So long, Stephen Hawking

We found out this morning that genius Stephen Hawking has died. I mentioned to Pete that all the cool birthday buddies I have are now dead. Elvis, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking- we all share being January 8 babies.

Determined to raise my spirits to give me a new, living birthday buddy list, Pete started an internet search…

P: Kim Jong-un?
J: Uh, no.
P: R Kelly?
(He’s clearly winding me up.)
J: Also, no.
P: Betsy DeVos?
J: I’m not listening.

So, I just looked up “famous” January 8 babies. I have no idea who most of these “famous” people are, but the list includes soccer players, Twitter and Instagram “stars”. Yeah… No more geniuses left. Just me. It’s lonely at the top. 😉

The lost art of writing a blog post

I often think about writing. I used to enjoy the exercise, the stringing together of words into paragraphs that get my thoughts out there, mostly for myself. Plenty of people seem to “get” what I’m saying in my posts, and that’s great, but I think I miss writing for me the most. It’s indulgent, therapeutic, and keeps my communication skills a little bit sharper.

I’ve opened this blog several times with the idea of writing, but once in, a creeping anxiety over “what do I have to say” causes me to shut the browser tab without so much as deciding a post title. It’s the writing equivalent to approaching the empty swimming pool on a slightly out of season holiday, dipping a few toes, then turning back to the sun lounger where at least the sun is warm. Approach and retreat. Rinse and repeat.

I haven’t felt well lately, and your guess is as good as mine as to what length of time that is. But, lately I’ve felt even more symptoms that usual when dealing with my mental health. I am tired. I have headaches, nausea, insomnia, dread, and an crippling inability to do things. I’m not in despair with tears as I get with my brand of clinical depression, but rather I have a “quiet on the outside, screaming on the inside” anxiety that I’ve now pinpointed as Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This part of my brain behaviour is getting worse as I get older, and I’m not sure why. If my mental health issues were in a race, I’d say my ADHD is still leading, with GAD having now lapped my bipolar depression. Interestingly, as I get older, the bipolar part of my depression (which was spotted in therapy years and years ago during ADHD treatment) seems to be subsiding into a less pendulum-swinging type of depression and more gentle waves alternating between “ok” and “despair”. While that is welcome, and frankly easier to deal with, this anxiety bastard has more than stepped up to fill the drama void. I am in a quiet hell and it now comes with physical symptoms. Lucky me.

So, I’ve admitted to you – and myself – how serious this actually is. That’s not easy. I am also looking to relieve and change this shit ticket to GADville. I don’t want therapy, I don’t want drugs. I will be trying very hard to recognise and shift behaviours when I spot them. I have a headache and nausea right now and know that sleep isn’t going to help- in fact, the idea of going to bed fills me with more dread because I know how much work I have to do. I do what I can to make progress every day, but I’m really only about 30% productive (maybe less, so that feels crap too). I have so much I want to do in life that sleeping when I feel anxious creates more anxiety. The solution is to do something. I am going down to the beach to look for sea glass, and the idea of taking time for me in that way is as bad as taking a nap; nausea flares, my temples pound, and I can’t imagine how I can leave the house like this. But at least it’s not sleeping, and I am positive that fresh air and simple exercise will help me, so I’ll force myself to go. I need to be alone, focus on the pebbles, let the sea air medicate me. Then I need to get to work…

It felt good to write this. I’ll write more again (no promises on when) and I am hoping the topics branch out beyond my mental health struggles soon. The only thing I write these days are the scripts for my video classes, so I need some balance. Balance. That’s what I want. I don’t want a “healthy” brain, I want my brain, but with more balance and no one but myself can make that happen. Time to hold my breath, exhale, and walk out the front door. Beach therapy is waiting.

Thoughts on a difficult time

Had a very nice pay check today (from my art video tuition efforts), celebrated with a little prosecco with Pete Cooper, and will be measuring up some rooms in the house we’re moving into in a matter of weeks. Overall, a pretty positive day.
However, the world is in a terrible state, and I honestly can only handle so much, but I’m trying to focus on these little things that make my life feel like it means something or is moving towards something good. It’s so easy to feel overstretched, overstressed, and helpless when the world is screaming for help, but we can’t forget a little self-nurturing.

Stay strong to help yourself, then you can help others. If your gas tank is empty, you can’t go, you can’t give. I am terrible for running on fumes and never seem to learn before making myself ill. It can be hard to say no when people ask you for a yes. And the queue of people/causes asking for a yes is endless.

The world is unjust and pleading for help, but try to make sure you’re strong enough to carry yourself, before you offer to carry another.

I am not in a good place in my mental health lately, but I have done a few things recently to strengthen me – my core – so that I can keep getting up in the morning. Sometimes facing the day is enough. Tomorrow is new. Get up. Do you. You are not selfish for trying to get strong before helping another. It’s damn hard to self-care, but necessary. NECESSARY. And damn anyone who calls you selfish for it.

Be good to yourselves. Drink the prosecco. Take the nap. Say no to the thing you can’t do/afford/face. Say yes and thank you if offered help.

I have a tattoo on my arm that I see every day, no matter if I’m feeling good, bad, or even in a low place where I self-harm, “To thine own self be true.” And you must. In all definitions of those Shakespearian words, you must be true to yourself. My scars (and fresh wounds) below it are part my struggle, but honest. I’m honest, not proud. Weak but strengthening after tough times. My other arm has the latin words for “scars and stories,” so there’s that…

This is me advising myself as much as I’m telling it to you, because I need to hear it too. I need to write it all out. Give it structure. Voice.
Heal you, then you can heal others. We can do this.
Namaste. x

sharing too much since 2003