New things!

Life has been moving and changing as it invariably always does. The most immensely sad things have happened and in equal measure the most beautiful and wonderful things have occurred.

To detail all of the pain or celebration of the past few months would be to spill the pain and joy of not just myself but also others; perhaps I have finally learnt that the world and all its misery does not revolve around me… So instead of deconstructing and analysing the swing of events, as I feel so compelled to do, I will simply say that I survived it all once again.

I changed my hours at work a few months ago, I felt ready for a new challenge and the monotony of what I was doing previously had me feeling dangerously close to destruction. My brain needed some stimuli and the Open University course that I am doing didn’t really feel like the right fit – though I am dedicated to finishing it.

When a position came up in work that meant I could take on some overtime I thought it would be ideal – I start early in the morning and can take on a later shift too. I thought it would be the perfect way to help me transition from part time to full time hours. I applied for it, had an interview and got the job. I was so proud of myself! I would never have had the confidence to even apply for something like this a few years ago let alone make it through the interview process.

Change is always stressful, management of my moods and the strategies I have developed rely on very little change happening – when I moved house almost two years ago it hit me hard and took me a really long time to re-balance my moods, my foundation and security had been taken away from me. Work is the same, it is familiar – the people mostly stay the same, the routine is the same, the building is the same… it is safe. I found moving my hours stressful but because the change was minimal, in that it was within the same building and with familiar people, I managed to balance myself fairly quickly.

It was not the wondrous thing I was hoping for though… I wanted to be challenged, I needed to feel as if I could progress but all I felt was a looming dead end. I was put in a small and isolated area of the store and once I had managed to tidy and organise it, there was nothing left to do. I am proud that I managed to run it so efficiently by myself but being isolated in a quiet area of a busy store is not healthy for me at all, my paranoia has blossomed in my time there and my social skills have declined.

This would usually be the perfect excuse for a downward spiral, a deep decline into woe brought on by the misery that, despite my best efforts, I have not managed to make anything better for myself.

I didn’t give in to the decline, this is quite a feat for me! As my moods started swinging a little more frequently and both paranoia and anxiety got bored of whispering and began to shout – I began to consider applying for something new and happened to see an ad for a job that seemed pretty perfect for me, I applied, I went through a dreaded and difficult group interview, I got the job and handed in my notice.

I start in just over a week and I am so excited about this new job, I really think it will be a challenge for me – it’ll engage my brain and hopefully boost my confidence. I’m proud of myself for grasping hold of this opportunity despite now also feeling utterly terrified of having to build a new foundation of security on which to build my management techniques and the inevitable swing of moods this massive change will bring.

I feel as though this is the start of great things for me, though I am sad to leave all that I have built and the people I have come to socialise with behind.

I didn’t give up when progression didn’t work the first time… perhaps I’m still learning after all.

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The future of me…

Dare I look, must I see
What likely will become of me
I saw your trials, your tribulations
I heard your gloomy declarations
You stagnate, you fester, you weep, you pester
I wait, sequester, too late an investor
Now, the end
As bleak as the start
All you’ve left, a broken heart.

Deserving

Do you ever wonder, when joy comes your way, if you deserve it. If perhaps the fates got it wrong and that eventually, like an errant payment to a bank account, it’ll soon be rectified and you will return to the monotony or misery of yesterday.

I wonder.

I wonder if I am allowed to be happy and who gets to decide either way. I wonder if I am in control of my own happiness and if so, is that happiness ever actually real if I am the one to allow it to filter into my life.

I wonder what happiness is and if I’m doing it the right way. I wonder if wondering that is the antithesis of happiness in itself.

I question whether I am good enough and with each slip up, episode or swinging mood, I wonder why others would go to the effort of being anywhere near me.

I feel as though I am constantly passing and failing tests simultaneously. As I please one so I disappoint another.

I feel as though I am the hard task for others to uptake. I just show up and spend enjoyable time with them and they work hard to be with me, to tolerate the many facets of me, to cope with me… Do they dread another slip into the darkness as much as I do?

Do people ever get to the point in their lives where they have absolutely no insecurities? Is it possible to just be completely secure in your own being and not worry at all about the impact of your self on the lives of other people. What do I have to offer people? I have been empty, nothing but a vessel full of melancholy, for so long…

Happiness is seeping through the cracks in my emotional armour, unbidden and foreign to me. I don’t know what to do with the light that touches my soul but it warms me from the inside out and though I might question how deserving I am of it – I know I will hold on to it as long as it will have me. Security makes an attempt to follow but it will surely take time to penetrate my untrusting mind.

Is it time to admit that things are going well and stop looking for tragedy to strike?

Am I allowed to feel?

I find myself in new, unbidden territory; the world is awash with magic and I am sat in wonder inside the cyclone of emotion that is my mind. Just what am I allowed to feel?

I have never been here before. I have thought I was many a time but now the difference is stark and harsh.

The sweep of new emotion is so gargantuan that I would be remiss not to ponder the effect it will have on my mental health. I practice such careful management of my affliction that surely this newfound bliss will throw my stability out of the window? Am I allowed to feel this happy, is it ok to allow myself to be carried away in joy? Or in allowing this am I setting myself up for a deep swing into depression?

I find that I don’t care to know the answers to these questions. Logic tells me that these emotions, these feelings, are too full, too much, too wonderful for me to ever hope to cope with. Logic tells me that this is bordering on mania and that destruction and a fall will surely follow and yet this doesn’t feel like mania – this feels like a mutual meeting of destiny, is that the mania talking?

I am going to allow this wave of emotion, if I shut it down then perhaps I close the door on the future and what point is there in stability if I am too afraid to live? If only there were some way to look forward and see if it is worth the risk of shaking my slowly built foundation… but I feel, deep in my soul, that contentment lies at the feet of this choice and so I thrown caution to the wind and I live. I really live.

 

Expiration

What a travesty it would have been

If wishes had been granted

If you’d listened to my aching pleas

Before they were recanted

 

What torment to ponder

The times that I would miss

The smiles

The tears

The laughter

That moment when we’ll kiss

 

Perhaps I’ll wish again one day

I hope that when I do

I’ll turn to you and realise

I can take a different view

 

If

If now is not the time

If your heart is not yet mine

If you need to take things slow

If I let you run the show

I’ll dream a dream of you

and dream again tomorrow

Hopefully the truth will be quick to follow

 

If it was never real

and all we are was lies

If I imagined what I feel

If the budding bloom soon dies

I’ll dream a dream of you

and hold it in my heart

and tomorrow perhaps

True love will start

Reminiscing

I quite often would describe myself as an open book – if I am asked a direct question I would certainly answer it honestly and succinctly and I lay myself bare here often; but I am learning that in fact I am not an open book – I am an intensely private person, closely guarded.

I have been reminiscing of late. Someone recognised my accent (which is the amalgamation of many an accent!) as that of the place I grew up and it set my mind whirring – am I happy or sad that this piece of history still clings to me?

I don’t reminisce about my childhood often, there is nothing there that I haven’t long ago processed and dealt with in my own way and it is no longer a subject I really discuss with anyone. My father and I did not have a happy relationship. The older I get the more I understand about our skewed existence alongside one another and I hold no bitterness or hatred but regardless we brought each other only negativity. It was a toxic union. I used to dote upon him though, I thought he knew everything (as we all so often think of our parents) I craved his attention and the affirmation that I was good enough – I rebelled too, horribly, but mostly I sought his approval. So, when he began to make fun of my budding Devon accent I set about changing it. In my effort to change my accent I became a magnet for those of other people and now, subconsciously, I draw upon the accent of whoever I happen to be talking to at the time. Though, recently, I have noticed that when I’m at my most comfortable this doesn’t happen and I use what I assume is my actual accent… though I don’t really know if that is true.

So, when someone heard my childhood home in my accent I was instantly happy – I hadn’t lost that sliver of my younger being – I hadn’t fully succeeded in changing myself to meet some impossible expectation that in reality I created for myself as I’m certain my Father’s intention wasn’t to have me change it.

After the elation came the inevitable sorrow.

Life has moved so far beyond the endless feeling of loneliness and desperation. The growing tendrils of deep and deadly depression. I miss the childhood I didn’t have – because I lived too far inside my mind to grasp it, I miss the home I didn’t value or feel at home in. I miss the friends I didn’t cherish, I miss the moments never shared.

I didn’t live a day in my old home.

After another milestone event last week I realised that I don’t need the approval of anyone. I don’t need the attention of anyone and I can be content in my own self. I changed myself before because I didn’t value myself, I didn’t believe that I was enough and so it was easy for others to make me feel worthless. I am not that insecure girl anymore; I will never change myself to meet what I perceive to be the expectations of others again. I like who I am. I am enough.

And so whether I feel sad or happy or indifferent at holding on to a tiny piece of my childhood, processing it has been another life lesson to tuck under my belt, another moment of growth, a realisation that only I can give myself the acceptance I crave and that surely, is a good thing.

Anxiety

Anxiety has been eating me alive.

I was 21 when I had my breakdown. I was ill for quite some time before then but the breakdown is the thing that took everything from me.

Being in the midst of a breakdown is terrifying. I didn’t know what it was at the time and I’m not sure I’d have cared, all I knew was that the world was suffocating me, darkness was a closer friend than all those before and that I was lost; perhaps forever. I was a towering inferno of agony. I don’t remember great chunks of my life and I’ll never get those memories back; perhaps I don’t want to – I was not in my mind. I was gone, I was a shell and because I was not in my mind I didn’t learn how to function, how to live – I didn’t want to live. I never learnt how to cope with emotions, I only had a two of them and they were desperate misery and seething anger. I didn’t learn how to cope in social situations, how to behave – I isolated myself, I drove people away from me, I was not fun to be around.

I feel, sometimes, devoid of enough tools to cope. I feel uncertain of the accuracy of my actions and that induces crippling anxieties which only serve to make me more socially inept; stumbling over my words and offering a nervous giggle when no giggle is necessary. Saying things that are inappropriate – or not saying anything at all and still spending the rest of eternity living these inane conversations in the vain hope that eventually I will get it right and have cracked the elusive code of conversation.

I have come so far. I don’t strive for isolation any more, yet I still find myself isolated. I do partake in conversation instead of shying away from it – no more the silent mouse in the corner. I speak to people every day now, I laugh and participate and there is seldom a day where I don’t have to talk to someone new or cope in some form of social setting but still anxiety plagues me and it frustrates me that I can’t move past it. Some days I’m not sure I can push through it – but I do, I have and I will likely continue to. Still, what is so difficult about being around people?! What am I afraid of? Why must I seek acceptance in every facet of my life? Does the approval or disapproval matter when coming from a relative stranger?

Sometimes, though less often now, I wish I had let the breakdown have me. It would have been so much simpler, easier and less painful if I had just let it win and embraced the darkness. I would be done now. Free?

There are so many things that I had to learn to do – I had to learn to function, to sleep properly, to wash, to organise, to talk, to share, to live, to breathe… and so many of these things come so naturally to me now – perhaps one day I will be able to interact with others without anxiety and paranoia. But for now, I’ll keep trying, I’ll strive to be more transparent and less defensive and perhaps I’ll just embrace my woeful social ineptitude.

 

1D Me

Ah, the first gleaming post of a new year… Full of hope and high expectations, just like all those before it – though my heart isn’t quite in it; I want so much more than the empty promise that this year will be bigger, better and more successful than all of the others. I want more than to get to the end and have to steel myself against the bitter disappointment that I am still merely human and no, I have not yet put an end to world hunger, found fame in a travelling circus nor brought world peace about with nought but a smile.

This year is about realism. January was shit. It is always shit. I forget this every year because it is easier that way than to be honest with myself. I flounce extravagance throughout November and December – it is a hub of social activity; if not with family , then with friends. Money flows through my fingers as though I were manufacturing it and as if that wasn’t enough to overstimulate and push ever closer to the clutches of mania, it is also all glittery, shiny and twinkly!!

January is the hangover month. Money is tight, because the me that existed at the end of 2016 couldn’t care less about the feeding and housing of the me of 2017. The last of the glitter has been cleared away and the family and friends have all retreated into normal routine once again – likely recovering from similar afflictions to mine.

And thus, here I sit – pondering. It is February and the hangover is receding yet hasn’t quite left the room but despite its lingering presence I feel more like my self than I have in a very long time. I don’t think I am myself very often – I don’t think I even know which version of me that I present is the authentic version of myself. I was with friends tonight and I recognised myself whilst there – I was relaxed, calm and simply spoke all of the things in my head with very little editing. I have realised that I don’t share myself with people. Most of the people who would claim to know me actually know very little about me or the things I have experienced in my life; they share personal details with me and I give a little in return but my stories are the edited version – they portray the me that I would like them to see or the me that I feel most relates to them. I am not every facet of myself with very many people.

I realise that I have grown to do this for a reason – it must be some form of protection that I have learnt along the way. I spent most of my childhood being judged and criticised for the person I was developing into; anything that was ridiculed, I changed it (even so far as changing my accent – to rid myself of the Devon lilt of my home that I was told made me sound as though I lacked intelligence) I would agonise over what was wrong with me and how I could fix it – I spent a long time believing that the true me was not interesting enough to be liked and lying to create a ‘better version’ – I made a conscious decision not to lie anymore when I was in my early twenties, the lies were growing and causing trouble and hurt feelings but I can see now that where the lies stopped, the evasiveness began. This is not something that I particularly want to continue… I am lonely. People can’t get close to me and nor will they want to if I continue to present this one dimensional version of me. I am so much more than you see – I am so much bigger on the inside.

This year I am not going to make empty promises to myself. I probably won’t significantly reduce the mammoth size of my bottom or win the lottery or get a job as an astronaut. But I will promise myself that I will try harder to be present in my own life – I will try harder to share the many weird and wonderful facets of me; to lay myself bare to the possibility of ridicule and rejection and just see what happens.

This year is not going to be any different than any others than have been before nor unlike those that will come after but I will be different, I will be the more that I have been looking for.

 

Depressed, not depressed.

When will I learn that circumstance does not make for depression?! Exacerbate it, perhaps. It fuels, aids and abets depression but it is not depression – it is not misery and thus when circumstance is gone it does not take misery with it…

I am not within a depressive episode to rival all that have come before; not even close. But I am not happy either. I am lonely, numb and yet morose. I am tired. I know that I don’t need to be happy all the time – that in itself would not be a normal temperament but I would like to find a sense of contentment, I would like to lose this paranoid anxiety that hangs over my head each day. I would like to feel… I would just like to feel.

Mental illness is such an inward thing that it is hard to see when I am truly in need of something and lacking in what I deserve and when the ‘woe is me’ selfish streak of self-pity is rearing its head. I feel unappreciated in so many ways and I give and give and give and feel like there is no two ways to this street. I am giving too much and have less than nothing left, my arms, my heart, my mind are left barren, abused, used, spent… is this real? Or am I simply of the mind-set that the world is against me – it wouldn’t be the first time.

I keep thinking about what my life encompasses. I have good people around me – I am lucky but if you strip my life away I am work and children. If my children were to leave, which they will one day; I am work and nothing more… My life is empty, save the grace of loving and living for my children and eventually I will need to live without the drive that loving and living for them gives me – I can’t imagine I shall even find a reason to leave my bed. Perhaps I should begin to address that sooner rather than later.

I ask myself more and more often why I fight this vicious affliction that is Bipolar disorder. Far simpler to lay down and let it feast upon me.

One day I’ll find a reason for my fight – a reason for me, my soul, my needs and not the world surrounding.