2020, Uncategorized

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.

2020

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.

2019

Physically Easier

Everyone goes through a period of illness. A period where you just want to close yourself off from the world until you feel better. And it happens to everyone.

I have talked previously about how I sometimes have panic attacks, and they can vary from hyperventilating to bouts of being sick. The worst thing about them, is that they can be set off by nothing in particular. I can be working away perfectly happily, and suddenly I will feel inadequate and start panicking. This normally involves crying. I shouldn’t need to inform anyone, publicly crying at the age of 35 is really embarrassing. It is even worse when you can’t explain why you are crying.

For a lot of people, mental health often impacts them most when they don’t expect it. And that, makes it very difficult to deal with. It means that people have to almost re-learn their own behaviours, to try and combat them. Whilst problems, like depression and anxiety, can be suffocating at times, it can mutate the issue to another level when you have to try and explain it to someone else.

For a long time, I felt that I was doing something wrong. I’d experience mental health issues, try to speak to someone about, and would find myself belittled. I wish it was a rare thing, but most people who have suffered with mental health issues, have been told at sometime to ‘grow up and get over it’. These throwaway comments can hurt someone who is going through a time where they feel vulnerable. And it can make it difficult to try and talk when you do feel bad, as you automatically assume that everything will just be thrown back in your face.

As I said before, sometimes I my anxiety hits hard and I can be physically sick. When this happens, I will tell people that I ‘don’t feel well’ rather than trying to explain it’s mental health related. When I say that I have been physically sick, people as if I’m okay, and leave me alone. However, if I state my anxiety is giving me hell, then people want to know exactly why I am feeling like this. It’s difficult because I know a lot of people just want to help, but if I had the answers, I would be able to help myself.

People need to realise how they speak to people with mental health issues. Don’t belittle a person, and don’t be too prying either. It’s difficult, but someone suffering just needs you to be there and respect where they are, mentally. Don’t expect a person to come forward with loads of answers, because a lot of the time, they don’t know what is causing them to have a bad mental health day/week/month. What they don’t need is 50 questions fired in their direction.

I hope, at some stage, I’ll be able to say, ‘my mental health is shit’, and that be enough. But till then, I just appear to constantly have a vomiting bug.

2018, ramblings

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.

2018

A Testing Time

These last few weeks have flown by. It is that time of year, once again, where assements and summer seem to collide. I am studying through the Open University, which gives the ability to access high level learning, whilst still working full time. Which is what I am doing. It gives me a sense that I am working towards something, which is what I need, after being in my current job for 5 years. It is a very good thing. However, the recommended study time, doesn’t actually sound like much, like 10 or so hours a week. But once life gets in the way, that 10 hours is a lot.

Key to doing anything like this, is being honest to yourself, and honest to the people there to help. Be it people at work, friends, or folk at where you are studying. When looking for help, it is easy to forget that there are actually lots of things set up to help you succeed. Managers and tutors are their to help you, their job is to make sure that you have as much support as you need. So, just tell them what the problem is and they can help, even if it is pointing you in the direction of where you can get support.

No matter where you are, you will here people saying that the people who are supposed to care about them (like managers) don’t care about them. But, a lot of the time, when you question them further, you can find that no issues have actually been raised to their managers. As clever as some people like to think that they are, noone is actually a mind reaer, they sometimes only know something is wrong, when it is pointed out to them. So, no matter how silly you may feel, speaking up can make things a lot easier, and help release the pressure.

However, that can be easier said than done.

2018

Just Pretend

Anyone with mental health issues will tell you the problem that is encountered when you attempt to speak to people about it. Your intelligence is questioned. You are told to grow up. You are made to feel like you are ‘doing it for attention’. All of which makes things worse. It’s a problem made worse when people use mental health as an excuse to get time off work. Not that they suffer at all, but because they couldn’t get the holiday. If you have genuine stress and anxiety, time away could help. But when people say ‘I’ll just say I’m stressed, because they never question that’. As if it is some lame excuse like having the flu.

That excuse to get time off is an insult to every person genuinely suffering. Every person having to turn to a doctor because they feel like they are losing control. Every person who cries themselves to sleep every night, and then cries in the morning because they still have to live. A person who panics uncontrollably at every little thing, from doing the dishes to buying a newspaper. It’s not tidying up, because there is no point. It’s not showering, because there is no point. It’s eating rubbish because something has to fill the massive hole you feel inside.

It makes me so angry. And disgusted. As a person who suffers mental health issues, and know a lot of people suffering, I find it awful that someone would pretend to ‘join in’ so they could get time off. It shows ignorance of the world around them.

It kind of makes me feel a bit sick.

2018

Whoops

I want to apologise.

I said I was going to post regularly (every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and I haven’t. I am not going to show up with empty excuses, but be a bit honest instead. I am very good at signing up to do too much and then fall under the weight of everything. Doing a lot of work is only good if you are able to keep up-to-date with your schedule.

I fell apart last week. It is my first week being on anti-depressants for many years. Whenever I think about it, I get stuck on the feeling of failure, that I wasn’t able to cope, when I had been coping for years. Except, I don’t really think I had been ‘coping fine’. I think I have been treading water and pretending I was okay for a long time, when I wasn’t. But, I did get help eventually, which is good.

As anyone, who takes any mental health medication, will tell you, it does take time for medication to take effect. And, it can make you extra lethargic and sleepy as you get accustomed to the medication. And, I believe that is what has happened. Everything I do, has different importance. So, whilst I love writing and being creative, my actual full time job is more important. I need to pay the bills that allow me to do the things I love. So, I have been ptuting everything into getting to work, and functioning whilst I am there. And, it has been exhausting.

I am also still doing my IT course with the Open University. I will be honest and say, that I have fallen behind because of everything that has been going on. But, I am still chipping away at everything. I will get there eventually. And that is how I feel about everything right now. Deal with one thing at a time.