Day 14… All that she wants – Hope – #blogtober20

I’m listening to the song right now, which begins, “She leads a lonely life”…

“It’s not a day for work…” and what does it mean when Ms Ace of Base sings, “She’s gone tomorrow”… sounds like a woman in crisis to me but who is looking for either a healthy or an unhealthy relationship. Any relationship, it seems. Or is she clinging to a love lost?

Yesterday I wrote about the end of my career (in my pre-diagnosis life) and the activities I enjoy at the moment, and my goals. I was really pleased to get that off my chest, in the end… and it was a better post than my ranty, anxious one for day 10. Sorry about that, dear readers, but I will just have to chalk it up to experience. Typing while anxious led to a bit of a train-wreck type entry.

So having covered my so-say professional life in the entry yesterday, I might now write about relationships, based on my experience in life.

I really want to write about K, but I know he wouldn’t really want me to. Anyway, after seeing him in person today, it’s looking like I might go and live with him in beautiful Edinburgh at some point in the future. I feel honoured to be trusted with such a place in his life, and lucky to have found him.

So back to my madness, or my crisis, hehe, K has already seen the sight of me crying over the end of my pre-diagnosis life, and seen me ask if my life with him would end too, just because my life with D had to end after five years. Yes, it is madness. Sometimes mental ill-health causes a bit of a meltdown even for a grown woman or man.

My past idea of success in both relationships and a career was definitely interwoven with my own identity. The loss of that relationship and career at the very same time caused me to sink, and not believe in myself any more, thinking that I had lost that identity. But a person is so much more than just a relationship or just a job, or even “just” a career or “just” a problem. If we don’t already love and value ourselves independently of the fact that we’re in a certain relationship or the fact we earn a living a certain way, or independently of problems in our lives, we’ll end up in a real mess. There’s more to people, there’s more to everyone than these things in our lives, important as they may be, is what I’m trying to say. There are ways to address loss, address problems, in therapy and in life. There is most definitely hope on the other side.

Day 13… Want to Be #blogtober20

I don’t think this will be a simple post, if it’s asking who I’d really like to be. (I know it’s a song title… that song makes me cringe. I know I’m digging way deeper here than necessary, but the blog is supposed to be about counteracting anxiety and depression!) Actually I have been crying recently and not making sense of the fact that my career as a translator and/or language teacher is over. It’s over because it causes me too much anxiety. I hope it doesn’t sound too negative to say that that career direction is over. After all, it might be reasonable to think that enough of the anti-anxiety therapeutic activities and therapy might mean that I am able to continue in that existing career. I know I convinced myself of that. And I know others around me believed in me and in that direction as a permanent part of myself. But after having tried and tried again several years after my mental health diagnosis, I just don’t see me making another stab at it, despite the expensive education that was geared in that direction.

My current goals are like this, and they’ve changed because of Covid.

  • To write in this blog and read about mental health, so long as it supports me.
  • I’m beginning with a new talking therapist on Friday.
  • To finish my current sewing projects.
  • To finish my current knitting project.
  • To learn how to draw – try a session per day.
  • To keep up my physical strength.
  • To keep the house clean and to do enough housework.
  • To meditate on Tuesday evenings.

Strange, isn’t it? Life is very not what I expected.

Day 12… Fame #blogtober20

Three films touching on mental health. Two you need to see, one you need to avoid, in my opinion.

Worth watching:

SHINE (1996)

A brilliantly watchable film, and it’s a PG-13. Not a scary film for a teenager or adult. The strength of this film is the amazing coming-of-age story of a pianist called David, and all the crazy things that happen in his life, from his childhood, to his student days in London and beyond, up until he meets his wife. And like all the best stories, it’s true. Actor Geoffrey Rush won an Academy Award for his performance in this film as David. I like this film because it’s not overly negative when it comes to David’s mental health — it just tells it how it is. Take a look on IMDB…

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001)

A story about mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe. This is surely a more widely-known film than Shine. I found this one pretty disturbing, I must say, though it’s also a PG-13. It’s got more of a Hollywood feel to it. Take a look on IMDB…

Worth avoiding:

JOKER (2019)

This movie had the most hyped lead-up to it out of almost any I can remember. I was sorely disappointed, but I understand why it must have been easy to market. A good thing to come out of this movie was the quotation “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. Why do I think this movie sucks, though? Mainly because the lead character, expertly played by Joaquin Phoenix, who suffers massively with his mental health, has to go and kill someone mid-way through and then embark on a bloody revolution. It’s not a film for kids, but it’s not a film for adults either. I didn’t learn anything out of it as an adult and it was just pure hideous spectacle. It wasn’t pretty, and it was meaningless anyway. It reminded me of that music video where Robbie Williams tore off his own flesh just for the hell of it. But maybe the reason I didn’t learn anything from it is because I already believe that mental health matters, and is a public health issue just like physical health is, and deserves the relevant funding and support. Hmm! I would be fascinated to hear from those who did find it worth watching. Check it out on IMDB here.

Comments on these and other films to watch would be most welcome. Any film with a female lead suffering with her mental health?

Day 11… Fun in #Nature #blogtober20

For decades of my life, the healing power of nature was lost on me.

People would say how beautiful the autumn colours looked, or similar. “How cheesy”, I would observe. “That’s not for me”, I would think.

Today’s #blogtober20 prompt is “Girls just want to have fun”. Well, I have a good time by being out in nature. The real thing is always that much better than a photo, but photos of nature are beautiful too. In fact, I enjoy myself that much more when I take a photo I like.

Does nature do it for you? Do you think that being in touch with nature has a healing power all of its own?

This song tends to divide people (love it, personally), but anyway here’s a song about nature and place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrbuDWit1Co

Nature. Cheaper than therapy.

Day 10… Lucky & Job Mashup #blogtober20

Lucky to have me as my own best friend!

In the last twenty-four hours my mental health has unfortunately taken a nose-dive. I’ve felt triggered once again by family pressure to get a job, whether this was intended or not. It’s these blasted phone calls with my nearest and dearest that have triggered me. My anxiety and depression have flared up like inflammation on an old injury. I was also very tired from my busy week and slept all day yesterday. I am just not ready for the responsibility of a job at the moment, for the record.

I do feel lucky, as in that old song, “I should be so lucky!”. I feel lucky that I am answerable to my friends & family, maybe, but also to myself, definitely. I can devise my own schedule. That is, I can decide how to spend my time so that whatever I’m doing comes from the heart. I am lucky to be able to hone and use my own judgement when it comes to my future. I can dialogue with myself in a sane, healthy manner, such as with my friends and in this blog. I am free to hold myself in high esteem, no matter what has happened in my past. That is, my self-talk is quite good quality.

I have been through something that nobody should have to go through, I’m convinced of it. It affected my professional and personal life and continues to do so on both counts. Perhaps those telling me I “could” get a job would like to walk a mile in my shoes, first. Anyway, they haven’t really considered the fact that I would like to get a job. I would like to be healthy and so-say normal. I would like to be able to welcome that responsibility on a daily basis. There are even several jobs I think I could enjoy. It all depends how one’s nearest and dearest come across during this phone call about the possibilities.

Comments & encouragement are welcomed.

#DoOneThing this World Mental Health Day 2020!

I do like the way Mind here in the UK have been talking about World Mental Health Day. Their invitation to Do One Thing is cool and they have many ideas on small actions we can all take, so I would encourage you to check out the page.

I am feeling pretty zonked today, so I will keep this short and sweet. I have enjoyed these ten days of blogging, from introducing myself and fearlessly (!) telling my mental health story, to safely thinking about my past, trying to get readers to enjoy (!) the art of cleaning, and also to relax. I really am an ordinary blokess from the street, but I am, uncool though it sounds, living with a mental illness/disorder/whatever you want to call it and wanting to ENCOURAGE OTHERS. The best bit has been discovering what all you lovely people are writing on your blogs. You guys are the best.

๐Ÿ’•
Happy World Mental Health Day, readers! ๐Ÿฅณ

Iโ€™d be delighted to hear whatโ€™s going on in your country this year for World Mental Health Day and how it has gone down. I note that today is also World Homeless Day and wonder how much awareness there is around of the two days. I apologise for being so tired today but wanted to be a part of the event and celebrations. ๐Ÿฅณ

Sincere well-wishes to everyone reading this. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’•

Day 9… Relax #blogtober20

This post is inspired by the song “Relax”. This can be quite a difficult one. It isn’t always straight-forward to know how to relax, especially if you are feeling upset or shocked about something. Not everyone relaxes in the same way and if you are having difficulty, I am really sorry to hear that. Every problem has its remedy and I would urge readers who feel that they can’t relax and/or can’t sleep to keep looking for help and keep trying. The worst thing you could possibly do for your mental health is give up.

A word on relaxing. You will have heard that the body’s autonomic nervous system is in control of the fight-or-flight response. A person cannot be anxious and relax at the same time — it’s a contradiction in terms. If you suffer from anxiety in any shape or form, regular relaxation can and should become an essential plan for you. Uncontrolled anxiety can lead to severe health problems such as psychosis. What is psychosis? It’s when a person loses touch with reality in some way. Though a normal part of human experience, it’s extremely horrible and basically involves suffering.

Practice true, good quality sleep hygiene as well as regular relaxation. Whatever works for you, dedicate time to it. And if you don’t know what works for you and you’re currently having a hard time…

Call a trusted friend and talk to them to try to calm down.

Seek support for what you’re going through. But also know that you are the one in charge of your mental health. What you say goes.

Maintain the attitude that you are looking for and will find a solution to whatever you are going through, no matter what. Don’t give up.

If necessary, try something you haven’t tried before. Look around you for classes (or Youtube videos, this is 2020) in new activities (tai chi, yoga, drawing… anything) and/or opportunities to meet (even if online) like-minded people while relaxing.

Thank you for reading this rather serious post. I take relaxation very seriously! Happy relaxing, everyone.

Day 8… Imagine #blogtober20

I am growing from this challenge to write every day in October. Today’s prompt is obviously one of the most iconic songs ever, known and admired worldwide.

I have been thinking of discussing the harrowing side of mental health – where all the worst things one could possibly imagine come true in psychosis – or discussing how to use our imaginations – visualisations – to improve overall mental health, once a person’s mind is in a stable condition. But more and more I’ve been thinking I’d like to work on my credentials and qualifications before I embark on discussions of that nature in my blog. These are serious subjects and deserve the attention of true mental health professionals.

So I’ll simply write about how I imagine my own future. Aside from getting excited about online knitting courses, and sewing, and the like, it’s not at all clear to me what I’ll do. I would like to do something in a helping role, probably in the voluntary sector. I found one great opportunity, but that was off because of Covid. Then I have recently heard of another. For that, I would have to live in a city, live alone successfully, that is. Unless I went between here at my mum’s house and the city, but this would have to be by bus or train and I’d have to take Covid into account. Man, I could really do with someone to bounce ideas off about this. Recovering from a mental health problem isn’t the easiest.

Then there are concerns about my concentration. I am not in the greatest of shapes to actually study. I’ve been so busy this week that I have not been getting in my half hours of reading. Something always comes up and I am constantly working on activities, but not reading yet.

I’m about to see my friend M today, woo! It looks like there’ll be another lockdown and another period where life isn’t very exciting. I wish all my readers well!ย 

Day 7… Millennium #blogtober20

To me, the word “Millennium” reminds me that there are young people, at around the age of twenty, suffering symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychosis who need the rest of humanity’s help, today. They might not even realise it themselves, and this was my issue at twenty. I just didn’t know. I decided to visit my former university’s page to see how they are supporting students. Then, to look at the services for a place I’ve lived in more recently and locally, I checked out the University of Edinburgh’s page for the same thing. They are both looking great!

In my opinion the number one issue is awareness. If young people reach the age of twenty without ever having heard from a reliable source in the media etc about symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, and yes, even symptoms of psychosis, then the battle has been lost already. How can you reach out for help for something you haven’t even been able to identify?

Two days to go until World Mental Health Day 2020!

Parents, make sure your teenagers have heard of such a thing, that it can happen to anyone and that there are ways to recover from it and get better.

My untreated depression led to anxiety and psychosis. I didn’t know that they could be related. These things tend not to be discussed. I know the world has changed in twenty years, but it perhaps has not changed enough. What are your views? Do enough twenty-year-olds know the basics necessary to look out for themselves and their peers at university? I would love to receive comments on this topic that I’m so passionate about.

Day 6… If I could turn back time #blogtober20

If I could turn back time, I’d probably listen to the song “You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down” by John Mayer at the age of 16. Instead of crying every day thinking my parents had deliberately let me down in a big way, I would have tried to learn a bit more about life. The song was only made in 2013, but you get the idea. I didn’t have the emotional strength to cope with the initial shock of what had happened between my parents and me. Things went sharply downhill from there.

This was the catalyst for my depression, which span out of control after I graduated.

But all of that is history now. The current problem I have remaining is anxiety. Just for fun, here’s a little look at my local bookshop’s section on anxiety:

To be totally honest with you here, when it comes to anxiety, I am most concerned about what I think of as my reflexes. I have lightning-fast allergic reflexes to: driving, bullshit, ooohh… mostly bullshit, (ha ha!). My friends would tell you that I hardly ever swear. But I just had to, so that you would understand the severity of bad/shocking/toxic things, situations & people in the world, especially things that jar on your nerves because they tend to follow after each other too fast. But I agree that other people would be able to deal with these situations a LOT better than I am (currently) capable of.

I have also recently admitted my biggest fear to myself. My biggest fear is that someone I love will swiftly exit my life in an unforeseen manner. I am OK with death. What worries me is that someone will decide to leave or be snatched away. I am just being honest here! My fear is based on my emotional wound, that is to say, the situation that I am afraid of really happened to me a few years ago.

I used to hear the word “fear” used in an abstract way and think it was cheesy and also not relevant to my life. But now that I have lived out and identified what I would call my greatest fear, when I hear the word, I certainly listen up.

Anyway, life is certainly interesting for me these days. I’m learning more about life. I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I avoid certain situations that though manageable for others would be toxic for me. I really need a sense of calm in my life, and recently, I am really getting that sense of calm.

Rumi

This is obviously a big quotation from Rumi but for me it totally makes sense. When we love something or someone, we cease to care about other more trying concerns. It’s easier to ignore those irritating, niggly aspects of life. Loving something and loving people will turn pain to medicine, he’s saying. Let me know in the comments if this makes any sense to you, too.

I’m not sure whether or not I would turn back time and change the cards I was dealt as a teenager. It doesn’t matter, because it’s not possible. I have far more important things to work with. Like learning more about the beauty that is Rumi. Haha.