Browsing Tag

anxiety

Serenity Now!

I feel like an episode of Seinfeld at times. I need to yell “Serenity Now!” at the top of my lungs.

I’m wandering around the house tidying up because my parents are coming over, I don’t usually invite them over. Why? Because they are offensive, judgemental, and don’t keep comments to themselves.

I think last time I invited them over I was annoyed about why they needed to discuss with me for an hour about why I don’t have many pictures on my walls. Because I don’t want them? And how does this have any impact on them? It’s not their house and they are not here every day. Not only that, I don’t notice my walls when I’m walking around the house. It’s not an art gallery. Maybe it should be with some of my photos.

Since I’d invited them over, there’s been constant questions about what’s going on. Dad asked on Thursday, and Friday about what to do if they were pulled over by the police for non-essential travel. Given the fact that there are cars fucking everywhere still and people doing non-essential travel. But I had to remind dad that they can simply say they are coming to check on me as I have a chronic illness.

And again this morning while walking around the house thinking about it, they ring me and ask me for the third day in a row the same questions. Also that they are bringing dessert for after lunch, when I told them I’d sorted it, they still went ahead and did it anyway.

So I am essentially “panic tidying” my place so that they can’t see anything they can point at and start criticising me about. “Why is that there?” “What do you have that for?” “Why don’t you do this?”.

Wooooossaaaaaaa… serenity now.

Great Scott!

Whoa, this is heavy.

There’s been a lot on the past week, and while it hasn’t been stressful it’s just been a lot to take onboard. Work has been particularly busy due to everyone needing to be able to work from home, or remotely due to the whole COVID-19 outbreak. There is plenty of work and I’m keeping busy, but also trying to keep my distance from clients in case of those who are infected and may pass it onto myself.

On Wednesday I had my first psychologist appointment, it was at least a comfortable introductory session where we could talk about what’s going on, why and how we can go about working on them. My main concerns have been the depression, which seems to have been a side effect of my chronic illness, the last six months have probably been the worst of it. Speaking with both my counsellor and my psych, we’ve ended up in the general ball park that the Fibromyalgia had the side effect of depression and anxiety. But also that it’s had another side effect of disassociating with any of the empathy that I had before towards others in my life. In turn, this has cause some friction with others, and hurt them as well.

So working on that will be my main priority, and the psych is also giving me tasks on helping me manage pain with Fibro and also mapping some new neural pathways. It’s a start, and I’ll just have to keep going.

Friday I had another follow up appointment with my GP, just to see how the anti-depressants are going, and so far no major side effects. I feel stable, while just a tad low in mood. But not as low as the Dothep I was taking. It’s certainly doing a better job. We’re going to see how it goes for another month and reassess again, and I can also look at going up in the dose if I feel I need it.

Yesterday, was also my birthday. Schfifty-five, no. Just kidding, Thirty-Seven. I don’t feel any different to be honest. Maybe a tad of anxiety around life that I’m late 30’s and not doing all the things other people do like marriage and a family. I’m still trying to find my way. But that’s been a low level lingering feeling for quite some time. I’ve never been a big birthday person, I got a message just after midnight from Riss saying Happy Birthday, in her own way too. A few from the other people that count, and the ones I usually expect won’t remember or message.

I caught up with an old co-worker/house mate I haven’t seen in a couple of years, but we’ve kept in touch online a little, and he’s only 20 minutes away. I spent the evening with my parents, a simple dinner, some cake that put me in a sugar coma until this morning, and also watched John Wick with Dad as he’s never seen it. He enjoyed that and is going to watch the other two.

Today is just kicking around the house and doing a few things, and hopefully I get to hang with one of my favourite humans later this evening.

Having a Macbook dedicated to blogging is also helping me write more frequently and also have ideas for other things to talk about.

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.

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.

 

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.

Cut my life into pizza

There’s a lot of things you don’t get taught in life, like doing your taxes or filling out a passport. There are a lot of things you’ll be told in life, like to “expect the unexpected”. There’s irony in expecting the unexpected, you can do everything in your power to be prepared but then it’ll hit you in some silly little way.

Saturday morning I slept in, one of the few times my body let me sleep long enough. Did my usual things around the house, then went to get my laptop out of my backpack to do some work on it. I couldn’t find it where I left it, I searched the house high and low. Drove to the office to check, checked the house again. Gone. So I logged into my Google account, and saw activity on the laptop while I was asleep, from an IP address that wasn’t mine.

Stolen.

Trace the IP, find it’s location via latitude and longitude. Call the police and follow up on the report I made when I first found it was gone. Give them the details, the CIB head off to the address given. No luck on finding the laptop, but sounds like it had been there.

I’m not worried about the physical laptop itself, or the cost or replacing it. But that people were going through my email, my bank accounts, searching my car registration details and number plate. It’s left me in a very anxious state knowing they could come back to try for my car, it left me on edge and unable to sleep.

Also in my backpack was some work stuff, so I had to contact clients and get them to revoke my security access. Change passwords to all my accounts, removing syncing on browsers. All this over the sake of a $60 backpack and 4 year old laptop I paid $400 for. Of which by the way, they were trying to load Windows 10 on it, and it doesn’t run it. Morons.

Never the less, it took me less than a few hours to get all the information needed to pass onto detectives for them to investigate and gain entry to the place of the IP address.

I also had my notepad in the backpack, which was used with my counselor. It contained two years of my thoughts and work with them and it was all written down for a stranger to read. It’s a massive invasion of my headspace, and honestly I don’t care about the laptop either. Just the breach of my own privacy and the stuff in the note pad. If I had the chance I’d smash it in front of them. I’m more attached to the photos I had on there (which are backed up anyway), and my blog posts and what not that were still in drafts. My emails etc. I don’t have anything to hide, but anyone just waltzing through my personal stuff isn’t great for the mental health. It’s left me rethinking a lot of things, and I don’t want to be one of those hypochondriacs who get bars all over the windows and security alarms. But now I do feel like I need something in place. Some contents insurance, a camera, and probably some tracking for my valuables (mainly my pc’s).

I’m not really sure how to handle it, or what to do. I’ve been anxious since it happens and all the doors end up locked and checked before I go to sleep or leave the house.

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I came across this post sometime early in 2017, and it made a lot of sense. I thought it’s worth reposting, not only for others but also to reference for myself at some stage. Just in case the post disappears I guess.


What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough.

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small. Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home. Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough.

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the “experts” marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions. A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.


Source: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/

Grand Chancellor… of life, love, and all that comes with it

In 2016, I made the decision to see a counselor. A holistic one at that, I didn’t want to go and see a psych who would just shove me on some kind of anti-depressants and peddle me out the door “come see me next week”, and then talk about my childhood.

The seed was initially planted after several heated arguments with friends, one suggesting I get some help. Some people can take that on negatively, but I can only see someone that genuinely cares about the person and their mental health.

I don’t see going to a counselor or psych because some may have mental health issues, that’s where a bad stigma exists. Some people use them for a career change and seek advice, advice with families and relationships. Not just all those who have a mental health issue.

Seeing a counselor was the worst, and the best decision I’d ever made. It taught me and gave me the tools I needed to deal with the past, present and future problems. It helped me be more mindful of what I’m doing and the things around me. Like how much plastic goes into landfill, how much ends up in the ocean and from that, I worked to have less general waste. Everything now goes into recycling or compost. I haven’t had any general waste in over 6 months. It’s also made me more mindful of the people I have around me in my life. But it also presented me with new issues, events and feelings I hadn’t dealt with before. But it’s certainly made things a rollercoaster ride with everything new, and even old experiences when it comes to managing them.

Prior to seeing the counselor, I’d had a relationship that had ended very badly. Badly enough that I had mentally checked out for about six weeks or so. There are only three or four events during that time that I remember. I know I barely ate and lost a lot of weight, and I don’t have any other recollections of what happened during that time. I do, however, feel guilty that the people I care about and consider close, sat by and tried to help someone that wasn’t aware they were being helped or even walking on the face of the planet.

I’ve never been into the conventional views of relationships, like the man going to work to earn and provide. Nor have I been the same of people’s views of having a successful life and relationship, be it marriage, kids, car, house successful job/ well-payed career.

I’d like to be happy with who I am, where I am, and what I do. Not measured by other people’s standards. Marriage, a house, and all that pressure externally from others hadn’t been in my mind until my last relationship. I miss that relationship because I could be myself, there were no fears for the future, wanting to marry her and all of the above weren’t pressure from the outside world. They were on my own terms, and I wanted to see the relationship and those involved flourish because the deserved happiness, as much as I deserve happiness too.

When you spend time with someone and get to know them, you fall in love with every part of them. You only want them to have endless happiness, to give them things that make them happy. For me it was also a want, to give her happiness, inner peace, and contentment.

I would have happily given her a house, not just for a place to live. But a place of peace and content. Something that could be built to our own morals, and hearts. A place for a garden, a place for peaceful activities. While I like gardening, I don’t have many options in a rental. But I know it was her form of relaxation, and meditation, an off switch when she needed it most. I would have loved that chance to give her that space. For me, designing a house is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s an off switch for me, even watching tv shows about architecture. I can immerse myself and be lost in it. A house with recycled materials, big jetty pylons, and blocks of concrete. Earthy tones and a warm feeling, big windows to bring outside into the house so you never feel complete shut inside, or outside. If it was at all possible, I’d have tried to get the land that I grew up on, but now it’s part of a conservation park. It’s still a peaceful place for me to go.

Happiness and peace are important to my life, I never got a lot of it growing up. It was only until my late twenties that I was starting to experience it and felt I’d find that in a relationship. My mental health suffered during this time, and while I’m told I’m good at masking it. I should have been open about it, and not let it affect the relationship as it’s no excuse. It was my responsibility to look after it and I didn’t. It only got worse when the relationship ended with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever set my heart on.

The road to recovery will be long, hard, and confusing. I will have to find patience again. I’d like to find my passion again as I’ve lost it. There isn’t much that interests me anymore and I feel like I’m wasting away and wasting my time. I’m also not sure what I’m passionate about anymore either.

I do know I’d love to get a chance to be a husband, partner, sidekick, educator and role model, a Dad. But the word “father” never really comes to mind. Just because you can bring a child into this world does not make you a Father. Regardless of whoever’s child, it is, I’ll always take time to listen, educate and be a role model.

But where is my passion, and my heart supposed to go? If you observe the people around you, a lot of them are the same. Live the same lifestyle, do the same things over and over again without much thought to their own growth as a person. It’s the different ones I take notice of. Am I mean to stay in one place? Work in I.T. and do the same things over and over again? Am I meant for something different? Give up the rat race and live out a van like a nomad? Become someone who travels full time and blogs? Live in a different country as a writer about whatever the fuck that feels right? These are the people I take notice of, the “round peg in the square hole’.

 

That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace.

Richard Winters

 

Mirror mirror on the wall…

There should always be time for self reflection, be it how you go in a job, your personality, your goals, and even relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy parts with life, people pulling you left and right, the constant stream of work that needs to get done because of demands. Always make time for yourself to wind down, and always make time to reflect on how these things are progressing, and if they suit you.

It came to the forefront of my mind recently, that while I’m busy doing other things that I feel I need to do, prioritise or want to get done. It can come at a sacrifice to others, their well-being, headspace and health in general. Three things come to mind now, my commitments to the cricket club, voluntary commitments to others that I may help in some form or another, and also my own headspace being caught up with whatever may be bothering me. Those examples are that I was tipping a lot of time into getting the cricket clubs season up and running, I was also helping a friend who was doing some fundraising for Beyond Blue to create awareness of depression and anxiety, and I was also stuck in a place where I felt I had no control over my health. Waiting on a magical pill or doctors to find some way that my Fibromyalgia could have it’s symptoms reduced, instead of trying things on my own.

The problem with these is that while I was helping someone to raise awareness of depression and anxiety, I wasn’t paying the attention I should have to the woman I love and care about. Going through the same battle herself, it drips in irony. While I wasn’t completely shut off from this, sometimes taking action may be what’s needed to help them, to show that you’re paying attention to what’s going on with them and know that they are fighting a battle. But that they aren’t fighting the battle alone, they will have the support, love and care they need behind them through a tough time. They can’t see an end to it, that’s what the people for love and support are for, to show them that there is light at the end and things will be better.

Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up. – Alfred Pennyworth

It’s these kind of events that you need to take a step back, and realise that family, and people you love. Come first. They will, and have been the ones there when you’ve needed it. The ones you’re comfortable with, the one you can laugh and cry with. The one who will tell you during the bad times that things will get better, and enjoy the moment when the good times are there.

I was caught up in my own headspace trying to fix myself, knowing that there was nothing I could do to control it and didn’t offer any logical support, and that was a shitty thing to do. It’s something to learn from, something to take on board and self reflect from.

This is certainly the first relationship where I’ve found something close to “opposites attract” and is actually true. While there isn’t a great deal in common when it comes to hobbies and things we enjoy. There’s a certain comfort that comes from it, no expectations to be anyone we are not. Just ourselves. It’s fun and a good place to be in. Enjoy the simple things, like tea and custard tarts, and the odd arse crack and fart on Snapchat.