Circular In Motion

Isn’t it boring, when you feel like you are going round in circles, retreading steps you’ve already taken. The new experiences that are supposed to make up life, don’t seem to be all that new, for you.

I think that working full time, helps that feeling. Same shifts every week, which sees you go to do the same work, every shift. The same nonsense conversations. Running headfirst into the same brick wall, over and over again, when all you want to do is try something new.

I know complaining about my own situation seems rather self-centred when others are dying in Wars, all over the world. And some days, with the constant pain, the repetitive routine, and the thoughts of never being enough, defeat me. I should be embarrassed. I am embarrassed.

Doesn’t stop me trying again tomorrow, though. Trying to change things, and make it better.

Brighter Days Are Coming

If you frequent any website that gives mental health advice, you’ll have probably noticed mentions of SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder). A form of depression which is dependent on the seasons. There is a belief that it comes from a lack of sunlight, as the season SAD is more prominent is Winter. The short days can mess with a person’s whole mental well-being. As a person who has suffered year-long depression, for as long as I can remember, I never gave the idea of SAD much thought.

I only started thinking about it, properly pondering it, today. Where I was very aware of a sudden lift in my mood, seeing the sky a little brighter on my way to work. I leave my house at around 6.15am, to get the 6.30am bus to work, and finish work at 6.30pm. So, for the last few months, I have gone to work in the dark, and came home in the dark. I did think it was exhausting, but I put that down to me being sore (I am in pain a lot).

The sun is starting to come up, as I leave for work in the morning.

Walking to work I saw the sky being a bit brighter, and I could feel my mood improve. I think because I had been struggling physically and mentally anyway, sometimes the smallest thing can make a difference. When I walked to work in the dark, it’s like the world is still asleep. The sun rising, is like the world waking up. It makes me feel better, maybe like I am not the only one awake.

So, all day I thought about the day s getting longer, and how it means more can happen. Or it feels like more can happen, as the world will be all bright once I have finished work. I can’t wait to be honest.

To find a niche?

I have been writing on many personal blogs over the years. They are places where I can write, a thing I love to do, but a thing I am incredibly subpar at. In spite of that, I have continued to use blogging to help relieve any stress I feel about my day to day life. Something that is beneficial to a person’s well-being. However, I have hit a rut over the last few years, due to finding it difficult to post, as I feel, like most people at the moment, that I complain about the same things. And, who wants to read that.

So, I search for advice on how to make things more exciting. Mostly, because I don’t want to bore the few people who do read this blog when I post. And, what is the advice? Find a niche, your audience. Make your site profitable. Honestly, I didn’t start this blog to make money, it never even popped into my mind. When I started up, I was studying digital design, and this blog was supposed to be a way for documenting my journey, as a designer. Something that went incredibly well, as my current job in a warehouse proves.

I think that is where I am different from a lot of people who keep blogs, especially these days. Everything some writers do is about making money. It’s about sponsored posts, how many clicks the links on your pages get, more than about the actual content. I have spoken to other creators, and when I tell them my blog is over 10 years old, they don’t understand why I’d do it for myself and not money. It has happened so often, that I find myself questioning if it is me who has the wrong grasp of things.

I like to write about myself. About my mental health problems. About things I like. About my arthritis. About experiences I have. It’s maybe not exciting enough to make me money, but it does my brain the world of good. Personally, I prefer to read blogs that are personal, ones that don’t feel like a constant advertisement for products no one needs. I like to follow someone’s journey through life. I’d like to think that my blog is like that. Well, at least a little bit, although it seems I am simply complaining all the time.

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

Feeling Run Down?

At the moment, my health is not my friend. With feeling sore all over, constant feelings of sickness, dizziness, and bouts of anxiety that can have me standing crying at the most embarrassing times. I have sought medical advice, so hopefully a solution is coming. But, it doesn’t stop me feel horrible every day.

One of the best pieces of advice, I have found, is to focus on things you enjoy. Because part of my problem is relating to my mental health, I end up doing things that I have done a thousand times before. I think this is something that I have mentioned on here fairly recently, but today I wanted to go into more detail.

The Hills (MTV)

One of the programmes I have been watching, again, is The Hills. It was a show, which appeared on MTV from 2006, that aired for 6 seasons. It was about young women, work and enjoy social lives in Los Angeles, California. The show was the first of that ‘US reality’ stuff that came on to my radar. There were always rumours, of scripted reality. Where things did happen, but they were edited to make a story, or sometimes situations were entirely fabricated. That didn’t bother me so much, it was simple tv. And some of the girls, Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port in particular, were interested in doing something creative. Yes, it was fashion, something I had never had much interest with personally, but I still found it interesting to see part of a creative industry I hadn’t seen before. It was something that I would watch whenever I got the chance. And when I found the whole series on Amazon Prime, I couldn’t resist watching it all. I have always been bad at watching ‘whole seasons’ of a show, but I have watched all 6 seasons in a couple of weeks, which is very fast for me.

I have also been trying to journal more. Write down nonsense, draw pictures, stick down memories, just create something. I usually sit and write a few pages before bedtime, and it helps clear my mind. I have some ‘study music’ playlist on in the background, and make the experience as relaxing as possible. I have found it is a good way to wind down after a busy day at work. As I am more relaxed, I am starting to fall asleep quicker. This means I am more rested, and able to deal with how challenging the next day will be.

On my Apple Watch, there is an app called ‘Breathe’. It guides you through a process of focusing on your breathing. It’s like meditation. Helps calm everything down, helps get my thoughts in line a little. I haven’t really tried meditation before, and maybe it is something I should do further. Especially in times, like these, where I can very easily become overwhelmed.

My immediate aim is to try and find more things that help calm my brain down. Try to let myself go enjoy something, even if it’s just a distraction. A lot of people will quickly dismiss distractions, as a waste of time. But, when life is hard, sometimes a distraction is exactly what is required.

Ran Out Of Qs

In the UK, there has always been an abundance of magazine publications, all suited around whatever hobby or interest you could have. Model trains, cross stitching, running, photography, almost anything had a magazine. My big interest was always music. And, in the days before you had music recommendations at a click of a button on Spotify, you had music magazines, and the odd radio show.

From, when I started earning my own money, I always bought music magazines. It started off with Smash Hits, moved on to Kerrang, Rocksound, NME and Q. There then became more niche magazines, Big Cheese covered punkier stuff, then Metal Hammer got heavy metal. Magazines would often give away free tapes, then CDs, so you got a taste for the bands you were reading about. I always liked different music, so I would buy different magazines, to try and absorb as much information as possible. If you wanted to find out about music out with the Top 40, you had to work for it. Which is why magazines were so important to me when I was younger.

Unfortunately, more and more of the publications that I used to buy, are closing. With Q Magazine being the latest victim. After 34 years of publication, the magazine has published it’s final issue. And it is hard to imagine, in these days, where music seems instant, that a major way I discovered music seems to be dying away. There was a time, when pondering a career path when I was at school, that I thought about journalism, in particular, music journalism. I had never been the most accomplished writer, but I loved the idea about showing appreciation for something I loved. To shed light on bands and albums I loved. It sounded pretty magical.

These days, if you like a certain genre, or listen to certain bands, the music streaming service you listen to, will recommend new music. It’s seamless, and almost effortless to find something new. I liked reading about a band’s exploits, about their history, and understanding about the band members. I also loved reading reviews on gigs, especially if I was discovering a new band. It’s not the same anymore. Even pop music, there is no music on TV anymore. When I was younger there was Top Of The Pops, CD:UK, even Popworld. Shows that created a buzz, and added a bit of personality to the most generic bands.

I know things move on, but it makes me sad.

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 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.

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.