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Thoughts from a Small Island

Random words from my mind

Mum, Mummy, Mother, Mom, Mam, Ma

In Ninewells Hospital born and raised
In Scotland is where I spent some of my days
Chilling out max and relaxing all cool
And playing with my friends outside after school

Then after some years that were really quite good
We went and moved into a new neighbourhood
I went through high school and I grew my long hair
And said “I’m a teenager and I really don’t care”

Now, if you’re like me you will have actually read the above lines in your head along to the tune of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and you can thank me later for now having that tune stuck in your head. Much like the family in the show, I like to think that my family has a similar dynamic (except for the fact we don’t live in L.A. and my cousin doesn’t live with us) in that we are a pretty close family who look for out each other. We have no need to phone each other day or text all the time as we all know that if anything happens to one of us the rest of us will be there in a heartbeat to pick up the slack. Some find it strange that I barely talk to my siblings but, in my eyes at least, I have no need to as I know that they are alright and if anything is wrong I will be told straight away.

With it being Mothering Sunday tomorrow here in the U.K. my focus today is on my mum. I know she reads my blog so I’ll be very careful not to embarrass her too much (I hope) but this is my own way of saying thank you for everything that you have done for all of us.

My childhood growing up was what I would call ideal. We lived in Dundee until I was 5yrs old and then in Gullane (nr. Edinburgh) until I was 10. Then we moved to Somerset and I lived there for 10yrs and finally settled over on the small island where I have been ever since. We were by no means rich in monetary terms but we had everything we needed and I have a huge amount of very happy memories from my childhood years of camping holidays (in the rain), visiting relatives in the school holidays, being given the freedom to play with my friends and just generally enjoy being a kid and if you count all these things together then I am richer than I could ever have been.

My mum through all of my life has been a constant source of reassurement, laughs and love. She has never questioned any of my decisions in life (even the time I grew my hair long and thought I looked really cool) although I’m pretty sure with some of them she has rolled her eyes quite frequently. She has always been a hard-working mum and, along with my dad, has made sure that our family had just what we need. Through my years growing up I always knew that she had my back and would be there with hugs and kisses if I fell down ready to pick me up again.

I am proud to say that she has an awesome taste in music, partly down to my influence. She listens to most things and has, on occasion, come in to my room when I lived at home and had something loud and heavy on my stereo and said that she loves what I’m listening to. This has ranged from Metallica, White Zombie, Nightwish, Deftones to softer bands like Neds Atomic Dustbins, Carter USM and The Cranberries. I am even more proud to say that I have been to some awesome concerts with her too. We have seen Bon Jovi 4 times together and I even took her to an Alice Cooper gig once and she loved it!!

In recent years my mum’s health has had a few knock backs and she has had 2 strokes and some mental health issues which I won’t go in to here as I feel this blog is for me to talk about my mental health and not anyone else. In my eyes this has made me realise that as much as we don’t like to think about it, our parents are not invincible. When I was young I though my parents were superheroes (I still do really) but as I have grown up I see them ageing and slowing down.

What I do still see in my mum is that little sparkle in her eyes when she’s doing something she loves. She has a daft sense of humour which along with my dad ‘s humour seems to have rubbed off on me and subsequently on to my daughter (poor little thing).

Mothering Sunday to me is for everyone. Whether it is for mum’s who are still here or those who are sadly no longer with us. It is for anyone who has acted in the capacity of a motherly, caring figure in your life whether it be a friend, relative or someone who has stepped in to look after you at some point.

I will finish today’s little offering by just saying one thing which I don’t think I actually say enough to my mum (or my dad even) but they know that I mean it every day.

I Love You xx

 

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Where Did it Go?

On Thursday of this week I came to a decision. Not a massive, world-changing decision but a decision nonetheless.

For years I have a bit of a hairy faced being but this week I made the decision to get rid of the big bushy beard I have been growing for the last year.

So far I have had people do a complete double take and then realise something is missing before commenting on my newly bald face. Some say I look 20 years younger, some say they prefer it to the bushy beard of before. Some look at me as if I am mad (well, we know I am) and then expect me to say, “…don’t worry I’ll grow it back again” (I won’t).

The reason for the change?

I think the main reason was that I no longer ‘need’ it. By that I mean that I had probably come to rely on it as some sort of mask or comfort blanket (albeit a hairy one attached to my face). Since the age of around 16yrs old I have had a beard of some kind and have come to rely on it. I got rid of it a while ago due to my job but when I went off sick with my mental breakdown I grew it back again. This was probably my way of bringing the ‘safe’ me back and it felt good. I then decided that because the rules on facial hair at work had relaxed I would keep growing it. In hindsight this was probably my way of rebelling against the system and it’s policies. I felt that by growing it longer it made me stand out and almost the person I thought I should be. It made me feel stronger (in a Samson kind of way) and if I was to get rid of it then I would crumble again.

But……..

Guess what?

I’ve cut it and I still feel the same.

Compared to where I was mentally just over a year ago I feel that now is the time to let go of another bit of the past and make another step forwards. The security blanket has been put away and I now have a clean (ish) face.

I had actually been considering getting rid of the facial fuzz a little while ago but the thing that finally made my mind up was on Thursday on my way to work. It has been snowing here on the small island and most of the big island too. It was our turn on Thursday for the ‘Beast from the East’ and ‘Storm Emma’ to come together and cause mayhem to many. I found my wellies in the garage and put my woolly hat, my neck scarf and gloves on. I zipped all 3 zips on my coat (yes, it has 3 zips) only to discover that I couldn’t actually do my coat all the way up. So my supposedly warm beard led to me being colder than I should have been. Something had to give and so that evening I found my trimmer in the cupboard and just went for it.

The only downside to having no bushy beard anymore is that it moves the focus to the hair on my head and I now see how big my forehead is due to the gradually receding hairline.

Maybe it’s time for that hair to finally go too?

Stay tuned for the next installment…………

Another Year Older

Today is my birthday (yay me) and I am now officially a year older than this time last year.

I am also officially a bit more mentally aware of myself than this time last year.

One thing I have found though is that I have become a bit more artistic and creative than I think I was this time last year. I doodle, I scribble and have even given a try at general drawing. Am I any good? Well art is subjective and what I like, you might not. What you like, I might hate but that is the beauty of it. There is no right or wrong. You are entitled to your opinion.

A particular style I seem to have aligned myself is a slightly abstract kind of style. Now, you could say that I have found that style because it probably represents me best (I am a little odd if I may so myself) and it is my comfort zone. I have always had an interest in the alternative styles of things, be that art, music, lifestyles and think that by broadening our horizons even just a little bit we create a more rounded self. My music taste is eclectic to say the least (currently listening to a Rage Against The Machine) and my iPod is on permanent shuffle mode so I can listen to Motown one song, Heavy Metal the next and then switch to cheesy 90’s pop. My clothing taste can be a little odd and I am no stranger to funky socks and mish mashed colours in one outfit.

Abstract art seems to be a style that encompasses everything from landscapes to portraits, sketches to painting and it is something I am keen to explore a bit more even if only for my own enjoyment (that’s what it’s really about anyway). My drawing skills are limited and I am no expert in sketching a skyline or the outline of an animal. However, I do have a knack for making odd shapes look cool. I am not talking about modern art (unmade beds etc…) as in my own mind I don’t find that interesting. Although if unmade beds and messy tables are your thing then come around to my house as it has modern art in it everyday. I like making regular things look irregular and making the eye / mind work hard to see the bigger picture *no pun intended* as, to me, that is what I think art is about. It is about seeing what you want to see.

Today I received a wonderful present (amongst the other fab presents I received today) of some art materials from my mother in law. Included was some watercolour paper, canvas boards, watercolour postcards and a set of watercolour paints (the tube variety. Now I find myself trawling through YouTube watching videos on how to mix the paints properly and prime the canvas / paper. I have also discovered that I should tape the paper down to stop it bending while I ‘paint’. Who knew?? I’m going to have a go and see what my brain can come up with.

It won’t be perfect, but it’s going to be good enough for me.

Until next time…………………….

It’s Good To Talk

If you’re old like me you’ll remember a series of tv adverts for British Telecom (BT) where they constantly reminded us that it is good to talk. Well, fortunately today’s blog is not about the virtues of telecommunications or about tv adverts of the 80’s (even if there were some cracking ones…..Um Bongo anyone?)

No, todays blog is all about a thing called ‘Time to Talk’ day.

Now, this does not mean going up to random strangers on the bus and telling them what you had for breakfast (although that could open up interesting conversations in itself).

To me today is all about gently supporting and encouraging each other to talk about how you might be feeling if someone asks. It is about being honest with yourself.

It is also a day that can remind us that in this world of texts, IM’s and GIFs we are still able to actually speak to each other using proper words and not just shortened versions to fit in to our 120 character limit. Sometimes just saying hello to someone can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. Just asking how someone is can show genuine compassion and may encourage that person to open up about something they might otherwise not talk about.

Personally I have been guilty of keeping things inside and doing my best to avoid confronting things. On reflection I have suffered with anxiety issues from a young age but never really realised what was going on. When people asked me how I was I would answer with the obligatory ‘not bad….you?’. I now realise that this has been a part of my problem and have made a conscious effort to change this. I now consider myself a fully paid up member of the ‘1 in 4’ club (this is not an actual club, just referring to the fact that 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental health problems) who deal with mental health issues daily. I am still cagey of who I open up to but those I trust I am honest with and I hope that those people can be honest with me in return. I have had days where I just want to close the shutters and stay in my own little world within my head but then someone has asked me how I’m doing and it has made me realise that not everyone has an agenda. There are people who care and there are more of them than I thought.

It can also be a day to reflect on things in a good light.

One thing I have been grateful for this last year has been the wonderful ‘Anxiety Cafe’ that I go to every month (and occasionally on Wednesday mornings when work allows). This social group has introduced me to new people who I like to think of as friends now. There is no set programme for our monthly catch ups and we just talk about what we feel like. Sometimes there is very little chat, other times we can’t get a word in edge ways but it is this sense of ‘safety’ that we all enjoy. We talk without fear and we listen without judging.

Unfortunately the world isn’t always like this and is hopefully through days like today that we can gradually break down those walls of awkward silences and the stigma surrounding mental health.

So there you have it. This is me (in case you didn’t realise), this is now and it’s good to talk.

Have a good day and until next time………..

When Did We Stop Having Fun?

On my way to work this morning I was reminded of a time when everything was carefree and there were no real consequences to anything. Things were done for us and we had no responsibilities such as bills, jobs and life. That time (for me at least) would be nearly 40 yrs ago when I was a toddler.

Whilst walking to town this morning I saw something that put a massive smile on my face (and on the Mum coming towards me). There were 2 small children aged about 3 yrs old who were all wrapped up in big coats, woolly hats and wellies. They were racing each other towards the next puddle on the pavement so that they could be the first to jump in its still waters. Each time their feet made contact with the water there was a big splash followed by giggling. Then it was on to the next puddle. As I got nearer I smiled to myself and the mum of the 2 kids saw me smile and just smiled back to me.

Further on in to town and I saw a child watching the raindrops racing each other (please tell me I’m not the only one who used to do this too when they were little) down the window of the car he was in and getting excited as his drop got nearer to the finish line (the bottom) and then won the race.

Then, while at work there was a little boy going around waving to everyone who looked at him on his way out the cafe with his mum. He had the biggest smile on his face as did the people he was waving at.

All of this made me think that as we get older we have less fun.

Life gets in the way of almost everything now. If we have a day off it is usually taken up with either doing the laundry, paying bills or doing various bits of shopping in town. It is rare for us to just ‘get up and go’ somewhere as we all have responsibilities to sort out first. If we do anything off the cuff we usually make ourselves feel guilty about it afterwards don’t we?

But why should we?

Aren’t we all just big kids inside screaming out to jump in a big puddle?

At what point in life do we slip into corduroy (I’m not knocking corduroy but it is usually seen as old people’s material), put on the big comfy slippers and stop playing?

Is there something inside us that switches on the ‘no fun’ button at a certain age?

I want to be that child again. I want to jump in puddles. I want to race raindrops down the window. I want to wave at people I don’t know and make them smile.

So what’s stopping me?

The answer…………………Me

I’m beginning to make more use of my evenings for myself and do more drawing, reading and such but the days off are still an issue. Well, not an issue in itself because I do understand that being a grown up does come with some grown up baggage. But, what if I can begin to use maybe half of my day off to do something I want? It’s not that hard to work out and I’m sure I’d feel better for it.

Maybe that’s something I can work on in future.

Until next time…………………………………………..

 

p.s. I haven’t forgotten about the blog I said I’d do about my glass making day . I just need to get my bum in gear to sort out the photos of it. I will do it, I promise

Happy Anniversary

Apparently today marks exactly a year since I started using WordPress to do my blogging and let my thoughts loose on the unsuspecting public.

(How do I know this? I’m not psychic, I got a notification when I logged on)

That means that for one whole year I have been informing you all of what I have been up to and how I’ve felt at various times. I’m not sure if it has helped anyone else but I know in my own head it has certainly cleared away some cobwebs and made me view myself a LOT differently than I used to.

My main worry now though is do I have anything left to say? I can honestly say that the answer to that is a resounding YES. The blogs may not be as regular as they may have been as I have also been getting back into using my spare time for myself. I think I will always have something to report on and it will be as honest as I have always been.

Today has been one of those days where I have been thinking. Not about anything in particular but a few things have sprung to mind. One of these thoughts came about whilst cleaning out the garage (rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of mine). Since we moved house we have slowly been unpacking and putting odds an sods in the garage out of the way because we no longer have a use for the leftover items. We previously took a few boxes to the charity shop but there was still more to go. Well, today we filled up the car (twice) and took the remaining boxes from the front of the garage to charity shops and it felt good. Like one of those motivational posters that always seem to do the rounds on the internet this was one of those clear space / clear mind type of situations. We can now safely walk around the front area of the garage and get to the fridge freezer without tripping over things. We cleared out the old lady shopping trolley that was hiding in the rafters and got rid of the original 2-bar electric fire that looked like it was leftover from when the house was built. All the rest of the ‘junk’ is now in the car and will be taken to the tip tomorrow morning and I can genuinely say I’m glad it’s gone. Like one of those cheesy Disney movie analogies I feel like the junk has gone from my mind and I am now ready to fill it back up with useful things.

I have identified an area that I will be able to use as my little ‘man-cave’ area so I can sit in there with some lights, a heater, a radio and my art materials. Bliss.

There is a down side to all of this though (there has to be a negative to every positive doesn’t there?) and that is that we will have to do a bit more work on the rest of the garage before it fully becomes my own little haven. We have boxes that have come out of our old loft which we probably have never looked at in 9yrs but will now have to go through them ‘just in case’. Most of them are full of our daughter’s old clothes and the rest are just bits of nostalgia that we have held on to. My question though is that if we haven’t looked at them in 9yrs do we REALLY need whatever is in the box. If I’m being honest (which I am) I will probably shed a tear or two at some of the items but the reality is that they are just things. The important items will be the memories of them as they will live with us always (here I go with the cheesy Disney emotion again).

The other thing that has been niggling me this week is that I still haven’t been out for a run since the end of December. Running gives me the freedom to not think about things and keeps me sane (if that’s possible) but due to this horrible bug that has been doing the rounds I have been short of breath and coughing like a 40-a-day smoker which has meant no running for the time being. I’ve kept active by walking to and from work but I miss the solitude of running the streets at night. It’s getting better but I’m my own worst enemy when I’m ill as I just want to do stuff and get frustrated when I’m not able to do what I want.

Still, I can always write this month and think that there’s always February to look forward to………………………

Holy Shit….What Just Happened?

*WARNING – This blog may contain details of my life that some people will find uncomfortable to read about me. It will probably contain some bad language too as I think the mood fits*

I had a bit of a plan to write a blog about how far I’ve come this last year but I think (for those who may have only recently found my blog) I should probably quickly explain where I was first.

If I’m being honest, most of 2017 was pretty fucking awful for me in one way or another. The first part of the year saw me in a bit of a mess in that I had changed my medication and was in the grip of terrible depression and anxiety. I was scared to leave my house, I was seeing things that weren’t there and I was starting to believe my mind when it was telling me I was useless. At one point my wife even had to staple a cover on the top of a table because I thought the knots in the wood were evil faces telling me I was worthless. I genuinely felt I was a burden to EVERYONE around me and had thoughts of ending my life. I honestly had no intention of carrying the thoughts out but I had the thoughts in my head about what I could do to ease everyone’s suffering. I self harmed for a while as it drew the pain away from what was in my head but the relief was only short-term and the pain in my mind returned with a vengeance. I was unable to accept help from those closest to me as I felt they were only doing it because they had to, not because they wanted to. In the end, I had an emergency referral to the mental health team at the hospital and was given a good talking to (in a good way). In short, my mind was fucked. However, that evening was to be the beginning of my recovery. I began to realise that the things I was upset / worried / anxious about were things I had NO control over but I had no idea on how to let these thoughts go. I was referred for group sessions and at the start of the summer I began to attend these, only finishing the last session 2 weeks before Christmas.

I am still anxious (I always will be and I accept that now) and my depression is on the back-burner for now but I am always acutely aware that either of them have the ability to flare up and scare the shit out of me when they want to therefore giving me no time to prepare for the event.

But what about the rest of the year? Surely something good must have come out of all this?

Well……….in no particular order I thought I would list some of the positives this year has brought me:

  • I turned 40 and went for a birthday meal with my parents, my wife and daughter only to find that one of my best friends from college was there with her partner their daughter.
  • I joined the ‘Anxiety Cafe’ and began to regularly attend their monthly meetings and I have met some amazing people.
  • I returned to full-time work after 4 months off sick and although incredibly anxious at first I overcame my fears and gradually got back in to my usual position.
  • I realised that I am loved and appreciated by more people than I ever imagined I was.
  • My wife and I bought our first family home together after years of renting.
  • My daughter started secondary school and has settled in brilliantly.
  • I began to read books again (I’ve always been able to read, I’ve just never felt compelled to sit and do it)
  • I made a paperweight after being given the chance to do it as a birthday present from my work colleagues (yes…I will do a blog on that properly in future….I promise).
  • I went camping in Cornwall for a week
  • I went to the theatre to see one of our favourite comedians
  • I rediscovered my love of art again and began to ‘doodle’ as a way of distracting my mind
  • I sold 5 of my pictures and began to finally accept the compliments that people gave me about my work
  • I continued with my running and notched up nearly 500km this year
  • I grew a beard (which a customer told me the other day was looking “…rather luxurious”)
  • I took part in some of the morning sessions the anxiety cafe was running and even had a go at some interpretive dance which pushed me so far out of my comfort zone.
  • I began to finally accept who I am and what I am
  • I watched my daughter taking part in swimming galas and beating her personal best times in some of her races.
  • I spent more time doing things that I wanted to do as opposed to things I thought I had to do

This is only a snapshot of how my year has gone but in my current unhealthy state of coughing and spluttering with what seems like a horrible sore throat and chesty cough (it’s not serious enough to have turned into man flu………yet!) that is all I am able to think of off the top of my head.

I hope you all have been able to find some positives in this last year and I wish each and every one of you all the best for 2018. I am under no illusions that it is going to be a ‘happy’ new year but I feel a little more prepared at least to tackle things as they appear than I did at this point last year.

Thank you xxxxx

 

Put Some Lights On!!

This isn’t Christmas related in any way.

Instead it is something that has been annoying me for a little while now.

As some of you may or may not know I am a runner. Not mega fast but good enough for me (there’s that ‘quote’ again….see?). I usually go running in the evenings after work due to the fact that a) I’m not getting up early just to run and b) I can’t get out of my warm bed at that time of day as it physically holds me under the duvet. Also, I find in the evenings that there are fewer people about to dodge past and there is also less traffic on the roads which then means I have to stop less when trying to cross the road. At this time of year here on the small island it is winter which means the evenings get darker earlier. Now, this in itself is not a problem but when you’re a runner it means you have to be safe. When I go out for a run in the evening I am lit up like a Christmas tree (just a reference to Christmas, not the tone of the blog…..honest) and can probably be seen from space if you look hard enough. I have lights on the heels of my trainers, brightly coloured knee-length funky socks, a fluorescent yellow jacket, a high vis vest, fluorescent hat and lights on the front and rear of my jacket. I also have reflective strips on my gloves too just in case the rest of it can’t be seen from miles away. I wear this, not to make a fashion statement (although it is pretty striking), but to make sure I don’t get run over. It also helps other people to see me coming along the pavement towards them.

Lately however I have seen a rather worrying trend happening. I seem to be coming across many people running without ANY kind of lighting / high visibility clothing. I even saw (once he was right in front of me) a guy wearing black shorts and black t-shirt while out running!! How does that give anyone a chance to avoid him until it’s too late? I have had various comments shouted to me while out running because of the way I look but I’d rather put up with a few mindless comments than run the risk (no pun intended….this time) of ending up in hospital.

This doesn’t just apply to runners though. I have also seen cyclists without lights darting out of junctions at risk of getting flattened by cars. I have even seen cars driving through town without lights on and then the drivers wondering why other cars are flashing their lights at them.

So why does this bother me? Surely it is none of my business that others are willing to put themselves at risk because of their own ignorance / stupidity (*delete as appropriate*) but it is something I genuinely get annoyed by.

I began to think about this a bit more the other day after it came up in conversation at the anxiety cafe I go to once a month and it got me thinking of a rather dodgy link to mental health in a round-a-bout kind of way. Like one of those tenuous links on the news or between programmes on daytime t.v. it kind of made sense to me. If we don’t light ourselves up and speak about our mental health how can we expect anyone to see us and begin to understand the importance of mental health? If we (metaphorically) cover ourselves up in dark clothing we will go unnoticed and get (again metaphorically) flattened.

Now, I’m not saying we should go out all guns blazing like the annoying neighbour who lights up their house with so many Christmas lights (no more Christmas references……I promise) that the glow can be seen from all around but that we should make ourselves visible to others. This is not an easy thing to do as it involves breaking out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up but if you can just speak to one person, be it a family member, close friend or work colleague it will help to be seen. I am more visible now than I probably was this time last year and I intend to keep that going when the decorations come down (sorry, last one) and the evenings get lighter. Therefore I’m pretty sure you can expect to hear more from me in future.

May I just use this last paragraph to say a big thank you to everyone who has read, commented, liked my blogs and ramblings over the last year. It means a lot to me that what I say resonates with so many other people and my only hope is that if what I say helps just one person then my work is done. Blogging has been incredibly therapeutic for me as it has helped me make sense of my head. As I write my thoughts down I find myself answering my own questions and this has helped to ease my anxieties about some of my issues. Hopefully as others read it, it can help you to understand more about how mental health and how it can affect people in so many different ways.

Merry Christmas (yeah, yeah, yeah I know I said it wasn’t Christmas related in any way but seeing as it is that time of year it probably should be mentioned). May I wish you all the best for the season and remind you that it’s o.k. to take time out on the big day if it all gets too much. Sometimes we get so caught up with thinking we should be happy all day that we just need a 30 minute break on our own may be enough to recharge and calm ourselves down again.

Lots of love, hugs, hot cups of tea to all of you.

Thank you xx

What A Week (and it’s only Tuesday)

Hello dear readers

This week has been a bit of a week for me already and we’re only a few days in to it. However, it has had a ring of positivity to it (not in a Xmas type way) and made me feel much better about the direction I am heading in.

Sunday was a day at work and went as well as any day at work can. It was busy but uneventful and just coasted along until I finished at 5pm. I then took the bus to the local leisure centre to watch my daughter swimming in another competition. Although she’s not the fastest swimmer (yet) she is consistently improving and was only 0.4 seconds off of her personal best which made both me and her mum incredibly proud of her and how she approaches things.

Monday was my day off and it was a day I had both eagerly awaited and nervously dreaded at the same time. It was time for me to actually take part in my 40th birthday present which was given to me by some amazing people in my life. I was to go to a village here on the small island and visit a glass works to make my very own paperweight. I have collected glass for a little while and have a reasonable collection of pieces from glass works here on my island (it’s not actually my island but you get the idea) and I am fascinated by the processes involved and how something so fluid can turn into something so beautiful. I will eventually post a photo blog of my day and the piece I made but I have to go back on Saturday to finish it off first. I was nervous of the day as it involved me making the piece in an area that viewed by the public and with my anxieties I was unsure if I would be putting undue pressure on myself. As it turned out I was booked for 10am (when they opened) and the only people there were my parents, me and the glassmakers. Anxiety levels returned to normal and then the excitement kicked as I found out I was making my piece under the guidance of the main man himself. The session was incredible and I will never forget it. It has given me a greater understanding of the craft and work that goes in to it and in a way it has also released another part of my creative side. I was asked if I wanted my piece ’rounded off’ to make it look more like a round paperweight but I politely explained that I wanted to leave a kind of awkward wonkeyness to it (a bit like myself really) as I would then feel more pride it as I had done the whole thing by myself. I was so proud of myself at the end of the session. Not only for keeping my anxiety in check but also for making a lasting object that I could be genuinely proud of and show off to people. I will return to complete the base, polish it and then engrave my name / date on the bottom and then it will be truly finished

2017-12-11-10-50-12.jpg

(the picture above shows my molten piece with all of the colours swirled together)

Which then brings me to today.

Today marked the end of my journey (in a non X-Factor way) through group therapy. I have done three different groups and I can genuinely say that my eyes have been opened to my own mental health and reasons behind it. I am more aware of my failings but I am happier to accept them rather than fight against them. The main thing I have taken away from the groups though is that none of us are perfect and are NEVER going to be. Once I start to accept who I am I believe I will be in a better position to help others going through similar issues. Another thing I have done is make a promise to myself to be kinder to my mental health and give myself more time to do things that I want to do instead of focusing on things I can’t do or change.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

I have no intention of setting up any generic ‘New Year Resolutions’ for myself as all they do is set me up to fail and then I beat myself up about them because I haven’t done the things I said I would.

I have no intention of overloading myself with things to do so that I then become anxious about having so many tasks to juggle at once (I’m a crap juggler anyway and can barely manage 2 things in the air at once).

I have no intention of surrounding myself with negative people and will walk away or say no to situations I am not comfortable with.

What I will do instead is take my time with things and just see what happens.

I am by no means ‘cured’ and will continue to seek out ways to make my mental health issues easier to live with. I have a new-found discovery of my creative ‘talents’ and will be pushing my work out there a bit more so that others will hopefully appreciate the work I do. This may or may not include a website of some sort in the future but for the time being I will be setting up a Facebook page soon so keep your eyes peeled for updates on that in the new year.

Until then, if I don’t have anything to say before the festivities begin for Christmas then I wish you all good health and thank you all for taking the time to read the words that have come out of my head and been written down (well, typed really) for you to get an insight in to my life here on this little island I call home.

I love you all

Thank you…………………

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