December 2014 – My December (and The New Year)

Dean Winchester meets Edward Cullen

The end of the year is here… Okay, so it is actually the New Year now and we’re one week in. But this is the post where I usually reflect on the year and look forward to the year ahead, and tell you, my dear reader, what my hopes and goals for the future are.

December in general was challenging. I’ve been feeling very lonely at university without having made any real friends and so I looked forward to going home for Christmas more than I thought I ever would, just to get a break from feeling so alone and to see people I love. Ironically, I realised once I got back home that my life is relatively lonely there too, the only difference is that at university I know I’m doing something with my life. What I realised is that I don’t have many true friends back home now. Only a handful actually saw me or even got in touch. The rest seem to have gone off on their own paths. And that is fine – people grow apart and have other things going on. But some people are just dicks, and I guess now I’m beginning to realise how many of my oldest friends have always been dicks.

Supernatural - Dean and Cas - Jesus Dies

But I’m not here to rag on these people, life moves on. I’m written before about how I believe some people come into your life to teach you things about yourself and leave just as quickly. It’s all about the experience that this person or persons provide and you have to learn to let go, but to also embrace new people. I’m at a stage where I’m struggling to embrace new people, but maybe someday soon this year I’ll be able to open up and let people back in.

So the break away from uni was great, I have returned feeling fresh and ready for the new semester. I got to see most of the people I wanted to see, spent a good amount of time with my family, and socialised more in 13 days than I did in the previous 3 months. Now I’m back on campus, 2 weeks before the official start of term I might add, I’m now looking at what my life at university needs. Or rather, I’m now looking at what my needs are at university to sustain my existence away from home.

Batman & Iron Man Throw Money at Each Other

As usual, sustaining my existence requires two things: money and accommodation. Luckily I’m doing well since my bursaries came through, but now I need to look at accommodation for June 2015, as that’s when my lease in halls runs out. Conceivably I could just go home for 3 months, but there is no fucking way I want to do that. 2 weeks back home was enough of a reminder for how bleak my hometown is. No prospects, no future. I also need to look now as a lot of good housing tends to go around this time of year… so yeah… I need to find somewhere to live beginning in June, maybe a one bedroom flat or something, but that requires money that I won’t have over that period from loans, grants, and bursaries. This means finding work. In the short term, this makes my goals for January focused on accommodation and work… and maybe studying…

But what about my long terms goals for 2015? Well firstly lets look at my long-term goals for 2014. As always, I don’t do New Years Resolutions, I set myself semi-realistic goals to achieve throughout a year. This is something I’ve done for the past few years, and it’s generally worked out well for me.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 16.30.30

So as you can see there are 3 ticks on the list. I made a plan to get out of Coventry by succeeding at college and got into university. Woohoo! But what happened to the others? My writing took a back seat a lot in 2014. This was a mixture of lack of motivation, to burn out from overworking at college, to pure depression. Depression makes me lose interest, mostly in things I love and enjoy. The funny thing is I recently watched a film that touched on some of the themes of a film idea I’ve been developing (I usually come across one each year now) and it made me realise something; my story could be so much better than theirs if I just put my mind to it.

Sadly my “health programme” perhaps wasn’t a big winner either. Since leaving home I’ve not had a gym membership due to it being unaffordable, I’m not sure whether I am eating healthily (even though it appears I’ve dropped a jean size since leaving home in September), but it looks like I’ve managed to cut out beer almost entirely. I’ve barely drank whilst I’ve been at uni, When I have drank beer it’s not been more than a couple. Any other time I drink alcohol I’m drinking spirits… which may not be great, but I think it has helped me to drop the weight that I have. So why do I feel like I’ve not achieved my goals? Because I’m stupid, that’s why. I’m obviously dwelling on the negatives rather than the positives.

The Element of Surprise

The sad thing about this is that I purposefully promise myself each year to not allow anything to happen to stop me from achieving my goals, originally an idea that came about as a call to arms to not let life and depression prevent me from living my life. So maybe what I need is to change the wording, to remind me that I am allowed to fail, but not to let life get me down. So here are my goals for 2015:

 Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 22.58.20

Some of these are things that have been discussed. A part-time job will help out in the financial long run, but will also help to get me out to meet new people. This is also in the design to “Travel more”. I barely did anything new in last year aside from a couple of trips. I’ve not made the effort to get out and see the world. Some years I’d make the effort to go to London Film and Comic Con, but for the past few years I’ve not bothered. Sometimes it is to do with a lack of money, but mostly due to feeling shitty about myself. This year I want to make a conscious effort to save money and do things. Maybe even take a holiday somewhere different. Doing well at university is a given for me. I’ve spent a long time wasting time and now I want to make up for it academically to have something concrete to show that I did something with my life. The same goes for writing. Whilst setting myself a goal of writing a screenplay didn’t seem like a lofty notion, the task seems to have been one that has been daunting. Now, I just want to set myself the goal of using my free time effectively, and not squander it sleeping or playing Facebook games. As for achieving the goals – well you can see that it’s been reworded. I need to let myself know that as long as I try to do things this year then it is fine. I need to push myself, but if I fail then it’s okay. At least I tried.

Ron Swanson - Live your life how you want but don't confuse drama with happiness

I know this post has ran on a lot longer than it ought to, but I wanted to touch on something I have been thinking about this past week over New Year. A lot of people look back over a year and think about the bad stuff that has happened, and can’t wait to discard it. People then look at the New Year as being full of potential happiness, as if all 365 days will be good days. The problem, the honest truth of this, is that life isn’t like that. We all have our good days and bad days – mental health problem or no mental health problem. Life is risky, things beyond our control happening and fucking with us. Ultimately, we have to ride it out. Some people piss and moan about how bad their 2014 was, when really they only had some fallings out or minor problems at work and maybe missing their favourite TV programme. My 2014 was another year where I lost a loved one, but when I look back on it in the future I’ll remember it as being the year I spent with an amazing woman, no matter how complex that relationship was, where I got to see a meteor shower for the first time, and as the year I finally got to go to university and move away from home. Despite the stresses and the up and down nature of my life, 2014 is probably my first good year in a long while. 2014 was the year where I took a huge leap forward in my life, and didn’t look back.

I hope you are able to say the same. 🙂

Much love ❤

Please remember to recycle your metal

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November 2014: I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

Psalms are sweaty. Knees weak, cross is heavy. Vomit on my tunic already. Turning water into spaghetti

I’ve put off writing this entry for a little while, and there are a few reasons for this. The first I feel is that my posts lately have been very negative and not reflecting the positive. But that’s something that can be said about living with depression in that it forces the individual to dwell on the negatives. So the second reason is that I think I have been very depressed for quite a while. I don’t mean that like I’ve been having bouts of depression for years, but that I’m currently going through a drawn out bout right now.

Giles - It's the end of the world... Again

I don’t know if it’s any one particular thing, but judging by past experiences it will be a composite of issues. Since moving to uni I’ve been battling a lot of negative thoughts about myself on a regular daily basis. It’s like living with another person in my head at times, it’s also something I’ve written about in the past. It’s that subconscious part of you that dredges up a memory and makes you feel negative about it – even if it was a happy memory.

I learnt a few years ago that I could deal with this by using a combination of mindfulness techniques and medication, however since I changed medication nearly 2 years ago I’ve found it increasingly hard to let these thoughts slip away. I find myself more and more frequently vocalising my annoyance to these thoughts or memories, especially as I spend increasing amounts of time alone in my room. Of course the easy solution to this would to not spend time alone in my room and to get out in the world, but at this university I feel incredibly alone.

Rage Comics - Forever Alone - Are you here alone, i need a chair

I’ve made some friends, even gone out with them on the town, but they’re still not the solid friendships that I had developed as was the case with my college friends. In my mind I’m justifying this as it takes me longer to connect with people on a friendship level because of my preconceived notions about age and experiences between myself and the younger students, something that I had when I started college 2 years ago. Now I’m wavering in that thought process and wonder whether it’s actually my fault and I don’t want to make friends. Am I comparing new friendships to old ones?

It’s hard to know now what it is, my mind feels very clouded around the subject. The added stress of having a break up, although mutual, makes me feel as though in this corner of the world I have nothing but my ambitions, which too are wavering.

Neil Patrick Harris Before Zod

Perhaps I’m being too cynical about all this, perhaps it is the stress of being away from friends and family whilst pursuing an education in another city that is getting to me. It’s difficult, though, to wholly comprehend once my mind becomes so bogged down in the fog that is depression.

So what I need to do now is battle back out of it. I’ve previously written about combatting depression by being active. Well, the weather is too cold and wet currently for a stroll, so I’m stuck inside. What should I do inside? Write, organise, find things to tax the brain. So far, writing this is the first thing I’ve managed to do. Why? Because one of the things depressions loves to do to an individual is to make them lose interest in doing anything that they ever found interesting. Another thing is to make you bury your head and not confront your issues. Writing this has helped me to tackle both.

Neils before Zod

This may have started out as a negative post, but it’s not ending that way, because now I’m fighting back. In 2 weeks I get to go home for Christmas. I’ll get to see my friends and family. My goal is to make it back home and get reenergised for the New Year. In-between now and then I’ve got plenty to do, so it’s time for me to leave you and start making a list of what I need to accomplish before I go home.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Much love ❤

God says homosexuality is (s)in

October 2014: Am I Going Insane

I’m slowly going insane.

6fd4d6cc-1314-4a0e-ba45-27d9a0a36638-620x372

6 weeks into living on campus and I’m really struggling. The funny thing though is that I’m not struggling because of the work (although I have 10 days to write a 2000 word essay on the relevance of Shakespeare being performed in My Darling Clementine and have so far done none of the work), I am struggling with living on campus. I thought living on campus wouldn’t be so bad, it’d put me in a place where I could meet and befriend new people and forge some new relationships. At this stage I’ve still barely made any new friends, and living in shared accommodation is becoming really difficult. In the flat things have gone missing, food stolen, massive messes being left for days. Sounds typical of student living, but for someone who is rapidly approaching his thirties it’s something that is increasingly hard to cope with. Prior to writing this post I discovered all my knives had gone missing from my draw in the kitchen only to then find them in someone else’s draw. They had literally taken my knives from my draw and put them in theirs because, “All mine had gone missing and I thought these were mine.” No love, they weren’t.

I'm not a proctologist but I know an asshole when I see one

The fact as well that this week my girlfriend/lover/paramour (delete as appropriate) decided that we should take a break/break-up because a variety of reasons (including long-distance, her marriage, and other difficult circumstances) has left me extremely isolated. I don’t even really have any friends back home I could really call up anymore that I can just unload on, and my family on the other hand are not people I want to worry with this.

Luckily I have this blog for that, so lucky you, dear reader(s)!!!

(delete as appropriate)

Last Ditch Attempt at Paper Beating Rock

I’ve also been experiencing a lot of vivid nightmares in-between recent bouts of insomnia, some about people I love dying, and others about people I love coming back to life. This came to a crescendo last night with a zombie apocalypse nightmare. Lucky me. So no doubt I’m feeling as though I have no respite from the negative thoughts and anxieties.

This is genuinely quite worrying because a lot of this stuff is symptomatic of me approaching a relapse or the start of a big ol’ bout of depression. This means I need to be on top of my mental health, keep to routines, keep busy, keep distracted…

The Wolf - Pulp Fiction - Let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet

I’m trying to take a long walk at least once a week into town to do my shopping and other town-type errand-y things, whilst keeping busy during the week. Some days I am finding harder than others to get energy and motivate myself into action. Yesterday, for example (after 2 fire alarms in the night) I ended up sleeping in until after 3pm! I lay in bed for a long time after waking up not sure if I wanted to leave my bed, but made myself get up and vacuum my room before venturing out into town, doing my shopping, and returning to do my laundry. Doesn’t sound like much, but accomplishing tasks like that on days where I feel like that can be the most challenging thing to accomplish.

So that’s me this month, just trying to keep busy so I don’t completely fall off the deep end.

If any of you have any experiences with dealing with mental health at university tell me your story in the comments below because I’d love to know how you made it though.

Much love ❤

Depression - Are you okay? Yeah, Just Tired

September 2014: Ten Years Gone

So this is my first post from university! Yay!

lebowski1

I’m incredibly proud of myself for getting here and what I’ve overcome to achieve this, but now I’m onto a new set of challenges… Living with teenagers. Technically you can argue that they are adults who have every right to be able to exercise their own freedom, and grow and learn as I have, but the other argument is I really fucking hate people.

I like individuals, individuals are cool, they have interests and hobbies and interesting experiences to share – people are loud, obnoxious, and really fucking annoying.

I’ve never been good with crowds, and the first few weeks at the campus showed me just how busy the university campus could be. Add to that living on campus in flats with around 200+ students who at night turn into shrieking feral animals and you find that I am now in a world I am wholly unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.

Humiliated Cat (1)

Add to that the generation gap here, and I really feel like a fish out of water. I’m three weeks in and have barely made any friends, rarely had the opportunity to go out and meet people. People who I have met have been incredibly arrogant or just totally off their heads on something.

I guess this is what happens when you’re a late twenty-something in university.

I play well with others. Others, not you

On the flip side of the coin, I’m actually learning how to be more independent, teaching myself how to ration food, budget, do a weekly shop, laundry – all that jazz. It’s been great to finally get out and really look after myself after being kept for so long at home. I’m really enjoying being somewhere else with only myself to be responsible of. The course is also great, some ideas and techniques I had briefly touched on at college are coming to the forefront this year and it’s been really interesting to get to grips with these concepts.

On the mental health side of things I’ve been really struggling, the stress and anxiety of these first few weeks has made it extremely difficult for me to sleep properly. I’ve had to use relaxation techniques a lot more frequently, even to the point now where I need to listen to a recording of rain on a loop to help with this. I’ve also noticed a dip in my mood after the first week, maybe due to this feeling of being a fish out of water, but my medication is still lower than where I had initially tried to come off months ago. I’m also roughly around 6 weeks into this new dosage so there’s a good chance that this hasn’t balanced out yet chemically in my brain.

Human - what r u doing - human - stahp

I’ve registered with the local GP surgery, and tried to make an appointment this week, unfortunately they were a) closed, and b) a lovely member of the admin team informed me I should come on a Tuesday evening as they will need to do some kind of induction thing. Oh, they’re going to have a field day with me.

So that’s my story so far. I’ve got very little planned in the immediate future, aside from the university studies. Fortunately I’ve just learned that my lovely paramour shall be coming to visit next weekend! The distance has really sucked, but we’ve kept in touch and she’s really helped keep me sane through the isolated moments of these past weeks.

People don't always post on my Facebook wall but when they do it's my birthday

I also celebrated my final year of being a twenty-somthing last weekend, which means there’s roughly one year left to this blog’s existence and then I bring out a new blog á la Adrian Mole as a 30-somthing living with depression. So yeah. Get your fill of being a 20-something whilst you can here.

N.B.  Also, this week saw Mental Health Awareness Day. Not that I/we needed to be reminded or made aware of mental illness here… It’s just something that maybe I thought I’d share and maybe if you did some digging you might find some interesting articles and shit on it.

Until next time, much love ❤

When we break a bone vs when we struggle with mental health issues

August 2014: The Final Countdown

The chicken lays the egg

So here we are, this is my last post writing from home before I move to university at the end of September. Yup, my results came through and I officially have a place at university. Which is great. It’s everything I’ve been working towards for the past 2 years… Only now there’s something that makes me not want to leave.

So firstly I’m going to talk about my medication. Last month I wrote about my uncertainties of coming off of Sertraline after making the decision to come off of it. Last week I finally went to my local GP to re-up the dose back to 100mg from 50mg. My sleep pattern completely deteriorated over the course of last month. I’ve found it extremely difficult getting to sleep; even relaxation techniques have been inadequate.

Arch Enemies

Part of the problem has been the building stresses and anxieties of moving away, organising my course and accommodation, money and payments, the logistics of moving. I also guess the other part is I’m feeling sad about moving away from my girlfriend.

Our relationship is… complicated. She’s still technically married, but they both know the relationship is over and remain together out of convenience. We’ve been seeing each other for over a year now, and we knew from the start that I would be leaving, now the time is near it’s becoming more difficult for both of us. For her I guess she doesn’t want to leave because so much of her life is tied up in the marriage, to cut all that off would be to end every relationship she’s built since leaving home – friends, familial in-laws – For her to leave it would be to start her life all over again, and maybe she’s not ready for that. For me I wish she would leave with me, but I know she won’t.

Incredible Hulk - When you meet the right woman she can stop the rage and pain

And now I just don’t know how to end things. I know we both want to see each other still, but being over 100 miles apart is not exactly something that is viable. So now I think I feel stressed out about this because I don’t know how to end this. Will we still see each other, and if we do how will that work? If we stop seeing each other how will I feel about that? Am I okay with that?

The moral of the story here kids is don’t get involved in a complicated relationship…

…But given the chance, I’d do this all over again, no matter how this things ends.

Spock is a smooth operator

She has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long time, and her presence in my life, no matter how terrible it seems on paper, has been a massive positive influence and got me through some tough times after Matt died last year. I wish that this could last forever, but sometimes some people enter your life at the exact right moment to get you through some tough shit, and then they leave. They give you what you need at a time when you’re in need.

As the great Walter “Heisenberg” White once said, “Things have a way of working themselves out.” I might not know what the future is going to bring for both of us, but I know that one way or another they’ll work out the way they’re supposed to be and I’ll be okay with it.

Much love ❤

Insomnia Sufferers: Look on the brightside, only 3 more sleeps until Christmas

July 2014: The Beginning is The End is The Beginning

Everybody just wants to be liked and accepted. Except for Tom. Tom Doesn't give a shit
Hello again!
Since my summer holidays began I’ve been on a hard earned rest, which for me involves sleeping late and bumming around the house like a slob. I have set myself very little to do, which is now becoming problematic as I look at the next 2 months and think, “what am I going to do with all this time?”.
So now I’m in job hunt/money-making/productivity mode. My first step: re-entering that hive of scum and villainy known as the “Jobcentre”. I discovered that whilst between college and university I am entitled to sign on and gain the benefits of the unemployed of the United Kingdom. This does require an individual to search for full-time work, but that’s not so much of an issue when I actually am looking for something to do to fill my time until university comes-a-knocking.
Let me in please, I'm not the mighty hunter I thought I was
On the other end of things I’m beginning to get back into writer mode to complete a script and a treatment for a few projects I’ve had on a back burner. My target is to really have these completed by mid-August, but realistically it could be the end of August, which again suits me fine as it’ll keep me busy.
I’ve also been pestering my mother to get a list together of jobs to do around the house before I leave home. So far this has led to cutting down a conifer tree in the front garden, washing down the front door and porch, to just general gardening and cleaning.
Consuella - No No... I Clean Shield Now
So things are getting busy again, and that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, on the medication front, things have bee a little bit topsey-turvey. My mood has at times been slightly erratic lately, with my mind becoming increasingly more and more difficult to quiet at night, or even during quiet periods during the day. To me these reeks of medication issues – the side effects of reducing medication. I’m currently taking 50mg of Sertraline once at night. The idea was to reduce medication to the point where I’d be taking 50mg every other day before stopping all together. Currently I feel that I’m going to require another month at least on 50mg before considering switching to alternative days.
I’m also feeling uncertain about coming off medication at all. I’ve noticed old habits slipping back in (like sleeping past noon, and requiring sleep during the day) and so I wonder whether it would be beneficial for me to find a equilibrium on a low dose. Perhaps I’m wishful in that 50mg would be sufficient once the chemicals balance out to keep me in check and maybe I’m not wanting to be responsible for a portion of my health, but the other side of this could be that perhaps a reduction was all I needed to alleviate the side effects, and more importantly, perhaps the medication was still doing its job but I no longer noticed the positive physical effects.
So this likely means that I won’t be medication free by the end of august, and possibly not medication free at all this year. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s all a learning experience to figure out what my body needs to cope. Ultimately I’d like to not take medication, but if it had been helping me to maintain a better sleep pattern at the very least then surely I should consider remaining medicated.
Until next time, all of my love ❤️
Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly

May – June 2014: Hooked on a Feeling

It’s party time!

 

Yes, that’s right! I have finally returned! My sincerest apologies for the long absence, however the absence was necessary and much needed to allot more time to my studies — WHICH ARE FINALLY OVER!

It's Finally Over

Now all I’m doing is playing the waiting game for results, and hopefully in September I shall be moving onto university, finally! HUZZAH!

But what else has really been going on? In the months since I last wrote I’ve had ups and downs in my relationships, some not really helped by a weekend where I sunk into a deep depression around the end of May/beginning of June. I’m not really sure what triggered it, I think the stress of life just got on top of me, and I just didn’t want to have to deal with fighting my way out of depression. I also have a slight feeling that the reduction in medication may not have helped, however since then I’ve generally been okay, and I’m now on less medication than I was at the time.

From the last update, where I was taking 150mg Sertraline, I’ve now reduced down to 50mg with the intention of switching to every other day before finally stopping – which could be some time next month. I’m feeling a little anxious about this because I am fearful of not taking medication may result in a big relapse, whilst the reduction in medication has seen a reduction of side effects to a manageable level. The point really is that I’m trying to make is I want to try coming off, but maybe the high dosage wasn’t a good idea, and was perhaps something that I needed originally when I began the medication.Sam Winchester Demon Conspiracy

For now, I’ll see where things stand next month. These past few months have been emotionally draining (the loss of my grandfather, my girlfriend’s mother died, and finishing college – losing friends that I’ve made over the last few years to the real world because that’s life), and I struggle with the ideas of loss. I It’s something that has been working its way around my head for maybe 5 years or so, but I understand that one of my biggest issues is the fear of losing people and ending up completely alone. People dying or leaving my life because that’s where their life takes them feels like a frequent occurrence and I’ve never emotionally come to terms with the fact that this is life. I may be able to rationalize it, but the feeling is still there in the back of my mind and in my dreams at night.

 

Yet, with all this upheaval about to occur in my life – moving on from college life to university life, moving to a new city, moving away from friends/family/etc – It’s something that has been a long time coming, a goal that I have planned for and now one that I am likely to achieve, it’s me who is leaving. I’m the one abandoning this community I’ve lived in for so many years. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I am feeling sad about so much right now, I’m proud that I’ve achieved one of my biggest life goals and am now likely to make it to college. I hope that my perseverance through the past 18 months to make it so far and so well will be making my Grandpa proud right now too.

So after all this time, I think it’s time I stepped things up a good bit around here. Over the summer I’ll be posting bi-monthly (insert childish giggle here) and looking mostly at what it’s like coming of off sertraline entirely. By the end of August I should have stopped entirely so updates will be made on life after sertraline.

So see you in 2 weeks! ❤

If you have a bad thought about yourself tell it to go to hell because that is exactly where it came from