movie do. The pain and suffering that Tetsou goes through can actually become hard to watch, but it helps build this unbelievable tension.

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Have I got it right? When thinking of this list, I assumed it would be a lot more Disney. And when I stared thinking about what an animated film can do… well, Akira had to be number 1. Is there any films any readers would add? Please let me know.

A Wish List

I am not a typical girl when it comes to shopping. Most times I don’t like it, sometimes I even hate it. Even when I was younger, I would sit outside the shops with my Dad and read a comic. And even now, as an adult, shopping is one of those things I wish I could get someone else to do.
I am pretty good when I am buying stuff for myself, except that I just don’t take long picking things. It’s a bit like, I’ll to an general area for something I need, and I’ll just pick whatever I come to, and that’s it. I can’t be bothered with dithering between shops, trying to find something perfect. Oh no, not me. I get what I want, and then get a coffee. Is that not the best thing about shopping. Eating rubbish and drinking too much coffee?
I do have a bit of a list that I am trying to work through, though. A bit of a shopping list for myself, full of things that I like or that I need.
1)New car- or just any car. Doesn’t have to be new. I passed my driving test in November, and I have yet to get a car. It’s what happens when Christmas gets in the way. I just want an old car, one that will get me from A to B, without putting me in debt.
2) A New Stereo- Yes I still use a stereo, or I did. My old one died at the end of last year, and I have nothing to play my CDs on. Because I am becoming a bit of a vinyl fan, I’d like one with a turntable on it. I have a few options that I am looking at, and it would nice to just listen to music again. Go back to where I would switch my phone and computer off, and just listen to some music and read a good book. Without getting distracted.
3)A Bright Lamp- This sounds strange. But as well as being more productive with writing and drawing, I’d like to make more videos. I like talking to the camera, but being that good lighting isn’t a thing in my room, I need to add some myself.
4) Some new gym gear- I love the gym, and once I get back into going regular in the New Year, I’d like some fresh stuff. Because, last year, I didn’t know how I’d feel about the gym, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on stuff that I maybe would only use once.
5) Some new clothes- Like good quality shirts, hoodies and patches. I would like to get back into DIYing things again. Especially as it would be cool for all the gigs I have coming up. I feel like a lot of my clothes are old, and I could do with them being refreshed.
6) A Macbook- I have wanted a Mac computer at home for so long. Just because it is something so good at multi-tasking, when I have used one before. Unfortunately, they are very expensive. When I am on my computer, I never do just one thing, so I’d like a computer that could handle that. And I would like a computer that isn’t Windows based, as that system annoys me.
Yes, I certainly do dream big. I think that a car, is the only urgent thing on this list. I really would liked to have got straight in a car after my test, but I couldn’t afford one on my own at that point. And the longer I am leaving it between getting a car and passing my test, I am getting more nervous. That is about 6 weeks since I passed, and I haven’t driven another car since. It is a lot of money, and I don’t want to waste a lot of money on something bad.
I just have to be patient. Though I am worse for that, than I am for shopping.

Finding the positive, out of the negative

So I am sick. Again. But this time the headaches got so bad, I couldn’t even look at my phone or the TV. So last night was spent in bed, with nothing on to irritate my headache even more. Which worked till I had to cough. The coughing has been the main problem that I have had over the last few months. But some new medication, will hopefully put a stop to it.

The one thing that feeling this lousy has done, has challenged my new positive mental attitude outlook for 2016.  Because when you feel like death warmed up, the last thing you want to do is be happy about it. The best thing I could do was try and do stuff to make me feel better. Most of these things were done as I started to feel a little better.

  1. Cleaned up a little, because of my lack of energy, everything has just been tossed to the floor. So I put all the used tissues and such into the bin. Which helped me feel a bit useful, because I hate feeling like I can’t do anything.
  2. Watched The Hills. I always have held a soft spot for the first few seasons of The Hills, and it’s one of the few reality TV shows I can stand. So once my headaches started to calm down, I plonked on The Hills season 1, and enjoyed some mindless TV.
  3. Breathing in steamed water. Was recommended for me to help clear out my blocked up sinuses. And it actually has helped me feel better. It helped me breath easier, and also calmed down my coughing. For a little while, at least.
  4. Listening to Spotify. Not too loudly, but music is something that always helps relax me.

It is going to take at least a few days for me to feel better. I am currently sitting on my bed, coughing every few minutes and running a temperature. But, I came online to check for a few emails I was waiting for, and felt like writing some nonsense.

I suck at being sick.

Computer Says No

I have spent the last 10 minutes getting my iPhone to charge using a cable with a loose connection. Again, I curse at technology as my phone dies, and I have to search around for another cable, of which I have came into ownership of a ton. And only about half of them actually work.

This hasn’t been my only issue with technology recently. I have had to use a lot of computers at work, which are shared. Like sometimes more than one account can be logged into the PC at a time. Which is handy when there is limited computers available, but not very good when you rely on the PC being fast. To do the job I do, I need multiple programmes open at once, and I must be able to jump between them all seemlessly. This does happen, when someone on another profile jams the print queue, and just logs out. And it happens a lot, and the only way to fix is to restart everything. Which takes way too long. 

So, to humour myself the other day whilst my PC was resetting, I thought of a few things that could be done whilst waiting for a work PC to load.

1) Have a cup of tea, even watching the kettle boil would be quicker than the PC. 

2) Do the Metro crossword. And that includes colouring in boxes so that my words fit. 

3) Annoy several colleagues by singing Christmas songs. 

4) Attend a First Aid incident. It’s okay, I am trained.

5) Go for a walk and see how other colleagues are doing. 

6) Sweep the floor and tidy up. At a push. 

7) Cry at the pile of work getting bigger, that you can do nothing about. 

8) Try to give ‘new starts’ directions, and confusing them when I say ‘right’ and point left.

9) Go to stores and refill all the paper and pen supplies.

10) Realise that I would be quicker doing everything manually.

Sleepy, no sleep.

Because of the wonderful cough which is ruling my life at the moment, I am not sleeping too good. So, I thought I’d post a we list of the things I do, to pass the time during the twilight hours. 

1. Watch TV in the dark.

2. Do a little drawing/ colouring

3. Lay back with headphones on listening to an album I haven’t heard in a long time.

4. Watch yet another episode of Pretty Little Liars- I will catch up one day.

5. Play Bejewelled on my phone. 

6. Play Mario Kart on 3DS. 

7. Throw 3DS across my bed because I fell off Rainbow Road for the umpteenth time.

8. Write in my journal. My paper journal. 

9. Try to tidy up, without waking up the rest of the house.

10. Catch up on some reading. 

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Cause we all have those nights where we see in every hour. 

How I relax

I am a total stress-head about a lot of what happens every day. I can completely panic unnecessarily over nothing. I try to find one way to relax every d ay. Here is a few of my favourite things that helps me relax a little.

1) Listening to a random album whilst I travel on the bus home. Staring out the window and listening to some cheesy music really helps me relax. Any stress that I have felt over the day just melts away, and my mood is totally uplifted.

2) A hot bubble bath is also something that has become a regular occurrence for me. Because I work on my feet, and can easily walk over 5 miles every day. It is something that is good for my health, but can sometimes hurt my feet and legs. I get tendonitis, have done since I was a teenager, and that means that it doesn’t take much for my body to start hurting and swelling up. A bath is good, because it soothes my muscles, and makes it a lot easier for sleeping. If I don’t have a bath when in pain, I can’t sleep at night, which just leads to other issues.

3) I never used to watch much TV, as it bores me. If I start to watch a series, I always forget a part, and then get lost. So I don’t watch a lot when I am on my own. However, after a long day at work, I have grown to like sitting with other members of my family watching random TV. I think it is the companionship that relaxes me, the fact that I am not having to be on my own.

4) If I wake up in a bad mood, which happens more than I’d like to admit, a walk in the fresh air can make me feel better. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, just a nip round the block can be enough to get the blood pumping and motivate me for the day. I also love walking down to the sea, which is right next to the town where I live. I like sitting looking into the water, and looking across the Forth towards Edinburgh. I find the sound and smell of the sea very relaxing.

5)If it is sunny there is nothing more relaxing that reading a book in the garden. It is one of the things I love most about summer, it being warm enough to sit outside. It doesn’t have to be my garden, I’ll walk down the local park, or even just find a bench to read on. It helps block out everyone around me, and chills me out, especially if it is a good book.

In the world we live in, there is pressure everywhere, so it is important to find ways to escape from those pressures. But different people find different things relaxing. So, what do you do when you need to chill out?