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.

Looking Forward

I look at this title, and I roll my eyes. There is this doubt, that everyone will be feeling, which asks us if it is worth even planning anything for this coming year. Is really worth getting our hopes up, that 2021 will be better than 2020?

It’s all rather pessimistic, and I think that modern society (from politics to marketing) wants you to be like that. It means that ‘they’ have the answer, that ‘they’ can make everything better. Go back to the good ol’ days, where things were more in your favour. This perfume will make your life a success, this politician will get rid of the things holding you down, this car will allow you to live the life you deserve.

Dreams. That’s what everything is selling to us. A better life for a the cost of a few pounds, or a vote on a bit of paper. And, people would like to believe that a better life would be so easy. I mean, if buying a new £30 pair of jeans would make all my problems go away, I’d snap up multiple pairs. But, that’s not the way the world works. There is no short cut to happiness or success, you have to work for what you want.

I sometimes am guilty of telling myself that I have put effort into things, which is why it is so unfair that things haven’t happened for me. But that isn’t true. Not really. I think about stuff, then I kind of half-arse it, and then get upset the stuff hasn’t turned out how I wanted. The audacity, I tell you.

So, I’m trying to make myself more responsible for what happens. Make the effort to do things fully. Work to my strengths. I know I am good at doing things in short bursts, for example, tidying for an hour at a time. Breaking things down like that helps me do more. And, if that’s what I need to get things actually done, so be it. So that when I look forward to things, they actually happen. Which would be nice.

Frustrated

I have been finding a lot of things difficult at the moment. Like, silly things. Like messaging people, or making phone calls that I need to. It is so silly. It feels like something I should be over by now, but it seems that I am getting worse.

I always feel like an intrusion.

Like I am an annoyance, that people can’t get rid of. I think that the simplest way to explain it, is that I feel like such a negative person. Like, I know that my life isn’t bad, but yet I feel so bad every day. I upset myself over the smallest thing, other people don’t need that in their lives. I mean, especially this year, life has been so stressful for everybody, that people don’t need a wee rain cloud coming over too.

If my brain worked properly, it may tell me that this is nonsense. But that is not the case. So I overthink everything. Every message that I send, has been written and rewritten so many times. I scrutinise everything so much. It is so stressful. Sometime I type messages, and leave them unsent. I plan to look at the messages again, but my inboxes give me so much stress, that I forget, and never reply to people.

So, I feel like if I message people I am imposing myself, but if I don’t reply, I am just rude and not very nice. I spoke about this not so long ago, but it is still something at the forefront of my mind. I think that is an issue made worse by constantly been near things like my phone and computer. There are notifications everywhere, like information overload. And, a lot of the time, these notifications are because I haven’t done something. And that makes me panic, it makes the feeling of uselessness even worse.

I try to switch my phone off. Try to step away. But, it feels like I am still not doing enough. But, I don’t think I could ever do enough.

Sick of it all

I’m sick and tired.

I’m sick of constantly saying sorry for things I can’t help. But if I didn’t say sorry, I’d feel guilty.

I’m sick of having to explain why I feel like shit, when I ‘don’t look depressed’.

I’m sick of being a burden. Everyone has their problems, mines are just trivial.

I’m sick of being exhausted. Getting up and functioning takes all my energy, even worse if I have to try to be ‘happy’.

I’m sick of being called an ‘attention seeker’ behind my back. I thought we were friends.

I’m sick of letting people down. Be it a text, a phone call or meeting for a coffee, it’s so hard to interact with people when I feel like this.

I’m sick of crying all the time. When my anxiety hits hard, I cry a lot. It can happen anywhere, it usually happens after a panic attack, and it’s embarrassing.

I’m sick of being told that exercise/ healthy eating/bubble baths will cure my depression.

I’m sick. I have had problems with my mental health since I was a teenager. Asked teachers, and told it was hormones, and since then I have struggled. I try to muddle on, but sometimes I am at breaking point. I am maybe not the best friend, sister or colleague, but I am trying my best.

Please visit SAMH for advice and help on mental health at https://www.samh.org.uk

Role Model

A few years ago, I remember reading something (can’t remember where), which stated that a person’s personality was created by what they see around them. I thought this was interesting, as it was something I hadn’t thought of before.

The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it. I became aware of picking up phrases or mannerisms from people I liked. And if anyone had unfavourable qualities, I would stop myself from doing the behaviours I didn’t like. And people can do that automatically, based on some kind of instinct.

Then, I come on to the subject of role models. How many times have you opened a website, or a newspaper, to see headlines proclaiming that some pop star is ‘an awful role model to young girls’. People don’t ask to be role models, it is something that just happens. The image portrayed through media, often tries to show a person in a positive light. This positive light, is what can influence the behaviour of others. A lot of the time, there is very little conscious fault involved on either side.

It isn’t just kids who are influenced by the behaviours of people they admire. Everyone is. If you watch a tv show, about a person who adores baking cakes, you may see that joy in that person and think, ‘I’ll bake a cake too’. If you see someone, in your actual life, or on TV, who is motivated and works hard, it could push you to work harder towards your own goals.

And if someone, anyone, can encourage you to be a better person, there can’t be anything wrong than that.

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.

Escape

I have lived in the same area, since I was a child. I have been told that I need to ‘move somewhere else’. As if you can only experience life, if you have paid stupidly high rent for a teeny flat in a city. I will scoff at that, but at the same time, seeing friends buy houses, get married, and have kids, makes me sad. I work hard, but I stay with my parents, in my 30s. It’s very depressing. I have worked constantly since I was 16, and have tried previously tried college. I have struggled with my mental health, but ignored it for many years. And these feelings, of seeing friends ‘do more’, made me feel worse. I look at my life and see that I have wasted my time. Wasted a life. And that’s where depression takes hold. That if my life was worthy, I’d be in a different place.

Sometimes, I need to get away from these thoughts. And I do this by getting out the house, going for a drive, or for a walk. The good thing, about living where I do, is that there are so many good places to explore. I live on the Fife Coast, just across from Edinburgh, and I can easily get to the sea, or to the countryside. I can find peace, in walks on my own. With nothing but my own thoughts, where I can try and get my broken mind in some kind of order.

The thing is. Sometimes my over nostalgic brain would see any changes that have happened, and feel sad about them. Which, if you live in the town you grew up in, happens quite a lot. Walking down a set of stairs, can make you feel quite sad. Today, for example, I went into the town’s public park, somewhere where I went with my parents as a child, and friends as I got older, but hadn’t been in so long. And it changed. Not really for the better.

The play park used to have a lot for all kids, this is all that’s left. Two things.

The park felt a little unloved. Paint peeling off benches, broken slabs, empty planting areas, it seems a little neglected. Which maybe rings a little too true to me, in the metaphorical sense. It was peaceful, which is what I needed, but that was it. I am like that, functional, but not really making any marks.

There are a few of these in the public park. We used to say they were jail cells for the ‘bad people’.

Sometimes, usually after a few deep breathes, you can see things you have forgotten. The things that you haven’t noticed for years, or maybe haven’t seen before. The things you look at ‘through new eyes’, that look completely different.

The old friary. Hundreds of years old.

I started thinking today, that age seems to make a person more cynical. It begins to get harder to see past the negative stuff, because that’s what you’ve come to expect. So, maybe we need to remind ourselves to keep a part of a childish outlook. See things in a hopeful way, and look past the bad bits to see something positive. But that is hard.

Making Something Out Of Nothing

The biggest issue that I have with my own mental health, is the lack of feeling. The numbness that seems to take over everything, that just seems to make everything seem rather pointless. For me, it means that I find it very difficult to find any drive, because there is no reason to do anything. It makes me really down.

It’s why writing, and doing anything creative, is so hard. How can you find something to create, when your mind is stuck looking at a metaphorical grey wall? And, even if I can force something creative, I find that I go round in circles. Saying the same things, drawing over already drawn lines. It’s something that is really hard to get through. When people say that they have a creative block, a lot of the time they say it because they are struggling to create anything at all. For me, especially recently, it’s creating stuff that’s been done before.

People always say that, when life is challenging, you have to power through it, and get out at the other side. But, my problem is, that how do you know when you are at the ‘other side’? It just feels like there is one thing after another, it is never ending. And it’s hard. I think, that when you are younger, your are told that the hard stuff is things like work, and bills. These things are almost abstract when you find yourself struggling with just the physical and mental strain of simply getting out of bed.

Well Read

I have been an active user on the internet since my school days. Back when MySpace was huge and every person has a GeoCities page with sparkly letters everywhere. I used forums to share my life with people I never met. It felt like a safe space, a place where I could be the kind of person I wanted to be. I never knew anyone interested in alternative music, or that were questioning their sexuality, so the internet helped me find people I could connect with.

Recently, social media has become king. Where MySpace was a thing for young people and a new way for them to connect with bands. Facebook has become a site for everyone, where parents, babies and pets all have pages. Where algorithms decide what people see, and people share everything as fact. And when you become overwhelmed by your own life, seeing the most ridiculous nonsense being shared, just to start arguments, sometimes it’s best to switch off.

Which is what I have been doing.

I have been reading a lot. I have had a massive too-read pile for a long time, I am good at buying books. And to put down my phone, and get lost in the pages of a book, has been very therapeutic. I have got books in both audible and on my kindle, that are still part-way done, but I have been struggling to focus on them. My brain gets anxious, especially when a device like my phone is concerned. I have found that physically holding a book, and feeling how far I am going, actually helps. I get a joy out of physical books that I don’t get out of ebooks. And at the moment, it has been great to focus on something that is separate from the internet connected everything else.

I have a target of reading 30 books this year, and I am on number 15. I am at the stage where I am reading a book a week, and it has helped me immensely. I am splitting books into what I will keep post-lockdown, and what I will take to the charity shop when they start accepting things again. I need to de-clutter my life, so this is a good way of working my through the waist high pile of books I have in my room. I would like to share reviews on here, but I am not the most articulate. Because I try to review every book I read. I do write them over on my Goodreads so that you can look there, if interested. If I get a little more articulate, I may also post reviews here. But I don’t know if that is interesting though.

Lockdown On Productivity

The very word, lockdown, is something that most people are sick of. Since the the middle of March, many of us have found ourselves doing everything from home. Not meeting friends. No social activities. Maybe not even leaving the house for work. Something, no matter how much we love our homes, becomes suffocating.

It is for the health of those around us, that this lockdown will continue for the foreseeable future. And, the majority of people can see and understand this, and so will try their best to stay at home as much as they can. My mental health relies on me being busy, and it is hard when I can’t do that.

I am a person who loves my own company. I like going out, wandering around on my lonesome. If my mind was hitting a brick wall, I could pull myself out of bed and go for a drive. Go somewhere else for a walk. I am finding it very difficult, mentally, as my coping mechanisms have been taken away. The ability to meet with people who help, can’t happen. It seems rather selfish, I think, complaining about things, when I still go out to work, and I live with people. But that feeling of being selfish just makes things worse. It becomes harder to deal with.

One of my last posts was about how all I focus on are things like computer games. Well, I haven’t even been able to focus on that. I feel like I am doing so little, that I shouldn’t bother. Everything I write or do, is just shit. Rubbish. And, although I know it’s just my brain and it’s skewed way of thinking, it doesn’t make things easier. I spend a lot of time, just feeling sad. Just lying on my bed, staring into space as the time disappears.

It’s times like this where I feel like I am wasting my life. But then, a lot of people are feeling like that. The months of 2020 are (slowly) passing, and everyone is standing still. Things aren’t happening, for anyone, and it’s quite scary.

**Apologies if this post seems a bit odd. It has been in my drafts for weeks and been edited at least 5 times. But today I finished it and decided to post. It’s a reminder not to give up, even when stuff seems a bit hopeless**