It’s one of those questions we probably get asked every single day and we probably all answer it in the same way. It can be used to ask how you’re day is going, or it can be a simple greeting between people. I am often asked it every morning on my way to work by a couple of friendly dog walkers that I pass and, even though I don’t know their names we seem to have an understanding that we’re ok because we’ve seen each other that day. If we don’t pass that day we will simply ask the question next time we pass and simply give the usual reply.
But what if some of the people who ask you the question actually were given the real honest answer?
I know from my own personal experience with my mental health that if I give the honest answer to someone who’s not expecting it there is an awkward silence and then a “…oh well, hope you feel better soon” before they run for the hills (maybe not run exactly but they do avoid further eye contact and move away quickly). It’s nobody’s fault and I’m certainly not saying that every single person should be an expert in dealing with honesty (because none of us are experts) but what I’m trying to get across (in a pretty roundabout way) is that we should all at least have that one person we can tell ANYTHING to without fear of judgment or them running to the hills.
I’ve become a pretty good judge of character and I can tell when someone asks me how I am whether they actually mean it or are just asking because it’s what you are programmed to do. I also know out of my friends and acquaintances who I can tell everything to, who I can give the radio edit to and who I can just say “Yeah, you?”
Here we are at the end of another week and it’s been a week of mixed feelings. At some points I’ve felt very capable and able to do anything I put my mind to and other times I have been wishing the hours away until I go to bed. Sunday is not really a day of rest as far as my mind is concerned as it is always chewing something over that I did / said / wrote / didn’t say and then my anxiety chimes in and goes ‘Hey I’m lonely can I join you?’ to which I want to say no but my brain gives in and accepts the invitation. The cycle continues.
So what have I been up to?
Short answer is mostly working. You may or may not know that I work in retail and although my daily shift time is very much a constant, the job I do every day can be quite varied. This week has been taken up with getting used to a new piece of technology which arrived and also working in the cafe or food hall most of the afternoon. I had a day where a colleague wasn’t having a good day (neither was I at the time) and I was asked if I could stay in the cafe an extra hour or so and my anxiety stopped me dead in my tracks. I think my face gave me away (as it usually does in any situation) and the colleague asking me double checked to make sure I was O.K. with staying to which I instantly replied I was. The real answer was that I wasn’t but I had a brain fart where my head just answered before my heart had a chance to listen to the question properly. Turns out that I was stronger than I thought and by the time the extra hour finished I was back to my ‘normal’ self.
My evenings have been taken up with drawing or updating my https://small-island-scribbler.teemill.com/ merchandise site that deals with making t-shirts etc…with my designs on. It’s something I don’t need to keep an eye on really (I’ve sold a couple of bits though) but it’s a good feeling to know that somewhere out there in the world (or the island at least) people are wearing something that I designed. Also the site that I use is a local business that is BIG on sustainability and they make the products, do all the printing and handle all the admin side of things so I don’t have to. They have amazing ‘green’ credentials and it’s great to help both the environment and a local business at the same time.
The big thing for me this week though has been my mood. I a unable to explain why but although I have felt generally well and quite positive (for me at least) about things there has been a nagging in the back of my mind that I’m not allowed to feel like this and something will come soon that I should be worrying about. I am sleeping better (my Grinch eye mask helps) and not using my phone so much before bed time to avoid the ‘blue light’ and doom-scrolling of TikTok and Instagram that I used to do until the late hours. I am still getting irritated by little things however and it is these things that kind of put me off my stride. They are so tiny that they’re not even worth mentioning here but for some reason I dwell on them and then when it’s completely unexpected the angry feeling I have held within seeps out and I go in to a kind of shutdown. I go quiet and don’t reply to simple conversation which then comes across as stand-offish or rude which is never anything I would wish to be seen as. One day I’ll understand those feelings better but for now my way of dealing with them is to go in to my defence mode and ride it out. It’s not ideal but if it allows me the time to deal with it I will take as long as I need.
Like I may have said previously, this year is all about me and allowing myself the time to understand myself better. We all need to find our own way in this world and it is only in the last 5 or 6 yrs that I have come to realise that only I can control that path. I can help and give advice to people when they ask for it but their life is their own and they too must fond their own path. I’m only 46yrs old (almost 47) and I hope to have many more years in front of me to enjoy so I need to start my reset now and get my mind to a place where I can say no more often.
It’s a work in progress and I’ll be sure to update anyone who wants to read it, all about it.
This morning when I got up and ready for work I had a sense of positivity about myself. My morning routine of getting up, getting dressed, feeding the cats, making my lunch and then chilling out before walking to work was going well. I managed to walk in to town without slipping on any ice or frosty pavements and I was still warm when I got there. The fact my face / neck / head and almost every other part of me except my eyes was covered up is neither here nor there but I was warm. The day went as well as I could hope for and I even managed to get some satisfactory headway made in tasks at work too. Bonus!
Then I came home and was in a foul mood for some reason. I was tired. I was irritable. I was annoyed. But why? I have no idea.
Sometimes when these feelings come the best thing I can do is just acknowledge it and let it happen. I don’t want to be grumpy (even though I’m getting old now and it’s probably expected of me) but at the same time I can’t be happy every single minute of the day.
So where is the happy medium? When I’m grumpy I alienate the people I’m close to because they’re in the immediate line of fire. I don’t mean to and I certainly don’t want to but it happens. However the very same thing happens when I’m in a positive mood. I feel that I’m not allowed to be this happy person so then sabotage myself and end up making myself grumpy again. It’s a never ending cycle.
But it’s one I want to break, I just don’t know how. I need to allow myself to feel both sets of emotions and just accept my mood for what it is at that time. It will change and I try to just ride out the storm of my mind until the next time.
Anyways enough about me, how are you all doing out there in the world wide internet? I’m looking forward to a weekend off with some (hopefully) quiet drawing time
Now that the year has got a bit of wind behind it I thought I’d start to fill you all in on my ‘journey’ to where I am now. It’s not the sort of journey that you’d hear about on X-Factor (in a cheesy sympathy grabbing style) but it explains how I am who I am.
Always being an anxious soul who’s a bit of a people pleaser and just wants everyone to get on and there be no drama, I had a spectacular fall in mental health around 5 and a bit years ago. A breakdown followed and I was off work for about 5 months whilst starting medication (citalopram if anyone’s interested) and attending therapy sessions. A combination of life events and changes at work played a big part in mental decline and it was obvious I needed to make changes. I rediscovered my love of art, started scribbling and found a style of my own that seemed to resonate with others.
5yrs on I’m in a much better place than I was previously and although I have anxiety and depression I am not going to let it run my life anymore. I am much more aware of when I’m slipping and have even been known to say ‘no’ to things that don’t benefit me (I know! Who’d of thought a people pleaser could say no?). One thing I’ve started doing this year is give myself a bit of a talking to on my way to work. I’m not talking very loud as, quite obviously, if you heard a 40 something man at 7.30 in the morning rambling you’d probably think “oh, poor man” but I kind of talk in a way that sounds like the meditation videos I watch on YouTube. I like to remind myself that I’ve faced challenges before and have come through in one piece, I’m strong, confident and all those sort of things. By the time I get to our staff entrance at work the only thing left for me to say is “I can do this” and walk through the door (not literally though, I’m not a ghost).
Another thing I have done from the start of this year is try as much as possible to stay off my personal profile on Facebook and only view my ‘art’ profile instead. It wasn’t as hard as I thought and the uplift in my mood has been quite noticeable. I think. I’m not ‘doom scrolling’ through my news feed and getting angry at things that I have no interest in anyway and I’m not ‘friends’ with people I have no real connection to anymore. If you can do I highly recommend it, you’ll not regret it.
Anyway, that’s my journey so far. If you’d like to vote for me, lines open at the end of the show. Send me through to the final rounds and I’ll give my best performance ever. Or………feel free to ‘follow’ the blog for more updates on my non-X-Factor journey through the world of my own mental health, anxious ramblings and much more
It’s been a long time since I posted anything here but I’ve decided to resurrect my writing again as a way of getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper (I know it’s not paper but just humour me). I’m not entirely sure how I’ll do this as I’ve started writing a diary at home and I’m trying to get back in to my scribbling again after losing interest in a lot of things (thanks depression). You’ll notice (if you followed me before I deleted my old site) I’ve changed the name to Scribbler as that what everything else of mine is called so it just made sense to me to keep going with that.
I’ll be sharing pictures of my artwork, maybe attempting to write poetry in whatever shape or form that may take and quite often I’ll be just writing gibberish (much like now) so if you’d like to follow me and see what I get up to then be my guest. I have no idea how often I’ll post either so if you’re after an influencer or a daily blogger then you’ve come to the wrong page and will need to press the ‘back’ button until you find someone who does those things.
There’s no guarantee that what I write will be of interest to anyone else but me but my goal this year is to do more things that are just mine. So here I am. I’ve always been (and always will be) a people pleaser but I need to do more for myself and become more comfortable with my own mind and it’s needs. Come along for the ride (it won’t be very fast or furious) and feel free to come and go as you please.