Hooks and eyelets

Eyelets – opportunities. Things which move my life forward. Achievements. Things that make me smile. I see myself climbing through a series of eyelets, achieving with each one I conquer.

Hooks – the things that hold me back. Emotional hooks. Psychological hooks. Things that, all of a sudden, can take me back to how I was so many years ago. Crying, moody, a wreck.

I was fine today. I was positive and I was looking forward to things. I went to a Martial Arts place last night and watched a class on ‘Guided Chaos’. It’s not a traditional martial art. To be honest, it looks as though everyone has Palsy or is practicing for the slowest slow motion Tai Chi touch-fest ever. But it’s all about learning balance, avoiding blows and avoiding being dragged to the floor etc. It’s pure self defence with none of the ceremonial stuff. It seems like a good way for me to get into martial arts. I can pay per session with no joining fee and the atmosphere was really relaxed there. They do other classes too, which I may look at once I have some basic balance skills. I think I will eventually look at Kickboxing or Tae Kwon Do for fitness and getting out some anger! But ‘Guided Chaos’ looks like a good place to start for me to build up some confidence and a little fitness.

I did go to another place on Tuesday night, but something just didn’t feel right for me. Everyone was very polite and friendly and all students were wearing uniforms. But something just didn’t feel right for me. The difference between that place and the one I’m going to was huge. If I’m honest, I’m not ready for Kickboxing anyway. During christmas I have put on some weight which means that my sports bra no longer fits. It will take me a couple of weeks to slim down into my sports bra (hopefully) before I can even attempt any jumping around. This may seem a minor thing, but it is really worrying to me. At last with the guided chaos thing, there’s no jumping around..

Another positive is that I’m back on a diet. I have decided to do Slimming World. I haven’t been to a class yet, but am just using old books I have from previous classes and doing it myself. I will attend a class at some point as I have some questions and would like to buy the new food directory. My attitude to the diet this time is totally different though. I don’t WANT to cheat. I think one of my problems beforehand was that I was constantly trying to replace my sugary and fatty snacks with low fat versions. This never worked. I’m much more happy now just cutting out refined sugar and rubbish foods. It took a few days to get over the sugar cravings, but now I’m fine. I feel like I might have lost a little weight this week, so i’m keeping my fingers crossed. I almost daren’t weigh myself in case I haven’t lost anything..

So to the hooks.

Despite the positives, I still feel like my mind is falling apart at the moment. I feel guilty about work as I have not been very productive this week at all. I need to write 2 training days (as well as the assessment paperwork) and I have 3 weeks to get the first one done. I am also being paid for extra project work that I have not yet done. I handed in my PTLLS last week and I seem to have so many deadlines for my other project, I haven’t done any work on the second project yet. Although it’s only 3 hours per week, I still feel majorly guilty for it. I feel like I’m scamming my employer and I should give some money back. I’m doing the hours required for both projects, but i’m just filling those extra hours with work from my first project. Even though I’m not actually achieving anything for those hours.. So to me, it feels like they’re paying me for nothing. I KNOW I am a hard worker normally and that I get things done. I KNOW that I’m good at what I do and that I’m totally not doing this on purpose. I just feel so guilty for not being motivated..

Also, even though I’m on a diet again, I’m still unhappy about my weight. I had to start wearing jeans from the next size up again for a while. I’m hoping I can get back into my smaller jeans very soon as that will help me psychologically. I look in the mirror and i’m not happy. I’d like to be back where I was before Christmas. I will be satisfied with that.

And there are things – things from my past which continually rear their heads and bring me down. Every time something comes up, I try really hard to think logically about my reaction, what it means and why I’m reacting that way. I try to step back, repeat the mantra ‘not my problem’, but it’s SO hard. It’s really hard when, in order to save yourself, you have to stop being there for someone else. You have to withdraw a level of support you have always given. It kills me. It is SO hard to choose my own mental health above that of someone you love.

Getting used to looking after myself is really hard. I know that might sound weird, but it’s the truth. When faced with decisions, I have had to learn how to choose what I want, and not just go with what someone else wants. Sometimes, what I want will affect someone else. Decision making has never been my strongest skill. (I’m awful at it. COMPLETELY awful – especially when my decision will affect someone else). I have a few big decisions looming at the moment. I have, so far, buried my head in the sand. I have concentrated on the positives in my life and tried to ignore the big decisions. The big decisions which could – temporarily or permanently – put a stop to all of that. And it’s SO HARD when someone else is waiting on my decision, and my mind keeps changing. But I refuse to be pressured into a big decision before I’m ready. Some decisions need time and thought. Sometimes, it’s best to just stop worrying and ‘do it’. sometimes I do worry too much about stuff and this could stop me from doing things. But other times, it’s sensible to stop. Maybe in my next post I’ll explain about the decisions. But not now.

Anyway. Today was a bit of a bad day. I was positive this morning, but then this afternoon just brought low mental health. I had a few tears, but took a deep breath and carried on. I resisted the urge to binge on cake and crisps (YAY!) so that’s an achievement. I really really need to learn how to deal with these issues though, without them constantly making my world crash down around me.

The need for further therapy is becoming more apparent, I think..

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Note to self

I got angry again today. And I dealt with it again by over eating. I am starting a new diet again tomorrow (Monday) and so I decided to spend today eating crap. And I want to document how I’m feeling so that I know in the future that I don’t want to go back to this.

I feel tired, depressed, heavy, full, a bit sick and unhappy. My skin is grey and looks old, I have lots of spots, I have eczma on my arms and my teeth hurt. This is NOT how I want to feel. This is NOT what I worked my ass off dieting for.

I’m going to start increasing my cycling distance each day. Cycling the long way to work. This will add another 4 miles to my commute. 7 miles there, 3.5 miles back. It’s a start. And I’m looking forward to finding out about Kickboxing on Tuesday.

I am also thinking about asking the GP about some further therapy. Just to deal with my issues around anger and frustration. I need some kind of strategy to deal with it. I worry that I will continue to have issues with food until I do deal with it. I don’t want to end up reliant on exercise as therapy. There is a place for exercise – as a healthy part of a balanced life. I do not want to become one of those people who is overly anxious and worried if they do not get their exercise one day.

Now I’m just making no sense I think.

I just wanted to put this down somewhere. So I can look at it when I’m tempted to over eat again. I do not WANT to do this to myself. I want better from my life. But I have to go out and do something about it. Before I start falling back into old patterns of behaviour..

Or maybe I should just keep myself busy on a weekend rather than sitting on the sofa and watching ‘House’ dvds…

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Weekend off!

Well, I managed to get all of my assignments finished for my PTLLS course today! Woo hoo! That means I can have a weekend off! I do have other deadlines coming up, but I think I’d like to take a weekend to rest and recover from my cold before getting back on the treadmill of deadlines and work.

So that leaves me with a dilemma: What to do this weekend? I could read my book, watch some more of the House dvd set, sleep, go cycling (weather dependent), play some dance mat, take some photographs, play my guitar, play around with my trumpet or saxophone, eat biscuits, catch up on some tv… The list is endless! I have been looking forward to a free weekend so much and now I can’t decide what to do with it! What an AWESOME feeling :D

In other news, I have an appointment on Tuesday evening to find out about attending Kickboxing classes. There’s a Martial Arts school around the corner from our house and they do beginner’s Kickboxing on a Tuesday and Thursday evening. I can’t go on Thursday as that’s when I have photography, but Tuesdays would be good.

If I’m honest, I’m finding the whole weight issue really difficult at the moment. I put weight on over christmas (like a lot of people) and I’m finding it hard to get back into eating well and keeping the weight off. I have been over indulging in biscuits and a bit of ice cream yesterday and my belly is bulging. It feels uncomfortable and I worry about it a lot. I don’t want to end up over eating all the time and putting on loads and loads of weight. I need to stop doing this to myself and get back on plan. But that is SO much easier said than done!

I have thought about going along to Slimming World to try and lose the last bit of weight, but that plan doesn’t really teach you about portion sizes. Or is that just an excuse to not do anything about my weight at the moment and bury my head in the sand?

I’m cycling to work most days (except Thursdays when I have photography and too much stuff to fit in my panniers) and will hopefully be doing kickboxing (depending on how much it’s actually going to cost), but I do need to eat healthily too.

I’m sure I’ll get back on track soon. I really really need to learn how to deal with stress, frustration and anger without turning to food though. I think that is my weak spot. I have always found it difficult to express anger and frustration. If I ever do get angry, I either end up crying or burying the feeling. And that leads to over eating. If I had a strategy to deal with those feelings in a reasonable way, I’d be sorted for life! Sometimes, like when I’m at work, I can’t just go screaming into a pillow. And sometimes even ‘going for a walk’ is out, as I often end up looking after the office alone and we have to keep the door open for the public..

Anyone have any tips on how to deal with anger, frustration and stress without eating and without making your colleagues scared of you? All suggestions gratefully received! :D

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Targets and deadlines

Well, I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment. I have quite a few deadlines all within 2 weeks, so I’m really busy. My Microteach went ok. I didn’t fail, so that’s a start! I’m pleased with the feedback I did get, as the things they picked up on were things I would normally have done. Due to some ‘head in sand’ days and some other work deadlines, I didn’t leave enough time to prepare and so didn’t do everything I had wanted to. But it went alright, so that’s good. (I taught the class about the geography of the North East and the words we use) Now I have to finish off all the assignments by the end of the week. Everything is due in on Monday, but I’d really like the weekend off! I have a cold and I’m really tired, so could do with some sleep!

I bought myself a new lens last week too. I got a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens and the quality is excellent! There are some photos up on my Flickr page from the weekend if you want to check it out.

So, whilst I am in a bit of a mad period, I thought I’d put up my targets for 2011. These targets can be added to at any time..

  1. Do a half Marathon (I have entered into the ballot for the Great North Run)
  2. Learn a martial art
  3. Submit a photograph to a competition
  4. Go abroad
  5. Climb an indoor climbing wall
  6. Spend less and save more money (not going well so far!)
  7. Have a holiday
  8. Make 2 new friends
  9. Wear a dress
  10. Do the London to Brighton cycle ride
  11. Raise some money for charity (If I get on a half marathon or the cycle ride, this will be sorted!)
  12. Set a date for the wedding
  13. Donate Blood for the first time (already booked in for February)
  14. Find a style
  15. Learn how to cook 3 more meals
  16. Try out canoeing
  17. Be able to do 20 press ups
  18. Decorate the house
  19. Read all of the biographies I have on the shelf
  20. Read all three of the Dragon Tattoo books
  21. Learn to make a fire without a match
  22. Learn some first aid skills
  23. Know the capital cities of every country
  24. Get to target weight and maintain for 3 months

Bit of a longish list, but all achievable! I have made a start on some of them already. I think it’s a good idea. Hopefully it will stop me from just stupefying this year. I have a copy of these on my phone, so I can keep looking at them and making sure I’m working towards some targets. And they would be a good list of achievements to look back on at the end of the year.


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Stressed out!

Yep. I’m a bit stressed out at the moment. So this post may end up being a big whinge-fest or a completely illogical set of sentences. I don’t know.

I have to create and deliver a half hour presentation tomorrow to a large group of people. I have only just started to create it as I only really decided on what I was going to present on this afternoon. This is NOT GOOD. I need to be more prepared. I will have half an hour tomorrow to re arrange the room and sort out space for lunch to be served. All by myself as there are no other staff in the office tomorrow and the one volunteer is needed to keep the office open. So I’m stressed about that.

On Saturday I have my micro-teach for my teaching course. I have to teach a group of my peers (other teaching students) something for half an hour and be observed, marked and the other students will give me feedback. This will all go in my file. I have NO IDEA what to teach really. And I’ll have to do a lesson plan, which I also have to give to the observer! So I was thinking of teaching people how to make an origami iris. But then, that might be a bit complicated. Also, I’ve just found out that someone else is doing Origami (She is teaching how to make a Crane). So that makes me not want to do it. Because if I’m doing the same as someone else, I’m damned sure I want to be the best! And I don’t think I would be..

Then the rest of my assignments for my teaching qualification need to be handed in by 31st January. As do all the evaluations for one of the projects I’m working on. Normally these evaluations would not need to be in until mid April. However, as the Government (it its ultimate wisdom) is closing down the organization I’m funded by, they now require all evaluations to be done by the end of January. I haven’t finished all my work yet. So next week I will be on the phone ALL WEEK asking evaluation questions.

And I’ve been poorly. I couldn’t make it to work yesterday as I felt rubbish! I stayed horizontal for most of the day and spent last night sweating out whatever it was I had. I made it into work today.

So I’m stressed out. I have a major deadline every week until mid March now. I seem to have lost all of my self confidence and really don’t think I’m doing a good job nor that I can pass my teaching course. I’m frustrated that I can’t yet get the quality of photographs I want and I’m just really really tired. I have made lists, prioritized, got help where I can and I’m not sure what else I can do.

I just need to keep going for the next few weeks and I’ll be ok. That’s what I keep telling myself. But my body is saying otherwise! It’s telling me to sleep and be ill. But I can’t afford to do that at the moment.


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Long, long day..

Well, yesterday was a long long day. I had planned to cycle home at 6pm, shower, get into my pyjamas and go to bed early. Didn’t happen that way though..

One of my colleagues received a telephone call in the afternoon saying that her gran was dying and that if she wanted to see her, she should get there ‘now’. Her nan lives 100miles away and my colleague doesn’t drive. Her partner was out of the country with work and so she had no way to get there. So I offered to take her. She is very very close to her nan and is obviously devastated, so she wasn’t in a good way.

Another colleague drove her home and I cycled home to pick up the car and then picked her up for the 100 mile drive. And it was difficult. SO difficult. I don’t think I’ve been in a space filled with so much emotional pain, anger and distress since my brother died. The drive took 4 hours instead of 2 because of atrocious traffic on the M25. It felt like we were never going to get there! It was dark, it was raining heavily and it was on unfamiliar roads. It was exhausting – mentally, physically and emotionally.

I’m not saying all of this to seem a ‘martyr’. I’m interested in why I actually offered to do it. In general, this colleague is not someone I would spend social time with. Mainly because she’s ‘normal’. She likes doing normal stuff like going out for a drink with friends, having a bit of a boogie, watching Eastenders. That sort of thing. Socially, that’s not what I like to do, so we generally wouldn’t ever be in the same place. So we don’t have a close relationship.

To Mrs Pillows, the fact that I offered to drive her all that way was is a little hypocritical. I kind of agree. And I think it might have been guilt that made me do it. I know it’s not my fault that her nan is dying, but I would feel guilty if I didn’t help. I never got a chance to say goodbye to my Grandad or to my Brother, and I suppose I wanted to make sure that my colleague didn’t miss out on her chance. Or was it just that doing it would make me feel good about myself? Or that people would see me as a ‘good’ person? Do the motives matter?

I don’t know. I don’t feel particularly good about myself. I feel very tired and a little low. Any deaths tend to remind me about Anthony, and that brings up a lot of difficult feelings still.

I have photography class tonight, so it’s going to be another long long day. I am covering my colleague’s appointments too as my boss is out at a meeting all day. And I’m trying to stay away from refined sugar so that I don’t end up crashing in a heap this afternoon!

Maybe my motives and reasons don’t matter. Maybe they do. Maybe I should be more choosy about who I help. Or maybe that would make the world a very unhelpful place.. I know that some people may call me naive. I wouldn’t. I would call myself an optimist. I see the good in people. And yeah, they might take advantage now and again, but I think I’d rather see the good in people than the bad.

And I MUST remember that just because I help someone once, I don’t need to then become their friend. Is it acceptable to be choosy about your friends? I like the friends I have at the moment. I think my problem at the moment is that no other people I meet can live up to them!

Anyway. I’m rambling now! I should go and do some work…

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Moving along. Nothing to see here…

I am actually at work right now, too tired to be of much use in the office. It’s twenty to six (I finish at 6pm) and I DO have work to do, but I’m just not inspired today. I *could* do the work, but it wouldn’t be done well enough, so I just haven’t been able to do it.

Also, I just realized that my Micro Teach for my teaching course is happening NEXT WEEK!! That’s really soon, so I need to start preparing something to teach the other students. I still haven’t decided on that yet. I’m nervous! I’m not nervous about the standing in front of people and teaching them bit. I’m nervous because this microteach has to fit within a certain framework. You have to do it in a certain way and ensure you tick every box. I’m going to find it quite hard to fit everything into half an hour! So I’m starting to stress a little about that.

One of my friends has asked me to be the photographer at her wedding. It would be as a favour to her as she can’t afford a professional photographer. She has seen some of my photographs and likes them. And I think I’d like to do it. I HAVE explained to her though, that I’m not a professional and as such can’t guarantee the quality of my photographs. I have stressed this point numerous times. The last thing I would want is that I take the photos and she hates them or is really disappointed with the results.

We have agreed that I need a lot more practice taking photos of people and so I shall be going along with her to dress fittings and other outings so that I can practice taking photographs of her and her fiance. And we will take it from there. If I don’t do the photographs, she just won’t have a photographer there. So I suppose it’s not as if she’d be losing out if I DID do it. Maybe I’ll buy myself a couple of books on wedding photography and work through them.. We’ll see.

I’ve also started cycling to work again this week. I managed to shave 2 minutes off my time this morning, so that’s good. I imagine I’ll put those 2 minutes and more back on my time by Friday. I’ll be knackered! I LOVE singing to my music and wiggling on my seat as I cycle into work though. Starts the day off REALLY well!

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The wanderer returns..

It has been a long time, hasn’t it? And a lot can happen in a year.

Let’s go through the more important changes to get them out of the way:

  • I have been on a MAJOR diet. I shed about 5 stone through diet and exercise. For those interested, before and after photos are here on Flickr.
  • I started to commute by bicycle and now love to cycle places. Much preferrable to using the car. (and mostly quicker around town)
  • I started really getting into photography. Mrs Pillows paid for me to attend a beginners photography course as a birthday present last year and I LOVE it! I bought myself a digital SLR and I love just going out and taking photographs.

There! Now that’s done I can start blogging again!

I have also grown as a person over the last 12 months. My depressive episodes are now fewer and I’m a bit more able to cope with day to day life. I managed two further salary negotiations and have made friends. That’s something I find particularly difficult. It takes a long time to grow a good friend and I’m always analyzing my own performance as a friend and finding myself lacking! Ever the perfectionist..

I didn’t really know what to do with this blog, but it seemed a shame to just let it go. I have been blogging for 10 years and it has seen me through some really bad times. It’s therapeutic to look over past blog entries and see how far I have actually come. Though whether that’s an improvement in my depression or just ‘growing up’ is still debatable.

The last few days have been a little hard if I’m honest. I’ve been off work as I had another depressive episode. I suppose that’s what prompted me to start up the blog again. As Vanessa said – some things just don’t fit into 140 characters! I’m embarrassed and frustrated that I had to take time off work, but I’m also comforted by the fact that it doesn’t happen very often any more. I think I was only off once last year due to depression. And that’s a big improvement!

Anyhoo. There will probably be some test posts in the near future as I test out posting from my Android phone and uploading pictures, so apologies if this clutters up your RSS feeds! Normal service will be resumed quite soon..

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What to do…?

It has been so long since I posted here. I generally prefer to use Twitter and Facebook now. But I don’t really want to get rid of the blog for some reason..

I was thinking that I could maybe use this place as somewhere to post some of my photographs, or even just random ramblings. I’m just not sure any more. I have no idea what I want to do with this website. It seems an awful waste just to close it down though..

What should I do? *unsure*…

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The burden of being sensitive

This is a post I wrote a while ago and just found again. I wonder how many people can relate to this..

I’m sensitive. I’m a big softie. I might not seem it, but I am sensitive. So sensitive, in fact, as to border dangerously on paranoid from time to time. I read things into looks, words and situations that aren’t necessarily there. But I also sense and read things in people that they don’t necessarily want me to know. Or maybe they do. That’s the thing about us sensitive folk – we throw out little clues all the time, but only a fellow sensitiver could pick them up.

We don’t talk; we hunt. Because talking brings with it emotions. Words mean something to us. The written word – a note, an e-mail, a text message – can be out saviour when we’re down, our devil when we’re bordering on that ‘paranoid’ phase. A rock, a constant in that stormy sea of emotion that we all suffer with.

Another thing about sensitive folk, is that we tend to be self-deprecating to the extreme. Unless someone is openly showing and telling is that they care, we don’t feel that anyone *does*. Sensitive folk, when they’ve found someone, make a point of all-out letting them know. Because to us, it’s important. We can’t take hints about feelings – the tendency to self-deprecate will shoot down anything but the most blatant expression of anything positive towards us with an annoying ‘whatever’ attitude. As if anyone could ever feel anything but pity or annoyance with us.

It’s not easy to spot a fellow sensitiver though. We learn to hide it very well. Imagine someone with very strongly, and often felt emotions, expressing it all the time. I can’t. We’re the quiet ones. We learn, from an early age, that to show emotions is a sign of weakness – a sign that someone has touched you deep inside, where, while young, only the bullies tend to go.

“I will not let them see they’ve got to me and see me crying”, is the mantra of the sensitiver when we grow up. So we learn to hide it. And not being able to freely express the immense emotions we feel, only adds to the self-deprecation. After a while, we are unable to express emotion at all. It’s all stored up inside. So when we *do* express, even happiness, everything comes with tears, because there are so many there, waiting to be shed.

All a sensitiver really wants is love. Honest, rare love. A sensitiver has so much love to give, but often can’t get the chance. We are walking contradictions to many people. Adamant in our wish not to be touched (for who of us want a hug unless we know it’s meant? And felt?). Solid in our expressionless faces, yet unnerving in our honesty. If we care about someone – we tell them. We judge, naively how others might feel about these declarations by our own need for these declarations from others. More often than not, we are not believed. The world is so negative and afraid of emotion, that the immediate assumption is that the declaration is the start of a psycho stalker relationship. And people run away, back off *sigh*.

* I’m not a psycho
* I’m not a stalker
* I’m just sensitive

I have a motto in life – “If you feel it, it’s real and so it’s not stupid.”
It’s how other people react to those feelings that causes the problems…

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