Books, My life

Work it!

I keep writing and then deleting everything and starting all over again. It’s like I can’t even decide what is going on in my head so how on earth am I supposed to decide what goes on here? I think I’ll just do a quick ‘Hi, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!’ post. Just catching up, you know.

I finished reading a book – Cry Baby by David Jackson. That’s 16/30 now. Reading seems to be the only thing that I always really want to do, no matter what’s going on in my life or head (yes, I do realise I’m talking about my head like it’s a whole other world and you know what? It really is. Half the time even I can’t find my way around there). It was the first book in a while that I wasn’t actually that keen on, but I’m glad I read it. I’ll tell you more about it in my next month’s book post.

I also finished watching a Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. Another thing that I wasn’t actually keen on. It’s not even that it made me uncomfortable or anything, in fact it didn’t at all – should I be worried? – I just felt really, really annoyed throughout watching it. I felt that the main character was entitled, demanding and just really annoying and … well, a typical teenager, I guess? I know because I’ve been there, seen it and done that. So yeah, didn’t like it.

On a more positive note, I talked to someone recently about some things that are going on – I could probably be even more cryptic if I REALLY tried, right? – and for the first time in about a month or so I feel like there’s change for the better again. I have some realistic plans in place again and it’s helped me a lot. So yes, talking helps. Talk to people. Talk to your friends, your family, your doctor, your cat or pet rock. It really does help. Don’t keep it bottled up.

What else? Oh, yes, I’ve been doing my interior design course work. I’m over half way through and have really enjoyed my studies so far, but this unit is really threatening to do me in. It’s twice as long and requires twice as many reports and assignments. That’s where you picture me sliding off my chair into a puddle and just melt out of existence. I still think I should do a little series on it all. What do you think?

To keep on track with my positive life changes and everything, I’ve also been doing my little 30 day fitness challenge. It’s a free app, called just that – 30 days fitness challenge – every day it reminds me to do my little exercises and yes, sometimes I skip a day and do two days worth the next day and yes, there are official rest days in there, too. It’s nice and simple little things like some jumping jacks, planks, mountain climbers, etc. Starts off quite easy, too, and then gets gradually harder. It’s a good way to keep me a bit more active though. Oh, I’m on day 21/30. Can’t believe I’ve actually managed to keep it going for so long. Quite proud of myself actually.

Anyway, I think that’s us caught up, yeah? Great, I’ll see you next time! Time to go to bed and get all rested and stuff. I think that’s how it’s supposed to go. I still haven’t worked out all the finer details – like, sometimes I seem to wake up and still be tired. What’s up with that? Hmpfh.

G.

My life

Gaping Gaps in Knowledge

You know how a lot of people have these massive gaps where some common knowledge or skills should be? Well, I’m one of those people. Over the years I’ve discovered I’m lacking some essential information from time to time. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Because it’s perfectly alright not to know everything. I’m happy to learn something every day, whether it’s a well-known piece of information or a rare skill. Just bring it on!

1. Until I was way older than I’m going to admit here, I thought (white-tailed) deer were female and moose male. Somehow I’d gotten that idea from Bambi and I thought well that’s got to be true as I read it in a book. Soooooo yeah, that was kind of embarrassing. I think it was my mum who realised that I didn’t know that they’re kind of not the same thing at all.

2. I don’t know how to boil an egg. I mean, I know that there’s a saucepan of boiling water and you put the egg in with a slotted spoon. And I have boiled eggs before, but I need to look it up every time I do it. Or ask my mum. I don’t know whether you’re supposed to put the egg in when the water is already boiling or when it’s still cold. I also have no idea how long you’re supposed to boil it for. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to grasp or remember or I don’t even know what my problem is with this one. But I just can’t boil an egg without Googling it first.

3. I absolutely can NOT estimate measurements. Distances are a complete mystery to me. If I really have to know/guess the measurements of something then I usually estimate stuff in ‘me’. As in, how many of me would it take from the bottom of the building to the top for example. The taller/longer the object the harder it is to guess though, so it works best for smaller things like bookcases or tables. I wouldn’t be able to tell whether a tree is 3 or 20 meters tall. Just can’t do it.

4. This one isn’t really something essential, but I don’t know how to play any instrument. I went to art school not music school and it’s just something I’ve never gotten round to learning. I tried to learn how to play guitar, but I got bored of it pretty quickly and I haven’t given it a go since. Maybe I should learn something now? It’s never too late, is it? Hmmm, violin? I’ll keep you posted…

5. That’s actually related to my last point. I don’t know how to draw humans. I mentioned I went to art school and yes they did teach how to draw humans there, however, when me and my friend joined, they didn’t have any available places in the first year classes so we were put straight to second year and you can guess what they taught in first year…. Yes, humans. So I can paint you a bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine but anything resembling a human? Noooooope.

6. Eyeliner. Can I just leave it here? It’s really frustrating and I have been practising but I just can’t do eyeliner still. I look ridiculous when I try. My attempts also make me look a few decades older than I am. Not good. Not good at all. I’ll keep practising. Or maybe I’ll just give up and never do it again. Hmpfh. Yes, I’m in a grumpy mood now. Stupid eyeliners.

I think I should probably leave it here. As much as I tried to tell myself that it’s alright to not be perfect at everything, the eyeliner thing still makes me mad. I look at these people (on youtube) just getting it right with one stroke and it makes me despair. Oh well. I shall rise above it and just nod approvingly when I see someone with beautiful eyeliner work. Well done, person, well done. I now picture myself also wearing a monocle whilst I do this. And a top hat. Definitely a top hat.

G.

Books, Challenges, Crafts, Food, My life

Of life in general, briefly. / Ups and downs

Hmm. It’s really weird what I now consider to be my ‘downs’ as they’re actually more of a ‘not that up’. It’s weird to explain, if you haven’t experienced it. But even on my days when I feel like I can’t really be bothered to do anything, which before would’ve found me in a dark hole, I can now just shrug it off. Dealing with things is so different when you’re not well. Also, realising how it’s different is hard when you’re in a place where things aren’t that great.

Now that I’ve noticed the changes I keep finding that I’m more conscious of the slight differences. For example, the other day I was focusing on the feelings in my stomach and the thoughts in my head and realised I last felt like this more than a decade ago. After struggling for so long, it feels amazing to realise that yes, my memories of feeling like this once upon a time weren’t just ‘memory goggles’ that make times gone by feel better, but that I actually did feel different then.

So, back to the topic — oooooh, I just thought that I should’ve told you about my Sunday. I was SO productive and got a buttload of things done. Hmm. Now I’m torn about whether to continue this post or start again. I think I’ll go ahead with my current one at the moment, but expect to see a ‘The Most Productive Sunday Yet’ post soon.

Ok, can I pleaaase get back to my post now? — Today I didn’t go bouncing/trampolining. I should’ve done, but didn’t. Why did I not go? Well, because today is one of the days when I felt like I’d rather eat a reasonably sized portion of lasagna and attempt to make T-shirt yarn. Check and check. The lasagna was a frozen ready meal and actually surprisingly nice. (Today was also one of the days where I couldn’t be bothered to cook from scratch.) T-shirt yarn however… well, I think I’ve got some room for improvement. The first one would be to get proper scissors. The second one would be to learn how to cut even strips… I’m pretty sure some toddlers could surpass me in cutting skills. Once I’ve practised a little bit more I’ll let you know in more detail how it goes and what I’m going to make of the yarn.

Speaking of toddlers (erm… young kids), I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior today. Turns out I’ve got a LOT to learn about cooking and I could learn a lot of it from kids — my fiance just tried to ask me what my post is about and as it’s about everything whilst being about nothing I didn’t want to lose my train of thought so I growled at him. He didn’t appreciate it. — that are half my age and less. My cooking skills were very extremely limited until I was in my early twenties, I think. That’s when I started to explore the world of food a bit more courageously.

Watching a cooking show also reminded me that I haven’t made many soups this year. For those of you who are wondering why I’ve singled out soups – my this year’s challenge is to make 12 different soups. So far I’ve made two. That’s low even for my usual cooking variety, not to mention that I’m supposed to be doing this to complete my challenge. I’m pretty certain I made a lot more soups when it wasn’t a challenge. I’ll need to look into this, I think.

Anyway, it may not have been as brief as the title suggested, but there it is. I got most of the stuff off my mind – a lot of it straight from thoughts to paper without much editing, so I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into my brrrrrain. Oh, the image I used is a picture of daffodils that are on my way to/from work. How cool is that. A sea of daffodils that I walk past every day.

20170411_173427-EFFECTS

I’ll go try to make amends with my fiance now and then go read my book. I’m getting really close to the end of the last book in the trilogy and such interesting things are happening! I can’t even… Yeah. I’ll see you soon!

G.

My life

Looking back, I’ve come so far. (Anxiety/Depression)

Hi all! I wrote this post months ago but it never felt like the right time to put it up. Well, today it hit me – I haven’t felt the effects of depression for quite some time now and my anxiety has gone down a lot. And then I started to think back to some of my latest feelings and experiences and I realised how different they now felt, compared to what it used to be like. It’s amazing. Well and truly amazing. My brain has finally realised that I’m… well, happy. And that’s not to say I wasn’t happy before. My brain was just having a hard time coping with things. But I think with this realisation, it’s now the time to show you this post.


I think this is going to be a bit more serious post than usual. This is something my sister suggested I write about quite some time ago and I’ve been toying around with the idea for a while. Last night however I couldn’t fall asleep, thinking what I’d write about. In fact I almost got out of bed to write everything down then, but I thought I’ll sleep on it and see what I think in the morning. Now it’s morning and I think that if this post could help even one person, I’d be incredibly happy, so I’ll go for it. I may try to think of a funnier title for it later, but at the moment it’s ‘Anxiety/depression’.

I’m so glad that recently a lot of people have spoken up about it, shared their personal experiences and shed some light on it. I think one of the most important things to know about this is that you’re not alone. Anxiety and depression are way more common than you’d think.

I’ve been through quite a bit, some of it I brought on myself, some of it not my fault. A lot of these things brought on thoughts and feelings I couldn’t deal with. Years went by and I still hadn’t found a way to cope. For a few years I felt like there wasn’t a way out and I found everything increasingly difficult. Then I got some outside help, without me or them realising that that’s what it was – help. My family was always really supportive and the new people in my life made everything seem a bit brighter again. I wish that could’ve been the end of it, but my burdens ran deep and still crept out every now and then. I was very up and down, struggling without realising I was struggling. That’s the funny part actually. I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal. I thought that’s how everyone feels. Or maybe I just didn’t think about it much.

My eyes were opened when last year, on top of everything else, I had two panic attacks a week apart. I’d had them before, but usually not more often than a couple of times a year. That made me pick up my courage and seek professional help. I rang up my Dr’s office and they asked me to go in for a chat. That chat was to evaluate what kind of help would be the best for me. I found out that the thoughts and feelings I had were brought on by anxiety and depression and that I could actually get better. It was such a revelation to me, to discover that you don’t have to feel constantly anxious and on the edge and that it’s possible to manage the negative thoughts that are just going round and round in your head. It was such a relief to realise that what I’d been thinking and feeling isn’t necessarily what I’ll be thinking and feeling going forward. I could get better!

Together we decided that I should start with computer based cognitive behavioural therapy. This meant that every week I went in for my appointment, to catch up with my support person and then spend an hour going through the week’s materials and exercises in the Dr’s office. I did this by myself with my support person right there in case I needed anything. I liked that. I like doing things by myself so this suited me well.

At this point I wanted to get well so bad that I think I got ahead of myself and thought that I was better than I actually was. I was burying some things without dealing with them. I was lucky as it didn’t all come crashing down on me, but I did have my ups and downs. My therapy sessions ended about four months ago and I’m finding that I do slip back into the negative loop every now and then, but what the therapy did was give me the tools to manage it. That was the whole point of it. Not to magically fix me, but to give me ways to cope and to gradually need to do it consciously less and less. It’s working for me and after all those ramblings that’s what I’d really like to share with you. There’s not going to be any miracle potions or spells, just some tips that are good to have, even if you’re perfectly fine. Some of these things are pretty basic and you may find that you actually already do these, as we’ve all got our little things that help us get through the rough patches. Even I discovered I already had a couple of good habits (among a hundred bad ones but hey, nobody’s perfect!). Please keep in mind I’m not a healthcare professional and am only talking about what I’ve found useful from personal experience.

What I found the most helpful was scheduling in an enjoyable activity. I hadn’t even realised how I wasn’t really doing the things I used to love doing and just felt like I had no energy for anything ever. But scheduling in something enjoyable, giving it priority over everything else and having to do it has worked wonders. I used to feel that for example if I haven’t done the dishes, I can’t relax without feeling guilty, but knowing that this enjoyable thing that I’d booked in for the day was at the very top of my list, meant that I can do it without feeling bad about anything. So I was doing something I enjoyed and it made me feel great. Good enough in fact that I found I could then tackle the rest of the things on my to do list. (Never put more than five things on your daily list though)

Next thing that I have found very helpful is the can I do anything about it? That’s actually something I already used before my sessions and my support person said it’s a very good technique so I’ve continued to use it with great success. Basically it’s really simple. I picture myself in my happy place, conjure up the thought that’s bothering me in my mind’s eye and think – is there anything I can do about this? If the answer is no I picture a big stamp and just slam it on the thought which leaves a big red NO on it. If there is something I could do about it then I schedule it in for a bit later so I can approach it with fresh mind.

The next thing that’s helped me would need a post of its own, so I’ll talk about it quickly and leave a link to a page that describes it in more detail. Recognising thinking errors. It’s something that very many of us do, usually without realising it. Once you do see them though, you can tackle the errors you’re making and gradually change the way you’re thinking. If you look for this on the internet you’ll find a lot more information about it, these are just two websites that I found pretty much cover what I learned. www.psychologytoday.com and us.reachout.com

There’s a lot more to it, these are just the main things that I’ve found useful. If you feel yourself struggling though, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it’s from your Dr or a friend or family member. You don’t have to go through this alone and you can get better. There are also telephone helplines if you’d like to talk to someone anonymously.


So, that’s what I wrote then and I feel it’s still relevant today. Even though I’m now a lot better, I’m still making sure I do something that I enjoy every day and that I used the techniques I learned, to make sure I stay this way. I don’t punish myself for ‘failings’ and am trying to go a lot easier on myself. I’m only human after all (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You’ll never get me back, you space creatures!)

*Ahem* Still as nutty as squirrel poo.

G.