Escaping the Crazy

I like to plan events and holidays throughout my year. Something to act like a target, something to aim for, when things get a bit hard. It can be trips to the cinema, gigs, shopping in another city or a holiday. In these modern days, where it becomes increasingly more difficult to disconnect from stress factors, it is good to set aside time to step away from daily life. To give yourself things to look forward to.

Last week I was on holiday to Rimini in Italy, with Tartan Army friends as Scotland was playing San Marino, which was nearby. I like to visit countries that I haven’t visited before. I think that is one of the best things about living so close to so many other countries, as a part of Europe (ignoring Brexit). It has always amazed me, that so many countries in such sort proximity can have so many cultural differences. Especially when you take in to account how big countries like Russia and USA are. So, I like to visit as many countries as I can, whilst I am able to.

I think that it is important to take time outwith your normal life, especially if that life causes you stress. And sometimes, simply staying at home doesn’t seem enough. With the constant barrage of information, simply going home after work is enough to disconnect a person from what is going on around them. So, sometimes it is good to go somewhere different. Somewhere fresh. Somewhere where your mind can relax.

Coming back to reality, can be a headache, though.

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.

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.

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.

 

A Good Kind of Challenge

Life can be very boring if you fill it with things you have already done. Things can get boring and repetitive. How can you expect yourself to get any passion or love for life, if you are bored. If you don’t find joy in things, it is easy to lose all energy and the will to do anything at all.

Sometimes, doing something new is good for you. It can get the adrenaline flowing, and give you a bit of a thrill. Being able to do something new can help you find a bit of self-worth. And that is something that should never been sniffed at. Every single person should strive to do things that makes them feel better. Because once you feel that feeling of joyous achievement, you can get addicted to it. Something completely different to the old feeling of dwelling on your failures.

I remember seeing something somewhere, which said something along the lines of, ‘if you fail at something, it means your journey isn’t finished’. Which is very true. If you are unable to do something, you either try, or move on to something else. Failing to do something shouldn’t be a bad thing. Think it was a bad thing, is what has stopped me trying so much in my life.

In my work, I had to do some, what I would call admin work. It was a headache, because it is the normal kind of thing I can get flustered over, but I didn’t. I just got my head down, and did my best. Which was all I could do. And I have left with the job completed and feeling quite accomplished. Normally I would pass on something like that, but when that option was taken away, I just did it. I feel in a good mood as a result. Which, considering how I have been feeling lately, is a good thing.

Just Do Your Best

Life, as it frequently tends to remind us, is very hard. Yes, the struggles may be different for different people, but they are still struggles. And every person will deal with those hard things different. If you don’t harm anyone, there is no right or wrong way to deal with problems that come our in direction.

It is hard, but it is believed by some, that nothing worth doing, comes easy. So, if things get hard, it’s okay. If you have to work hard for something, it is only then that you will fully appreciate it. But sometimes, you can find yourself working hard for something, and you don’t achieve what you set out to do. It might be a test, a new job or even getting fitter, it can be almost everything. And failing is a horrible feeling, but it is a feeling that everyone has to deal with.

How do you even begin to deal with failure? Myself, I don’t deal a lot of the time, I do the whole panic/ cry/ meltdown, kind of thing. But when I think back, at the school classes failed or the jobs I didn’t get, I just plodded on. A lot of the time, I just adjusted my plan. Sometimes, you can want something, and start the journey towards that goal, but there is no way to get there. Life sometimes, gets in the way like that. People like to make excuses, like ‘if it wasn’t for this thing that happened, I would have done such-and-such’. I don’t like that. As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror, and say ‘I gave it everything’, you have nothing to feel bad about. In fact, if things did get in the way, but you tried as hard as you could at the time, you also have nothing to feel bad about.

You have to do your best what ever comes your way. No matter what it is. Because if you have that ‘try hard’ mentality, you will succeed in something. It may take a while, and it might be nothing like you originally planned, but you will get there.

Back to normal

I have been off work for the last week. Needed some time away from work, which everyone needs at some point. I had a week of catching up with friends, and enjoying not having an alarm go off at 5.30am.

But, as with every holiday, the week went too fast, and today was my first day back at work. Back to where I was before I went away. Which is a bit stressy, to be honest. Recently I have been working in a different department with a brand new process. And I am finding that it is triggering my anxiety something awful. Before I went away on holiday, I was having to head to the toilet several times a day, because I was panicking. Which is not nice. It is embarrassing.

I do power through and do my best, but it’s really draining. And today, it felt like I was just back to the same place again. All that relaxing, and i still get worked up over nothing.

I am trying to push myself. I will get to where I need to, but like anything, it takes time. I just have to be patient and not give up. Which, is rather tempting. But nope, got to hustle and get shit done. Own the situation properly.

Another Year Older

Birthdays used to be fun. They used to mean parties, being spoilt rotten, and the promise of getting older. When you are little, it feels like the world has all these possibilities, that you need to get older to do. It was exciting, it was fun.

Now, in my 30s, that is no longer the case. In fact, my last few birthdays have included time where I have sat on the floor and cried my eyes out. Feeling like I have wasted another year, and that I am never progressing in anything other than age. It always puts a downer on stuff.

I guess a lot of the feelings around birthdays come from others. It is an automatic reaction to look at those around you, and assess how they are doing compared to you. And, well, I have always assumed everyone is much further ahead than me, especially as I’ve got older. Folk are having kids and getting married, and I am not anywhere related to that. Any progress I do make, is slower than a bloody snail. For example, passed my driving test last year, still don’t have a car.

Things are different this year. Though it might not appear so. I am working hard to be better. I am making progress, which is better than none. Babies, moving house, getting a dog, new job, it doesn’t matter what progress is, as long as you move forward, you doing okay. Which is why I am trying to stop comparing my life to others. Yes, most of my friends actually have a career, or a house, or a partner, but they don’t equal anything other than personal growth. And people grow at different speeds.

Or that’s what I am trying to convince myself anyways. Here’s to being 33. Let’s improve on last year.

New Day, New Chance To Try

That’s us hit March already, and I’m kind of stuck between wishing my time away and wanting things to slow down. There is no happy medium, and as I get older I find myself standing still as the world flies by.

3 months into the year, those aspirations made in January may have fallen flat. Some of mines have kind of. I am very good at focusing on what has already happened, mostly the bad bits. The bits where I have failed and things haven’t gone to plan. These are the things I seem to automatically focus on, and then I don’t have the energy to try again. Because, what is the point, if nothing really changes?

I have been spending a lot of time trying to change that. Because what happens in the past can’t be changed, all you can change is what is in your future. Which is probably really cheesy, but it is true. There is no harm in looking back at what you have done before, but if it affects what is coming then maybe you are looking too close.

I deal better with things when I have a ‘clean slate’ to work with. That moment when you close the door on what has happened, and start again. I try to get deal with every day as it comes, forget what has happened before, as nought can be done about it. However, this all depends on how I am mentally, because if I am suffering under depression, i am very likely to be so optimistic.

It’s also learning, that is okay. Not every day is going to be the best day ever, it’s not possible. Life is a serious of ups and downs, and learning how to deal with it. But today is as good a day as any to start positive changes

Something New

Everyone has moments in life, where they go from the top of a hypothetical ladder, only to then end up at the very bottom of another. The most common example of this, happens during childhood. When you are one of the oldest kids in Primary School, to start as the youngest again, when you go to High School. There is nothing bad about that, it is just something that sometimes happens. It can through everything up in the air, and make you reconsider quite a lot in your life.

I happens in adulthood as well. For example, I worked in a department at my work for over 3 years, I was settled, it was a really nice atmosphere and work was fun. But last week, I was moved to another department. There was no major changes, even my shift patterns stayed the same, the only thing that changed was the process I now had to do. And as easy going I tried to be about the whole situation, I couldn’t help feeling a little hard done by. Like, the whole ‘why me’ feeling, with thoughts of ‘what did I do wrong’. Being most experienced in one area, just to be moved back down to the least experience, is not a particularly nice feeling. And it is a feeling that is quite hard to get out of.

But, like a lot in life, these situations become easier if we have a better mindset. So rather that focusing on what I am missing out on, I am trying to shift focus onto what I am gaining. For example, the work situation, yes it is a pain, but it is also a new experience. Which in a workplace which is as ever-changing as mine, it’s only a good thing to be as experienced as possible. So, maybe that is a good thing. Another good thing is, that despite how anti-social I can be sometimes, I do like meeting new people. I like to be on good terms with people, used to be quite obsessed with it, actually. So, I try to be nice, and helpful, so that folk thing nicely of me. I have already met so many nice people at my work, and have created friendships that will last for years to come. Which is a good thing.

The hard thing is, that as well as staying focused on the good stuff, I also have to ignore the negativity. Some of the people who moved departments with me, really hate it. Like, all they do is complain. And when you are already struggling to be positive, someone being overly negative isn’t really that great. I remember my first job, being told during training that the mood of people you encounter, is contagious. It was all based on how if you smiled at a customer, they’d smile back, and carry that small positive action to someone else, and make the world a wee bit nicer. But the same happens with negativity, if the first voice you hear in the morning is ‘I can’t be bothered, this place is shit’, then that thought infiltrates your perception on what happens that day.

I guess, the main thing is to keep going with a smile if you can. It is hard, but it makes so many things easier. Well, maybe not everything, but even if it makes one hour of a day slightly easier, it is worth it.