Tag Archives: mentalhealth

A Quick Wednesday Update

I’ve had bad anxiety for the past few days – never sure if the nightmares set it off or it causes nightmares, or both just go round in circles… but it’s just a Bad Brain which got particularly bad last night, and left me in a heap.

Today’s been a little better, albeit rather shaky; work’s absolutely lovely about it and I have wonderful and supportive co-workers (even if one of the support methods is an unexpected bag of Haribo dropped in front of me; that made me jump!) And I had a good cry on my partner at lunchtime when they hit me with something lovely that released a tangle, so that helped whack a few of the weasels occupying my brain.

So hopefully on the up from it now; still shaky, just had cereal for dinner (because it beats not eating) and going to do some self-care this evening, but the world’s looking a bit better.

Ps. I’m writing! Snippets of characters, but there’s writing there!

sloth by neil slorance

Just whackin’ some weasels

I’m down pretty badly with anxiety and tiredness at the moment, so nothing much to say today – I’m in London this weekend seeing friends, so hopefully I’ll be back at full force on Monday!

Have a quote from Dr Who to brighten your weekend – unfortunately I’m not sure of the source.

Dr who quote

Duelling Weasels: conversations about mental health

One of the strangest and most amazing things about my life at the moment is the fights I’m having with weasels. Over the last few months, I’ve been having so many wonderful, painful and helpful conversations that identify and clarify the voices in my head; both with my partner, and with friends – and with myself!

It has mostly been my partner who’s responsible for the growing. We’ve both got a lot of background from growing up and from previous relationships – as has anyone, I suspect – but after starting off our relationship on an entirely honest foot, it’s just continued from there. Our conversations are peppered with mental health shortcuts; weasels, pins, owls, tangles, ducks, balloons – they do all make sense to us, honest! – and they all really help to be able to analyse how we’re feeling and what we need.

But the best thing, the most amazing, and sometimes most painful thing, is the ability to say, “I feel like this. And I think this is why.”

The first step is usually being able to identify an emotion – to stop, and think, “Well, ouch…but this is what I’m feeling”.  Sometimes I can’t identify it, or it’s a tangle of things; a lot of the time there’s multiple strands to any emotion, and it takes time to unpick them. So it’s just slowly untangling, or appreciating that maybe it’s too big a tangle, and putting a pin in it to come back to. Sometimes it’s just a case of different expectations. Sometimes it’s a complete misunderstanding. And sometimes it’s just a weasel sitting in my brain going NYAAAAAhH. But very often, I’m able to sit there and think, “Yes, I can put my finger on this. I’m angry/sad/upset/jealous/hurt/hyperactive/depressed/nervous.”

But identifying doesn’t mean suppressing it – that’s something I’ve been trying to work on too. Things like jealousy and anger and frustration are healthy! If I’m angry, it means something’s wrong. If I’m jealous, it means there’s something I need to deal with. If I’m miserable, it’s often just my brain having a depressed moment. It is really hard, when I’m feeling something, to make myself stop and analyse when all I want to do is scream or grumble or curl into a ball. It’s hard to stop the knee-jerk reactions, and just be able to step away. But it’s also so, so satisfying to be able to recognise it; to say, “yes, I’m feeling that – and that’s ok. Let’s look at why.”

And it’s really satisfying to be able to talk about it; to try to figure out why I’m feeling like this, and what – if anything – I can do. It’s something that I’ve noticed in my interactions with my partner, and with friends – and I think, I hope!, that it’s making all of my relationships healthier. If nothing else, it’s preventing misunderstandings based on past experiences or a missed word or simply an email with no context – and if it means that I can be a happier and healthier person, then I think that’s a really good thing.

So, self-reflection and talking: hard work, but absolutely worth it!

(Also, weasels are derps.)

Images of Mental Health

I don’t particularly have a visual imagination; I tend to think in word clouds. But sometimes, I’ll be able to compare how I feel to something; an image, a still-frame photograph, a hanging painting that just sits for a moment surrounded by the feeling.

When I was back on anti-depressants, coping with a new job, struggling with the end of my marriage… a chandelier of broken glass, hanging shards; the darker coated ones turned away from the light, the brighter ones glinting: false, brittle, glinting.

Being on new tablets that had something odd in them, which sent me manic for about a week; a metallic cylinder in my chest, tinted and brittle, coating everything.

Everything piling up: layers of thin board, stacking and stacking, weighing down but not yet breaking.

And the feeling of pills that I knew would sink me: a helium balloon filling my chest, raising me – and an iron weight on it, pushing down, not letting me rise, not letting the happiness bubble.

And six months of happiness in Oxford… A golden fountain, bubbling and roiling, sending whirls upwards:  light and lifting and wonderful.

via GIPHY

Distrusting the Voices

So I’ve been musing about the voices in my head, and how you know when they’re real: how do you distinguish between the anxiety weasels and actual voices that say needed things?

How do you know if you are ugly or beautiful? Worth something? Annoying or funny?

Anxiety means it’s all lies; so how do you actually know what the truth it? When do you start believing the voice in your head, having always shouted it down for lying?

I don’t really have any answers yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

The image is from Nerds with Vaginas on Facebook.