dating

Swipe life

Obviously, I have had that conversation with myself. The “you do you gurl” conversation. And yeh, realistically now is the time to work on myself, find myself (sans trip around the world to stroke monkeys and eat magic mushrooms.)

Therefore, this hun is not actively seeking a relationship. But I guess I’m that believer in letting everything happen for a reason. What happens happens. I’ll go with it and try and keep my expectations at a low level of men (it’s all I know) and just put my self out there, but not in a “MARRY ME AND PROVIDE ME WITH YOUR SEED” kind of way.

So I got myself back on to those infamous apps. Tinder and Bumble. At first, it’s quite exciting swiping away, seeing that there are fishes left in the plastic ridiculed sea. However, if also becomes as tedious as hearing “unexpected item in the bagging area” at self-serve.

Tinder is dead. Sorry. It is dead… or I am just not worthy to talk to (anxiety and dating is great.) You swipe away, the matches roll in and… nothing. Radio silence. Even a gif doesn’t get a response a lot of the time. Like what are these guys doing, warming their thumbs up for the thumb war olympics?!

I’ll fire off a gif and occasionally BOOM I have a response. Praying it’s something equally as hilarious as my choice. And then the heartbreak ensues. Heartbreak for this generation of men. Specifically those who use “txt” talk. Finish a sentence with an x and use babe incessantly and have all the conversational skills of a flannel. Also, is everyone a DJ these days?!

So I leaped on over to bumble. I’d say it’s the more mature version of tinder. Same premise of swiping and basically judging on looks alone. But there’s a twist. A twist I’m not too keen on.

Now. More people will engage in conversation on this app. I just don’t like the women speaking first aspect. Yes I’m all for equal rights. But I can’t help feel bumble must be the biggest ego boost ever for the men on it. All these women they have pre-liked having to send them a message first if they want to speak. Sat there with an erection every time their phone buzzes feeling like Leo DiCaprio ballin’ with all the ladies. And again you can send a message on here to never be replied to. The benefit being, if they don’t reply, or if you don’t open conversation with them in 24 hours, they disappear. That way, you don’t go back on to the app post 3 glasses of prosecco and see your non existent reply and wonder if your wit wasn’t on top point that day (and avoid the double message danger.)

Wether this type of modern dating is good for my mental health, I’m sure it isn’t. Snap judgements are made, messages misconstrued. Conversations go nowhere and the anxiety parrot sits on my shoulder mocking me. But it’s also making me quite resilient.

It’s sad though really right? Relationships appear so disposable now. People pick up their phones and move on to the next person, literally like flicking through a catalogue (not the Argos one, although I had more chance meeting the toys I’d circled in there than some of my ‘matches’.)

No one approaches you in a bar anymore, although that does have a tendency to creep me out, at least you talk straight away. Without the ‘have I replied too soon?’. ‘Will they understand that’s sarcasm and I’m not just a total bitch’.

And although I am so NOT ready to jump into anything, dating today really makes you question yourself, often negatively. I do enough of that on my own, I don’t need Mr Ghost mode, or Mr Intense and mysterious life to add to that.

Everyone is living behind a phone screen. I’m guilty of it too, I don’t look as good in my dating pictures all the time (I’m wearing sweat pants and a housecoat right now with sudocrem on my face.) People are bored so easily, before even meeting you! And when they do, they’re still prowling the internet buffet of ladies, paper plates in hand, incase you have one flaw they ain’t got time for.

But here I am, swiping away. Wanting these experiences. Embracing the life of being pied. By men with extra strong thumbs.

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mental health

I’m back bitches.

I neglected writing again. However, I have managed to keep a house plant alive for 2 weeks so, that’s consumed a lot of my time.

Firstly, let’s hit this off by saying, I think I’m okay hun. I won’t say I’ve been “living my best life”, which is all the rage these days. But I’ve been living A life (some of it blackout drunk).

Anxiety has been pestering me, that bitch constantly wants my attention, needy is not the word. But, BUT, I have managed it and live to tell the tale.

So here’s what’s been going down for this loco lady….

I’ve completed one of my three courses of therapy. This was talking therapy. A charity based therapy service with qualified councillors. I paid what I could afford each week (really what I could afford was paying in filter tips I find in the bottom of handbags but it’s not acceptable currency.)

Now, it has helped. I’ve recognised in my 26 years I’ve been through stuff many will hopefully never experience in their lifetime. And guess what I did with it all?! Never questioned it, never challenged it, never processed it. I accepted things as normal and felt the need to power on. Constantly striving to please people to avoid any upset to those around me. Never really saying “nah, I don’t like this.” (Unless it’s salmon, I do NOT like salmon, it’s not a thing.)

I’ve begun to acknowledge what’s made me the anxiety riddled small human I am. And most importantly, take steps to challenge that and my perceptions of the world, relationships and my own self worth.

For too long I’ve let situations niggle me, I haven’t spoken my true feelings or why I feel them. In turn this isolates me, I isolate myself. I resent those around me because I don’t feel what they feel. Not see the world through their eyes.

I’ve been crying out to have my opinion and wishes heard for so long and it’s fallen on deaf ears. I’ve been mothered and modi-coddled because of my inept persona. I’m clumsy, no common sense, little, cute, I need help with things. Well, no, no I don’t.

I’ve been told what to do and made to feel stupid by those I allowed to influence me. Be it family or a partner.

I’m a responsible person. They don’t let any one do my job. I’m caring, compassionate, opinionated, loud, and damn it I really do have my head screwed on. And it’s time some people recognised that, including myself.

The last month has been a whirlwind. I’m moving out on my own. It was a shock.

I didn’t anticipate it. But I got myself a new place. ON MY OWN. I’ve fought panic attacks about situations from “how will I disassemble a bed” to “what do I do when I’m alone in a new house with my irrational thoughts, will those thoughts win”. Truly one extreme to the next.

Really what I’m saying here is. I’m starting a new journey now. I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m “living my average life” and you can come along with me. If you fancy it. Belt up.

We’re gonna take a tour through millennial life. The rising prices of avocados, buying furniture, “upscaling”, alcohol, trying to get that bikini bod, and dating… yeh, dating. All with the under currents of an irrational brain.

Send help.

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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

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

Blooming into the new (old) me

I know I’m not 100%. I know that those anxiety bouts get the better of me sometimes. Over analysing and I still remain BFF’s. I know I’ll have to manage this all my life. 9 years with it feels like a lifetime, like watching anything with Piers Morgan on.

But somethings happened. Through these blogs. I’ve really got to know a lot more about myself and who I am. And how I haven’t been that person for a long time.

A close friend told me the other day. Although I’ve had a shit time, she’s already seeing me as better, funnier, more chilled out person. Isn’t it amazing what new meds and getting rid of metaphorical baggage can do! (Don’t leave your baggage unattended though, the non metaphorical kind. I did that once and my bag went to Middlesborough).

Now I might get a bit hippy and deep here. But y’know, we’ve entered spring (I know! Tell the weather that!) and I feel I’ve entered the spring of my life. Out of the cold, ice of winter and into the blooms of spring. New life.

Yes it’s going to be a constant battle with me and my thought processes, but I’m armed to fight them. The bulbs are sprouting and I can see so much light shining in. Pass me my shades.

This could well be down to therapy today. Or, it could be down to me. I’m on a journey of self- discovery (god I want to punch myself right now for writing that, next I’ll be packing a back pack and off to south East Asia to ‘find myself’ and stroke a sedated tiger).

I go back to work on Thursday and I can’t wait. Nursing is part of my identity, that I’m re-building. This time with the knowledge that I have a support system. And I know I can trust this support system.

Everything happens for a reason. I had to reach rock bottom to climb back up.

Oh and… Karma bitches ✌🏼

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, nursing

Why I became a nurse, and tried to hide my mental health.

Nursing wasn’t my first career choice. Well, I had expressed a wish to be a “nurth” when I was about 3. (My grandad kept a diary every day for years and these sort of things were in it, that and the cricket scores).

Unfortunately, when applying for universities at the tender age of 17, my school never highlighted nursing as an option. It didn’t seem something that was possible. It was more of a case of “pick one of your A-levels and go to that at uni.”

My A-levels were in Sport Science, Psychology and Fine Art… I flipped a coin. I had always been quite academic, and when that coin flipped and narrowed it down to Art, my mum wasn’t happy (IS SHE EVER?! I’m Sorry I broke your favourite wax melter get over it!)

Why was I going to go off and do art when I loved the challenge of learning facts and science. WELL, I was being a stubborn teen and thought I was all cool and edgy heading off to Art College with my vintage clothing and red hair.

I did the degree (hated it). Had all the confidence kicked out of me. Plodded home covered in acrylic paint and shame and took a job in an office doing graphic design (yawn).

Then my second grandad died. Suddenly and unexpectedly. And something clicked. Heart problems are in my family (yeh I’ll cut down on the saturated fats when I’m good and ready thank you) I was suffering at the time. depression, grief, a break-up. It was truly god awful.

But as I said, something clicked. I was discussing nursing with a friend and I just decided to apply for a nursing degree. I had hope, that I could finally do what I wanted.

That I could help others. That I could work with people like my grandads and make a positive difference to others. Even if I struggle to make a positive difference to my thoughts.

I took a job in a nursing home. The hours were ridiculous, the work was strenuous, the management was poor. I was bullied by my manager there – told I wasn’t capable of being a nurse. I nearly let her words win. Until…

I got the interview (why I decided to try and make jokes in my interview at MMU I’ll never know!) I didn’t have much hope, people I had spoken to had said how high quality the degree was there and how it was difficult to get in. So obviously my anxiety said “Not happening love, that cow at work is right”.

I went home, I quit my job at the nursing home. And pondered what the hell I was going to do with my life. When I got the call. MMU wanted to offer me a place on Adult Nursing, and to start the following month (March) as opposed to the September! (My jokes must have paid off). I felt truly happy, apprehensive but happy. For the first time in a long time. I was finally putting me first, doing something scary, but something I had always wanted to do. This was for me. And my grandads.

Throughout my training, I hid my mental health issues from my personal tutors. I brushed on it in lectures (honestly, go into a lecture of nursing students it’s like a therapy session!). I struggled at various points but it was my main focus. I was older now, I didn’t have the distractions of living in a big city, £1 vodka lemonades and Big Mamma’s takeaway. I lived at home or with my grandma depending on placements and uni blocks.

I hid my mental health, so wrongly believing that it could affect my ability to practice as a medical professional. That it could impact on the care I gave, that people wouldn’t want me to be a nurse.

The media has covered stories of those with mental health issues, in medicine or not, who have put others in their safety in jeopardy. In the media day and age we read it, and fear is attached to those with these health conditions. So of course, why would I want to declare it!? I’m stigmatising myself here. The Sun has a field day with it but I wouldn’t wipe my backside on that ‘newspaper’.

I qualified, I was so proud. I had done it all off my own back. I got a great degree. I got a job in the field I wanted… and again I hid it. Until it all got out of control. Admitting to the mental pain I was in, as a nurse, in the hospital I worked in was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

And you know what… I’m glad I did. It’s actually common in medicine. We see a lot of heartbreaking things day to day. We put up with verbal and physical abuse. But all we want to do is help you. That takes its toll on anyone, even if your heart is made of Stone! Or another strong item… even steel, that’s really hard. I digress again.

What I’m saying is finally opening up in my profession opened floodgates of support. My management and my colleagues have been amazing. I couldn’t thank them enough. Yes the NHS is under funded – especially mental health. I’m still on waiting lists. But those who work in it are a support system themselves and I love the NHS for that.

I might still feel the stigma, I might still feel I have to hide it sometimes. But it’s only because I really, really care. I LOVE my job. I’m such a nerd about it. I will look at all your veins when we converse and think where I would cannulate you. Possibly think of care plans I’d need to put in place for you.

I may have let my care for myself slip but it will always be there for the public.

I go back to work next week and I can’t wait. Of course I’m scared. But I know I have so much support.

As the NMC has said, there is NO evidence mental health will detriment the care a nurse provides. I stick to the 6 C’s, I work within my code of conduct. And I’m in my dream job. If that’s not something to smile about. I don’t know what is.

I’m a nurse with mental health issues. But you’re always going to come first patients of Britain.

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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.

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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.

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