My Manic Days: Why I Worry About the Extent of My Depression

This little brain of mine. It’s certainly been putting me through the ringer over the past year.

 

I’ve had my highs and my lows but if I am honest with myself,  I have to say that it has mainly been crippling lows. My depression has brought me to my knees more times than I would care to count. I have been fighting very hard to keep it at bay but no matter how many times I pull myself back up and no matter how many things I learn about my mental health, there is always something in my head which drags me back down into the pits. It seems an almost inevitable part of my life now. I thought I had already come to terms with this but I really haven’t. The knowledge that I will hit a soul-crushing dark spell at some point in the near future is terrifying to me still.

 

Manic Highs

One of the things that is scaring me currently is a pattern that I’ve noticed in my mental health: I almost always fall into a dark spell immediately after I have had a manic high. I go from feeling amazing, untouchable and invincible, to a pathetic little ball of depression who doesn’t want to do anything. Do you know what makes this most annoying? It means I am now scared to be happy. I am literally scared to enjoy things in case I tip over and fall to the point of no return.

 

What Does This Mean?

I have been thinking about my mental health and the patterns that I have described, both in the past and in this post. I don’t want to start diagnosing myself, as that is the last thing one should do when it comes to mental illness. Really, I am just making observations and writing them down so that I can analyse them.

 

In observing the patterns and applying these to different forms of mental illnesses and disorders, the only cases I have been able to compare my experience to have been those involving Bi-polar disorder. This was formally known as manic depression. Somebody who suffers from Bi-polar disorder will go through phases of manic highs, followed by crippling depression. This is of course a simple representation of the disorder, as I understand that there is far more to it than just being really happy and then being really depressed. I have picked up a fair bit of knowledge on Bi-polar disorder over the last few years and I may write a post on the topic at some point but for the purposes of this blog post, I will just leave it at a simple explanation.

 

Naturally, given that my manic highs seem to be followed by not just a period of feeling down but a crippling depression, I am concerned that I may have Bi-polar disorder. Like I said, I am not writing this to self-diagnose and I would NEVER claim to have a disorder unless I had been medically diagnosed with it. I am simply voicing my concerns over the possibility that I may have it. I will obviously need to voice my concerns to my GP if I want to know for sure and this is something that I may end up doing if my concerns increase or even remain in the next few months.

 

What Do You Think?

Do you think that I am concerned over nothing? Am I maybe over thinking things? Do you think that I am right? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Even if you think that I am spouting a load of drivel and that I am worrying too much. Drop me a wee comment or even an email using the contact section of my website.

 

Love and Peace

The Return of the Beard

I’m Back!

Well, it certainly has been quite some time since I talked about my life. I have missed blogging terribly but my life was so busy that I just could not keep on top of writing, along with everything else.

Since I last wrote a wee update, I’ve started a new job, come off my meds and I’ve been practicing more self care. I am definitely in a much better place than I was the last time I wrote. I guess, in some ways, that makes it a little bit more difficult to write; mainly because I am so used to writing whenever things are going wrong or whenever I am feeling like the pits. Well, inspiration has struck and I will take this wherever it may take me. You all will just need to deal with whatever drivel I unload into this post.

My New Job

I think that this new job has made the biggest difference to my mental health over the last few months. It seems to have been the thing which catapulted me into a better place. That is in no small part thanks to the fact that I seem to have found a job where I feel appreciated. It is also a relatively new development within the company I’m working for, which means there is a lot of room for progression. I am still aiming for a job as a teacher or a trainer and it seems an opportunity like that may come up pretty soon within this project!

I am still doing training, despite starting the job in November 2018. The fact that they provide 12 weeks of training for this role shows me that they are invested in their staff and it is a huge difference from my last employer. It has lead me to feel more relaxed and at peace with my job, which something I have not felt for a very long time. I am nearing the end of training, which is only 2 weeks away and I already feel like I am ready to do the job well. I am excited to work hard and show them what I’m capable of!

Off My Meds?

Yep, you read that right. I am currently cold turkey on my meds and have been for around 2 months now. Don’t get the wrong idea, this was not purely a conscious decision for my mental health. The meds were definitely helping me. The reason I stopped taking them was simply that I ran out and I suddenly became too busy with work that I forgot to refill the prescription. Since then, the new job and better mindset has kept me going and I have not really felt like I need them; however, there have been times when I have felt incredibly intense depression and anxiety. I think my body is telling me that I need that chemical balance again and it is struggling to cope. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I will go back on them but I do feel that it would be a good idea. I will keep you posted on this, for sure.

More Self-Care

I have never been very good at looking after myself. All I have ever been good at is surviving. Well, since I left home and had to look after myself without my parents being there 24/7 anyway. I would always find myself doing the bare minimum in terms of staying clean and healthy and also in keeping myself fed. Lately, however, I have been making sure that I follow a daily routine, which includes washing, looking smart, being productive and and setting aside time to cook meals. I have been making meals that I can take to work, which has made me feel very proud of myself. I have been making lovely meals for dinner in the evening, which has made me feel more creative and just happy in general. I have also been making sure that I change into my PJs when I get home then having some tea and biscuits. This makes me feel a lot more relaxed and content. These may all sound like silly little things to the average person but all of them have added up. All of them together make me feel mentally healthy, even if it is just for brief periods. Long may it continue!

I still feel very much like my mental illness has a vice like grip on me and I don’t think that will change any time soon. The demons are being kept at bay for now but they are still lurking. Can I keep them away long enough each day so that I can continue feeling good about myself? I will certainly try my hardest.

What’s in Store?

Well, now that I am in a better place and feeling motivated, I have decided to continue blogging in my spare time! I will be updating this as often as I can. I also will be doing my Twitter chats, retweets and mental health awareness support on Twitter. I will do my best to upload more content to my YouTube channel, as believe it or not I am still super excited to have that medium available in my fight against the stigma of mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed making my first 2 videos and will definitely be continuing with the project.

This is all a lot to handle and keep on top of so I will of course be keeping an eye on my mental health in case the pressure of everything ends up being too detrimental. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with everything.

Thank You!

I would just like to end this post with a heart-felt thank you to all of you who have stuck by my side whilst I have been away from blogging. You know who you are and I cannot express just how much I really appreciate it.

Until next time!

Love and Peace

The Flawesome Award

award-post1

 

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

Sunshine Blogger Award

I am incredibly honoured to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by @C_Leavessunsets over at Crunchy Leaves and Sunsets. Thank you so much for the nomination and I am so excited to get going with my post. I have seen this award doing the rounds many times and dreamt of receiving a nomination so I am very happy to have finally gotten one.

 

Well, without further ado, let’s get into it!

 

1. If you could invite anyone to perform at your next birthday party, who would it be and why?

This is quite a tough one, as there are plenty of bands and singers that I would love to perform at my birthday party, big and small. Having to pick one is difficult. I think I would enjoy a more intimate performance, which eliminates a lot of the popular bands from the list. With that in mind, I am going to go with my very dear friend, who is an amazing singer and means the world to me. She knows who she is and may even be reading this too. Hint, hint haha.

 

2. What is your favourite item of clothing?

Oh, I like this one, despite not having many items of clothing. There are clothes that I think look great on me and they give me a big boost of confidence. I’m going to go with my favourite t-shirt, which is black with a skull and crossed guitars on it. I can’t find it right now, otherwise I would put up a photo but I think it makes me look good and it’s been a favourite t-shirt for a long time.

 

3. What three words would your friends use to describe you?

I have spent a while asking my friends what words they would use to describe me, as I don’t want to assume anything. I have been pleasantly surprised to see so many positive responses. I will list them below:

Kind, Caring and Warm

Intelligent, Caring and Gentleman

Best ****ing Human

Funny, Caring and Genuine

My Big Brother

Comical, Loveable and Fluffy

Nice, Beardy and Pretty

Caring, Passionate and Modest

 

Three guesses which one came from my younger brother.

 

4. Would you rather eat a hair sandwich or drink a shot of snot?

This is easy. I hate the feeling of having hair in my mouth and trying to eat a hair sandwich would be an absolute nightmare. It has to be the shot of snot!

 

5. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I have very few pet peeves but the ones I do have are very important to me. Things like poor grammar and loud eating. I think my biggest, however, has to be disrespect for your friends. Specifically, when you are sitting with friends and somebody is telling a story or speaking their opinion on a topic and somebody just constantly interrupts with nonsensical and irrelevant stories. Let your friend finish first. You would hate it if people spoke over the top of you.

 

6. If you could pick one cocktail to represent you, which would it be and why?

I really like this one, as I enjoy cocktails and don’t get to drink them often. I think I would like the White Russian or Caucasian to represent me. This I think comes from my love of the film “The Big Lebowski” and the character “The Dude”, as it’s his drink of choice and I wouldn’t mind being The Dude.

 

7. What is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t really have any guilty pleasures, as I have reached a stage of my life where I understand that I like what I like and I shouldn’t care if people judge me. That being said, I do really like playing bingo and a lot of my friends would take the mickey out of me for that!

 

8. Where are you going on your next holiday?

Well, I have actually been discussing going to Ibiza next year! My friend has won tickets to an event and we are going to book an apartment for it. It’s going to be a great time!

 

9. What do you like to do to indulge yourself?

When I am really indulging myself, I have takeaway food, such as pizza or a Chinese, and go to the pub for drinks. I love spending time with my friends and family so indulging myself almost always includes social events, where I can let my hair down and have fun.

 

10. What one thing could you not live without?

Music. It really is my first love and I do not know what I would do without it. I listen to it almost all the time, play it on my guitar and I love going to see live music. It resonates with me in an infinite number of ways and there is always something I can be listening to, no matter my mood.

 

11. If you could be an animal, which would you be and why?

I have always loved lions. I don’t really know why but they have always been my favourite animal. I would love to be a lion even for a day. They are so majestic and I can just imagine myself with a large mane, sitting so proudly and patiently.

 

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me a little better and thank you very much to Vicky for the questions! Now it’s my turn to nominate some bloggers and ask my own questions!

 

I nominate:

@Blogabtnothing1

@catisbored

@bloggingbysoph

@NerdsNatterings

@BeccaBlogsItOut

@nicoleeblogs

@RealUnmapped

@provincialwoman

@TheFrznMind

@ZaraLouU

@BlogLove2018

 

The rules are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their post.

2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write 11 questions for them to answer

4. List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your blog.

 

Here are your questions!

  1. What do you like to do with your time, other than blogging?
  2. Who has been your biggest influence during your time as a writer/blogger?
  3. Are you happy with your life at the moment?
  4. Where would you most like to travel and why?
  5. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  6. Do you have any other talents, silly or serious?
  7. If you could pick one thing for which you are most thankful today, what would it be?
  8. What is your favourite snack and why?
  9. What is your favourite drink and why?
  10. Where is your favourite place to buy clothes and what do you usually buy?
  11. What is your biggest goal at the moment and are you working towards it?

 

I can t wait to see all of the answers to these! Thanks for reading and make sure you follow everybody in my list to see their answers!

 

Love and Peace

 

How My First Twitter Chat Went: Thoughts Moving Forward

Yesterday, I did my very first Twitter Chat on my RT account, @BeardedRT. I went in blind, as I had only ever taken part in 1 or 2 Twitter Chats myself and I had never hosted anything like this before. I was quite nervous but the format seemed quite simple and I was confident that I would be able to handle it.

I had done a bit of research and realised there are Twitter tools that I could use, which would make the chat a whole lot easier. I started using TweetDeck so that I could schedule my tweets for specific times but also so that I could have all of my feeds on the one, easy to manage screen. This really did make things so easy and I would not have been able to cope if I didn’t elect to use something like this.

Honestly, the hardest part was deciding on a topic for the chat. I wanted it to be something interesting but very relatable so that plenty of people would feel like they could engage. I was struggling to think of something that would fit but after I wrote my last post about anxiety, I realised that this was the perfect topic. It turned out that my decision to talk about anxiety was probably the best I could have made.

While I was thinking of a topic for the chat and working out how I was going to do it, I had to set it up and make sure people knew that it was happening. I’ve never been a huge fan of constant self promotion and I never tweet the same content over and over again. In this case, I created a couple of polls, to determine when I should do the chat and also which hashtag people would use if they took part. These polls were a great success and far more people voted than I ever imagined would for my first ever chat. It’s now been set that my chats will take place on Sundays, between 6pm and 7pm and that we use the tag #BeardedChat. Everything seemed to fall together so seamlessly!

When it came to the actual chat, I decided to use what seemed to be a tried and tested format: 4 questions, asked every 15 minutes, with some RTing and replying in between. I set up all 4 questions well in advance on TweetDeck.m posted a couple of tweets about the chat to remind my followers that it was happening and jusy waited for 6pm to arrive, when my first tweet was due to go live. When the moment came, I was amazed at the instantaneous response that I got. People were engaging from the moment I posted the first question. It was incredible, from the point of view of somebody who was almost entirely new to RT accounts and Twitter Chats. The questions were tweeting automatically every 15 minutes, which gave me the freedom to RT and reply to all of the answers. The hour flew in and I had an absolute blast, engaging with my followers and chatting about our own experiences with anxiety.

The whole process seemed so natural and I found that I took to it like a duck to water. It didn’t feel stressful, like I was worried it would; it actually was fun and I loved it so much. I am so glad that my first chat was such a positive experience and it makes me so excited for moving forward with it. I am already looking forward to next week’s chat and am even thinking about doing it 2 times a week pretty soon. I genuinely am passionate about doing this and it’s the first time in a while that I have felt this way.

If you’re reading this as somebody who took part in the #BeardedChat, thank you so much for joining in! If you are new to it all, why don’t you join in at some point? #BeardedChat is every Sunday, from 6pm to 7pm. You are all more than welcome to come chat and make new friends!

Love and Peace

Getting to Know Me

Last week, on Twitter, I asked my followers to send me questions of things that they would like to know about me. I wouldn’t exactly say that I was inundated with responses but I did receive far more than I was expecting and I am so thankful for every response. So without any further ado, here is my Getting to Know Me post!

What is your favourite flavour of Monster Munch? (@MeglioVivere)

I love this question for its simplicity and for the fact that I LOVE Monster Munch. Given the choice, I will ALWAYS pick Flamin’ Hot!

Do you enjoy reading? If so, what is your favourite book? (@Blogabtnothing1)

I actually felt quite guilty receiving this question, as I do absolutely love reading but I have not read a book in so long. I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad, as I have been reading blogs and this has kept my brain active. As for my favourite book, this would need to be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

What is the most dangerous/stupid thing that you remember doing as a child? (@Hypercofficial)

I did many stupid things when I was a child. I was a daydreamer so my parents had to practically beat a sense of awareness of my surrounidings into me. I think that the most dangerous and stupid thing, however, was jumping across the street when the ice cream van was driving down the road and only a couple of feet away from me. I was 4 years old and just lept across, not even thinking about what would happen if I jumped too late. I felt like a daredevil. I ran home and told my dad, I was so proud of myself. He smacked me and grounded me.

Other than The Lord of the Rings, what is your favourite fantasy series? (@ThatGlasgwGamer)

I wonder how you knew that The Lord of the Rings was my favourite fantasy series… anyway, I’ve got many favourite films and series. If it’s a case of TV series then I think my favourite is Gameof Thrones; however, if we’re talking films then it’s definitely Star Wars!

Are you working just now (Sunday) mate? (@CDeePops)

Yes. Yes, I was working.

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed that and it’s great to get another post up and have a bit of fun. Thanks for taking part and I hope your week is treating you well! I’m off to enjoy my weekend with my favourite person!

Love and Peace.