A Little Optimism, For A Change

It turns out that self-improvement is a time-consuming business. I am making good progress towards achieving some lifestyle changes that I have been wanting to implement for quite a while, but in doing so I find myself with very little time to write! Hopefully as the changes become part of my everyday routine they will require less planning and I will get the time back again.

I am trying not to feel bad about my lack of new content as I don’t feel I would write very well at the moment, but it still weighs on my mind.

I am in the midst of another heavily-scheduled week, but watch this space for future updates on the following:

  • Dairy free diet
  • Sustainable living
  • Therapy

It would be great to get some of my writing out of the draft phase.

How do you find time to write when you are particularly busy?

When Anxiety Bites

Warning: Post contains gratuitous introspection and bad jokes.

Today I had a full-on anxiety attack; the first in years. I experience perpetual low-level generalised anxiety related to “life”, but this was so close to becoming a panic attack – tremors, shortness of breath, literally running away from the situation… OK, so maybe it was a mild panic attack – it took me by surprise, is my point.

Reflecting on it now, it isn’t at all surprising. All the warning signs were there; trouble sleeping, irritability, disturbing thoughts. I have had a stressful week in parenting terms and I actually mentioned to my partner the other day that I needed a break. It’s quite hard to have a proper break with a newborn though, so I’m not sure what greater self-awareness would have achieved in this scenario.

On the plus side, I have something specific to discuss with my new therapist during my appointment this week, yay?

I was only half joking in my last post when I claimed that watching the documentary about “super morbidly obese” people was research. I mean, I do have a complicated relationship with food and impulse control, so I was actually curious to see whether the programme helped me to get into the mindset where I could focus more on my unconscious motivations for binging. It appears that I may have accidentally triggered myself in the process. Duh, well done me.

After six months of being off work (maternity leave, taken early just to GTFO) I am still only just starting to tap into what the underlying causes of my anxiety are. It’s going to take a lot more work to really drill down to the core issues.

My problems with anxiety have cropped up several times since my late teens, but the last time I had therapy was early 2015. So there is FIVE YEARS worth of baggage that I’m trying to sift through.

I feel that I’m an onion (not the smelly kind) and I’m having to peel back the layers of armour that I’ve built around myself just to get through life and present as a functioning human being.

So, I’m an armoured anxiety onion.

Ha, maybe my rings just need battering?

Maybe I should go to sleep.

***

Have you any tips for ways to tap into deeper motivations behind emotions and behaviours? If so, please leave a comment. I’m open to new ideas!

Twittering

So I’m finally jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, only a decade too late but hey-ho.

I thought it might help to have somewhere to share my little nuggets of wisdom (ha) as well as keeping me in the loop on online trends so that I can better respond to my potential audience.

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really ‘get’ it and never have, but perhaps it’s time to change that.

Anyway, if you would like to follow me or give me feedback on my blog or tweets, please feel free! I will happily follow you back.

@girlvstights

Time to Get Back On Track

Having just returned from a second short family break in two weeks, I am actually feeling relatively rejuvenated. [Mentally at least – physically I feel my usual level of parental exhaustion.]

As a result, I have felt quite motivated today to make a start on my short-term life goals, such as taking steps to live more sustainably and reducing the amount of dairy I consume (for health reasons).

By no means a perfect attempt – using a shampoo bar then accidentally using bottled shampoo instead of conditioner isn’t exactly less wasteful – but I’m satisfied with my efforts.

Hopefully I can keep up the momentum in the coming days. Next week is going to be challenging, so I would like to get back into a positive routine as soon as possible.

Another outcome of my trips is that I’ve been too busy to write though. Fingers crossed I can get into the right mindset for that too.

Eight Reasons Why Parenting With Anxiety is Hard.

Anxiety has an annoying consequence of making regular life activities harder or even downright scary. Add a couple of feral lemmings into the mix and the results are terrifying.

If you’re wondering what could be so bad, here are some real life examples of anxiety-inducing parenting stresses:

  1. The responsibility. A pretty obvious one sure, but it’s a biggie. Being responsible for the wellbeing of someone else when all you want to do is hide under your duvet is hard. Just don’t read the news, ever, or you’ll never leave the house.
  2. The social interaction. Yes, you absolutely have to speak to other people, or even seek them out on purpose. Whether it’s a medical professional, health visitor or (the worst) other parents, there are times when it is simply unavoidable and actually in the best interests of your child. Don’t even get me started on social anxiety of toddler groups – because evidently misery lives company. Clearly there is nothing you want to do more when you are stressed and sleep-deprived than publicly argue with your toddler about the morality of snatching, or negotiating their participation in ‘singing time’ before dragging them out to the dulcet medody of their tantrum with your free arm (newborn is in other).
  3. The lack of hygiene. Nappies aside – given the choice, would you wish to spend your time around little people who like eating everything from fluff found under their bedroom rug to their own snot? Me neither.
  4. The lack of a schedule. Time for kids works on a more relative level than we are used to. For example, pooping exactly two minutes before you are leaving the house, being sick exactly one minute after being passed to a kindly relative and being asleep/awake at the exact opposite times you need them to be. You can plan your days until you are blue in the face, but don’t think for one second that the reality will be anything like you are imagining. If you are the type of person that gets tummy pains at even the idea of lateness, I recommend just throwing away your clock and winging it.
  5. The lack of control. No, you may not poop/have a shower/do anything in peace. Self-care is now a distant memory. Just face it, you are no longer in control of your own destiny. Young children operate on a different plane of existence and there is no changing this. Suddenly, you appreciate the little things so much more.
  6. The lack of logic. When the toddler years hit, you may find yourself stuck in an argument with a small person who was insistent that they wanted to go to the park during nap time, but now they would rather lie on the cold floor and nap than put their shoes on to go to the park. Also, beware possible arguments about how you don’t actually influence the TV schedule, or the forces of magnetism (when applied to toy trains).
  7. The lack of personal space. My partner has to ask special permission to hug me now, because having two kids constantly touching me is so overwhelming.
  8. The inability to relax. From storming into your room at 3am demanding cuddles, to suddenly running down the dark hallway towards you like a crazed animal while you are watching TV, you are always at risk of nearly soiling yourself. For mothers of breastfeeding infants, it’s the constant threat of them biting your nipple without warning that keeps you up at night.

So whatever your triggers are, parenting is sometimes likely to feel akin to immersion therapy.

The good news is, your child is probably one of the people on the planet that you can spend time with without it being too socially draining. Plus, they love nothing more than hanging out with little old you!

Also, while parenting may contribute to anxieties in the present, it can also be a reason to feel more positively about the future.

Honestly, I don’t think I ever really considered the future at all before I had kids as I never felt sure that I had one. But now, no matter how hard the day has been, I always look forward to tomorrow (even if it’s just because today is over!).

Writer’s Block

Hello world, how’s it going?

I’m working on a few different posts at the moment but can’t seem to find my flow to get them past the planning stage. I thought I was starting to find writing a bit easier but perhaps I was just having a temporary rush of inspiration. Can’t write the blog posts or poetry either.

My anxiety levels have been heightend the last few days though, so I wonder whether that might be a factor? If so, that would be kind of ironic because depression makes me very prolific!

I’ve also been very tired though, so I won’t jump to conclusions just yet.

What are your strategies for coping with writer’s block?

A Reflection on My Poetry/Writing

I wrote and published a poem on here the other day because I came across a poetry competition online and felt compelled to see how quickly I could write. I enjoy challenging myself intellectually from time to time.

The submission deadline was today, but I missed it because I was out with my family.

Initially I felt a pang of disappointment and guilt for missing the deadline, like I had met myself down after working on the poem. In truth though, I knew that the poem itself wasn’t good enough. On reflection, I think I was just seeking the instant gratification that submitting the poem would have provided.

I enjoy writing poetry, partly because it is quite short and I can devise it quite quickly. But quick doesn’t equate to good, right? Creative writing can’t fulfil its potential on instinct alone?

I read an article/interview recently that described a poet as being someone who lives and breathes poetry – reading and writing it all day long. By this definition, I am not a poet, or even a writer. To be a writer, I must hone my craft; to behold my pen as a violinist beholds their bow and engage it just as much.

Ultimately, if I really want to improve my writing – of any kind, not just my poetry – then I am going to have to put the time in and practise, practise, practise.

So, many more posts to follow then I guess?

A Brief History of Mine

I suppose before I start detailing the minutiae of my (probably) rather tedious existence, I should provide some degree of history to explain how I got here and why I am boring you with such things.

However, I will try to keep this entry relevant and concise to avoid it sounding like a meandering diary entry. Let’s say, five main points?

  1. My Background. I always enjoyed writing as a child, but never gave myself the opportunity to do it for a living. That said, I have undertaken a little bit of freelance work writing content for a website, but I don’t know if I’m actually any good at it.
  2. My Perspective. I feel that I have a reasonable amount of life experience, in addition to qualifications in both Psychology and Geosciences, so my posts are likely to be analytical and open-minded, but with a focus facts where appropriate.
  3. My Brain. So, full disclosure – I have mental health issues. Not exactly surprising in this day and age or even in this internet community, but I felt I should mention it as it may shed some light on how my worldview and perspectives on particular situations have been formed. On the whole though, I consider that I represent my persona as a functional member of society.
  4. My Family. Despite my best efforts to live an unconventional lifestyle (more on that later), I find myself in an accidental ‘nuclear family’ situation. After my last pregnancy we used shared parental leave so that my partner could be the primary carer and I could return to work, but this time I am attempting to do the stay-at-home mummy thing. It’s going great, right? A few months in and I’m already looking for distractions.
  5. My Job. I started my job in June 2017, six weeks after giving birth – which, in the UK at least, is crazy early to be returning to work. The nature of the job meant that I had little support or training and I realise now that I was already showing symptoms of postnatal depression, including those that affected my ability to carry out my role. After a matter of weeks I was feeling like a failure both at work and at home. This set a bad precedent in terms of how my performance was viewed at work. That difficult start has haunted every meeting with my manager since. After working hard to recoup lost ground I have come to realise that I will never meet her unrealistic expectations. This is why I have to find another way of making a living.

So, there you have it. A quick run down of why I’m attempting to set up a blog. If you’ve read to the bottom, how about giving me a ‘like’ so I know someone is out there?