Tag: Mental Health

Dip

Ah, the monthly dip appears to be here, the one in which I question why I bother with anything and what my purpose on this earth even is. The one in which I wonder if I really am the worst person in the world.

Sometimes I think maybe if I were I would worry less and be freer, so unencumbered I would be with other people’s opinions and feelings (*cough cough* Trump). I often wonder if it would be that easy, to just choose to be a different person and GO.

Probably not but maybe one day I will shrug off the shackles of being me and find a new way to live. Dramatic, aren’t I?

I’m in the habit of working and coming home at the moment. Call it the winter blues but one day blends into the next and I’m not inspired. I feel ogre-like. I’m bored.



I can’t even be bothered to take selfies of my new pink hair, it’s that drastic. I should be out and about frolicking in the fallen leaves and worshipping the late Autumn sunshine but I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe I’ve finally watched too many horror movies/listened to too many true crime podcasts.

Maybe I’m broken.

Maybe I’m a normal girl.

I will fix all of it but this is where I’m at today. And oh yes, my period is just around the corner.

I’m sure there’s absolutely no connection between the two.

 

One Reason Why

TW: Suicide

“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
~ Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star

Yesterday was Suicide Prevention Day and I wanted to put something down as this is a topic after my own heart. There are many shocking stats about suicide in the UK that you can read about here, I won’t add to that myself. I just wanted to acknowledge this day and maybe share a little.

I learned a bit about suicide this year during my Mental Health First Aid Training. The course was given by a suicide survivor, an incredibly vibrant man who couldn’t have been more candid about his experiences. He spoke openly (and sometimes with genuine humour) about why he’d wanted to take his own life, what might have stopped him and his thoughts on it now – and it was fascinating. Surprising too, when you consider how outgoing and seemingly bright he is. This just goes to show that it isn’t always obvious what people are going through, or the kinds of people who are affected by suicidal thoughts.

Of the people on that course, there were at least a handful that had first or second-hand experience of suicide – and all their stories were heart-breaking and very raw. Honestly, I don’t think I had any idea of what something like that can leave in its wake and the repercussions seem endless. My eyes were opened by that course and I feel as though maybe I worry more about people I care about now. I’m hyper conscious of friends who seem down but sometimes I’m clumsy about how I go about making sure they’re okay. The right words don’t always come easy because it’s a massive thing to talk about – but I think it’s fine just to ask someone if they need anything.

Way back during my darkest period this was definitely something I considered. If I’m honest there just didn’t seem to be a reasonable way out. I didn’t believe I could just say ‘enough’ and be allowed to leave our home. In the end it turned out to be quite easy but I’d been beaten down so much mentally that I hit a wall and for a long time I felt dead already. I just wanted it to be over, once and for all.

In the end it was friendship that saved me. I met a group of people who wanted me to be okay and they’d make sure I was, daily. I found a tiny sliver of hope and that was enough to acknowledge that I wasn’t going to sacrifice my life to fear. I’m lucky and although I still have dark thoughts, I know what I need to do if it feels like too much.

Suicide has always been stigmatized. I no longer think a person is selfish or cowardly if they take their own life. I just think it’s sad and I wish that they could have found another way. It’s not for me to judge but I do want to be there for my loved ones or anyone who feels they need help. We can all be kinder and more observant, it doesn’t take much . We need to check in with our friends, family and colleagues.

And if you’re going through Hell, there are ways to help yourself. The Samaritans for one are an amazing organisation and they’re there 24/7, 365. Most workplaces have an Employee Assistance Programme or can offer you additional help too. It can be hard to ask for help, I completely get that but I hope you find a way to. It can change everything.

Samaritans

Web: https://www.samaritans.org/
Call: 116 123 (free)
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Or drop into your local branch

Résumé
Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.”
~ Dorothy Parker, Enough Rope

How are you?

Period Power

This week has been a bitch, 100% that bitch. Monday at work was like the opening of Saving Private Ryan but with more middle-aged women wanting to speak to the manager – and it was downhill from there. Well until about Thursday.

I took time out from pretty much everything to heal myself. I indulged in my favourite fantasy – me, a lightly packed holdall, a Greyhound bus and a new town in which to start over (a la Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy). I ate what I wanted, watched a fuck ton of Buffy and spent time with my man.

By Thursday I was pretty much back in the game but for a moment there I felt like this was it. The week that would break me. My anxiety has been through the roof, I’ve been second guessing every single life decision I’ve made since I was 24 – wondering if I really know who I really am and if anyone really loves me. Just the small stuff, you know.

I’ve been questioning everything basically and it’s been doing my head in. The friends I’ve told have been gorgeous and kind – utterly destroying the notion that there’s nothing good in my life.

And then… I got my period and everything made sense again. Like, oh… So that’s why. Got you.

Until next month, I guess.

Hello September

I thought I’d freestyle my first post in September. I’m pumped for Autumn as you know but this week took a nosedive in the form of some stomach whirling self doubt and I need to let it out. Then let it go.

I know I’m a normal woman but sometimes in the dead of night, negative thoughts swirl round my head like bats and I forget that. I feel like the walls are closing in on me and they’re a metaphor for time and achievement. I’ve achieved nothing and will amount to nothing, that sort of thing.

I vow all the time to kick this kind of thinking but it has a habit of creeping up on me in my lower moments. I guess nobody is immune. Obviously I’ll be okay, probably as soon as this has been posted, I’m good at recognising what I need and being kind to myself. Nobody’s nicer to me than me but I think it’s important to record these feelings too.

I sometimes hate everything about myself, all the snivelling, the hesitancy and the way I let life scare me. My lack of ambition and my laziness. The stupid things I’ve said and done, all the wasted time and the half-finished next big things. I was supposed to discover a hidden talent by now, be brilliant at one incredible thing. Maybe change the world in a small but crucial way.

I know this is anxiety talking. That these mean words come from a condition that thinks it deserves to take centre stage all day, everyday. It can kick up a stink as much as it likes but now I let it go. At the core of it all I love myself and that part of me is way stronger.

So, nice try fuck face but you’ll be getting no further screentime from me. I’ll be enjoying my Sunday safe in the bosom of my loved ones. What have you got?

I also choose to count today as the first day of Autumn because I deserve nice things – and so do you.

Happy Autumn all! 🍁🍃🍂

Wholesome Content: Confessions of an Adult Journal Keeper

I’ve started ‘journaling’ and it’s weird. It feels angsty even though there’s no real angst in it, not like back in the day when all I cared about was boys and fitting in. Now I can’t abide most men and am far less concerned with fitting in. In fact, the less the better because fuck anyone who doesn’t accept this. Oh yeah, and there are more swears. 

What I’m trying to do with this whole daily journal malarkey is be honest with myself. Like, brutally. I try here but this is still an edited version of my thoughts, people from work read it, I can’t reveal every dark feeling. Nobody wants it. I know I mention anxiety a lot and I try to be truthful about it but there is a limit. 

I’ve only done a handful entries so far but it turns out the adult me, subject matter aside, is not so different from the teenage me. I’d probably be more devastated if someone found and read my diary now. Why journaling though? Well, there are thousands of arguments for why it’s good to get down your feelings, especially if you suffer from mental health issues. It’s supposed to help order your thoughts and help you work through them.

I don’t know if this will work. If I’m honest, I’m already two days behind and I promised myself I’d put an entry in for every day, even if it’s just a sentence. I’ve been doing this for less than a week and I’m two days behind. I suppose with everything, I just need to make sure I put time aside. Time for me is one of the things that makes me feel most anxious, I put so much pressure on myself to juggle free time with doing things, it makes me feel quite ill sometimes.

Anyway, watch this space!

Do you keep a diary? If so, how does it work for you?

Only the Lonely

It’s the weirdest feeling in the world to be surrounded by people and still feel out of sorts – and dare I say it: lonely.

I mean, it’s not a particularly cool thing to admit is it? And when you think of the word it conjures up something unsavory, like a shrew-like old woman emptying the contents of her near empty fridge and sharing it with ten cats. As if that sounds like an unhappy life.

I do feel it though and it’s not as though I don’t know I’m loved. I’m so lucky but I can’t help feeling alone sometimes. It usually hits me when I’m in big groups – and honestly if life were a movie, in my mopey moments the rain would start and I’d be gazing out of a window, listening to Dido or some shit. Sometimes I’d be in a Greyhound bus.

I think this is my anxiety sending me exaggerated messages. I love my own company but when I feel low I question everything. Do my friends actually like me? Am I too old for them? Do they pity me? Am I a joke? Am I a burden?

I wish I could pause my brain when it’s fucking me around like this. What I have is amazing and I need to shut the hell up. Feeling this way is probably just part and parcel of being hormonal and in need of some time off work.

Loneliness is no joke though and it’s part of the reason I started saying yes to more sociable activities. I know not everyone has the same choices. Now more than ever perhaps the horror club needs it’s first meeting.

Do you ever feel like this? How do you combat it?

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

Did I ever tell you about my handbag theory?

Ever since I started earning my own money aged 13, I’ve been into arm candy. Handbags are my THING – my porn. There is nothing sexier than a beautiful vintage handbag dangling on the arm of a gorgeous person. Sex and the City was all about the designer purse for me, the love lives of the girls secondary to Carrie’s sweet sweet collection of luxury perfection. The Fendi baguette, the Dior saddle bag, the Balenciaga – ooh la la!

I have lots of fond handbag memories and one very painful one. I inherited a vintage Adidas flight bag from my uncle when I was around 17 and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever owned. It was his as a teen and he’d kept it pristine all those years.

Alas my mother got sick of all the crap in her loft, including 5689 other bags of mine, and she slung the lot while I was backpacking around Australia. She did ask me if it was okay first and – feeling freshly zen from all the finding myself (and so not being about material possessions anymore) – I said yes. In the kerfuffle, the Adidas met an early demise and I’ve never got over the loss. Since then I have loved a lot of bags. The thing is – and this includes the Adidas – not one of them has been completely perfect, and this is where my thinking comes in.

The search for the perfect handbag is not unlike the Holy Grail – it might exist only in myth. But if it does, I imagine it really would contain the secret of eternal youth and all the miraculous powers and abundant happiness of legend. In historical descriptions, the HG has always been a dish, cup or a stone but there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be a vessel large enough to house 77 lip balms.

There’s a chance however, that what is perfect one day might change the next. Even if I do one day stumble across the bag of all my dreams, what’s to say it will remain ‘the one’ forever?*

Say I do find it and I don’t change my mind – is it akin to finally accepting oneself or discovering the meaning of life? Once I’ve found the Holy Grail Handbag, is that me done? And if that’s the case, do I even want to find it?

Maybe the hunt is the real point here, that’s where all the fun lies. With every new bag there’s a new beginning and I think this is the other main draw for me. Every new bag requires a fresh start. You clear out the old bag of all your shit and you transfer it into the new one – everything is shiny again.

Just get a bag and drop a dream in it, and you’ll be surprised what happens. ~ Charles Nelson Reilly

So, while I’m searching for the one, I don’t think I actually want to find it. I can’t imagine giving up the search, or settling down with one bag for the rest of my life**. Life’s so short and there are so many heavenly purses for me to love. Each and every one of them deserves its place in the sun, dangling from my stumpy white arm.

I bet you any money though that I’ll spend my whole life searching only to find out that the answer to all this has been within me the whole time. That it’s not what you carry all your stuff in, it’s about the stuff itself.

Go figure.

What’s your thing?


*Obviously we have bags for all occasions. There are situations that require a teeny tiny cross body or a sophisticated clutch – and summer is all about straw beach bags – when I say ‘the one’, I mean in relation to the every day essential

**If I had to name the closest I’ve ever come in the past to true love, I’d say my 90s Barbie backpack. I can’t remember what happened to it but I miss it every day

Horror Friends

It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence and solitude. ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ever since I read this article, I’ve been thinking about adult friendships. I’m lucky to have a selection of people I can make plans with when I want to (and who understand when I don’t) – but I realise it isn’t always easy to make new friends or meet people who are into the same things as us.

Ages ago my friend Matt ventured the idea of signing up to the Meetup app and setting up our own horror club because he’d noticed there was a gap in the market in Brighton. We never got around to it because procrastination and Christmas won out but now I’m thinking we should try it again. Why can’t we combine our love of horror with meeting new people?

So I’m going to start looking into the feasibility of doing it. It will be like a book club but with horror movies. I’m thinking we’ll set homework two weeks before each monthly meet and then discuss it in a group in the pub. There are no hard plans. As you might be painfully aware, I’m not a details orientated person unless it comes to writing. I’m happy for it to start light and loose, and evolve into something more solid depending on the response.

I think it sounds cool though. What I am conscious of is that I’m a big follower of several meetup groups on Facebook and so far I’ve been too anxious to attend any of them on my own. So I should probably start being braver about doing those too. I don’t want to be a nervous host at my own meetup!

If you’re part of something similar, a book club, etc – what do you like/dislike about it? What would you like to see? If you’re in Brighton, would you join my club?

Solo

One of the most important things in this life, as far as I’m concerned, is me time. It sounds cliché, especially when you frame it in that popular self-care meme kind of way but boy, is it true.

I get incredibly angsty if I don’t have at least an evening or weekend day a week to myself, doing whatever the fuck I fancy. I also strongly advocate solo dates because honestly, nobody gives good date like I do. My main jam is the cinema date for one.

You get to see what you want, sit where you want and eat what you want. You can do more than one movie and nobody moans about it. Sometimes, on very special days you can do a hat trick. I just love to spread myself out and lose myself in whatever is unfolding on screen.

That’s not to say I don’t bloody love going with my film buds, which I do all the time but the lone wolf viewing is something I do at least once a week if I can.

I struggle a lot being around too many people – and around people too much of the time – so I often have to excuse myself for a breather. Even if it’s just 30 minutes with my book or a long old soak in the tub. It wasn’t always this way, a lot of the time I was alone growing up, even when I first moved to Brighton wasn’t by choice. I had friends but I was in no way as outgoing as I am now. I was scared to go out a lot of the time – my social anxiety crippled me to the point I’d make myself ill. As a result I was a lonely person, alone a lot and not enjoying it the way I do now.

Thankfully a few things have changed in that department and I’m not sure how, I guess I stopped giving such a shit about socialising. I don’t worry as much about every little thing and I’m sure that’s a comfort that comes with age. Plus, I surround myself with people who understand me – if I’d done and my social battery is running low, they just accept it.

I think I’ve found the balance. Now I thrive on the peace and quiet of my own company but I also enjoy being out and about. Finding the right balance is the key to my optimum mental health – and I always feel it when I’ve been overdoing it. The quickest and easiest solution to that is to take myself to the movies. On Monday, I’ll be spending a few hours with Bruce. The shark from Jaws, that is.

What are your thoughts on going solo?

What a Difference a Decade Makes

87,600 little hours…

Not long ago Glynn Bass and I celebrated a decade together. I say celebrated but it was more like we were in bed and a Facebook memory popped up reminding us. We’re not very organised about anniversaries but a decade has indeed passed. I can hardly believe it actually, our relationship was born of a hopeful Facebook search and look at us now. I feel very lucky.

Sometimes in my more retrospective moments, I feel even better about where I am now because I’m another year past my last relationship. Now it’s been a whole decade since that ended and the same amount of time since I’ve laid eyes on The Worst Person in the World™.

I like to think I’m not bitter and there’s really no reason for me to be. Things worked out for the best and I got out of there are soon as I was able to – but it’s hard not to acknowledge the psychological scars. It’s harder still when you talk to your friends and they mention their own mentally abusive relationships.

How I would love to punch the face of any dickhead foolish enough to try and break one of my girls. How I want to rage for hours about how much they are worth and why these bastards aren’t even fit to lick their shoes.

How I fucking wish I could have taken my own advice. That will always be the hardest thing to come to terms with. How did I let it drag on for so long – why didn’t I up and leave at the first sign of trouble?

That’s the million dollar question and I know the answer. I didn’t have the energy because day by day, I was taught that I didn’t have any worth. That I was nothing. I thought I was strong and independent but it turns out those qualities weren’t prominent enough to save me from believing him. Well, until they were.

I think, ten years on, it’s time for me to forgive myself.

I know we’re not supposed to dwell on the past and honestly, it’s all just a passing (bad) memory every now and again but when I hear my friends talk about similar experiences, it brings it back. I hate that anyone I care about has experience of gas-lighting. I hate that anyone has been gas-lit at all. I hate that there’s even a term for what these people have done to us.

I’m not sorry it all happened because I’m here exactly as I should be. I got out of there eventually and I’m incredibly proud of that – and I know I will never let this happen to me again. So, here’s to ten years of being with someone who knows who I am and loves me anyway.

More importantly, here’s to ten years of me finally realising that I am somebody – strong, courageous, independent – and as of right now – FORGIVEN.