The Next Step: My Vlogging Journey

I have been pretty quiet on my blog for the past week or so. This has really been because I have been in a rut with my mental health and even writing couldn’t bring me out of it. I was just in my pit and not doing anything of any substance. I have managed to scrape by and can say that I am breaking out again. Let’s try to keep that going.

 

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The Next Step

I have taken a huge step on my blogging journey: I have decided to start a YouTube channel so that I can vlog, as well as keep you updated on this blog.

 

I am still enjoying writing and will continue to do so for as long as it helps me and it is fun or therapeutic; however, this next step comes at a time when I really want to help other people. The vlog will still be centred around my own life but the stories will be told with the intention of reaching out to others who are going through similar experiences. Talking directly to people who are struggling with mental health issues, particularly men, who are far more likely to conform to the stigma that mental health should not be talked about in any circumstances.

 

Breaking the Stigma

The main goal of getting my vlog out there is to try to break the stigma surrounding mental health. I want to show people, through talking about my own problems and suggesting ways to improve mental health, that it is absolutely fine to talk about your mental health and you are not alone in your struggle. We are all human and our brains are all susceptible to mental illnesses. This is just a fact of life and the more that people realise this, the better chance we have of breaking the stigma surrounding it all. Mental health can no longer be a taboo subject. There are too many people suffering and even dying because of this.

 

My Vlog

Here is my first video, which is an introduction to the kind of content I will be posting and my goals with the vlog. Give it a watch, visit my channel and like and subscribe to receive more updates. I am so excited to continue with this project:

 

 

Love and Peace

The Flawesome Award

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I have been nominated for the Flawesome Award by katedaysaweek and I am really honoured to have received this nomination from her. Apart from anything else, she is an amazing blogger and I am thankful that she thought of me.

The Flawesome Award was created by Sophia Ismaa Writes and I would like to show you her own description of the award and its intention:

“It’s time to celebrate the flaws that make you awesome.

How many times do we see an award that celebrates all things bright and shiny and sunny in a person? How often do we forget that our weaknesses can be a strength? Our flaws make us human, our flaws tell us more about who we are, and in turn we turn those flaws into awesome strengths. In short, our flaws make us #flawesome.”

 

Rules:

  1. Link back to the creator – Sophia Ismaa Writes
  2. Display the award
  3. List 3 flaws and turn it into a strength
  4. Tag 10 other people

 

3 THINGS THAT MAKE ME FLAWESOME

I am far too laid back a lot of the time and while this can have a very negative impact on my life, it has its positive sides too. The main things that come to mind when I think of positives that could come from being too laid back are my demeanour and mannerisms. It makes me very approachable and I have been told by many people I have a very calming air about me. I make people feel at ease and if they are panicking or feeling anxious then I can usually bring them back down and help them to ground themselves.

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I can be too kind sometimes and this can get me into situations that are, overall, not very good for me. For instance, I have been taken advantage of many times throughout my life. People have taken my kindness and run with it so that they can get things from me but they never repay the favour; however, my kindness is also one of my greatest traits and my experiences with people taking advantage of me have allowed me to build my judge of character. I am now better able to determine who is worthy of my kindness and who isn’t. Now, when I give all of my kindness to somebody, it is greater appreciated and I feel better for it. This is a hugely positive thing for me.

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I have been told I take myself too seriously. This is something that causes me to be quick to emotion when somebody takes the piss out of me or something that I have done. My friends often pull me up for taking things too seriously. Although it can be an annoying trait, it also means that I take my life and my goals seriously. I don’t see myself as a joke and I see myself as worthy of being taken seriously. This is something that I have recently lost sight of, as I have fallen into the depths of depression; however, it is something that I will be trying to keep in mind so that I can continue my journey to beating this mental illness.

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This has been fun to write, as it has allowed me to look at myself and bring even more positivity out of me. It is incredibly important for me to remember that there can be something positive pulled from almost any situation.

 

I will now nominate:

  1. Jen
  2. Charlene
  3. Megan
  4. Nicole
  5. Batmom85
  6. The Unmapped Nurse
  7. Becky
  8. Meglio
  9. Britt
  10. Cordelia

My Heart, My Soul, My Bitter Brain in Revolt

I am sitting here in my pit,

Waiting for motivation to hit.

My heart yearns for a better life,

While my soul battles through all this strife.

This struggle has gone on far too long,

I want to be but I’m really not strong.

Fighting against my mind, it’s becoming old hat,

Constantly over thinking about this or about that.

I know what I need to do to get better,

But my brain, it continues to stutter.

It is winning this fight, right now,

Keeping me from doing even that which I know how.

Will I ever beat this darkness, this debilitating illness?

Will I be able to substitute it for happiness and wellness?

Alas, I do not know, truth be told,

As it seems my bitter brain is in revolt.

My Fragile Mind

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I have been fighting with my mind for a long time now. It has been a constant struggle. I feel like I have recently been winning the battle but it is far from over and I still have weak moments, where I feel like giving up. Sometimes, I do give up and I don’t do anything for a whole day. It is a horrible and vicious cycle, which only results in me struggling even harder to just get myself on an even keel.

 

The most frustrating thing for me right now is that the weak moments are far more pronounced now than they ever were. Even though I have progressed and am happier now than I have been in a long time, the weak moments that I have often lead to a darkness and despair that is so real. Yes, I can cope with it a little better because of my medication but the constant feeling of depression is still there. I find myself getting on with my life in a sort of autopilot fashion but I don’t have the drive to do anything else. I don’t have the drive to do something that will make me happy. Is it because nothing is making me happy right now? Well, I don’t think that’s the case, as I have recently expressed that I feel happy and it is a genuine feeling of happiness. Is it because I haven’t given my medication enough time to balance itself out? That seems a little more likely.

 

Whatever is going on in my head, my mind seems to be more fragile now than it ever was before. Although I have far more moments of happiness, it seems like it doesn’t take much to bring me out of that feeling and right back down to the depths. No, I’m not just talking about sadness or being in a bad mood. I am talking about an all encompassing feeling that I am worthless and nothing that I do will matter. Rather than it being something that is making me suicidal or making me feel like I might as well not be on this Earth, it is more like a nihilistic view. I have never been a nihilist. I don’t want to be a nihilist… but whatever is going on in my head seems to be turning me into one. As a result of me feeling like nothing that I do matters, I just feel an emptiness and a sense of apathy towards my life and actions. It causes me to think that I should just do nothing and everything will be fine. I don’t need to eat right now, I can eat something later. I don’t need to get dressed right now, I am comfortable in my dressing gown. I don’t need to make my bed, I’m just going to lay in it all day anyway. I don’t need to clean the dishes, I can do them any time. I don’t need to pay my debts because I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. This nihilism could very easily become quite self destructive… and do you know the funny thing? Although I know this and although I understand that I need to stop behaving this way and thinking this way, I am not any closer to actually doing anything about it. I just don’t have the motivation to fix it. It is so very frustrating.

 

I want to fix it. I want that more than anything. I know that I am capable of fixing it and I know that I will fix it. I am just tired of putting it off but even though I am fed up, I still am doing nothing. It is just getting worse and worse. Will I need to hit rock bottom before I am able to pull myself up again? Is that it? Will it be the darkness that saves me? As I am writing this, I feel like my only other option is to reach out for help; to ask one or more of my friends to help me keep things in perspective and do what I need to do. The only thing with that option is that I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to annoy anybody, as I know that everybody has their own struggle. Everybody has their own life and I shouldn’t expect anybody to take on the task of basically babying me back to a balanced mental health. Well, do I need to look at it from another perspective? One that shows me that I am worth looking after? One that shows me that my true friends will be there for me no matter what and that they do care about me? I think that might be the answer to my problems right now. Maybe I am looking at this from a perspective that is far too negative and I am blind to my own worth and blind to the friends who want to help me.

 

One of the great things that I have found about writing is that it allows me to get my own thoughts out of my head and organise them. As much as this blog post seems like a mess of thoughts, for me, seeing it all laid out in words has helped me so much. I feel like I have taken steps towards understanding more and more about my mind with every sentence that I have written today. Being able to understand, cope with and overcome my mental health issues was the very reason that I started blogging in the first place and I am very glad that writing is still helping me to do that.

 

I hope that this has been another step towards a healthier mind and a happier me.

 

Love and Peace

Letter to My Brain: Follow-Up

You may have read the previous and first letter that I wrote to my brain. If you haven’t, I would recommend heading over to Letter to My Brain on my blog.

 

This is a follow-up letter, where I talk to my brain about how I am feeling at this moment in time and check in to see if we are any closer to the working partnership, for which I said we should strive.

 

Let’s dive in and see if there have been any changes:

 

“Dear Brain,

 

Hi again. I hope you haven’t forgotten my last letter. I know you can’t write back, being a brain and all but I am quite sure you got the message. I do hope that my feelings on this are correct.

 

Since I last wrote, I have noticed a big difference in the way you have been treating me. In fact, I noticed many differences along the way; not all of these differences were positive but it is the outcome that matters most of all in this situation.

 

The first big change that I noticed came when I had not long started taking my antidepressants. It hit me like a tonne of bricks and shocked me to my very core. It was an anxiety attack like I had never felt before. My initial reaction, once I had overcome the anxiety, was “why are you doing this to me? Why, when I am trying to help you by taking these meds?” I felt helpless, as I thought the meds were not working at all. I began resenting you even more than I had done when I initially wrote to you; however, once I calmed down and realised that the tablets can cause one’s anxiety to get worse before it gets better, I felt quite sheepish. Of course it was the tablets and not you. My GP even told me to expect things to get worse initially. I was just blind to it, like a fool.

 

The next change that I felt, once the rough period was nearing its end, was that you seemed a lot less chaotic. You weren’t making me over think as much as you used to. You weren’t making me panic or stress as much as you tended to do before. Although I was still anxious and I still did think about a lot over time, it was a welcome relief from the constant mess that was my head when you were in control and seemed to be out to get me. It is quite hard to describe, other than to say that I felt calmer and more focused.

 

Probably the best difference to me was that I actually felt happier more often. Things weren’t as dark or cloudy. It was such a relief that you had found it in you to lift the veil for me and to do it as much as you did. I appreciated it to no end. Don’t think that it went unnoticed, as I noticed it every time and I made sure to make the most of it. As I was happier, I had it in me to love the way that I had before. I was able to free up some room in my head in order to help those I love. It was uplifting and it has brought me even closer to people in my life. I knew you still had that loving and caring side somewhere inside you. You were just hiding it from me, as you didn’t want to be too vulnerable.

 

Of course, as a result of all of these things, I am more laid back and closer to my chilled out self than I have been in a long time. Rather than feel guilty for sitting in my dressing gown on my days off, I feel comfortable. All I need is a White Russian and a nice big rug to lay on; it would really tie the room together. I’m taking it easy and you know am. The Dude abides, after all.

 

Brain, we still have a long way to go before we find the man I described in my first letter but the progress we have made together so far only gives me more hope that we will find him. You have given me the space I needed to start looking for him and I am happy to say that traces of him have popped up in so many places. You are starting to remember and this makes me very happy. To me, the only way from here is up…. and I couldn’t have gotten this far without your help.

 

Let’s continue the fight, struggle on and keep searching together. One day, we will be ready to try to take over the world, Brain.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Duncan”

 

I have to say, writing this letter felt very different to writing the first one. I hope you enjoyed it and I can guarantee you that there will be another one in future.

 

Love and Peace

Song of the Day: 28/08/2018

I always forget how much I love this song. It was actually a close friend who recommended it to me and it always hits me right in the feels every time it comes on in my playlists.

 

A very heartfelt and deep song, this is “Mother Superior” by “Coheed and Cambria”.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Love and Peace

My Holiday So Far: This is the Life

I am sitting with a coffee that was made for me by my mum when I got out of bed. She also offered to make me a bacon roll for breakfast, which is currently on its way. My dad is sitting with the newspaper and my wee niece is walking around, chatting away to everybody, asking to go out and play.

I am sitting with a coffee that was made for me by my mum when I got out of bed. She also offered to make me a bacon roll for breakfast, which is currently on its way. My dad is sitting with the newspaper and my wee niece is walking around, chatting away to everybody, asking to go out and play. My sister-in-law has just told her they are going out to the park. All in all, I am very happy.

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This holiday has been just what the doctor ordered. A nice, relaxing few days away with my family. I haven’t done very much and that is definitely a good thing. The biggest thing I did was play a game of poker on the Friday night, which was a long and drunken night but it was the most fun I’ve had in a while (despite being put out first). The house I am staying in is huge and has everything that we could need, including 4 bathrooms. There is a massive kitchen/dining room, with a huge 8-seater dining table. There is a big conservatory with a corner couch and recliner chair. The conservatory looks out onto a garden that is almost as big as the house, which has plenty of bushes, flowers, some pebble walkways and even a pond.

I was actually due to come home today, as I had booked a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow morning; however, my mum could see how much this holiday was helping me mentally and emotionally and she has convinced me to call the doctor in the morning to ask if we could continue with the appointment over the telephone. I hadn’t even thought of this being an option so I was really happy for my mum to have suggested it. It’s exactly what I’m going to do and I am going to make the most of my time off.

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To give you a little bit of context as to why this holiday has been so incredibly good for me and my mental health, St Andrews is a very special place to me. I have been coming here every year for 20 years. I know the place like the back of my hand and consider it to be a second home. It is a very relaxing and peaceful place, where I feel 100% safe walking around, no matter the time of day. It has several beaches, where you can take in the sea air. There are some beautiful, scenic walks that are just a joy to take. The pubs here are so nice, with some of the friendliest staff around. It is a place that my entire family loves, which means we can all spend time together here and each one of us would enjoy ourselves and be happy.

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Where is your happy place? Is there a regular holiday that you take which makes you feel the happiest? Maybe you just have a place you can visit any time you like which makes you content? I would love it if you would share them with me. Now, I’m off to continue enjoying my holiday while I can.

 

Love and Peace