This was my first full week of work in a long time, I never thought I would see this day again. If this week has shown me anything, it would be the small things really do make a big difference. I felt like a human again this week. It sounds silly to get teary about going to work for a whole week, but to me, it is such an achievement. Sarcoidosis, which is one of the conditions i have, took my life away from me for over a year I have felt trapped in my mind and body this year and I am now only just starting to break out of it.
Trapped inside a cage.
This drawing was inspired by something my therapist said in one of our sessions. My therapist noticed I speak about my mind and body like they are not a part of me, but instead, I see them as a cage I can’t get out of. My mind can be too much for me at times, it can feel like it is a thunderstorm of negativety that I can’t find cover from, a whirlwind of anxiety I can’t run from and a mindfield of issues that trip me up. My mind is a place that has dragged me into some of my darkest moments. My body is something that I looked at in disgust, I have felt constantly let down by it, both because of illness and appearance, has made me see my body as something I can’t accept. I have tried to fix it but I have felt unfixable for a long time.
I have felt trapped inside a cage of my own doing for a long time. My mind and body have always been the enemy to me, instead of a part of me, if that makes sense. I have made small steps this year to embrace my mind and body. I have made improvements in being kinder to myself and I hope there is more to come. Those small steps will one day break me out of the cage of my own doing and let me be free one day, not just free but whole again, and see beauty in the scars that are inside and out.
For the first time in a long time, I am starting to feel like a functioning adult. It feels weird as fuck±! I remember telling my therapist a few weeks ago that I wanted to just feel normal, which she then replied, what is normal? A lot has happened to turn my life upside down and inside out, which has made me feel out of sync with the world around me. I didn’t have any purpose to get out of bed, to have any motivation to do anything because it felt like everything was shit, so what was the point. So by me having a new job that I can safely do, helps give me a reason to get up in the morning. So that is what I meant by normal, I feel like I need to find my place in the world again.
Don\t get me wrong, I am sure the shine will start to fade soon and I will be like every other adult again, cursing early mornings and hating morning people who talk to you before your caffeine hits your system. At least I am brushing my hair now regularly and not living in the same set of pyjamas for days on end. Hmmm, actually may be returning to the world of adulthood was a mistake.
Tip of the day –
Following the bread crumbs.
We all can get a little lost in the world at times, we can all feel like we just cant human right. I am still lost but I am following the bread crumbs that I left myself to find my way again. We don’t need to try and be like anyone else to find ourselves or even look for who we used to be. We need to look for who we are now and build on that for who we are going to be. If we follow someone else’s breadcrumbs we could end up finding who they want us to be instead of who we want us to be.
If we wait for perfection to lead the way to who we want to be, then we may end up lost for a long time.
What are the bread crumbs?
Well, that depends on the person, but to me, breadcrumbs can be the good days where I can laugh and not have anxiety dictate my day. The days where I can see the tiny victories, even if it is has been a bad day. Breadcrumbs are the little things that remind us who we are and show us the good qualities we have.
We don’t have to be doing everything right all the time just because we are adults now, and chasing that perfection may have been the thing that got us lost in the first place. Instead, chase the imperfect days where there are moments of good shit, bad shit and fuck this shit!
This coming week is going to be a big week for me, there is going to be a lot of changes and hopefully, they will all turn out to be good changes. The thing is, the bitch of anxiety is currently trying to let me know I’m going to fail at what is ahead and the changes that are coming are bad to the fucking bone. I know this is not true, because those changes haven’t had a chance to play out yet, but that doesn’t mean my anxiety isn’t convincing.
That’s the bitch of anxiety for ya, she likes to put her grubby hands all over everything. She is the master of chaos when there is not any chaos to be found. Well, I am going through with these changes next week whether the bitch of anxiety likes it or not, as I need to move forward.
Tip of the day is –
Stepping into the unknown.
Sometimes we can’t even see the next step forward we need to take. It can feel like we are about to step off a cliff edge instead of a step forward. If we stay where we are and don’t take a step forward, the cliff edge we are standing on may crumble under our feet anyway. Not every step forward is going to make it clear go you, there is not going to be neon signs saying ”right this way”. The blank space that lays before you is scary, but it also means that you can transform that blank space with that step forward. Turn a dark space into something filled with light and hope from that step forward. Leave that crumbling cliff edge behind you, because you have outgrown that place that is behind you, it no longer serves you.
A part of me is like, it is mental health day every day for me and the same for a lot of people. Then another part of me is like, well if we didn’t have days like this where we can positively use social media to spread awareness instead of our latest sefie, then it would be even harder to spread awareness. Just think back, if you are old enough, when we didn’t have the resources of social media. Unless you saw an advert, had a weird assembly at school or went to your doctors, we didn’t have spreading awareness. Now, not only can we learn from days like this we can also take part in spreading the awareness. So if you are one of those people who don’t see the point in days like today, well then this post ain’t for you.
Hiding behind a smile.
I have been always been one of those people who can hide how they’re feeling behind a sarcastic comment or a joke. I would rather make someone laugh than honestly answer that question, “how are you?” It becomes second nature, an easy mask you can slip on in public.
You don’t want to feel like a burden, weird or crazy to other people.
I didn’t realise until I hit a really low point in my life how important taking care of your mental health was. I wasn’t taught about depression or anxiety or anything about mental health at school. I didn’t talk about any of that shit at home either because my parents are from a generation where you didn’t talk about that kind of stuff.
So a lot of us are backed into a corner with a smile on our face not knowing how to deal with our mental health. That is why days like today are important because it helps people see they are not alone and there are ways to improve your mental health, you don’t have to suffer behind a smile.
We have the power now to share our stories, tips and advice. We have the power to help one another and turn a smile that people hide behind into an actual smile. We don’t need to suffer alone anymore because we are not alone.
Did I ever tell you that about the time I was in such a rush to get home because I felt like anxiety was closing the world in around me, that I walked up to the wrong house and was trying to open the door with my key for a good few minutes. I can laugh about it now because I must have looked like an idiot cursing at a door that didn’t belong to me ( thank god no one was home). I remember finally realising that I was telling the wrong door to ” fucking open you piece of shit”, I felt like anxiety was going to swallow me whole. I was only one house along, and as soon as I closed my front door, I cried my eyes out. Was I crying over the original anxiety or the new anxiety from trying to get into the wrong house?
I was crying for my sheer frustration with anxiety. Like seriously, how the fuck did I not recognise my own house, and why did I let anxiety control me like this. That is the thing with anxiety, your blinders are on and the only world you can see and comprehend is the world anxiety has twisted before you. You sense of humour goes straight out the window along with your rationality.
In reality, we all do stupid things that embarrass us and in that moment it may feel like the whole world is going to end because of it. When you combine anxiety and embarrassment that can be a lethal bomb about to explode inside your mind, and it is a tricky bomb to defuse.
So just like how we need to remember that sometimes we make mistakes, we also need to remember that sometimes we do stupid shit. Like, I have lost count how many times I have left my house with my top inside out, or left my phone in the fridge and even spent a good portion of my mornings at work with toothpaste on my chin. Stupid shit happens to us all, and it is not easy to turn down anxiety’s volume and take off those blinders but it is not impossible either.
So next time you do something stupid whether it is an hour or a day or a week after it has happened, try and look back and laugh, and turn that anxious memory into a funny one.
What a fucking week it has been so instead of moaning on for a paragraph or two, I will just give you the cliff notes.
My doctor needs 2-week notice before I need an appointment, as that is the current waiting time.
A bird pooped on my head.
I ripped my favourite jeans in the crotch.
Anxiety has been crawling around my mind.
I got some good news on the job front.
I didn’t win the lottery.
I got back into the gym.
I think that is everything from this week, at the least the bird pooping on me gave me some good luck on the job front. I nearly had to break out the teapot as it felt like there wasn’t enough tea in the world that could get me through this week. I think as well with it being my first week without therapy it kind of threw me off-kilter, I felt a little lost without it this week.
Being an adult is a hard job.
I was starting to get the feeling that I was fading away these past few weeks, I couldn’t grasp onto anything to keep me here. It was like Thanos had come along and snapped his fingers and I was slowly turning into dust. This isn’t a movie though, no Avengers were coming along to save me. I had to get my Iron-man on and make the sacrifice to save the day. I had to keep trying and keep fighting even though it felt like there was no hope and I was convinced I was going to be dust.
We have to make the hard choices as an adult, we have to deal with feeling like we are useless if we don’t fit the norm and most of the time we would rather be hiding under our covers when life gets just too much. We all wish that a hero or two would just come along and save the day for us because we are not prepared for this shit.
The thing is we don’t always realise we have to be the heroes of our own story and keep fighting when we are tired and battered by life.
Being an adult can be a right fucking bitch it ain’t easy but just remember those heroes we look up to like the Avengers, they got knocked down a bunch of times, lost battles, lost hope but at the end of the day, they won. That victory took sacrifice and I am sure plenty of cursing and days where they couldn’t even be bothered to shower let alone save the world. They don’t show all that in the movies but this isn’t a movie this is life and we all go through this shit, we just need to be the hero of our lives and not give up.
So let’s talk about coping mechanisms, we all have them as they come in many shapes and sizes. Who can’t function in the morning without a large dose of caffeine? Coping mechanism. Who has used alcohol or smoking to help deal with stress? Coping mechanism. Who has a certain friend that they feel more comfortable with about opening up? Coping mechanism. Who has started a blog to help deal with things they struggle with daily? (me) Coping mechanism. The reason why coping mechanisms come in different shapes and sizes is because we are all different, and situations can affect us all differently.
There are some bad coping mechanisms and some good ones. I find the bad ones are more of a quick fix for a situation, whcih then can lead to them coursing more damage long term, than the original thing. Bad coping mechanisms are just like putting a bandaid on a cut that needs stitches, sooner or later that cut is going to get worse and the bandaid can only deal with so much. Good coping mechanisms I find are the things that help gradually and you have to build on them. We can be put off using them becausein order for them to be effective we have to be playing ball. We can’t use relaxation coping mechanisms if we are not willing to relax and we can’t use support mechanisms if we are not willing to talk. How well a coping mechanism works for us depends on us. It is about being open and honest with yourself and be willing to try different things. I started drawing about a year ago, I have never been artistic really, but the more I was using creativity as a coping mechanism the more it was helping me. I was able to channel things I struggled to speak about into something positive. Life is hard and we all need coping mechanisms at some point in our lives. Whether you are meeting up with a friend to talk about your issues, meditating to help deal with stress or creating music or art to help with a traumatic situation, coping mechanisms are for everyone.
I have just got back from a lovely couple of days away with my partner and some friends at the seaside. Some may say being stuck in a caravan with the rain pelting down a disaster of a time. With the right people though and the task of who could find the best jokes and let’s just say the jokes got more and more depraved as the time went on, it was far from a disaster, it was perfect. We don’t need everything to be perfect for it to be good, because imperfection is not a flaw, it’s just life.
I am dealing with a lot of anxiety at the moment because of imperfection. I am not perfect, my relationship is not perfect, my friendships aren’t perfect and so basically my fucking life is not perfect. I am struggling with the fact that I can’t control any of that and that’s a difficult thing to accept, especially for someone who is a bit of a control freak and has abandonment issues. I am just a girl standing in front of the world screaming accept me, instead of being the girl in front of a mirror saying love me.
There is so much pressure in the world at the moment and it can feel can feel like we can’t do right from wrong.
Are we doing enough for the environment and this planet?
Are we eating the right foods?
Are we exercising enough?
Are we looking like how social media tells us to look like?
Are we moaning too much?
Are we not moaning enough?
Are we taking care of our mental health enough?
Are we being too selfish?
Honestly, it is a fucking whirlwind and how the fuck are we not going to get anxiety from all of this. My life is a bit of a mess at the moment and I am sure a lot you lot feel that way too because we are being dictated from every direction on how we should be living our lives. We are a generation that works to live while having a lot of access to people who aren’t living that type of life, that in itself can really damage a person. How can we be happy with what we got when what we got is a struggle?
It is hard out there guys and I don’t have all the answers. What I am learning though and what I will say is that you may feel like your life is a mess or a struggle but be proud of that life. You may feel like your life is not perfect but it is yours, and yours alone and it has been shaped by your ups and your downs and most importantly it’s yours to live.
Today was my last day of therapy, these past 8 weeks have flown by, and I am honestly so sad it is over. I know I can refer back if I want to but I rfelt that I had found a therapist that I could really open up to and they can’t guarantee I would get the same therapist again. Yes, it has been a hard and painful experience, but I know I have made some good steps forward. I am scared of messing that up and going backwards, as I don’t want to go back to that place. I guess time will tell and I need to put faith in myself that I can do this, as it was my choice to go to therapy, it was my decision to open up and my actions that have moved me forward. These past 8 weeks have made me see I need to go on medication for my anxiety, I can’t keep doing this on my own. I have also learned that I should question my diagnosis and go back to my doctors about being reassessed as my therapist thinks I am dealing with C-PTSD. Also, I have spent most of my life putting others first which has contributed to my feelings of abandonment.
I could go on and tell you about the weird and wonderful places of my mind, the trauma and the past events that have caused some of the damage. Instead, I want to use this post to tell anyone out there who is struggling and questioning whether to get help and tell them what have you got to lose! Yes, I am not cured of my issues and my mental health problems but I have a better understanding of it now. It gave me a place to vent to a person who didn’t judge me and didn’t tell me to look on the fucking bright side. I am now on a better footing to not let those things keep controlling my life, and I have hope for the first time in a long time that I am going to be ok. I am going to end this with a small bit of something that my therapist read to me at the end of our session today.
What I think and what I feel is my business. What you think and what you feel is your business. When I’m worried about how you feel about me, I’m in your business. And if I’m busy living in your business, how am I present for my own business? Living according to our own truth is one of the highest acts of self-love and self-care. And when you live accordingly to your truth and stay in your own mental business, others will honour you and the truth you live, too, whether they agree with you or not.
So I have just come back from unplugging from social media and my blog for a few days as I just needed that time in the real world where I wasn’t concerned about the online world. It has been a big couple of days, as my partner’s mom got married and I just wanted to live in the moment and experience it without thinking I should do a post or sharing this or that. The wedding day was amazing, and I am so happy for them both as they truly deserve all the love in the world. Even though there was a tiny hint of anxiety and a bit of a dress malfunction, I threw myself into the day as best as I could. I even let my hair down by drinking a little too much and having some questionable dance moves on the dance floor. It wasn’t till the next day when my boyfriend was going through the hangover from hell that I started to go through a different type of hangover.
It was like anxiety was secretly hiding throughout the day, spying and collecting information about the day. like a damn dossier to use against me in the next coming days. I literally woke up with the shakes and feeling sick and not because of the alcohol consumption from the night before, unlike my partner, but because I woke up with a bombardment of anxiety. My mind was literally screaming at me, ” WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!”. Like it was a bad thing to have a loss of control and to let my hair down, like it was a crime to enjoy myself and like it was stupid of me to think I could go through it without anxiety making her bitchy self known. Like how dare I? So yesterday while my partner was making friends with the toilet, I was experiencing flashbacks and twitching because anxiety was telling me all the things she had gathered about me from the day, lucky me.
“You were too fat for that dress.” ‘ No one actually likes you.” ‘ They were laughing at you, not with you.” ‘You looked like a twat.” ‘They think you are not good enough for your partner.”
Honestly, the bitch of anxiety has moaned on for the last two days and my partner’s hangover was fine after a day, while my anxiety hangover is still ongoing, how is that fair? It has started to slow down and not as intense which means I am not twitching every 5 minutes. I twitch when I have flashbacks if you didn’t know that fun fact about my anxiety. The thing is, I have to now make a conscious effort to try and not let the anxiety hangover ruin the memories from the day, which ain’t so easy. Anxiety has a way of making not only you suffer but also taint your memories and your experiences.
So unlike my partner’s hangover, my anxiety hangover can’t be solved with hydrating, sleep, painkillers and junk food. Instead, I am using my self-care tools like creativity, me time and talking about it, oh and buying a shit load of new stationery to make me feel better!