Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable

Two hundred crappy words a day…

One of my first counselling sessions was about making me comfortable with the uncomfortable things in my life. While it’s small things to some people, they are big ones to me. Things like receiving gifts and compliments would make me uncomfortable, and I had to get comfortable with those things. Why? Because I was taking away someone else’s happiness in doing so. I never felt like I did anything to earn them, as I’d spent most of my time doing something to earn something.

Last year I had to get uncomfortable but not offering financial assistance to those who were in a tight spot, and start doing things like sending myself on a holiday, doing things I want and giving myself that mental freedom. I guess I needed to be a bit selfish. I did that, and it was uncomfortable. I had to distance myself from people, I had to not text them, not spend time with them. Change my habits so that I could look after myself. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be in. That continued through 2019 and I kept feeling uncomfortable with a lot of things, the second major one was standing up for myself, holding people to their word and calling people out on their behaviour towards me, and that it’s not okay to treat someone like they have. It may have caused some issues but it was something I needed to do.

I’m experiencing another kind of uncomfortable at the moment and I’m not entirely sure where the cause is. But I’ve been in a low, depressive state for some time now. I would say since late 2017 is when it started. It could be from the fibromyalgia, it could be from being overwhelmed with too much going on, or given my families mental health issues. One of those could be coming to the foreground. But either way, I needed to deal with it. While I think maybe I’ve dealt with it too late, and I’ve hurt people I love and care about. I still need to deal with it and hopefully I can repair some of the damage, create that safe space for people around me again.

I’ve had to do some things that are also uncomfortable, and confronting. I’ve had people call me out on my behaviour, and I don’t think I’ve been totally aware of it. I’ve had to see my GP about a mental health plan, organise other things with my existing counsellor. I started on anti-depressants last night, I’ve been on several before but they were with the main aim of helping my Fibromyalgia and reducing the pain and effects. This time around I’m taking them for depression, mood swings, low mood and all the other shit that comes with it.

It’s been confronting, and uncomfortable. But it’s not something I can just mull on and do whenever I feel comfortable because that’s how I’ve done it in the past and it hasn’t gone to plan.

I’ve booked in with a psychologist, and started the anti-depressants. I can only see how it goes from there, there won’t be trying anymore.

Do or do not. There is no try.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

In late 2018, I was travelling back after a month in Scotland with Dad and we arrived at Perth Airport, we had a couple outs to kill until we left Perth for the final flight back to Adelaide.

I disappeared to the bathroom and left Dad for a few minutes to browse around the shops. I get back and sit down and he hands me a brown paper bag “I got you a gift”. I open it up, to a copy of Mark Mansons ‘The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck’ and he says “you need to be a bit more subtle”. To which I responded “Fuck off”.

The book sat on my bedside table on my pile of shame for a year, I wasn’t going to read it for two reasons. I didn’t give a fuck, and I was protesting silently. Eventually, I picked up Marks second book before a doctors appointment ‘Everything is Fucked’, and proceeded to read (and giggle) at the first few pages while I wait for my Doctor, and also giggle about the irony of someone sitting in a doctors waiting room reading a book titled ‘Everything is Fucked’. But I started to enjoy it, quick witted, sarcastic and full of my favourite word. So I figured I should read his other book first.

I’d heard a lot of fuss about it, that it was life changing and a few people said “don’t read pass the first chapter”. My instinct instantly said there’s something at the end that says I shouldn’t have given a fuck and not read the rest of the book. I decided to press on after the first chapter anyway just to see what it was like and what would happen.

I powered through a maybe the first quarter of the book, then after that it felt like a lot of waffle. It be came a struggle, but I figured I’d persist. I’ve lost count how many times my new years resolutions have been “Read more books” and I’ve read precisely the amount I read the year before, or less. I have what I call the “pile of shame” on my bedside. A bunch of books we’ve purchased because we’ve judged a book by its cover that it’ll sound good but never got around to reading them. I buy books faster than I can read them.

What I did find while trudging through this book was each time I got around to picking it up and doing another 20 pages or chapter, was that the part I was reading was relevant to what I was currently experiencing with my life. The gaps between picking up the book could be days, or weeks, but each time I would find myself reading about Marks advice to something that I’m dealing with right at this time. Maybe it’s pure coincidence or fate in some form? But either way, it’s teaching me a few things and also I’m doing my best to make amends. Right now I’m dealing with breaking the trust of someone very close to me, and I’ve shattered it good and proper. I’m just hoping it’s still in a repairable state and not in dust, because it’s someone I would hate to lose.

I do, however, feel like I broke this unknowingly. But I’ll be working on recognising the values that I have broken.

Off to finish the last chapter, “… and then you die.”

twentytwenty – the year that wasn’t

If I had to sum up 2019 in one word, it would have to be “Shit”. But that might not accurately describe it, 2020 isn’t off to a great start either, and it’s not even the end of fucking February.
While I spent most of the year uncomfortable due to growth in several aspects of my life. The usual shit life throws at you was on top of that as well.

Dad having a stroke in March was the kick off, it’s left me spending a lot of time thinking about my future, and what I want. Or more morbidly, what am I going to do once I have no family left? Dad and his wife are all I essentially have. The closest after that is Riss and the boys. But I don’t stay in contact with my other siblings and have no desire too. No wife, no kids.

Later on Riss having a stroke compounded that, to nearly lose one of the closest people in my life left a horrible feeling in my gut. One that makes me feel like I haven’t accomplished a lot with myself, and also… That I wasn’t happy.

I’ve definitely been in a funk, and looking back on how long it’s been going for. Around late 2017 is probably when it went low, and it’s stayed there since. I can’t be sure if it’s from all the various medication I’ve had to take over time, or just that I went down the rabbit hole and I’ve been there since.
Having to deal with one ex this year be someone I didn’t think they ever could be, nasty and vindictive and getting lawyers involved. Was almost the icing on the cake.

But I stuck to the things I had learnt through my counsellor, my logic and it was settled in the end. But it still doesn’t make me feel good after that, I still feel horrible. Not as in a horrible person, but that someone could be so horrible. To twist the truth and even make themselves look like the victim to my own lawyer. I’m not sure that’s how lawyers work. I guess that’s what happens when you call someone out on their behaviour, they’ll lash out.

My uncomfortable space is telling people “no” and standing up for myself. Rather than have them walking over me like most have been doing, I’m no longer a bank, I’m no longer someone’s counsellor, and I’m not there for people when they have a bad day and need their behaviour to be justified.
I’ve created more time and space for myself, and now that I’m on a roll. I’m not going to stop, I have things I want to be doing, things I want to be creating. Things that are good for the soul and give me some happiness and satisfaction with what I’ve done, and I want to be able to do this without anyone’s opinion, or approval. Or telling me what I can and cannot do.

After a lengthy conversation with a friend in the UK the other week, I said I don’t find a lot of happiness, I don’t find a lot of joy in anything, to which she said “you’re depressed”. And she’s right, I would at a guess say that I’ve been avoiding it for quite some time. Where as usually if something comes along and presents me with a challenge I’ll tackle it with a solution head on.

To add further on into the year, while I’m in my uncomfortable place and dealing with bits and pieces internally. My best of all friends attempted to take her own life, triggered by a lot of stress and being stuck in a place with no way out. I think a lot of people tend to know how that feels. But I feel shitty because I wasn’t able to help her, but this time it would have been help in the form of friendship, or advice, or at least picking her up when she got down. But I was at that stage when I couldn’t be a bank or give financial help anymore. Which is something I’ve had to stop doing for my own good.

It’s been a hard road, up and down emotionally. I can be great and 10 minutes later I’m feeling infinite sadness. Is it the fact that I’ve trialled so many medications with my fibromyalgia that it’s started to play with my mind? Depression and anxiety are two of the major side effects of the chronic illness, and I even begin to question my own sanity at times, and my choices.

The worst thing is I’ve lashed out unintentionally at those I love and care about, I’ve compromised their safety, and also that I’ve been a safe space for them to go and that’s been cut off with my behaviour. Recognising it is the first step, doing something about it is the second step. I went to my GP and talked about a mental health plan, and also my counsellor as well. While I’ve been seeing one for a few years now, I’m at the stage where I need additional help for my mental health. If I don’t, it will only continue to spiral downward, affect those I love and care about. Hurt them and have them step back or be pushed away.

I struggle to grip a pen now with the pain that fibro gives me, so I took the plunge and bought myself a cheap Macbook Pro so I can have distraction free writing and use this more as an outlet. As it was said by someone in Mark Mansons novel, “two hundred crappy words a day”. So lets see how I go with two hundred crappy words a day. Not as seperate posts that is.

From Benches to Beaches

I’ve been to a lot of benches by the ocean and walked on a lot of beaches in the past year. Majority of them with my camera but I’ve been going without my camera or my headphones, due to a good outside influence.

Going to the beach has always been about winding down from stresses in work and life. During a fairly stressful time this year, I hadn’t been down at all for nearly 6 weeks, and when it was pointed out to me that maybe if I went I’d feel less stressed, and they were right. I needed to “ground myself”, and they couldn’t have been any more right at that time.

Getting to the beach and digging my toes into the sand came with a tingling feeling, it could have been just because the sand was freezing cold given we were in the middle of winter. But it felt like all my stresses were running out of my toes while I reconnected myself.
It reminded me of every now and then when I went to the beach on a walk, I’d come across an elderly Japanese man, still in his business suit from the workday. He would still be decked out but not wearing shoes, and it was only until recently that it occurred to me that he was grounding himself.

I remember as a kid I’d spend my summers down the beach, I’d come home with sand all over me and hair feeling like a wire brush from all the saltwater. I’d sleep in it, and feel sand in the bed and on the floor. As an adult, I get in my car and I brush the sand off my feet so I don’t get it in my shoes, or in the car, or in my bed. When I have that spontanous urge to go to the beach after work, I would pull up my jeans so they didnt get wet or sand on them. It’s just a pair of jeans, I have more pairs, it’ll wash out. It’s not the end of the world if I get sand and water on them is it?

Is this something that changed over time as we become an adult and we start to prevent everything that irritates us that didn’t as a kid? Why did we start caring so much about things like this? Is it the opinion of others because we live that lifestyle a little more carefree than most?

It only took a few words from someone with a big heart to remind me that sometimes I need to get in touch with everything outside of me to remind me the small things in life need to be appreciated on a regular basis.
This might just very well direct me on the path I want and need to be heading.

Be Uncluttered

I did a thing, I spoke with Bec about Minimalism, low waste, and how it benefits me living with a chronic illness.

List on the podcast.

 

Find more podcasts at www.beuncluttered.com.au

Wintery Wooden Wonderland

Another season of cricket is coming to a close, this time with a new club. There are about five more games left, and inevitably I will hit that stage of the year where I will go “what the fuck do I do with 8 hours on a Saturday?”, and of course. During winter. I debated trying a winter sport, or some kind of activity out of the house. Photography only gets so far, if it’s raining I can’t take the camera out in it as it’ll ruin it. I can still go to the beach when it’s stormy, and I will because I enjoy the beach regardless of the weather.

I debated getting a mountain bike and going out with mates, but given my frame of mind lately. I’d like to start building things in the shed, I’ve refurbished some furniture before but haven’t built anything from scratch since I was in high school. I’d like to replace my computer desk which is currently a flimsy IKEA piece of cardboard with some legs on it. My entertainment unit is falling apart, and I’d like to replace my coffee table and dining table (not that I used it much) as they aren’t mine.

But I think spending some time away from a couch, or a screen, or binging Netflix would be good for me. I’ve done it before and I’m quite happy to light the fire outside and potter away in the shed for hours on cold nights with some good music.

Ketogenic Unknown

Another long weekend has rolled around and I’m using my Monday day off to continue with the binge watch of Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown.

While I’ve been watching it to reignite me going into the kitchen and cook, instead of hating the space. It’s also made me think a little more about the food we eat, and that’s besides that I’m trying ketogenic again.

There are a lot of other cultures that make everything from scratch, mostly with natural fresh ingredients. Cuba is essentially an organic country because they don’t have the economy to support pesticides and what not to keep bugs away. So they grow and use everything that’s seasonal. And not much is preserved either.

Some countries and cultures have a lot more time to cook and prepare food, and by having a simpler, slower way of life. They live longer and healthier. Their diets aren’t carbohydrate based like most of the western world.

First came 30 minute meals by Jamie Oliver, then 15 minute meals. Designed so people who wanted to cook still could around their busy schedule. But does any of these people slow down and spend hours cooking something from scratch? Do they grab a can or a jar for the convenience? And has it just become a reflex to do so? And I don’t think anyone ever really stops to think about what’s in that jar of sauce. It’s not hard to boil, peel and turn tomatoes into pasta sauce, add in some salt and pepper, basil and other stuff and you’ll have something that’s not filled with a whole bunch of names you can’t pronounce.

The same goes for that jar of honey soy sauce, have you thought of adding soy sauce and honey to your stir fry? It’s not hard and it’s probably quicker to do when you spend 5 minutes trying to open that jar.

I’m making more of an effort to give myself more free time and dedicate it to cooking better. Lets see how long that lasts though.

Riddle me this, riddle me that

Who’s afraid of the big, black, bat.

“New Year, New Me”. Fuck that shit. Same shit different day, and you shouldn’t need a new year to find motivation to make life changes.

However, my life changes have been slow. Almost caught up in too much thought about what I should be doing instead of taking the jump. Taking a jump, a plunge or just doing something that can step you out of your comfort zone can be completely daunting.

Life is at a crossroads.If I go down path A, I will no longer live the current lifestyle I have, which I find boring and depressive. Which sounds bad, but I have nothing to stimulate my mind or have much to be passionate about. But it means more freedom and probably better mental health. Or do I go down path B, where I would have less freedom, but be keeping myself busy, more productive and a potential career change and doing things I’ll be passionate about. Or at least something different than my usual day to day job. But how will that impact my mental health? And also my chronic illness?

I guess I’ll have to find out along the way. Both paths are enticing to go down, freedom versus doing something I really think I would enjoy. But may still give me the option of path A later down the road.

This is how my life works, a constant state of my head feeling like a washing machine going while full of scrambled eggs. The same goes for people and potential relationships, they say one thing but do another. Add that into all the other factors of those scrambled eggs spinning around and my head is just a place of violent, mushy clutter. My mind is set to “slow grind” and will leave me with a cluster of riddles to solve.

 

Peace be the journey

The last month has been a roller-coaster to say the least, incredible highs, incredible lows. Lots of happiness and lots of sadness.

Three years ago when I took the plunge into getting some counselling/life coaching I didn’t really know what awaited. I know I’d experienced heart break and being stripped down to nothing. But a journey had started, I’ve learnt many things along the way and I continue to do so. I was told I had to get used to “bragging” and talking about the things I do, I was told to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. As I’ve travelled this journey I’ve had something each time that happened that felt like a piece of the puzzle to this journey.

In my most recent session last week, I explained how my week had been and where my headspace was at. It wasn’t in a particularly great space, and my heart was being pulled in two directions. One, from meeting someone new and having a full unexpected connection to them, to revisiting an old one and seeking answers and closure, of which I had a strong connection with as well.

I’d dipped my toe in the dating world a little over the past few months, coffee, dinner, movies. Whatever at the time to meet someone new. But the date never progressed past a first, and I felt no connection with any of them. It was only until I’d met someone unexpectedly I had the first strong connection since I can remember. It felt like every piece of that puzzle on my journey now fell into place. From the things I had learnt, to the music I had listened to, ideas for the future and things I wanted in life, they were all part of the puzzle as they were mutual between both of us.

I had to “brag” about the things I had done to continue conversation, and get uncomfortable when I do that. I still struggle to do that. But the layers around me came off and I dropped my guard because I met someone who was unexpectedly and whole heartedly themselves and I was okay with that. A wonderful woman with more thought and intent from her heart that I’ve come across. My cup overflowed and every corner of me felt something for the first time in a long time.  We talked about a lot, life, love, music, things that we are passionate about. We watched sunsets, walked on the beach and continued talking about anything until we stared at the stars, which I can’t remember the last time I even did that.

The unfortunate thing was, the timing seemed to be wrong. As much as she said she was broken even though I didn’t think it. A string of relationships had led her to the point where she was overwhelmed at someone treating her differently, and led her not wanting any contact. As much as she said other things as to why we shouldn’t have contact, I think they were just there to distance us from each other so she can protect herself.

But during that process, I felt like I needed to deal with some past issues. So I got in contact with someone who had left an impression on me from a long time ago, so that I could deal with the thoughts that still remained in my head. It’s been weird reconnecting with someone who gave a lot of heart break, but strangely we slotted right back in where we left off, it was a familiar place and comfort.

While talking to my counsellor, she started a diagram of my journey when it’s come to my love life and the lessons it has taught me along the way. I started at severe heartbreak, the next moved onto exercising patience. The next was a new experience and dynamics of a relationship, but also continued to be an asset in my life and continued support since.

The next was a lesson in reminding me what I wanted in a relationship. While we had similar morals, interests and it came from a place of love. There was jealousy and in the same form I’ve seen before and I wasn’t willing to go down that path again.

The most recent is yet to teach me a lesson, I let my guard down when I had someone who showed they cared and listened intently.

By my counsellor showing my this path and contacting my initial place of heartbreak, I had gone full circle in my journey, and I’m waiting on the remaining piece of my puzzle to fall into place. But also that the last person who grabbed hold of me so hard is still there to come back into my life, she’s not done with me yet, and for me to understand that I have all the previous lessons I have learned over the past few years from lovers to reflect on to guide me the right way.

The first layer of my journey has been peeled off, and soon I’ll be starting the next.

Change of the guard

Earlier in the year I stepped down from my duties at a cricket club I’d played at for some time, I lost the love for a game that I’d played for a long time. I found no fun, no enjoyment. People’s attitudes were creeping in and it became toxic. Being a member of the committee meant more time doing stuff for the club rather than playing a game and enjoying myself. Eventually, I stopped enjoying myself, and when insults came from people during a game I simply had enough and walked away.

I sat with the idea of giving it up altogether, or moving to another club. A different environment. I had to be selfish for my own sake for once. So after many months of thinking it over I eventually shifted clubs.

New faces, new places, a whole lot of new everything. A new environment has been a breath of fresh air, I’ve enjoyed my cricket so far this year. I’m getting a lot more of a role which I wasn’t expecting, but also high expectations came when I joined that I would be doing a lot, so personally I don’t think I’ve fired yet. I’m hoping I can contribute more than I have to the team, I’m with a great bunch of guys, and there is a huge cultural difference to the previous one. Going from mostly white Australian players to having half the team from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka). They all have a different lease on the game. They have fun, they play hard and they are happy to lift other players, give them encouragement and advice.

I’ve even had some coaching (see: advice from a mate) on my batting. In the years of playing cricket at my last club with a paid coach I never got any. I got a few minutes with someone who isn’t a coach but I took their advice and I’m playing better than I have in years.

I’m looking forward to how much more I can do this year, even it’s a little bit.