Stuck To A Stop

2020 has proven to be a very challenging year for everyone. And, as a person who uses her creativity a lot, be it writing, scrapbooking, or drawing, I have found it suffocating. Which is why this blog has been rather quiet, compared to other years.

The things that I see and do, are what helps get my brain ticking over on what I should create. At the moment, for most of 2020, I have been working, going to the supermarket, and then going home. There are only so many interesting things one can get out of the monotony of it all. I try to be productive, try to think about what media I am consuming. So, I try to think about the programme I watch on the TV, or the computer game I am playing.

It’s not working though.

I feel like I am stuck in a cycle. I think and write about the same things all the time. It is not on purpose, but my thoughts seem to retread the same steps because I am not seeing anything else. It’s hard not to talk about masks or COVID restrictions, everywhere you go. Because that is everywhere, and it is something that worries me a lot. This feeling that the governments of the world are dealing with something unprecedented is not a nice one.

Sometimes, though, I think about what matters most. And I suppose it’s honesty. Talk about what I experience, as it is important. You see, I think I do that already, but it is focused around my mental health. So, the picture of me, that this site holds, is not a complete picture, it shows only a side of me.

So, I am going to try and make this more fun. Going to still talk about my mental health, because (unfortunately) it is the biggest thing in my life. But going to try and write about things I like, the music, the shows, the games, and the books. I am not the most articulate of people, but i want to write about more. I’d say it’ll be a ‘lifestyle blog’ more, but I see that and I see lots of things I am not. So, I will simply say that it will be more varied.

Anything is better than this continual bashing of my head against an imaginary brick wall.

Insta-hate Filled Hole

Over the years, social media networks have come and gone. Instagram, is a social network that I have used since I learned of it’s existence, back in my college days.

It’s the social network that provides me the most joy. I can post opinions, memories, or even wee stories of my day. And, in return, I get to see what other people create. I have made friends, followed artists and people that inspire me every day, and genuinely have fun on Instagram.

My profile. It’s full of nonsense, but that is me.

Instagram seems to get pulled up as the worst social media site, especially for the content that young eyes can find. People need to understand that social media sites run off what information you give it. What information and hashtags you may use, is what helps create the content you view. I think people need to be educated on how to use social media, before they start blaming it for everything. Social media makes money by curating a timeline that a user will interact with. Because heavy interaction, means there is more chance of adverts being seen, clicked on, and maybe sales made.

I follow accounts of artists, friends and people who post stuff that encourages me. I save topics like ‘alternative’, ‘Naruto’, ‘BlackPink’, ‘journaling’ and many more. I am not interested in fashion or make-up, so I find that I don’t get recommended pages of models and diet focused accounts.

My Instagram ‘explore’ page is mostly BlackPink. Which is fine by me.

Parents should always be aware of how social media sites work. Educate themselves. If you don’t like what you find, you protect your child. Teach them how to use social media responsibly, show what dangers lie on the internet. Because it should be taken just as seriously as dangers outside in the real world. If a parent refuses to understand how a site works, they can’t expect their child to.

My instagram is like a journal, a bit of a visual blog. I post what catches my attention, rather than just selfies of myself. I understand different people use it for different reasons, and that’s okay. But having such a outlet, has helped my mental health. If I am struggling, i try to go for a walk to take some pictures. And it really helps me gain some focus. It makes me sad that some people see everything on the internet as bad. To me it’s the opposite.

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.

Going Offline

The world has become a little crazy, hasn’t it?

I have found myself writing my feelings into a traditional journal. It’s been good. It means, that I am still able to get my feelings out, but don’t seem to overthink, or procrastinate as much as I do when there is an internet connection involved.

So, I write a few pages of rambling, before bed. And it actually has been helping me sleep better. Because I am not clicking on another tab, or looking through Facebook nonsense. It’s a positive thing. And in these, very challenging, times, it’s good to try and claim any positivity we can.

The Long And Short of It

I got a wee email from WordPress the other day. They like to send emails to help content creators get inspired and motivated. And during a period where I find myself struggling to create, this can be pretty helpful. This email said that sometimes posting smaller updates can strengthen a connection with an audience.

Now, I love reading blogs that have long posts, and that is what I have found myself creating. However, I do use sites like Instagram and Twitter, so I do see the benefit of small, punchy posts. It’s not something I ever thought about doing on my blog. Which seems really strange, the more I think about.

A lot of the information that is posted, is about growing an audience. I never started this blog to gain any kind of audience, it was something for me. But, I do have a lot of people who do follow this blog, so maybe it would be nice to provide them with more. Because, honestly, i post so sporadically sometimes, that I think folk get surprise when they do see a post by me.

The main reason behind the lull in content, is because I can’t focus. As I’ve already mentioned, I start posts and give up. So, maybe smaller updates would help. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do put more pressure on myself if I haven’t posted in a while. So maybe wee updates, more like Tumblr or instagram would help.

Words Matter

‘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?

Work In Progress

I explained in earlier posts, that one of my aims for 2020, was to try and be a lot more creative. Something that always helps me boost my creativity is to ‘refresh’ things. I feel like it allows me to mentally draw a line under what has happened already, and focus on what is coming next. It is not foolproof, and sometimes I still struggle, but it is always worth a try.

Over the next week or so, this blog is going to be changing a wee bit. I am going to try and find a new layout that suits what I need, and personalise it a wee bit. I think that refreshing online accounts is always a good thing. It also means that if you don’t feel like you use a service or site anymore, you can get rid of it. Lessen the load, if you know what I mean. This is all the more important, if you read the reports on how so much social media, and web services, are causing people anxiety due to the pressure of ‘trying to keep up’.

Luckily, keeping this blog is something that actually helps me mentally. I don’t think many people I know actually read it, so there is no pressure. I can write honestly, which helps document my journey. I have kept this blog for years, so I do feel that it deserves some TLC every now and then. To be honest, when I fell out with the graphic design stuff, a few years back, I started to find being creative so much harder. I felt that the stuff that came freely to me, wasn’t good enough, and it broke my flow. If that makes sense.

So, if things look a bit odd over the next week or so, that is all it is. A wee freshen up.

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.