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Hands up if you’re having a meltdown…

This past month has not been good.

My adjustment in going from one thing to another has been so much harder than I imagined it would be. I feel insecure and foolish a lot of the time, regretful even and I feel terrified. But that surely has everything to do with change and being in a fresh environment than it does the actual environment, right?

I’ve been kicking against this change deep down, not really letting myself be present and yesterday, after a long talk with my favourite person on this planet, I’ve decided I have to give it more of a chance. My anxiety has been working double time and it’s skewering everything.

I need to take time, step back and think about this as the challenge it really is. And instead of beating myself up for all the things I still don’t know, for the little (human) mistakes I’ve made during my learning curve so far, I should think about what I’ve accomplished. I know more than I did a month ago. Next month I’ll know even more. I know I need to commit fully, take my eye off an escape plan and knuckle down.

So I’m doing that. I slept better last night having acknowledged this and I’m trying not to stress about all the questions I have to ask or the small confusions I have. I’m smart and I can do this.

On the subject of anxiety, I’ve started a side blog where I’m going to be talking more openly about that side of me and trying to live with it. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I need to square up to some demons and I’m going to do it with professional help. I’m tired of being twisted inside and I have no idea how to deal with it some days.

You can read along if you want to, I’m here at Gutter & Stars. It’s a work in progress but I think it will be helpful.

Incidentally, last night when I message my dear mother and told her that I just need to know that everything’s going to be okay, she said: You need to trust that everything will be okay and trust that it will be. If it’s not to be, there’s a reason why not. 

Cool, huh?

How’s your week going?

Anxiety, my old friend

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I’ve decided that it’s time I was a little more honest with myself, and whoever reads these posts, from now on.

To be clear, I don’t think I present too false an image of my life. What you see is pretty much what you get, bar the filters I slap on my tired old selfies on the daily.  I choose not to go in on work or things that are happening that suck but that’s because I’m an optimist and prefer to think positively. Those times pass and I get through them, as we all tend to do. So what’s the point of dwelling on them?

But over the last year or so my anxiety has been out of control and I’m going to start talking about it because it has become such a big part of my life. I need to work it outward basically.

Film reviews and other topics will continue as normal, but I will be exercising a more ‘honest feelings’ policy around here.  Skip if you’re not into it, I understand.

I’m not good enough

I don’t know when I start freaking the fuck out in my mind but I would swear I wasn’t an anxious child. I’ve always been sensitive but I don’t think I had anymore self-doubt than my friends or the other people around me.

As a young adult I did crazy brave things and even at rock bottom, in the midst of my very worst period, I was fearless enough to (eventually) say fuck it and live in a new city alone, with no concern for the future.

Can I blame my bad relationship for my anxiety now? I don’t think I can. He made me walk on egg shells for six years and I always feel sorry for taking up space, talking out of turn – most days for simply existing. That lot is firmly his fault but the anxiety I have now feels different.

Anxiety ruins my evenings and stops me sleeping at night. I swear down every single person I encounter on certain days hates me and I have upset them irretrievably somehow. Not only that but I’m a total failure with no hope for the future and I will never make anything of my life. I actually believe more often that not that I bring nothing of worth to anybody.

I tell myself I’m no good, not worthy of a better job, say, of earning good money because I didn’t go to University, that I’m stupid, slow, clumsy (I am clumsy). That I’m lucky to have got the things I have because God knows it will never get better. I have no right or reason to feel this way and yet, here we are. Here I am worrying about everything ever in the history of the world.

I know I’m not alone. A very close friend of mine has panic attacks and although I used to sit with her at work until they subsided, I couldn’t empathise fully. I had no idea then what anxiety really was or what it felt like to have a panic attack. Until I had one walking home from town just after Christmas, and then another one in the middle of the night. I genuinely thought that was it and I’ve had it in the back of my mind ever since.

So there it is. Anxiety and I have become well-acquainted over the last year or two – and it’s pretty toxic. I wish I could shake it forever but then, isn’t it just one of the things that makes me who I am? Doesn’t it attune me to the people in my life who feel the same? My fellow anxious ones.

Mental health is so important and we can’t afford not to be open about it. What it is, how it feels, how we cope with it. I don’t have any answers by the way, some days I struggle to leave the flat but maybe I’ll find a new way to live if I’m more honest with myself and others.

I love my life so much despite the anxiousness, and I’m sick of being scared all the time. I want to do great things, even if they’re small things that only please me. I want to stand at the end of my life and be chuffed that I got on with it, even when my inner naysayer was trying to stop me.

I want to be fearless again – or half-way fearless. That’ll do.

Anyone else out there feeling me? How do you cope with that ol’ devil called anxiety? ❤

Tuesday and Wednesday 

I was so sick last night I spend the whole day in bed and I got no writing done. So here’s Tuesday and Wednesday together.

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Same morning routine but this time I catch a ride with my husband to work. On the way we see the IT guy on his bike. I admire his beard as always which looks like that of a viking. I do this without making a big deal to Glynn. I’d give anything for him to have his big unruly beard back but apparently he has concerns about looking groomed for work. Boring.

I feel a little sheepish after my breakdown in the office yesterday but I needn’t. It’s business as usual. The morning is fun, we all have a proper laugh and I receive my Barb necklace from Black Heart Creatives. It’s perfect.

At lunch (baked potato again) I type up my Monday entry. I really enjoy doing it, despite feel slightly uneasy about being so honest and mentioning work. But, my friends, I am an open book and I don’t want to change that. For all my faults I like who I am and feel relieved I’m not numb and unfeeling, something I have been in the past. Emotion is nothing to be scared of.

Still not feeling great and knowing I have lots of films to watch before the weekend, I make it clear to Glynn I won’t be going to the gym after work. After a successful, yet unremarkable working day I return home and put on a Persian film called Under the Shadow. I have to watch it on my laptop, perched on my knee as the TV won’t connect the subtitles. It’s a ghost story set under the threat of bombing during the Iraqi war and is genuinely creepy. In slower bits I do a bit of social media for our podcast which is silly as then I lose track of what everyone’s saying. I get into a conversation about the film with a friend on Facebook. Glynn returns during a particularly jumpy bit. I put the dinner on.

We catch up on our days while the food cooks (Chicken and chorizo potato pies, veg in white wine sauce). His has been as uninspiring but pleasant as mine. Over dinner we settle down in front of my second film of the night, End of Watch. It’s very tense and a couple of scenes make me want to blow actual chunks, they’re so violent. As I watch the film, James messages to say he’s uploaded this week’s episode to Soundcloud. I make some edits ready to publish it tomorrow afternoon.

We finish the film. Glynn has enjoyed it as much as I have. I can see the ending coming a mile off as it’s been manipulating my feelings towards the main characters from the get go but I still cry. Both the films I’ve watched today have been podcast homework. I look forward to discussing them with James at our next recording.

We go to bed around 10pm. I read my Twitter feed for too long as usual. I open the window even though it’s cold outside because I just love to feel the breeze on my naked butt at night. I fall asleep with Glynn’s hand on the very same butt. Bliss.

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I wake up with a headache and I already know this is a bad sign. I get migraines when I’m feeling stressed but am hopeful this one won’t go any further. In defiance I put extra make up on. I’m sick before I leave the house though. On the walk to work I take a kick ass selfie and try to get the Barb necklace in. Black Heart Creatives have already shared a picture of their work on Instagram.

I feel like crud but remain hopeful that the fresh air will clear my head. I get to work in a fair mood. We’re introduced to a new staff member and I tell him he has nice hair and smells nice. He looks perplexed. I’m here to embarrass myself so others don’t have to. Tatty says he looks like he should be in Lord of the Rings.

I’m sick a couple more times and have to leave work in the end. My head is pounding and I can’t stop blowing chunks. I leave the office at 10.45am. I feel guilty but couldn’t stay in that state, my eyes can barely focus. I’m not sure if this is a migraine or a bug. I walk straight home, shed my clothing and crawl into bed. The bedroom is cool and I’m so happy for it. I sleep until 2.30, texting Glynn before I fall asleep.

I wake at about half two and feel I should eat something. I make a cup of tea, have two packets of crisps and a handful of Digestives. I’m not sorry, I need this. I watch 40 minutes of Tale of Tales on my laptop in bed but it hurts my eyes so I fall asleep again. I wake around five when Glynn gets back in. He makes me another cup of tea and I finish the film. It’s wonderful.

**TW: Weight loss**

I have a dilemma here and in life. I’ve decided to join a slimmers group and tonight’s the night to register. I don’t like diet talk, agree it can be harmful and am against the way fat people are treated in society. However, some fat people want to make changes and I’m one of them right now. So I’m doing that. I don’t feel any better for the sleep but don’t want to miss registration so I decide to go to the class at 7pm. I figure the fresh air on the way up the road will help. It does somehow.

The group is massive and I feel like a tit but the ‘leader’ is lovely. Another woman called Irene starts and she’s so happy there’s another newbie there that I stay to class, even though I feel awful and wanted to go home. It drags on until nearly 9, two women cry, Irene is funny. I feel okay about this decision. I won’t talk about weight loss again, nobody cares.

I get home, we order a takeaway (good start, eh) and watch an episode of Luke Cage and then an episode of Westworld. I’m quite bored by Westworld and marvel at how bad Evan Rachel Wood is, so go to brush my teeth as the episode winds down. Everything happens in those last ten minutes. Glynn fills me in on the action.

We go to bed at 11pm, late for us. I’ve slept enough though. I lie awake for a while trying to sleep. It comes eventually but not easily. ❤

A Monday 

enjoyI’ve stolen this from Meghan who stole it from a family member. I’m not sure my usual weekly routine would constitute a good read but yesterday was quite the emotional roller coaster for me, so I’ll try to accurately relive it.

I’ll also mention work quite a bit which is rare for me. I tend to keep that part private.

~

My first alarm goes off at 6.30 so I know I have another half an hour to snooze before I have to get up. 7 comes and I roll out of bed.

I started my period the night before so my body aches and my stomach is cramping. As with all Mondays I have that knot of dread about the working week ahead (for no good reason). I think two things as I stretch: a) about that saying you’re in the wrong job if you hate Mondays (I think you’d still be wary regardless) and b) why do I always ache so much? It’s age, isn’t it?

Glynn has made me a cup of tea which is waiting on the side. I put the box on while I paint my face on. Glynn asks me if I’ve seen the new Ghost in the Shell trailer yet. I have, we discuss it for a few minutes. I have some concerns about it.

As I complete my face and run the straighteners through my bedhead, I watch The Goldbergs and then switch over to Good Morning Britain (I know, I know). Piers Morgan is on and is blowing hot air as usual. I leave the house at 8.10 after brushing my teeth vigorously. I had a filling a week ago and it still tastes like metal.

On the way to work I pass my official ‘selfie’ wall. I don’t stop this morning as my complexion is shot to shit (period) and I’m wearing a very unremarkable outfit. I pass the house of the guy who tattooed me last. I get toast with peanut butter on the way into the office.

I walk in and shout good morning. I get a few grunts back which is classed as a small victory, usually there’s nothing. Our small Marketing team has a brief catch up before and after 9am. Not just saying this for the purposes of a good post, I’m much luckier than most to work with such good people.

Tatty and I receive a group message on Facebook from a colleague saying that another colleague has split up with her partner over the weekend. We all agree she needs extra TLC. Later said colleague mentions the break up to us herself. We all tell her she deserves the moon and stars because she does.

The morning passes in a blur of emails and phone calls and quote requests. I email James my podcast partner a lot to discuss this coming week’s viewing homework. We have seven films to watch by Saturday’s recording. We record two episodes of All Out of Bubblegum fortnightly and publish every Wednesday. I talk about my podcast a lot because I love doing it so much. This week will revolve around a film a night, not really a hardship for me.

I have a baked potato for lunch and write some of a blog post. It’s my review of an Egyptian film called Excuse My French, due to be published tonight. I collaborate with Jillian who will post her review at roughly the same time, her time. I also order a dress for the Christmas party, coming up on the 9th. I was going to go for a hot pink number but at the last minute, opt for chocolate brown.

I have lots of creative pursuits outside work which make me very happy indeed but sometimes it reflects back on my day to day work unfavorably. As a team we do a lot of production which I enjoy as it involves talking to lots of people and is very varied but I do long for more creative projects. Wahhhh, I’m such a baby.

After lunch Tatty and I gossip in the kitchen with our colleague, the one who’s just split up with her girlfriend. She’s in good humor but we’re both angry she’s been hurt. We talk for at least 15 minutes over the kettle. I get back to my desk still in a good mood but there’s something on my mind. I receive a parcel which is a bag I’d ordered the day before. A few people roll their eyes as they walk past me into a meeting. They all know I have an acute shopping addiction.

I’ve not been feeling great about myself or things for a while now and I’m emotional today. At around 4 something happens with a project I’ve been on the outskirts of that makes me cross ( I won’t bore with details). I’m bad at hiding my negative feelings so talk to Tatty in a separate room.

Once I close the door I burst into tears and it feels like I’m crying for everything bad that’s ever happened (like the Le Tigre track). I’m really embarrassed but it feels good to open up. I express myself badly about frustrations at work, my crisis in the lead up to my birthday (on the 25th), how I feel about myself. I’m a hot mess but we iron things out and I know things are going to be better.

The gist of where I am is this: I’m a (nearly) 39 women with no clue of where I’m going in life (career wise). Tatty pointed out my creative drive and helped me understand that nobody hates me, even though I think they do every day. I know my anxiety is out of control, I doubt everything I do and I want to feel better. I cry some more but come out feeling better, despite the puffy eyes. I’m impressed with my friend who’s great at this stuff and practical too. We’ve formed a plan for me to get more out of my role, which is to build it the way I actually want it.

Even though I feel better, I feel a bit foolish for being so snotty, I’m the ugliest crier. I know I won’t be judged but paranoia tries to mess with my head again. I’m going for birthday drinks after work so fix my make-up and try to remember that tomorrow is a new day.

At the pub I enjoy a double vodka and diet Coke, catch up a bit with my friend Paul. The boys leave and I spend time with some of the girls, who are all from a different department. There’s a guy there who was fired a few month back. He’s on good form though, we talk about work and other things. At 7.20pm I leave and pick up a terrible TV dinner for Glynn and I. Glynn’s been cleaning the kitchen and has done a load of washing. I burst into tears again when I see him. He hugs me, makes me tea and then feeds me. I’m the luckiest person on the planet.

We watch a documentary called Tabloid together about a nuts but remarkable American woman who caused a major scandal in the 1970’s in England. I get confused because I’m not concentrating as I’m finishing up my blog post. I eat a Wispa for pudding and have a cup of tea before bed. Glynn has dry roasted peanuts. We retire to the boudoir at 10pm. I shower first and read a bit of my current book The Disaster Artist, which was recommended to me by James.

It’s homework for an upcoming ‘special’ on our podcast. I tweet a bit, on behalf of the podcast (@alloutofgumpod) and as myself. I talk to a business owner I really admire about a piece I’ve commissioned. It’s a necklace that looks like Barb from Stranger Things. I look forward to receiving her now, maybe tomorrow.

I go to sleep at about 11pm. I still feel embarrassed about my outburst this afternoon, which I hadn’t planned. I think again how I have to do something about the way I’m feeling and my own self belief. But then I think it only gets me at low points, in general I’m a happy person. I remind myself again that I’ll feel better in the morning.

Don’t you just love the time between lights out and total oblivion? ❤

Bite Your Tongue

43e39040You know how I feel about picking your fucks

You know that try as I might I am not your average ‘No Fucks Given’ kinda person. It’s a crying shame and I wish I was more inclined to think that way, however, I am already starting to give too much of a fuck about not being that person so I will stop now. Step away from the fucks.

This weekend I was full of angst for no real or good reason (life) but I talked it through with my lovely mum and she said “Bite your tongue for now, if it isn’t worth it” – and you know what – it isn’t worth it.

It’s not worth it to be shredding myself up from the inside out because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future (the economy, the government, the Kardashian/Swift feud).

I might not be fulfilling the secret ambitions I don’t even know I have and I might be freaking out about turning 40 but I can’t do anything about it. Time turns and I will be that age soon and then way beyond it, whether I like it or not.

I may turn into a troll with a wrinkly neck and I may get fatter, I may get thinner and I may lose friends and make friends and lose jobs and save money and spend it all again. And I may sometimes lie awake at night and wonder if all I have is built like a house of cards, destined to all come toppling down with the faintest wisp of breath. Or that I will upset someone or hurt them or dismiss them accidentally and lose them forever. I will be loved and disliked and I can’t control every person I meet and it doesn’t matter anyway, does it?

So here’s to biting your tongue if it isn’t worth it.

Here’s to respecting the love and friendship we have and enjoying life as much as is humanly possible. The world may crumble around us but we still have so much good to really give a fuck about, to really yell about. In those moments, never bite your tongue, shout your joy from the highest window, as often as you can. Fight for what is right and true in your heart and use up those fucks, flap that tongue then – but only then.

Thanks Mum ❤

Stealing From Friends: Belle of the Bluegrass on Anxiety

I don’t often reblog but I think perhaps I should start because it’s always nice to share. It also takes the pressure off when you’re going off for the weekend and have forgotten to queue something up in your own words!  (Semi-kidding).

Please read Belle of the Bluegrass‘ post below as it’s frank and beautiful, and I think might come as a great comfort to people who suffer from the same condition.

I’m an anxious person (as are some of my closest friends) and I think it’s incredibly important that conversations about Mental Health, depression and anxiety are open and out there for all to access. Having to play down feelings or be made to feel like they’re trivial is not helpful at all.

Anyway, read and enjoy – and maybe give Lydia some solidarity!

My anxiety has been horrendous this past week, it hasn’t been this bad in a very long time. Multiple daily panic attacks have exhausted me and made me think at certain points, that I am losing my damn mind. I have a phobia of the doctors, but I dragged myself there feeling the weight of […]

via My heart is pounding, I don’t want to be in my skin — Belle of the Bluegrass

Doing What You Love

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There were several times last week when I uttered the defeatist’s favourite words: “I can’t do this”.

I cried on a friend over cheesy chips (thanks Beck), stopped sleeping, eating and talking; and made my husband worry. Why? A stupid pointless project at work.

For the record, I don’t operate on brains, seek cures for disease or make political decisions that can make or break the nation: it’s a bloody website.

Work. Of all things, driving me mad. What is that about?

Where usually I am proud of how I work and what I produce, this fortnight I’ve been reduced to an (even more) over-apologetic lamb, worried about every decision I make, every potential mistake I haven’t even made yet.

That says a lot about the lack of real support we get as a department as much as it does about me. But I don’t see that changing any time soon.

I’m a creative goddammit being placed in a position of management (without the authority) and I never wanted that. I like tech without having the technical know how. I like learning new things but I need to be taught first!

Anywhoo, these last weeks have been a wake up call. I’m becoming all too aware of anxiety and stress. Work may have tipped me over but it’s not just that, it could be anything really – for a while it was a minor tax blip that kept me awake at night. Often I feel I’m about to lose everything and everyone, and I might as well walk into a river with stones in my pockets like Virginia Woolf.

My coping mechanism is rusty, I know that’s all it is. Close friends know exactly how I feel because they go there too sometimes and it’s not a rare feeling. Self-doubt is common but it’s also a little shit that needs to be disciplined.

I talk about self-care a lot on my blog but my main goal for the next few months isn’t ‘book a holiday’ or ‘lose 3 stone’, it’s ‘learn to deal’. I can’t let something so ultimately meaningless derail me, nor can I let the next big thing break me. I want to enjoy life.

Something Becky said over those delicious chips made me think. Maybe I should just do something okay that pays the bills for now, so I can do and pursue the things I really love outside of that, like writing.

That’s what I enjoy doing, what I’m good at and what I’m confident in.

Whatever that ultimately gentler/less taxing job might be, perhaps it’s time to start looking for it.

What’s your coping strategy when dealing with stress? Meditation? Vodka? Shopping? ❤

Anxiety

I’m not going to lie, this week has been a little bitch.

I never blog about work and I’m not about to start now. Not out of loyalty but because, even though I like my job, I don’t really consider it ‘who I am’.

Who am I though really? I like to think I’m just a cool (ish) girl who loves people. And her life.

The job is necessary and can be fun sometimes but the landscape has changed considerably over the last three months and I seem to now juggle stress with feelings of total inadequacy. Otherwise known as Imposter Syndrome.

I’ve also made a new friend called Anxiety in my more recent years and she’s kind of tough to live with.

Anyway, I’m not sleeping very well at the moment and I don’t even care about eating that much, which is a sure sign I need to sort it out.

Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts That Bitch Anxiety just whispers to me. About how shit I am and how I’m going to fail spectacularly and embarrassingly.

I actually had to admit to being overwhelmed yesterday and it helped for a while but now all I can see is a massive list of things I have to do next week that all depend on other people.

I’m basically the shepherd in this scenario with a flock of techy sheep that annoy the crap out of me.

I want out.

How do you claw your way out of a boiling pot of insecurity?

How do you ask for help when you’re so used to just getting on with it?

How the fuck do you deal with this horrible disorder?

I’m going to sign out on a positive note with this: the rest of my life is grand. In the grand scheme of things, I have everything I need and I know I’m a smart cookie in general. I am loved and there’s a lot to be grateful for.

I don’t want to have my job define my behaviours when I’m not there so as soon as this project is done, I’m going to have a strong think about where I go from here.

That’s if I’m not fired/haven’t run screaming from the building first.

Argh!

Ps. A shout-out to wifey, Jill who also had a fucking terrible week. We’ve together decided that there’s a way to deal with this shit and it’s to take the Femme Fatale approach to life (I’ll blog more about that later).

We’re celebrating with a viewing of Laura this weekend (post up Tuesday night) so who knows – come Monday maybe I’ll put up my hair in a chignon, slap on my best lippy and rugby tackle that motley crew/task list to the ground, and with a whole new attitude.

*lights cigarette and blows three perfect smoke rings out of the abyss*

(Relax it’s fake).

Take care of yourselves and the angsty people in your lives 💖

Night Terrors

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Mummy…?

When you want to post but it’s a slow news week.

Let’s list all the things that keep me awake at night, rendering me a tired and anxious mess by 7am, shall we?

  • Work stuff, usually something I can’t control/is nothing to do with me
  • Taxes
  • Have I been rude to someone? (Not including the over-enthusiastic girl in the co-op who just annoys me so much so I can’t help being really grumpy toward her – my guilty secret.)
  • The annoying, over-enthusiastic girl in the co-op
  • Whether or not to cut my hair
  • Am I having a stroke?
  • Why did I WebMD that pain in my arm?
  • Everybody hates me
  • Why wasn’t I invited to that party?
  • Why don’t I have a ‘squad’?
  • What was that noise?
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Seriously, what was that noise?
  • Am I a good friend?
  • Does Jay Z really love Beyoncé?
  • Why are Twiglets so fucking good but so mucky to eat?
  • Money or lack thereof
  • But Mum said being poor could be a good thing?
  • Can it be a good thing?
  • But I like stuff!
  • Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge and being 2 books behind schedule…
  • Great White Sharks

To name but a short list of an ever undulating list of worries.

Anyone else?