Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

The fear of being disliked.

IMG_0889.jpgI know I’ve neglected writing these posts for a while, the way I neglect all house plants I have ever owned. However, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know I’ve been pretty busy. Went away on a caravan holiday (the one I got custody of, it also appeared the rest of my family got custody too because they all came.) I got sunburnt, I laughed, I got overwhelmed by so many people in one space I did one of my ‘disappearing to be on my own in bed’ acts, stroked a Donkey, the usual really.

I started therapy just over a week ago. My god I forgot how awkward that first session is. Sat there with a complete stranger. I always feel I just have to fill the silent pauses in conversation, even if I’m not with a therapist – I can’t stand the all-consuming feeling that if I don’t talk (usually complete utter crap), or if there is any silence, that the person I am with is just feeling awkward and thinking I’m boring.

I had to face some issues I never even knew I had in therapy. I naively thought after all this time with D&A (remember, I abbreviated them, to be cool) that I was quite self-aware. That I had at least some awareness as to why I think and feel the way I do about myself and others. I was wrong. I hate being wrong.

Now, all that was discussed will stay between me and my therapist. But it did get me thinking (probably irrationally as per) about my phobia of being disliked. Apparently there isn’t actually some fancy Latin name for this, disappointing. But, it’s something that’s sat festering in my head for years and years, producing a pungent smell of self-doubt.

I know I have hurt people, I have offended people, and I’ve damn right pissed people off. But, I really, really, never ever want to hurt anyone. I just crave everyone’s acceptance. Hell, I’d probably want Donald Trump to like me and he’s a grade A idiot. To the point of apologising to others when I know I’m not in the wrong. Letting people speak to me in a way that upsets me, but instead of letting my feelings known, I apologise or try harder to be liked. This is with people who don’t even know me. I’ve had relationships, and friendships that I haven’t been happy in. But instead of acknowledging that and walking away. I’ve tried harder, because I don’t want to be the bad guy.

But that never works. Because then it snowballs. I snowball. And people end up disliking each other through the process.

What I’m currently trying to learn. And hope others who feel the same as me should try hard to learn is that, people aren’t always going to like you. Everyone can’t like everyone. Some people, you just don’t take to. Simple as that. But with the anxiety eating away at you, telling you various reasons as to why you can’t be liked, it’s hard to see clearly.

There are plenty of people who do like you, and they will make that clear. So like them ones back, make them smile, spend time with them. Do NOT waste your time desperately clinging at the idea that you can make someone like you.

If they’re cold with you. Leave it. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for anxiety. And through the worst, you will learn the truth. Like yourself, make yourself like yourself, not like, love.

And fingers crossed, with all the support. Everything will fall together.

That’s my own prep talk mantra I’m desperately trying to live by at the moment. It’s difficult, old habits fie hard. But I’m determined.

I’ll leave you on a quote from one of the sassiest beings of all time:

If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else. Can I get an amen?! – RuPaul

Standard
Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Insomnia – and other sleep beefs

This isn’t a post about the bangin’ tune by Faithless. There are no glow sticks or amphetamines involved here. (I don’t know what goes on at places that would play that song, can you tell?).

In fact, it’s a new phenomenon to me. Anyone who knows me, will know, I LOVE SLEEP. It’s great. It’s warm in bed, it’s cosy, I starfish. In fact I tend to sleep with my arms up in the air like I’m celebrating a great achievement.

A lot of mental health issues can severely impact on sleeping patterns. It can also be an endless cycle. The charity MIND describe it pretty well. In the fact that, poor mental health can lead to poor sleep, poor sleep then affects your mental health. So Round and round we go on the magic roundabout of sleep difficulties.

I’ve either been at one drastic end of the spectrum, or the other. Mental health issues can often cause sufferers to sleep far too much, or just not enough at all.

In the past I’ve slept as a way of ignoring the day ahead of me. Sleeping for 14 hours easy peasy. However, I’ve also had the times when I’m sleeping 4 hours a night at most.

I’m at the insomnia phase right now. I’m tired, believe me, knackered! But I can’t drift off. Unusual, quick, fleeting thoughts racing in my head. Out of nowhere, thoughts totally unrelated to any situation I am actually in in my present day to day life.

Sometimes it’s just them pesky butterflies refusing to leave. The physical anxiety symptoms, of what I often can’t figure out the cause. I shake myself back and forth (that’s not weird in the slightest is it? Chain me up and stick me in a padded cell eh).

I’ve tried all the advice, exercise, routine etc… have you even tried to have a routine when you work 13 hour shifts?! (Even though I’m off work at the moment). Routine isn’t common in my line of work. Seriously I don’t have a clue what day it is sometimes! That’s shifts!

I do know I’m so looking forward to getting back to work. To a slight routine, even if it is a skew wiff one.

GP’s are reluctant to hand out sleeping tablets as you can become highly reliant on them. Which I understand. But I’d love to drop some diazepam right now and get me a good 8 hours (oh the DREAM).

I don’t really have a routine at the moment. I’m frequenting the gym…sometimes having a chamomile tea in attempt at ‘relaxing’ before bed. That stuffs nasty. Hand me a Yorkshire tea any day!

To sum up. I’m worrying I’m not sleeping. So I stay awake because I’m worried…. you see where this is going.

JUST SING ME A LULLABY SOMEBODY.

Or if you, like me, are vocally challenged. Offer me up some tips.

Standard
Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Dear Friends

I’m sorry I lied to you. Im sorry I put on a front and never really said how bad it was at the time. I’m sorry I pushed you away. I cut myself off, I hurt you.

I spent so much time trying to maintain a ‘not going anywhere’ relationship, that I neglected you. And myself.

You’d think I’d learn (I learn the most ridiculous facts why can’t I learn my own bloody patterns!) But I didn’t and I’ve been here before.

I’ve pushed a group of friends away in the past. When the dark, scummy well pulled me in and replaced my usual self with anger and self-destructive behaviour.

You see, when you’re not coping, as I wasn’t over the last year. My old pals D&A (I’ve abbreviated them now to be cool, and because we are so acquainted 🤞) cloud up my own judgements and I refuse to see what I’m doing. Trying to explain how these pals of mine tend to affect me is like telling a fat kid he can’t have seconds at an all you can eat buffet. It’s just so difficult!

It does seem weird to people that it can manifest into resentment. But, I’m afraid it does. And I get snappy and shitty with my friends. And sometimes the dog, but she’s a bloody idiot!

It’s taken a really shit time. And some discussions with psych liaison, initial therapy appointments and an old time friend (who is conveniently a therapist) to acknowledge how low I have truly been. And how now, I can be me again.

But a me who will not cut off, who will be open with when I’m anxious, upset, angry.

It’s time to be honest with you rather than subduing it and making things worse.

I have to end on a sassy note (of course I do, it’s me). And that note is:

Yes, I live with mental health issues. Yes it’s hard to get your head round sometimes. No I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want to be the best me I can. And that comes with my chemically unbalanced brain. Take me or leave me. It’s part of me.

Also part of me is my massive cheeks but I can’t take anything to make them smaller. I’ve looked into it.

Standard
Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Inadequacy

When Googled, inadequate is defined as:

Lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.

(Of a person)

Unable to deal with a situation or with life.

This is an on and off friend of mine. At the height of anxious and depressed periods, we’re best pals. We spend nights in together, snacking, watching films. We go out together, hit the Town up. Me and my ol’ pal inadequacy.

But he’s also, usually there in the background.

Lurching, to re-build our friendship when I’ve climbed back in the anxiety and depression boat.

It comes down to the fact I’ve never felt I’m good enough. For most things, instead of pushing myself I reach a wall and I hear the sweet whisper of anxiety chime in “you’re not good enough for this anyway. Just give up.”

And that’s what I’ve done in the past.

The weird thing is, I can be a perfectionist, I’m competitive (honestly I’ve had blazing rows over trivial pursuit and the logo quiz game). And if I know I’m not the actual best – even if it’s MY best, and enjoy what I’m doing. I can’t be proud – I’m just not good enough so there’s no point carrying on.

It was the reason I gave up Athletics. And I was good, I’m a fast little thing. I was a coach too (but most of the kids were taller than me, I coached under 11’s).

It’s why I stopped caring half way through my art degree, everyone else seemed so much better so why should I have bothered. It’s why I’ve LET myself be treated badly and disrespected by men. Because I’m inadequate. I’m not the best so I don’t deserve the best…

I know I don’t deal with situations others may soldier on with. I’m overwhelmed by what some would see as daft inconveniences.

I’m overwhelmed when there are two people in-front of me in a queue, when the dog ate my favourite plastic spoon (yeh I know, mortifying. It was he best spoon to eat yoghurts with).

I’m inadequate at dealing with minor stresses. And little things like this, build to make me think.. can I actually deal with anything

I’ll never be promoted, I’ll never get a mortgage (not entirely easy for anyone that started their career at 24 in this financial climate! Bloody house prices and Tory government!).

I so easily forget that, no, sod off feeling of anxious inadequacy. I’ve achieved so much! I live independently, I own my own car, I got a first class degree in Nursing. I manage well through the most ridiculously stressful shifts and staff shortages (Again, bloody tories).

One day, when I learn to face these feelings head on. And overcome them. I can progress in my career, I will have a house, I won’t settle for being second best to someone. I won’t let knowing I’m not the best at everything, make me think I’m not the best at being me. And respecting myself.

I can’t say I’m not still going in and out of fight or flight. But I can say I want to embrace positivity – engage with treatment and learn to be me. The new me. Because the only way out of this well is up. Chuck us that ladder. But also pass me the beta-blockers because I’m tachycardic and panicking. Cheers.

I may feel inadequate. But I’m not, I’m more than adequate. I’m the best me ever, granted, I need some work doing (extensive and pricey work on the foundations) but I’ll get there…however…

Easier said than done when the anxiety parrot is on your shoulder, pecking, screeching. Making you want to hide and bury yourself under a pile of lies he tells you.

Standard
Anxiety, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

There are 2 sides to every story. I have 2 sides just for 1: Side 1.

I’ve made reference to the fact that I’m, along with all my other fun mental health issues, going through a break-up.

It’s common in these situations to say “There are two sides to every story.” Which, yes there is, and it’s time now I shared my side.

It’s intertwined with a deterioration in my mental health, family input, and the bitterness of arguing over who gets custody of the caravan holiday in Prestatyn. (Luckily we didn’t need to settle this in court, I don’t own a suit.)

I was 18, a month away from hitting 19. I was dressed as a 118 runner and in a foul mood (just one of my low days, which was rare at the time.) According to him (he who shall not be named- but not Voldemort, although he does share Voldemort’s real name. Coincidence? I think not!) I had a face like a slapped arse. Now most of the time I can’t help this, thanks to my fathers genes I have chubby cheeks. And due to my mothers genes I have resting bitch face. Which results in me looking like a pissed off toddler most of the time.

We were on a pub crawl for a mutual friend’s birthday. Which turned into a flat party (we were freshers at uni, that’s standard practice.) and we started talking about music, turned out we had the same taste, and I hadn’t really met anyone else at uni who did. Long story short, as freshers do, he came back to my flat. The next day, he asked for my number! The long standing anxiety and issues with abandonment screamed in excitement “What?! He wants to talk to me again? Play it cool.” The anxiety parrot chirped in with “He’s just trying to be polite you won’t hear off him again.”

That night he added me on Facebook! He was messaging me! And he even text me too the next day. What sort of sorcery was this!? Turned out, back at home, we lived 60 miles apart and he had family in my hometown. We met up and talked every day over the summer break. In the August we became a couple.

Now, I couldn’t believe my luck, I had met someone that made me snort laugh, had the same interests and he was good looking – despite his questionable hair cut at the time. He then split up with me in the December (1st strike) I was devastated. Not quite heartbroken. I still can’t remember the reason. But he broke up with me and stayed at my house that night (weird). Long story short, as they tend to do a month later he comes back, we meet up, he tells me he made a mistake and wants to be with me. We were then together until we graduated in 2013.

There had been times I had fallen in my well at uni, especially during my dissertation writing – some self harm (that’s for another time) where his reaction was to not contact me for a weekend and tell his parents (pattern emerging here). But the last straw was when we had both moved home, he made me drive the 60 miles to be told he’s just not in the place for a relationship, that my mental health caused me to rely on him too much (Strike 2).I drove home in bits.

I got on with my job, 2 weeks later my second grandad suddenly passed away. I remember texting him to tell him, to which he said “I hope you don’t think telling me this will change my mind about being together.” CHARMING.

I began to move on, but every 2 months I’d hear from him, and I’d go running. He was using me and I was willing to let him, grasping so desperately at the chance of keeping him. My family knew what I was doing, my friends knew, they all told me not to, that I was just hurting myself. Would I listen? Would I F**k!

I then had enough when he asked me for relationship advice. I couldn’t put myself through this anymore. I was doing my nursing degree, I joined slimming world and the gym, I lost weight. And I met someone I really liked.

And as men do… they can smell when you’re happy again (seriously they’re like beagles!) and we arranged to see The Courteeners together. As friends. And low and behold at that gig we bumped into the guy I was seeing – and I chose to stay with this guy. He who shall not be named stormed off.

He had wriggled himself into my world like a tapeworm. And the whole night with my new boo was spent thinking about him.

I text him the next day – telling him I still loved him, despite us being split up for 18months. And we met up, he told me he felt the same.

I remember standing in a multi story car park with him (romantic scene to imagine, carrier bags and urine stains). Where he promised me, that this time we get back together as adults, for the long run. When we have problems, either of us. We face them together as a team. That I’m the person he wanted to be the mother of his children.

And that was the end of part 1 and the beginning of part 2. A new chapter. With so much hope….

Funny how words can mean nothing.

Standard
Anxiety, mental health, Uncategorized

My heart might be healing, but my head isn’t.

I’ve had a wild one today. I did a lot of hoovering (always found it very therapeutic). Unfortunately as I hoovered, I wasn’t channeling Freddy Mercury in the ‘I want to break free’ video. Think more dishevelled toddler.

My mood has been quite settled today. Flat really. But I’m recognising that I’m getting into a bad habit. Slightly agoraphobic. I went two doors down to my grandma’s, and being out sent ripples of nerves through me. What do I really have to fear at my grandma’s?! I mean, she could stab me with a knitting needle, but I think I’d have the upper hand in running away fast.

This has happened each time I’ve been out over the last week, after ten minutes, POW, there it is, my heart pounding, my stomach dropping, the beads of sweat wherever it is possible to sweat.

Explaining such fear to others when you’re clearly in a safe environment can completely go over their head. And guess what world? Saying “Calm down” is as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition. It’s not happening.

The fear is going to be there if I’m feeling calm or not. I only expect something bad to happen. The butterflies throwing themselves around are telling me to expect the worst, always.

So, I’ve become to see my Mum’s house as my ‘safe place’. My new comfort blanket, if you will. The pesky parrot on my shoulder chirping up “You don’t know what could happen out there, most likely hurt and pain. Like, look at you, you’re a mess anyway who wants to see that. Stay here it’s warm and there’s more TV choices.”

With each day that goes by, my heart heals ever so slightly, and I mean slightly. My trust is on its arse, hate is starting to build. But utter disbelief and grief is still there. Holding hands with the anxiety and depression which is always going to be my toxic under-current.

I’m still in that well, and it’s been snowing so it’s freezing down here. But my friend sent me down a blanket.

With every minuscule piece of strength I can muster, tomorrow I am going to go out. I’m going to see my Dad. I am.

I don’t want to push myself too far and end up freaking out Britney 2007 style – but I’m actually going to try and go back to my flat. Pick up post, see how I feel, bin some stuff.

But the butterflies are raging. The associations with my own home hurt me too deeply.

Wish me luck. Or send meds.

Standard
Uncategorized

Not much to say today…

I’ve not felt I have anything to say today. I’m feeling a bit numb really, like when you sleep on your arm and worry you might have had a stroke in the night.

I managed to do this painting. I even managed a bath! That sounds gross doesn’t it, but it’s a genuine goal for me. I don’t leave it to the point that I’m circled by flies though – I have a smidge of respect for myself left.

I actually had, for me, a busy day. An old friend came round, and she honestly made me see things from a different light (helps that she’s a therapist. She owes me from looking after her when she was paralytic at uni, whilst we all shouted “flick your flaps” at her.)

Although I’m at the bottom of that metaphorical well, and I’m still struggling with the panic and abandonment issues I have (I know you can’t wait for a blog about that!) She made me see the tiniest glimpse of sun from the bottom of my well, which is pretty damp and there’s some fungus growing down here, unsure if it’s edible.

My Aunty also came round, her and my mum are identical twins, so genetically she’s also my mother (two mums – nightmare or a blessing?) Unfortunately, she’s been in a very similar situation to me, her husband deciding to leave when she hit rock bottom with her own mental health. I saw her at her lowest, in hospital. I see her now, happy, and supporting me, I’m so proud of her. Maybe, if she can do it, with our shared mental fun in our head. MAYBE, I can do it too.

I don’t really know right now. I’m not sure about anything. I’m just trying to get through each day. Daydreaming up plans to get out of this well. I’d build a ladder but I have dyspraxia, and construction and dyspraxia do NOT mix.

Standard