Be good to people for no reason

Happy Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend folks – and congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her 70 years as monarch.

There’s no way I feel up to attending any of the events happening here. My anxiety is still way too high and there’s going to be FAAAR too many people just milling around. Hell, I had a panic attack in the little Tesco earlier this afternoon because it was too crammed, people were pushing and no-one was wearing a mask. It wasn’t fun. And then my walk home through the local park was absolutely heaving – I’d hoped to actually try the food at the little cafe in there which is supposed to be amazing but nooooo, people everywhere.

I did, however, see a person with fantastic red, white & blue hair – I’m guessing it was dyed for the jubilee – but I took the time to compliment them on it, say how great it looked, and they totally lit up. Worth it!

This afternoon I started a spring clean of my flat. Mostly working on getting it down from ‘red alert’ to ‘yellow alert’, as it were. My mantra is ‘not perfect, but better’. I caught up on dishes and laundry, wiped down all the counters, put away everything that was languishing. I vacuumed the kitchen, hall, stairs and landing. The floor needs mopping, the oven needs cleaning and the cupboards/fridge/freezer need a sort – but that’s not a job for this weekend.

Today, I am grateful for:
Li, for talking me through the panic attack in Tesco and calming me down as I walked home
Having the power to make a person smile through giving them a compliment
My new vacuum cleaner. It’s a fancy-ass Black & Decker 2in1 cordless thing and it’s fucking incredible. Like it can sense when I switch from hard floor to carpet and it changes its suction accordingly. This is also filed under ‘you know you’re officially old, when…’

Joyful June 2022

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day is a wonderful mindset and definitely one I’m trying to foster. I’m starting to find it’s easier to come up with my daily gratitudes the most I practice it – even if somedays it feels like I’m writing the same things:
I had a productive workday
I had a nice walk
I cooked something yummy
I spent time on my hobbies.

But I also realise my life is kind of routine so it makes sense that the things that are good are the same.
It doesn’t make them any less positive, and it’s important to recognise those positives.

And so, in June, I shall continue to look for something good in every day

Today, I am grateful for:
Charlotte in the complaints department of my energy supplier for sorting out the installation issues with my new smart meters
My manager for understanding I was very unproductive today because of aforementioned installation issues
Being able to have open and honest communication with my amazing betrothed
Dominos Pizza for delivering me very tasty food at the end of a stressful day!

What if everything turns out better than you imagined?

What if everything turns out better than you imagined?

I’m am actively working on this.

My brain is currently catastrophising when I try and do things, it’s defaulting to one of it’s worst case scenarios: ‘I will panic, and throw up, and pass out, and everyone will see’ (the other worst case scenario being ‘I will give everyone COVID and kill them). And that leads to avoidance which… while it helps in the moment, in the long run, it’s giving my agoraphobia far too much power over me and I do not fucking approve.

So I am trying to cancel this thinking out by asking myself what the opposite is – What is the best case scenario if I do actually leave the house/go somewhere/do the thing? What is likely to happen? What usually happens?
And I’m trying to remember all the times when things HAVE gone ok/good/amazing.

Because I sat in a dessert cafe for half an hour the other day and… nothing happened. Nothing at all. I sat in the sunshine and enjoyed a mini victoria sponge cake and a hazelnut hot chocolate with my girlfriend. And it was amazing!

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Mental Health & Me

I struggle with my mental health. I have done for about 30 years, which considering I’m pushing 41 is basically my entire life. It can pretty much all be traced back to my dad dying when I was 11. Not exactly surprising, when you think about it, is it?

I was first told I had manic depression when I was in my mid-teens, but nothing was ever done about it. There was very much a sense of ‘of course you have mood swings, you’re a teenager and you’re still grieving’. By the time I was 17 or 18, depression had a full grip on me, I dropped out of college, tried to kill myself and ended up in hospital

This pattern continued for probably the best part of a decade, I was well into my late 20s/early 30s before I really understood that I needed to take anti-depressants daily, that it’s no different to a diabetic taking insulin to manage chemical levels in their body. I got into a really good routine of taking my medication, and as I stabilised, I was able to stop temp work, get a permanent full time job and even got myself a flat. I rediscovered my love of music, of sci-fi and got into a really good groove

I still had depression, I still had anxiety but they were managed really well

Then, in 2015, my worst nightmare came true and my mum died – suddenly and unexpectedly – and everything came crashing down. I had a breakdown, I lost my job, I almost lost my flat. I ended up off work for many months and it took a lot of help but I did get through it. It was, of course, nowhere near as simple or painless as this paragraph makes it sound like. But I got through it, I found my feet, I found a job, I figured out my new normal, my meds got changed and I was back to managing my mental health pretty well.

Sadly, that wasn’t the end of it. Because 2020 and COVID happened. And my anxiety has slowly trickled into agoraphobia, I struggle to leave the house by myself, I’m terrified of being around people and nothing feels safe. I’m still working from home, and life has essentially ground to a stop. I was fine at the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was staying home etc but once the restrictions lifted, my panic got worse. At this point, panic attacks are a very regular occurrence.

I’m in therapy, and I’m going to be honest, it’s fucking hard work. But with a lot of help from my incredible girlfriend, and with the help of the mobile game Pikmin Bloom, I’m starting to leave the house again. We’re going for walks 3 or 4 times a week, early evenings when there’s not many people around. And one of the things my therapist wants me to do is to look where I’m going where I walk, to be more present in the moment

And mindfulness, gratitude and self-care have been on my mind a lot lately which brings us here. Where I start learning to be mindful, learning to be grateful, learning to prioritise self care… learning (once again) how to be my weird self