The Subtle Art of Doing Nothing

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.

Alone

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.

A Little Lost

This time of year is one where people often complain that they don’t know what day it is. This is mostly due to the festive period being a time where a lot of people are off work. It’s perfectly normal.

There is also this feeling of feeling in between two different emotions. Christmas is a time to show thanks, be grateful for what you have. And New Year is about looking forward to the future, step away from where you currently may be. Or that is how it has felt for me.

The festive period has been really difficult this year, due to a family loss. It has left me between being thankful for what I have, and wanting to move on. I am glad that there is people around, friends and family. But I also am afraid that stepping forward will lessen the memories I have. Honestly, I think every person feels like this with a loss, but Christmas just seems to exaggerate these feelings.

So, I feel like I am sitting in limbo. Time forces me forward, despite my wishes. It doesn’t matter whether I am ready, things move on. Doesn’t make things any easier though.

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.

Take a Break

I am currently working my way back home to Scotland, after being away in the sunny climates of Cyprus for a week. I don’t usually do a holiday at this time of year, as it is normally time for me to buckle down at work for the busiest time of the year. But Scotland’s national football (soccer) team were playing there, so me and my friend took the chance to get some winter sun.

There has been a lot of things in my life that have been stressing me out recently. It is very easy for stuff to stress me out, the anxiety I suffer from has the habit of blowing things out of proportion. And instead of wallowing, I am trying to focus on the ‘good stuff’ to get me through the harder times. Whether it’s gigs, holidays or a new movie coming out, it is nice to look forward to something.

This holiday, could not have come at a better time. It was nice to get away to the sun, blue skies and fun. Scotland away games attract the Tartan Army, a name given to the Scotland fans who support their side through thick and thin. It is always so much fun when everyone gets together, and the good thing is, that everyone is so friendly and accepting. And when you start going to a few away games, you start to become friends with people, and the trip becomes a meet-up. Barbecues, alcohol and music, makes a great trip.

Cyprus was a beautiful country. We stayed in Pathos, which is at the bottom of the small island. The thing I like about Cyprus is that there is a lot of historical monuments, throughout the country, and everything seems built around them. For example, 5 star resort, Alexander The Great, has historic tombs, fenced off throughout the property. I suppose it is nice to seem them conserving some history, even if I feel they shouldn’t really build on something that is significant. The UK has a habit of knocking things down, and then going ‘whoops, that was important’ .

What was a shock was coming from 26 degree days, to minus 1, when we landed in Luton last night. I almost climbed back in the plane and wanted to go back. But, for me to do the good stuff, I also need to work. So home tonight, and back to work tomorrow. Hopefully feeling as refreshed as I feel right now. I doubt it.

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.

Get To Know Me

Are you named after anyone? No
When was the last time you cried? A few days ago, watching a nature documentary. I am a sap.
Do you have kids? Nope
If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? I’d like to think so. I am trying to be a better version of myself, so hopefully that better version would be someone I’d be pals with.
Do you use sarcasm a lot? No (yes, too much)
What’s the first thing you notice about people? Their eyes, you can tell a lot from a person’s eyes.
What is your eye color? Blue
Scary movie or happy endings? Happy endings.
Favorite smells? That smell that happens after a really heavy rainfall. Almost like mud.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Probably America, went to Disney in Florida.
Do you have any special talents? Not really. I like drawing, it is debatable whether it is a talent though.
Where were you born? Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
What are your hobbies? Reading, writing, playing computer games, drawing and going for walks.
Do you have any pets? none 😦
Do you have any siblings? Yes, a younger brother and a younger sister
What do you want to be when you grow up? Probably be good enough to sell some paintings.
Who was your first best friend? Probably my brother, though I did want him sent back to the hospital when he first came home.
How tall are you? 5,4
Funniest moment throughout School? A friend kicking his shoe on top of a school building, and having to go to class with one shoe to ask the teacher for help getting it back.
How many countries have you visited? America, Switzerland, Malta, Germany and Portugal, so that is 5
What was your favorite/worst subject in High School? I loved art, but hated Modern Studies
What is your Favorite drink? : soft drink- Diet Coke, alcohol- beer or tequila
What would you (or have you) name your children? Always liked the name Alex for a girl.
What Sports do you play/Have you played? I used to play hockey, netball, football and lacrosse when I was younger
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers? Emma Blackett, Peanutbutter Gamer, Slope’s Game Room, Ashens, Rerez, Rosiana Rojas, Daisy Lola… I watch too much YouTube.
Favorite memory from childhood? Just the summer days playing with my neighbours, running around the field next to my house.
How would you describe your fashion sense? A mess. As long as it fits, is comfortable, it’s okay.
What phone do you have? (iOS v Android?) IPhone 6s. I have been an iPhone user for the last several years. Before that I had a Blackberry Bold.
Tell us one of your bad habits! Biting my nails. Do it all the time.

__________

This was just a wee distraction. I have always loved doing these questionnaire things, and felt I would share one here. It’s good to share, so if you’d like to use this, please do.

Lost

These feelings are a cycle.

They go back and forth. Sometimes, I feel inspired and happy. Other times, I feel like I am so lost. I think it is because as time is continuing forward, I don’t seem to be moving anywhere. I am stagnant.

I sometimes struggle to even keep my head above water. And, it’s hard to put it into words, to explain it to others. I think the idea of what one feels as success, can be measured in different ways. I always considered myself successful in a degree, because I had a job, I had some kind of purpose. And since my job has been taken out of the equation, I have struggled to find a sense of purpose.

I send away to job advertisements, of which I get no reply to. I sit with my sketchbook and stare at the empty pages, not knowing what to create. Or open blog posts, like I have done over the last few weeks, and write nothing. It’s hard, because when I have had bad times at work, my creativity was always something that helped give me direction and perspective. So without these things, I have struggled over the last few weeks.

I know that reading this, you will look at my blog and see that everything has been along the same ‘lack of direction’. I feel that at least writing about it helps me, or I hope it does. I have a few things in the pipeline, so hopefully things will pick up. If you read this, how do you deal with feeling a lack of direction in your life?