Putting Me First

I am quite a helpful person. Or, I try to be, anyway. If someone comes to me, and needs help, I’ll do my best to help them. That’s the way I was brought up, assist those around you, as you never know when you may have to resort to the kindness of others.

The problem comes with, my anxiety. At work, about 6 months ago, I was asked to help with another department. A department I used to work in, but hadn’t done so in over a year. Processes had changed, and I felt like if there was 5 problems in front of me, I knew how to fix one. The supervisors all said it was okay. But, I don’t like when I don’t seem to be helping as much as I want to. I was okay during that shift. But afterwards, I felt awful. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I just did a half-arsed job, and I was stupid for thinking I could actually help. It took the entire weekend, before I started to feel better.

Last week, the same request came in again. My supervisor asked me if I was able to go. I took a second, wondering if it was worth the stress I went through last time. When I say stress, no one did anything, it was my own brain causing me stress. I thought back to my last call with my doctor. He advised, that I need to learn to listen to my anxieties, and not put myself into situations which could make it worse.

So, I said no. I said that I hadn’t done the job properly for 18 months, and most of the processes had changed. He was fine with that, and I stayed in my normal department. Then I felt guilty, because I hadn’t helped out, and I felt I was horrible. To the point, I had to explain to both my supervisor, and the one from the other department, why I didn’t feel comfortable, and what had happened last time. They both agreed, that if something was going to stress me out so much, then it is good to not force myself.

And, that was it. No problems what so ever. And once I had spoken to the supervisors, I felt more comfortable that I had made the right decision. Which is difficult. Since I started suffering mental health problems as a teenager, I have always ‘pushed through’ what was going on in my head. And, whilst I got stuff done, it has left me completely unable to deal with my own mental health. Just pushing through, is like moving a brick around. The more you ignore, the more bricks you move. Eventually the one or two bricks, become a pile, a pile that is difficult to move. So it’s best to deal with the bricks one at a time.

That metaphor sucked.

But, I hope the message is clear. Dealing with mental health, is learning when you need to make choices to protect yourself. Don’t simply keep forcing through the same things, it just makes things worse. Be kind to yourself.

Round, Round

Life is monotonous sometimes, isn’t it?

It feels like I am going round in circles at the moment. It is so frustrating.

It’s like I am walking round surrounded by a dark cloud. Sometimes, the sun peaks through, and I can see a path ahead. But it’s short lived. That cloud comes back, and it takes all my focus to see my own two feet, let alone anything else.

My problem is, that every time I think things are getting a little easier to see, the darkness comes back. So, I feel like I make no progress. That I get so far, and end up back at the start.

Sometimes, it seems easier to make no effort at all.

Oops

I forget to write.

That’s nothing. Sometimes I forget to do basic things like clean up after myself and basic hygiene.

I forget because I sit and stair at a wall. As if the seams of the wallpaper are going to give me the answers to life. Which would maybe be true if there was conscious thought involved. There isn’t.

A glance at my phone, can tell me that time has passed, sometimes hours. But when I think, it’s like someone has an eraser and just rubbed out what was there.

It’s frustrating, because I can’t rationalise what happens. And that causes my anxiety to spike. Causes me to worry that I’ve done something stupid.

Luckily, I am normally alone when this happens. Staring at my tv, although the screen is blank. I am also sitting, which is also good. It seems to be when my mind is not busy. It’s like it switches off.

It is annoying. I really don’t know how to make sense of how my mind works.

Because half the time, I don’t think my mind works at all.

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.

Junk Mailed Out

It feels like you have to give out your email address to every company you deal with. I get it, it’s easy contact between a company and their customers. Easy advertising. It seems like nothing, when you think about one company sending one email. It quickly becomes more than one company, you can get multiple emails every day.

It is something that, I feel, can get overwhelming at times. Especially now, when we get every email as a notification on our mobile phone, tablet or computer. One or two emails, can quickly becoming hundreds. Something, that maybe a person would ignore, unless it was a business email. But it’s not like that.

I think my inbox is overwhelmed.

I always have the habit of over-thinking things. Especially as I feel that I try so hard, and fail to do most things that I attempt. So I see something, like my unread email inbox, and feel like it’s yet another thing that I fail to control. If I was more rational, I would know that the emails are junk, so don’t worry about it. Unfortunately, my brain is the polar opposite to rational, most of the time. So I seem to have over the top reactions, to nothing.

I have been going though the emails, and requesting to be taken off mailing lists. I hope that this will reduce the junk coming through. If it doesn’t work, I may have to remove my emails off my phone. Which, I’d rather not do. There is often important information hidden between all the rubbish.

It’s strange the things that can trigger my anxiety. It is very complicated. Sometimes a circumstance will start the panic, whereas other times the same circumstance doesn’t even come up on my radar. It just makes it all very difficult to understand, let alone try to explain it to other people

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.

Casual Gamer

I have always enjoyed playing computer games. I like platform and racing games. I like games I can dip in and out of, without getting lost about where I am. I need a game that isn’t too complex. Mostly because my attention span is really bad, so there are times where I will leave a game for weeks at a time.

I remember my first console was the Game Boy. I played Mario, Kirby, games that were easy platformers. There was no saving, sometimes there would be a code for a level, but normally when your character died, you had to start again. The games were made to pick up and play time and time again. This suits my wondering mind. Games these days, tend to be focused on a person committing hours of gameplay. Which isn’t good for me. It means I don’t ever get very far in games.

Animal Crossing is an example of a fairly modern game, that I can play. My progress is slow, but a player is incentivised to play a little every day. And that works fine by me. I am also finding that because I am at home more, I am playing more. Animal Crossing is about a person living with cartoon-like animals, something young me used to imagine about.

I bought my Nintendo Switch last year, and these last few weeks are probably the most I’ve played it. Other games I have on it are Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing. I also like playing the old Nintendo games like Mario from the SNES.

I don’t really like playing games on my phone. I own an Xbox (which I am using to watch Masterchef) as well, the games played most are Crash Bandicoot and GTA. I think GTA is the only modern franchise that I play, but I believe it’s because it’s quite episodic, and you can play short missions. Which makes it strange that I don’t like mobile games, because they are made to be played for short times.

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.

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?