My Friend, the Inside of my Head

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Me and the inside of my head are very good friends, we hang out all the time.  Nothing happens in my life, from big events to small daily activities, that we don’t spend time discussing and assessing.  Some might say we spend too much time together, that the inside of my head is a bad influence on me.  And I would probably agree with them.

I like spending time with the inside of my head…or at least I used to.  Being an introvert, a thinker and an analyser, it allows me to think things through and get quiet time from the rest of the world.  At some point though, the inside of my head started taking over.  We spent too much time together.  I started hanging out in my head all the time and not in the real world.  Like a possessive partner, it started distorting how I look at the world and myself.  I became the silent one in the relationship, the friend of a bully who kept me down all the time so it was the powerful one.

I recognised in time my friendship with the inside of my head was not a healthy one and I began to distance myself from it.  It did not want to let go of me though, there was and still are arguments over how to see the world and my place in it.  Our friendship has become toxic and I need space from it.  Yet I still need that friendship, it is my refuge from a world that I find too much sometimes, it is a place of processing and protection.  So I am trying to build bridges with the inside of my mind, to find a partnership with it where we are equals not enemies.

 

Image from DasWortgewand @ pixabay

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Everyday Inspiration: Day One


Day One: I write because…


Why am I here?  Who am I?  Why do I blog?

I am starting to explore the drive behind my blogging and work out what exactly it is I want to blog about rather than the kinda random approach I have at the moment.  So I have signed up to a few of the courses offered by WordPress to start learning more about blogging and myself as a blogger.  I try to write everyday in the morning, most of what I write never sees the light of day though some of my morning musings do go on to become posts on here.  What I often struggle with is what to write about and it all too often ends up as me using it like a journal.  Not a bad thing in itself yet I don’t feel like it is expanding my writing in the way I would like.  So I am starting with the ‘Everyday Inspiration’ course and starting at the beginning….

I write because….

Why do I write?  I write for a multitude of reasons.  I write because there is so much going on in my head that I need to get it out somewhere sometimes.  Because my anxiety drives me to it.  I write because I love words, I enjoy finding ways of describing the world around me and the feelings within me.  I feel I have things I want to share with other people, to help people not feel as alone as I did when my anxiety was at its worse.  I write because I want to share my experiences, to show my travels and how the world is a varied, interesting place.  I write because I am a writer and I want to keep improving, developing and sharing.

I blog because….

Why do I blog?  Again there is a whole heap of reasons why I blog, some selfish and some not so much.  I blog in the hope that I will entertain, inform, encourage and help.  I share my thoughts and experiences to find connections with others.  I blog because part of me wants validation from others that my writing is good although I know this really needs to come from within.  I blog as a way of advertising that I can write to potential employers, to build a portfolio.  Most of all though I blog because I enjoy it, I am a blogger.

 

I intend to complete each daily task on this course, some will make it on here….and some won’t.  So for a while there may be a little more of a mixture of topics on here than normal.  I hope you will enjoy them and discovering more about me as I discover more about me as a writer.

If you have any tips on daily writing practice or how you develop your writing, I’d love to hear your tips!

Remembering to Live

 


Yes, you and I will die one day.

But before that day comes: let us live

John Pavlovitz, On the Day I Die


This article by John Pavlovitz recently popped up in my Facebook memories.  I remember reading it for the first time and feeling the impact of it so much that I shared it (a rather rare occurrence for me).  I still feel that impact each and every time I read his words.  It gives me that little nudge I so often need to focus on what really matters in life…to live.

Being someone with anxiety, I spend much of my time in the past or in the future, dwelling on what has passed or worrying about what is to come.  I am pretty rubbish at living in the now, enjoying what and who I have in my life.  I get so caught up in small and quite frankly insignificant things that I forget to focus on what really matters to me.  Years of my life were spent trying to live a certain life, to be a certain type of person fitting with the expectation of society.  It took serious anxiety problems and a whole heap of soul searching to see that type of life wasn’t for me.

And yet I still struggle to let go of so many worries and issues of the type listed in the article, things that really won’t matter when my life is over.  I know that in that instant when life becomes death, all those things that have caused me stress and anxiety will be over and no longer matter.  All the material belongings I sometimes feel I am drowning in yet struggle to give up will no longer be of consequence to me.  All those plans made, arguments I won or lost, things I never did, all the panics and stresses I have had ~ all will suddenly no longer have an ounce of meaning or importance.  The world will keep turning, social media will carry on regardless and I will no longer care about what I may miss out on.

Quite frankly I don’t want to wait until I die for this to happen.  My life has been so controlled by my anxieties, worries, fears and how things are supposed to be and I am tired of living like that.  I want to live a life that makes me happy, that allows me to appreciate the wonder of being alive.  I want to spend time with those who matter to me because the article is right, when someone you care about dies, the one thing you really want to have is more time with them.  And you can’t.  So I am going to try to remember to worry less about those things that will no longer matter or are beyond my control, the things that are stopping me living now.  I am going to enjoy who and what I really care about.  I am going to live now because one day I will die and then it will be too late.  And I will read this article again and again every time I need a reminder.

Sakura, springtime and reflection

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I appear to have got distracted from my planned next post!  I fully intended to write to you a little bit about my trip to Orlando…and then I kept seeing photos popping up on my social media of all the sakura (cherry blossom) in Japan right now and I felt I wanted to write on that instead.  Pinky promise that some posts on my vacation will be coming up real soon though.

I love all the seasons for different reasons.  They are part of the cycle of life for me, they remind me how things start and end, how the world keeps turning and that life goes on regardless.  Winter is a time of snuggling, crisp days and woolly hats.  Autumn is full of glorious colours and piles of leaves made for kicking.  Even hot uncomfortable summer (assuming we get one in the UK that is!) when I can’t sleep or go outside because it is too sunny has bluer than blue skies and house martins sweeping overhead  Spring though holds an extra special spot for me and every single year I am reminded how much I love it.

 

Yellow daffodils in spring

Photo by ColobusYeti

This time of year is when that part of nature that has been having a jolly nice winter snooze wakes itself up and everything springs back into life (pun intended!).  Seeing all the crocuses, tulips and daffodils makes me smile and feel all sorts of happiness inside.  There is such joy in them.  Buds appearing on the trees and bushes delight me more than the leaves that will take their place.  There is an energy that I feel at this time of year that lifts me up and makes me happy to be alive in a way that no other season really does.

Cherry blossom sparks off all these happy feels big time and I love seeing the trees erupting in that all too brief moment of fragile beauty.  It is a stunning sight wherever it happens in the world yet nowhere seems to take it quite to heart in the way the Japanese do.  Sakura (the Japanese word for cherry blossom) seems to be something all Japanese love and I have been lucky to experience cherry blossom season there several times giving me a huge appreciation of how important it is to them.  People stop to admire the blooms wherever they appear.  Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties spring up in parks, by canals and in graveyards.  Social media is full of snaps of cherry blossoms and shops or restaurants awash with sakura themed items.  It seems to take over daily life from the eagerly awaited first sightings of blossom until the final bloom has died.

The Japanese love for cherry blossom runs much deeper though than it simply being something pretty to look at and it is something that really rings true for me.  They value cherry blossom not simply for its simple beauty or for the festivities that accompany it, they also find a message in its short yet brilliant existence.  It is a reminder that life is brief and fleeting.  Life slips by so very quickly without people really noticing or accepting that one day death will come for them and cherry blossom reminds us that life is short, amazing, precious and something that we need to enjoy, take note of and be thankful for.  Life is for living and for me, spring serves as the perfect reminder for this.  So next time you see some blossom, take a moment to consider our fragile yet awesome existence.

macro shot of cherry blossom or sakura

Photo by ColobusYeti

 

February – a round up

Oh man I sat down today to start writing on what I thought was quite a good idea. I wanted to do a little summary of what had taken place on my blog in the last month, taking a little peek at what I enjoyed writing and what you seemed to like reading. Seemed like it would help me with feeling my way through what I want my blog to be and what direction or focus I wanted to take with it. Good idea yes?

Well so I thought until I sat down to write…and then sat some more. I had made a little note of the posts I had written and how many likes each one had received expecting, well I don’t know what exactly but I certainly didn’t imagine I would simply sit there with my head in a jumble not knowing what to make of it all or what to say.

Maybe that is indicative in itself, maybe my blog is a little bit of a jumble. And if it is, well that is okay. When I dusted off my blog and restarted it, I spoke about opening up my blog to new topics and parts of my life in my post Starting Anew.  I made a decision to write about all sorts of things until I found what worked for me and I suppose this is what I have done.

If you missed any of my posts this month, here is a quick little summary for you and me:

Time to Talk – ‘Time to Talk Day’ and the importance of talking when it comes to mental health.

In Defence of Winter – many people seem to wish winter away in their longing for spring and summer, this was my look at why I love the season.

What next for Mr B’s Button Jamboree? – a look at why my button jewellery business hasn’t quite gone to plan and what I have learnt from the experience.

My Veganuary Experience – my experiences of taking part in Veganuary (asking people to go vegan for the month of January – see what they did there!) as well as some of the recipes I made.

A Need for Control – a little look at how I could turn my anxious need for control into a positive force to move me forward.

Discovering a Love of Urban Photography – how I began to fall into love with urban photography whilst on our travels.

Seeking a Feeling of Achievement – my new approach to getting things done and achieving what I want to with my work and life.

So yep quite a jumble of topics there and honestly I am no clearer in what is my thing or things to write about. I enjoyed writing about winter, my photography and my new approaches.  Popular ones were the posts about Veganuary, urban photography and my button jewellery business.  A quick glance at January shows my travel posts on Hadrian’s Wall and our Big Adventure seemed to go down well as did my Anxiety, Harry Potter and Me on Facebook.  All as clear as something very unclear to me (complete brain fail there on what a good ‘unclear’ thing would be!). For now then I will continue as I am until I find it is no longer working for me or I settle into a groove of what is me.

Am going to give myself a small pat on the back for writing 8 articles in February – working out at 2 a week!  I didn’t want to put myself under pressure with writing this blog and give up before it had really got started simply because I had set my goals too high. So I thought aim for 1 a week, try for 2 if you can….I not only can, I did! So 2 a week is now the aim, try for 3 if I can (note to self, the week before you go away for 3 weeks is possibly not the best time to aim for writing more…).

I am wondering if this post may seem a little self-indulgent, I hope not and that you will find it of interest even if you have already read all the posts mentioned. So what do you think? A good idea to do this at the end of each month?

Time to Talk

Time to Talk

Today is ‘Time to Talk’ Day and to me this is such an important message to get across to people.  Talking about mental health is crucial if we are ever going to get to the point where mental health issues are not swept under the carpet, dismissed as insignificant or seen as something only ‘weird’ people have.  By talking to others people living with mental health issues can be made to feel less isolated and more supported.  It really can change lives.

In today’s busy society, we seem to be in contact with each other more and somehow talk less.  I am in contact with friends all the time via social media yet can feel isolated or unable to talk to people about the times when I am finding things trickier.  At my lowest points, I hid it all away and showed a fake me to the world believing that people either wouldn’t want to know, not know how to react or simply disbelieve me.  And I was right to feel this, I came across all of these attitudes from friends, work colleagues and others.  For some time I was either unable or unwilling to talk to others about how I was struggling with life.  It was a very isolated and lonely time when really I needed someone to say ‘how are you?’ or ‘are you okay?’…and be ready to listen.

I was also wrong though, this was not the attitude of everyone and things have continued to improve, both for me and it seems for the wider world.  People seem more willing to listen and people seem more willing to talk.  The more I talk to people about what I have gone through and still go through, the more I realise that I am not alone and that I have support for those times when I need it or am ready to ask for it.

More though needs to be done.  The expert help available to those in need is woefully inadequate and this often lets people down when they need a professional to talk to.  Mental health issues need to lose the stigma associated with them and people need to get over their awkwardness that often prevents them from reaching out to someone they know is having difficulties.  Having anxiety, ocd or any other mental  illness is nothing to be ashamed off, we ought to be able to talk about what is wrong with us in the same way that someone with a physical illness can.  Only by being willing to talk about mental illness to others and having others to listen to us will mental illness stop being the elephant in the corner.

Having people to talk to and more importantly who will listen to you without judging or dismissing you matters so much when you have struggling with mental health issues.  If someone opens up to you about the struggles they are having, listen to them.  Don’t judge, don’t dismiss, don’t try and sort it for them.  You do not need to be an expert or have ‘answers’ for them, you simply need to be there for that person.  Take the time to hear what someone is saying, to check in on a friend you know is having a tough time, to simply say hello to someone.  I get that it is difficult and you may feel awkward.  You never know the difference that might make to someone though.

If you need someone to talk to, keep talking till you find someone who will support you in the way you need support.  Talk to me, talk to a friend, talk to a group on Facebook, talk to a professional.  Please just talk to someone.

Organisations you can talk to include:

Time for Change

Mind

Samaritans

Starting anew

It has been a very lonely 6 months for my blog.  Posts had become fewer and fewer until it all come to a complete stop in July.  My blog didn’t feel right, it wasn’t delivering what I wanted it to or what I need it to.  Heck I wasn’t even sure what that was.

So I stopped writing with the intention of closing the blog down.  I didn’t though and my blog sat here slumbering away waiting for me to realise that I needed it, that I wanted to write.

It is time to clear away the tumbleweeds and brush off the cobwebs.  The blog has been given a new look and with it new life and focus.   I tried to make it simply about Mr B’s Button Jamboree in the past and found this too restrictive.  So I am going to open this blog up more.  I hope you like the new direction this takes and continue journeying with me.