The Optimistic Diaries | Week 1

Following on from my previous post about my theme for this year being ‘optimism’ I decided that it would be a good idea to blog my progress.

Last week was my first – almost – full week back at my rented place. It’s been pretty mixed so far but focusing on the positives, I came back earlier on in the week for a job interview. A few days later I received a call saying I had the job. With mixed feelings I accepted and am happy it allows me to pay the bills and stay in the area I am currently in.

In other news last week I have enjoyed spending time with my two boys (guinea pigs – don’t judge) again and have been enjoying lots of cuddle and play time!


The week ended with me and my partner having a pretty big argument, which may not sound very positive at all but, we have an ability to talk about things well (see positive!) and once we do this we are able to resolve arguments and it makes us able to understand each other better.

Although there have been times where it’s been hard to remain positive, and in terms of optimism you could say I failed miserably, however, they aren’t failures, they are learning curves and writing this has allowed me to reflect and find the positives that I previously wouldn’t of been able to find.

Are any of you trying a similar thing? How are you doing with resolutions?

 

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Writers Block…

I have it… I keep looking at my blog post ideas book and thinking ‘nah’ to Every. Single. Idea. It’s something that’s really annoying because normally I have so much to talk about! 

The more frustrated you get with it the more you feel blocked! And the harder you think the more nothing sounds or feels right. It feels as though nothing right is good enough, that everyone’s going to hate it, no one will read it etc. It’s such a strange pressure to put on yourself when it’s something I do, and others do, as a hobby. There isn’t a deadline or expectation yet we create one. I always try to get mine out on the days I set at exactly the right times, I put the pressure on myself to do that because I enjoy writing my blogs. 

True it’s not like I get a lot of readers but I enjoy writing and I like interacting with all of you out there, it’s a nice space of the Internet to be in so when the dreaded writers block happens it’s like a countdown of a ticking bomb to get a blog post out and find it in the depths of your mind! It’ll be in there somewhere, won’t it? 

Does anyone else get this? What do you guys do? 

Mental Health | The Good the Bad and the Ugly…

This post is actually going to be based on a BBC News link that my mum sent me and if I’m honest I was pretty frustrated when I read it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37504679

The Good side to this article is that there are ways in which you can receive help and with thanks to the NHS (if you live in the UK that is), help is more accessible than ever. So WHY have things not improved???

It makes me frustrated that people still feel as though they can’t talk or seek help. Maybe some don’t want it or aren’t ready to seek it yet but for those who do there is a huge waiting list for counselling/therapies when applying or being referred through the NHS. This may not be their fault directly due to budget cuts etc but I feel as though there are things that could help. The media for example could help to prevent depression/anxiety over body image etc by promoting a healthy figure instead of models who look like skeletons. Yes there has been progress with plus sized models etc but companies are so reluctant to support a ‘normal’ size model in their campaign. Of course the recent Calvin Klein ad featuring a ‘plus size’ model who was a size 10 caused uproar….I wonder why! Unrealistic expectations of body image can kick-start the amount of young people suffering from depression/anxiety and I’m not just talking about females!

The stigma of having a Mental Health disorder, common or not, is still present which in this day and age makes it worse considering how prevalent the topic is. There are those which don’t understand the feeling of having anxiety or depression who think that its something which will just ‘go away’ and don’t want to think about the problems that come along with it. I have to be honest and admit that although I am, or try to be, an advocate for mental health and increasing awareness there have been times where I’ve been embarrassed to admit that I suffer from anxiety. This shouldn’t be the case for ANYONE, no matter what age, gender or beliefs. I feel as though sometimes people view it as an excuse and there have been times where, personally, I have felt judged and have received that ‘this girl is crazy’ look. Not a nice feeling.

So as not to end this post on a sour note those who do and don’t have mental illness can still be supportive which really does make you feel like you’re not alone and crazy! Since writing about anxiety and my own experiences on here the support that I have felt and comments I have had made me feel so much better and so more normal than I actually feel. I only hope that my blog can do the same for some of you out there as having a mental illness, no matter how big or small is not something you should feel ashamed of.

Keeping Anxiety Positive…

 

A blog post about anxiety, the worry that you’re not good enough and trying regardless.:

Probably the hardest thing to do with Anxiety or Depression or indeed anything similar. Recently I have been thinking about what I would like to do in the next few months and have realised that I need to keep moving forward to try to be better for myself.

Having any Mental Health ‘issue’ is thought of as negative, surely there are some aspects that can be turned into a positive?

One of my thoughts was that although the fact that I over think everything to ridiculous proportions and hate it, it can also be a positive. How? Well surely thinking about a situation or thing from all angles can be a positive? You know what to expect, you are prepared and quite often I’m stuck in the middle of two side which can enable me to have the best of both the sides i’m stuck between. Not a bad outcome right?

Another thing is that I over empathize with people and whilst this again can be frustrating it can also be really useful to try to help and support them. Some people can find this helpful too as they feel understood. This makes me happy as I like being able to support and help people to overcome whatever it is that is bothering them.

Thinking on from this I get to stubbornness and determination. I have bags of these and whilst it can annoy most people there is no reason that these can’t be put to good use right? Right. So I have decided that I am going to use my stubbornness and determination to make myself do some things that I want to do which will hopefully make me feel happier and more confident with my life and myself.

The things I want to accomplish are:

  1. Keep up with my weekly blog posts on both of my blogs – I have really been enjoying doing my blogs, more so now that I have a schedule that I have been sticking too. I have also enjoyed speaking to more people so pop me a message! 🙂
  2. Upload a YouTube video – I know this seems to be a typical thing to do nowadays but I really enjoy the world or beauty and talking about my experiences with people so talking to a wider audience really appeals to me. It has taken me a while to get to this point but I’ve decided to ignore everything I’m anxious about and go for it!
  3. Read more books – I am such a big bookworm but, until recently, I don’t get through many. I have enjoyed changing this recently and have read about five books in the past three months! Woo!
  4. Pass my driving exam – I have failed it once and one of the reasons I am unhappy is because I have to rely on other people and can’t get myself to places. I am hoping to pass my test at some point this year!
  5. Get my own place – I have wanted to do this for aaggeesssss! I am hoping to save up enough money to afford to rent my own place and hopefully find somewhere that will take me and my two gorgeous guinea pigs.
  6. Try and do things that I have been scared to do – This includes using and learning to use my roller skates and ice skating! These two things terrify me! I have such a mental block when I go to do these things because of my anxiety and it is something that I would like to work towards overcoming.

I know that it won’t be possible to stay positive everyday but I am going to try to achieve these things as quickly as I can and keep pushing myself forward.

Quote on anxiety: I will breathe. I will think of solutions, I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don't quit. -Shayne McClendon.:

Do you have anything you really want to achieve?

Being just ‘ok’…

The premise of being ‘ok’ has caused an ongoing debate between me and my partner. Whenever anyone asks me how I am the answer is always, by default, ‘I’m ok thanks, you?’. Standard response no? According to my partner this is not an acceptable response from me…he knows me too well…. but as I explain to him having anxiety generally makes me not good but not bad either, so surely I am ok?

Whether you have anxiety or not being ‘ok’, in my opinion, is one of the most mysterious replies you can give. Why? because there could be so many meanings behind it. You could genuinely be ok, nothing spectacular has happened but you aren’t feeling rubbish, you are simply ‘ok’. You could also be spectacular but want to hide it for some reason or another, on the other hand you could be hiding the fact that you are feeling spectacularly shit and don’t want anyone to know or talk about it. Or you just can’t be bothered to talk to someone…

For me I use the term ‘ok’ because normally I genuinely have no idea how I’m feeling and it’s easier than having to explain what numb, lost and confused means or put so much energy into feigning that I’m the most joyous person in the world! Surely ‘ok’ is a better response than pretending to be happy? It takes a lot less energy I can tell you that. 

However…coming from my partners point of view it must be so hard and frustrating when all I say is ‘I’m ok’. For someone who genuinely cares about you surely more effort should go into answering how you really are not just the answer you would give a stranger in the street? 

In summary I think you should give people whatever response you would like, however, for those who truly care putting that little bit extra into the answer of the dreaded ‘how are you?’ question might just help both sides out, yourself for being able to explore how you are feeling more (a scary and impossible thing I know) and allowing them to feel respected and needed. 

The Body Confidence Edit…

We all have those days where we feel so rubbish and down about ourselves and the way we look, but what can we do to change it?

At the time of feeling rubbish probably not much! Well that is the honest reply anyway but that doesn’t mean you can’t try things. Whether you want to feel better or whether you are just stuck in a rut – stop and think. Is it really as bad as you think? No. It’s never as bad as we think. In our modern-day society both men and women have so much pressure on them to look a specific way and this doesn’t even include fashion, makeup and hair! Men feel the pressure to get a six-pack and somehow be able to lift ridiculous weights to appear ‘manly’. Forget about whether they have a good personality, can make you laugh and understand you, nope, that is out the window guys! As long as you have rippling muscle definition – then you are a man. Women, its similar just without the rippling six pack, we have to be toned, skinny with perfect skin. AS IF! In fact research has shown that men prefer women curvy and vice versa, with other research showing that physical appearance isn’t the most important thing to either sex. Yet despite this we still look at ourselves with disgust.

I am definitely one of those people. I am not afraid to say that I’m not happy with my appearance, i’m curvy and whilst i’m not big I am not toned and this bothers me. I look in the mirror and see a bit of podge on the bottom of my stomach and instantly remove the outfit i’m wearing. Whether I should feel like this or not, there is no denying that I could do something about it but don’t always have the motivation. I do prefer to wear baggier clothes as then you can’t see my ‘rolls’ and if it was socially acceptable I would live in pajamas for no other reason than the fact that they are comfy. Sometimes I just wear a baggy hoodie to feel better about myself that day; other days I’ll feel brave enough to wear something a little more figure hugging.

As a daily mantra I am trying to tell myself that I, a 22-year-old woman, am me. There is nothing wrong with me or anyone around me. Why should it matter to people if I have a bit of podge or that I’m not toned. If I looked at someone with a figure hugging dress and curves I would think they look beautiful and that everyone both men and women have different body shapes, sizes and types. The pressure put on us is ridiculous and unfair, we are all different and realistically, without surgery, it is impossible to look like we feel like we are expected to.

I guess my message from this is that everyone is different, embrace it. We are all going to have the days where we feel rubbish about ourselves but trying to be a size six model isn’t going to help anyone! Love yourself. Enjoy life, be healthy and do what makes you happy.

What I wish people would’ve told me…

I went to a school where they told me three times I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to follow my dreams, I was constantly laughed at by classmates, rumours were spread and I followed rules and restrictions because I couldn’t be bothered with all the drama. 

Don’t get me wrong there were plenty of times I argued with my parents and did the odd thing to try and defy those around me but at the end of the day when push came to shove I did what was expected of me whether I liked it or not. Now I’m 22 and am regretting not doing things my way (within reason) and pushing for what I want. 

When I was a child I was carefree and enjoyed life, now I feel like a shell, an angry ball of energy that is waiting to explode. I feel about 10mm tall and question everything I do and whether I do it right. 

Now I wish someone would’ve say there and said you may not be academic but when you work at it you can and will achieve it, I wish someone would’ve said it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy it and enjoy life, I wish there would’ve been someone who stood by me through everything, talking me out of the bad situations but in a way that was supportive instead of repressive and building my confidence so I believed in myself and what I was doing. 

Now I wish that someone would be around to pick up my pieces and put them together but now that I’m older I realise that I have to do this myself but in doing so I know I’ll get stronger and at some point enjoy life again. 

I can assure you that if I ever have children I will try my very best to support them through obstacles and help them to enjoy their lives so when they get older they will be strong and happy both within themselves and with what’s around them. 

You’re only human…

I won’t start by carrying on and ripping off Christina Perri’s song!

On a side note though that song does have a very valid meaning. We are all simply human. Just that and nothing more, nothing less. Despite this though there is so much pressure on us nowadays to get to the top, to have a career, to succeed in life. But what if you, like me, have no idea what you want to do? What happens if you do break and fall? What happens if we don’t conform to the self-fulfilling prophecy and actually just want to live this life we have and enjoy it in whatever way that might be?

Over the past couple of months I have struggled with where I want to go in life, what I want to do and struggled with balancing this with what I believe I should be doing. I’ve been trying to conform to what I think people want me to do/what I think they think I should do…..yes thats a lot of thinks! Thinking is the essence of this blog post as I have come to the realisation that actually all I want to do is to start enjoying the life I have. I’ve been getting so worked up over trying to please people and wonder where the hell I’m going in life to realise that I stopped enjoying it a long time ago.

Although I’m still struggling with what direction I want to go in, I’m slowly realising that in  order to start my life I have to stop living everyone else’s.

If you only get one thing from this blog post, I hope that it’s to find something that makes you happy with your life…

An Open Letter to my Granddad…

Dear Granddad,

I have loads to tell you in the past ten years you were taken from me. I think perhaps the most important thing is that I miss you… LOTS. I was always a granddads girl and always will be and one of my best friends has been taken from me. I know you wouldn’t want me to be sad in anyway as you would believe you have been reunited with nanny and others who you lost in your life. For you, I hope this is true, I hope that what you believed has come true and I hope you are happy. For me, i’d give anything to see you again, tell you what I have done since the last time I saw you, introduce you to my two little guinea pigs and my loving partner – who I think you would approve of! I’d give anything to hear you say ‘learn all those lessons’, it is only now that I have grown up that I realise two things: 1) this is probably the best piece of advice that I have ever been given and 2) that unbeknownst to me at the time not only did you mean educational lessons but most likely also meant life lessons. I know I have done things you wouldn’t approve of, such as getting piercings in my ears, but I know that even though you may not like it, you’d accept it, just like you accepted me for all my faults and flaws. I always knew that at the end of the day, you would be there to help make things better. It is thanks to you that I know how powerful love is and feels but also how painful it can be. How painful it is to write this post and how painful it is to know how sad you would be to know that this is part of the way I feel.

Deep down I know that you would still be proud of me, and are always there to comfort me even though I can’t see you, I know you are up there smiling down and I try to believe it with everything I have that one day, one day I will see you again and you will tell me that I learnt all those lessons.

For now I will have to make do with my memories of you, for them I will always love you.

Social Anxiety 101…

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…people…people…what do I do?!

Generally a common thought that goes through my mind. Although I have anxiety towards pretty much everything, I’ve decided this post should be dedicated towards the social aspect in time for the holidays!

That feeling of sheer panic, covering the panic up (or trying to!), wondering who is going to be the next person to kidnap you, attack you or rob you. There are so many scenarios I know I struggle with, walking down the street, travel and even from the safety of my bed wondering about the day and who thought what of me even though realistically they are strangers and I will most likely never see them again.

Whatever situation I’m in when I feel that sheer panic, I try and reassure myself, crime wise my mind goes into overdrive, possibly from the years ive spent studying serial killers etc, but in reality the chances of someone stalking, kidnapping or murdering a stranger are slim, although being reassured by this is hard it is rare.

When I was thinking about travel situations, personally, I realized that what i’m worrying about is what I look like and what people will think of me, so, I pose this question to you, who the hell cares?! The thing with anxiety is that you always over think, reality check, the people around you won’t be thinking about you at the end of the day. Scenario: you fall asleep on the train or you get the wrong one, there are so many people, even if you feel as though they are laughing at you that have done it before.

I am aware that this type of social anxiety won’t be the same for everyone as it’s all different but who says that acting like a badass bitch that doesn’t care what others think to cope with taking a train or walking down that street is a bad way of dealing with things???

Just remember as a general rule of anxiety, it’s always worse in your head.