Going nowhere…

Feeling rubbish at the moment. I just want a chance to be myself, but everyone seems to have a problem with the person that that is. Which makes me really sad. I feel like I’m losing friends, I’ve pushed people that care about me away and my brain is in a mess. I just don’t know how to function at the moment.

I’m stressed and anxious about moving out of this flat and into somewhere new. People don’t understand how panicky I get about everyday situations, let alone how I deal with massive changes like this, which weren’t exactly easy choices to make. I know other people have far more complicated situations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings of my own – everything is relative. I know I’m not good at being on my own, and that’s a massive risk, probably no good for my mental health, but I can’t just stay ‘safe’ forever and I know that.

My new job is good, but I’m still faking being happy all day every day, filling up my mind by filling up the work day, doing longer hours than I need to, taking on lots of tasks and attending lots of meetings.

Things are difficult because T and I have the same circle of friends, and they don’t know how to act around us. I’m trying so hard to be a good person and do the right thing. Whatever I do, someone gets hurt. It all feels so pointless when everyone is going to hate you anyway. I just want to give up. I don’t need to answer to anyone else, yet everyone keeps finding excuses to have an issue with me. My family, friends that I care about, just everyone.

I can’t deal with any of this anymore.

E

Advertisements

Taking up Pole Dancing

As those who have followed my blog in the past or know me personally will know, I tend to internalise things. I’m working on expressing myself and have found something that makes me feel truly empowered: pole dancing.

I’ve been having lessons for the last two months, and can feel myself getting stronger, feeling sexier and doing something a couple of times a week that is truly just for me, where I can escape everything else.

Rather than internalising the bad things, I’m projecting them through a hobby – I’ve tried this through group exercise classes but there’s just something different about pole, I’m working on improving my moves, learning more, rather than repetitive exercises with little development, as with some of the gym classes.

I’ve discovered a whole new community, I’ve come to respect all those throughout history who have embarked on a pole journey – whether that’s the Chinese and Indian men who competed in pole strength activities, or the strippers who defined modern pole. I don’t know details but it’s so interesting finding all of this out. I’m pretty sure that the sexualisation of pole came from females being ‘allowed’ to do it and the historical perception of women as ‘to be looked at’ so in a way that part of pole may have stemmed from sexual objectification. But I do pole for me. No disrespect to those who do pole for adult entertainment, that’s a personal choice, but for me it’s about being in a room away from the rest of the world, separate from all other parts of my life, totally new, that let’s me truly be me.

I already feel like I’ve improved so much and have definitely become a pole addict. Which I never would have anticipated a year ago. It keeps my fitness up, it’s a new social circle, I’ve met some lovely people (a couple of irritating ones too, but I just avoid them!), had the pleasure of being taught by some amazing instructors in a safe and friendly environment and developed such a passion and appreciation for how difficult the more advanced levels really are!

Those are my brief thoughts of the night – perhaps I’ll expand on them at some point. I’ve been meaning to blog for a while but I’ve been a little up and down recently. This is something that keeps me going.

Final comment: As I’ve got into more online communities and researched more on pole, I’ve come across a lot of stigma and hate and it really saddens me that these amazing, strong, beautiful and talented male and female sportspersons alike (because it’s a sport, just as gymnastics is, the moves are pretty similar, your bar is just vertical instead of horizontal!) are so downplayed in the public eye, and so unnecessarily sexualised with absolutely no basis. ARGH, this is getting me riled. As are offensive comments I’ve seen posted or privately sent to anyone that posts anything to do with pole on their public social media profiles… it’s ‘ok’ when women are half naked in adverts, across billboards, for someone else’s pleasure…but god forbid a woman decide how much of her body she shows in what position for herself! (Men pole dance too, but they aren’t sexualised in the same way and I hope they don’t experience this too – I’ve just not heard of it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to them too).

 

The world is messed up. Hang in there.

E x

 

Sexism doesn’t exist, you say?…

Over the past couple of weeks, I have begun to call out colleagues on their unintentional sexist remarks or attitudes. This has meant having constructive discussion with some of them about why I hold those opinions and explaining my standpoint. This is certainly a positive thing as it calls into question why I hold certain beliefs and values, encourages others to consider that, enables me to explain thoroughly and logically so that others can truly understand the everyday experience of being a female.

Continue reading

‘Holiday’

It’s not that I can and I don’t want to, it’s that I want to, and I can’t that is the most frustrating thing. Not a reference to anything specific, but rather the simple pleasures in life. I’m on holiday with my family in France, in a lovely house, in hot weather, with a pool – I can read (which I am grateful for), swim, play games, whatever I want. I have the deferred exam to take obviously, so there’s a little revision thrown in, but not too much since there’s only the one exam. Most days have been fine. That is until last night, when I experienced a major panic and rather a lot of distress. Nothing too concerning though.

Today was a lot worse. Everything had been going fine: I had swum; and read – I finished another book – I seem to get through an awful lot on holiday; felt relaxed, thrown a ball playing catch with my siblings; been splashing and messing around by the pool. I came in to do some work late in the day, got a whole topic done, had a short break, got the next one out. I just crashed. It wasn’t the work. It would certainly have been manageable had my head not decided to implode at that particular moment. In relation to the can and the want thing – I couldn’t concentrate, but I definitely wanted to. I knew I could go outside, but I felt no enjoyment at the prospect. I cried, shook, tried to calm down, got very angry with myself. Because there was no reason for me to feel like that. I am on track with my work. I am on holiday from ordinary life – a much needed break.

Yet, what most see as a ‘holiday’, I anticipate with dread, the suggestion of going away filling me with anxiety, travelling 850 miles in the car with four other family members all age 16+ is not exactly a relaxing experience. We got here ok, and it wasn’t too dreadful. The journey not being fun is fairly obvious and expected. The house is incredible, the best I’ve ever stayed in, with the best pool too. I do appreciate it, it’s just that when I get into those darkest moment, full fathom five into the deep seas of my brain, I lose all sense of the material, the present – and yet, simultaneously, I am existing entirely within the present. I can’t focus, I can’t breathe, I feel an immense sadness and I don’t understand why.

I may physically be on holiday, but what those around me sometimes don’t seem to realise is that I can never truly be having a break from every day life, because I take my head with me, and my head takes up a lot of intangible space in my life as it is. I cannot control not being able to relax. I am trying my absolute best. Which is why it is so frustrating when an intense episode hits when it has been going averagely recently – and by ‘averagely’, that means pretty good for me, considering the last seven years or so.

E

I was getting so good at talking

Opening up to people is a massive step, and it’s something I thought I’d got pretty good at. Telling people you have depression is one thing, but actually trying to formulate how you feel in those darkest moments is pretty terrifying. The mental blocks are coming back, where I just clam up and don’t let anyone in. Because the more that people care, the more people I let in, the more it’s going to hurt if anything happens to me. And right now I’m really scared. It’s a difficult task trying to constantly distract yourself, from yourself. Watching TV doesn’t work because my brain is still going, doing my work doesn’t work because it all seems so pointless, drawing isn’t working because I’m getting angry at myself for being so imperfect, and I haven’t been able to write very well (I’m obviously writing anyway, because sometimes trying to type out how I’m feeling helps me understand how I’m feeling in the first place). You forget what it’s like to be back in the other side of your head when hasn’t even been a fortnight since you were last there. It’s so hard trying to explain it.

 

I’m back in a battle with myself again, not knowing how to get out of my head. Well, there are definitely ways to get out of my head, for example by getting literally off my face, or by taking too many pills. And when my head gets too much, I want to do both of the above but I know I can’t. At least I have that at the moment – knowing what I’m thinking is wrong. But it’s so hard, and I don’t know how to explain it. How do you explain to someone you love that yesterday you were trying to find out the most effective ways of getting out of here? I just want to throw things and break things and scream. But I have to suppress it all, or people will know I’m crazy, and I’m so used to hiding. In times like this, I hate that I ever let anyone get close, because everything always ends in hurt. At least if I was hurting I wouldn’t feel so numb, hitting my head just to feel something, trying to remind myself what ‘being alive’ means, because existence isn’t great. I don’t want to waste my life just ‘existing’ and it feels pointless staying alive when I’m not making the most of it.

 

I keep having flashback type moments to the way I used to feel and it’s scaring me. Remembering the person that I used to be and thinking that I might go back there scares me, thinking that whoever I am now isn’t really me, but just a cover for all the darkness in my mind. I have no idea how to communicate what goes on when my head’s going bad. And trying to understand why. Because when I’m fine, I can see there’s no reason for me to feel down. But when I’m not, everything is wrong. And I push the good things away. The other side of my brain is taking over and she doesn’t want to let anyone in, because she’s not worth their time, she’s only going to hurt them. And when it all gets too much, I don’t want people to be left behind. I should get out of  their lives before it’s too late.

 

When my mind gets like this, I just want to knock myself out because there are too many words going round and round, and even my music won’t drown them out, it just adds another voice. But silence makes the voices in my head louder and when I can’t focus on anything, there’s nowhere to escape. I thought maybe this year would be a positive one, but it’s only the seventh day, and it already seems stupid to have thought that. I feel so ungrateful and guilty for feeling the things that I do, the ones I can’t even try to explain, but that just makes it worse. How can someone who’s so ungrateful be allowed in this world?

 

I’ve had some rational worries recently, but they become irrelevant when my head does this. A friend sent me quite a bitter text yesterday for not meeting up with her during the holiday, saying that she’d changed her plans. I had already apologised, I didn’t know she’d changed her plans for me, we hadn’t confirmed anything, and I missed seeing my grandparents because my head was just too loud and I needed to keep myself away from people. But she has no idea about any of that, and I don’t know what to say. It would be nice if people didn’t just think about themselves sometimes. And maybe I’m being selfish too, I know that, but I’ve accepted lots of times when she’s rearranged our plans and I would never make her feel guilty because I understand that everyone has their own stuff going on and there’s probably a good reason, and it’s just one day.

 

I had a really bad dream last week. I have a lot of pretty scary dreams, but this one stuck. There were lots of parts to it, but the part I remember is the part where I’m a terrible mother. (In the dream, I’m pregnant, and then suddenly I have a lizard in my care- which is my ‘baby’ – and then it dies. Also, I wore mismatching shoes in the dream, which was quite distressing when I woke up.) Anyway, I woke up feeling really upset and guilty, and it just made think about how I don’t know if I’m going to ever have children. I love babies, and children, and all my friends call me ‘Mum’ because apparently I’m motherly towards everyone. But how could I let myself have a child when my brain gets like this? I might not be able to be there in the way a mother should, or I might give them my genes, and I’m pretty sure the depression has at least some kind of genetic origin. It’s something I used to worry about a lot, and I don’t want to worry about this now, while I’m twenty: it’s irrational and a long way off, and it’s bringing back a lot of the OCD paranoia that I used to have. And I just don’t understand why. Mostly in my dreams but sometimes while I’m awake. People die in my dreams: I dream that I have to speak at my close friends’ funerals; I dream that people are in car accidents; I dream that people are in comas; I dream that I’m pregnant and I miscarry; I dream that I try to hurt myself; I dream that I try to die. At least at the moment it’s mostly in sleep – at least I’m evidently sleeping – but it’s creeping back into my awake time, and I can’t move or speak or do anything when that horrible part of my brain is taking over.

 

I had another dream this week, about the future: I had graduated and started having a conversation with my boyfriend about the future, in which he assumed it was over now University has finished. And why would anyone possibly want to have a long-term future with me? I have no idea how things are going to be in half a year’s time, but I woke up panicking. I always tell my boyfriend my dreams, but I didn’t tell him what happened in that one, I just said we had an argument – there were lots of other scenes in that night’s Act and that was just the final one. I don’t know whether to bring up the future. I’m scared in case the dream was right, but if it is, then what is the point in getting even closer now and then being torn apart by circumstances again? I have no idea how I would handle that. It happened last year and it was horrible, but this relationship is so much more.

 

My anti-anxiety pills don’t seem to be calming me down. I just want to take a bunch of them and go to sleep for a really long time. But I have a deadline on Friday. And dealing with my head is a matter of pushing through it. And that’s bloody hard sometimes. I’ve been doing this for nearly seven years now. Every time it feels like it’s going to get better, this happens, again and again. I don’t know how much more I can take. I only end up hurting people. I don’t even know where either side of my head is at right now. I don’t even know if this makes any sense because it’s basically like two people are writing it at the same time.

 

I’m pretty confused and I just want to get out of here. I hope you’re all having better days.

E

Dear Sammy

So I met you a few months ago now. I was feeling a bit of a mess but I was having a fun night: I was just being young and having a laugh with my friends; my MH problems weren’t too prominent during that week; and I felt confident. And I felt pretty attracted to you. Which was something quite new. We just clicked, and I don’t know why, and I’ve not seen you since, but it was a beautiful moment that we shared, at least in my mind. You’re the only girl I’ve ever kissed, and it made me realise we shouldn’t need to define ourselves by our sexuality, we shouldn’t need to define ourselves with so many labels all the time at all, we should just live the human experience and be happy when we encounter people or experiences that make us happy. I wouldn’t say I was ‘bisexual’ but neither do I need to say if I am ‘heterosexual’ – it’s simply irrelevant. People will come and go from our lives and we will have different forms of interaction with them. It’s something I think about often, the time I met you. Not many people know about you, not even my closest friends. And I wish we’d had a chance to talk more. I gave you my number but I never heard from you – maybe you’ve completely forgotten about me, but that’s ok, because you helped me realise we don’t have to live our lives by set definitions. We should just be ourselves and treasure those moments that do make us happy in the present. Thank you Sammy, for opening my eyes.

E

Absolute chaos

So my father decided to invite twenty members of his very loud family round for a takeaway tonight. This would be stressful for anyone, even if I wasn’t a very anxious person. Having the same conversation with various relatives about what I’m doing with my future – same answer: I don’t know. Making me feel like a failure over and over again. I’m finding it pretty hard to explain how it makes me feel when I am suddenly surrounded by people. It’s a sudden, terrifying overwhelming fear, and you might be able to physically move, or you might appear ok to those around you, but inside your brain feels like it’s about to implode. Sometimes people might think I’m rude, because I’ve learnt to remove myself from situations rather than get worked up and cause arguments. Alone time is important, especially when those around you make no attempt to understand how you might feel. I don’t particularly feel like writing, I drank earlier so I shouldn’t take a sleeping pill and I’ve used a lot of energy controlling myself tonight. I’m going to go and say hi to my elefriends and continue listening to music to escape from the noisiness of my mind.

E

True Beauty

I watched the meteor shower. It was freezing and I was alone, and it was a beautiful moment in time. Those are the moments that I live for. The brief few where everything else drops away, you realise how tiny and insignificant you are in the middle of this vast beautiful universe with meteors speeding through space, scattered across the sky above you. I wish I could have shared everything I felt in that moment with a very special someone beside me. But I will treasure that time and the fact that it was my time and nobody else’s, the rare occasion where I am alone and content with the universe. If I write these moments down, I can remember and cling on to the fact that I don’t always have to be lonely when I’m on my own. There is so much out there waiting to be explored.

E

T.

And a side note to T:

In response to something you told me a few days ago. I think so too. I’ll tell you how when I see you, if I can even put it into words. I was being honest about what I said before. I do feel like I’ve crash-landed. It is terrifying and overwhelming, yet at the same time so beautiful and magical. I couldn’t have chosen anywhere I’d rather be. I didn’t mean to get here because of how scared all of this makes me but I’m so glad I have, and I am just going to trust you and be honest with myself. I was too afraid to tell you before, but now I know I shouldn’t have been. I’m sorry I wasn’t brave enough. Hearts are fragile things, but I’ll gladly welcome you into mine. 

E x

The Graduate

The sound of silence. That’s what I’ll hear when they’re gone. The friends I love dearly that are a huge part of my life at University that happen to be graduating in just over a week’s time…

It’s terrifying how many of them don’t know where they’re going next. People leaving, moving on with their lives, back to all the corners of the country, of the world, where they came from, off to pastures new, and never in the same place. Everyone comes from different places, they meet and connect and then they’re torn apart by circumstances – it’s the same for all types of relationships, friends, family, lovers, the lot. Nothing is ever fixed. That’s why we have to establish ourselves in the middle of it, make everything in your life work around you. It’s hard to think just for the present when it hits that you’ve got to figure out how to live, how to work, how to survive, out in the big wide world – and at the same time be happy. It’s all too much sometimes. But we’ll get past it. Like the people in our lives. We’ll all move on.

Sometimes it can be easy to cling onto memories, to wish yourselves back to those moments: the moment you canoed down the river in the sunshine with your friends; the moment you were taken camping in the pouring rain and you were drenched and frozen and tired and your tent broke; the moment you played football on the beach in the sunset… the people that were once there  either are gone or will be gone soon. It’s important to value the relationships we do have, realise how great those friendships are at this point in our lives – but it can be hard when it feels like so many people are going somewhere in their life and you’re stuck in the mess of yours.

So I guess you have to remember to be happy, focus on what makes you you, and be grateful for the people that do come and go in your life: try your very hardest to hold on to those that have made your life what it is.

E