Not Everybody is Like You

I’m sat here, thinking to myself. I’m in danger of my thoughts taking me to somewhere very dark and negative so I thought I would write something meaningful and keep my brain in line.

The thought occurred to me that I often get hurt by other people. The majority of the time, this hurt is not intentional by the offending party but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. How could they have been so thoughtless and inconsiderate that they would do something which would hurt me so much? Am I overreacting? Would another person like myself be hurt in the same way? I like to think that everybody else would feel the same way as I do but that, quite frankly, just isn’t the case.

Although there are bound to be people out there who think and feel the way I do, the reality is that a majority of humankind is so different from me. What is offensive or hurtful to me, will be nothing to a great percentage of my peers. This is quite hard to accept, as we all seek to relate to others in one way or another. If we can’t relate to them because of a differing opinion or feeling over something, it becomes harder to connect with them. Harder but not impossible, I might add.

One thing that I often reinforce for people who are having a difficult time and feel like they are overreacting or just acting crazy, is that their feelings are valid. They are valid because it is what is going on in their mind and they feel that way whether they like or not. Perhaps I should remember that piece of advice when it comes to my own mental health and my own feelings of being hurt. It is valid that I feel hurt because, whether I like it or not, I feel that way. What’s important is how I approach the situation and whether or not I am able to figure out why I’m hurt and if it was justified. There is a difference between something being valid and something being justified. I think we all need to find that line, in all aspects of our lives.

This was a bit of a ramble but I hope it’s been thought provoking. Have a wonderful Saturday evening.

Love and Peace

I’m Back! Wee Life Update

Hello!

I have been very quiet as of late and I feel a little guilty for closing myself off; however, I recognise that it has been for my own mental health and I have to say: I am feeling much better for taking the time off from social media and my blog. Before I get into it, I would like to give a shoutout to the people who have checked in on me whilst I have been quiet. You know who you are and I want you to know that it means the world to me.

Well, I have always said that I will continue to blog as long as I am enjoying it and it is helping me so here I am. I think it’s about time that I give you all a wee life update and let you know how I have been getting on; the good and the bad.

The Downward Spiral

A few weeks ago, I started feeling the side effects of my antedepressants very badly. I was experiencing sickness and diarrhoea. It was horrible and I was off work because of it. I knew that these were possible side effects so I tried to roll with it and wait until I got better; however, it took a little longer than I had anticipated for the side effects to subside. Now, this is where things start to get really bad. The side effects had really affected me physically more than anything else and my sleeping pattern had been badly affected. I was up until all hours of the night and the morning, which obviously did not help with my routine or my mental health. Thus begun the downward spiral.

My mental health began to deteriorate and it only did so quicker and quicker, until my anxiety was so bad that I could not face going into work. I knew by this point that my mental heath was very important and if my brain was telling me that I shouldn’t be in work then I should listen to it and look after myself. I tried this and stayed off work to give my brain as much of a break as I could. Except, I had no idea how much this would eventually affect me in the long run. I was about to hit the lowest point of my struggle with depression up to this point. Days off work turned very quickly into a week and before I knew it, I was off for 3 full weeks. As I started preparing to go back to work, it hit me: I don’t get sick pay from my employer and I have rent and bills to pay at the end of the month. This realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks and I was absolutely floored with my depression. I instantly felt numb, like my brain had just shut down in order to protect me from the anguish that was realising my failure and the impossible situation with which I was now faced. This numbness was very familiar to me by this point but there was something else… something new. I suddenly no longer wanted to be here anymore. I didn’t want to live as somebody who had failed so miserably and fallen so low that I would not be able to pick myself back up. Some of you may be thinking that I was feeling suicidal and you would be forgiven for assuming this; however, I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t having feelings of ending my own life; I was having feelings of no longer wanting to exist anymore. It is difficult to explain but I hope that others have felt this as strongly as I have and they will be able to relate to it. If you have, get in touch and tell me about it.

On the Up ‘n’ Up!

I was in the pits for what felt like an age but it was actually only a couple of days. I knew that I had to do something positive and at least try to get myself out of this difficult situation so I did. I arranged to go over to my mum and dad’s house for dinner on the Sunday. I have been in situations before where I am hesitant to talk to my mum and dad about certain subjects but let me tell you: this one was a doozy. Not only was I in a financial crisis but I had to tell them the reason why I was. It meant having to talk about my mental health to a degree that I had never had to reach before. This was scary stuff… but I did my best to stay positive and remember that my mum and dad are there for me. They are my family and they always have and always will be. My maw ‘n’ da!

Well, after dinner, I plucked up the courage and spoke to them about everything. The side effects, the spiral into nothingness, the time off work and the financial troubles. I would be lying if I said they weren’t taken aback and a little upset with me; I had, after all, neglected to tell them that I had been suffering. With that being said, they were absolutely wonderful and more supportive than I could ever have imagined. They were my light at the end of the tunnel. My saviours and my heroes. I could see clearer than ever before that tey are my rock. This feeling of love and support filled my heart to the brim but at the same time, it lifted a huge weight off from my shoulders and allowed me to relax for the first time in weeks. This was the beginning of my gradual climb back up towards being myself again and do you know what? I haven’t stoped climbing! To this day, I am feeling better with each day that passes and I can feel my positive outlook coming back. I don’t know if this is due to the dosage of my meds being increased or if I have somehow had some sort of epiphany during all of the anguish or even during my climb back up. All I know is that I feel fantastic. Will this feeling last? No, it wont… but a big part of me now realises that and knows that it won’t be the end of the world when I drop back down a little. I know that I have support in many places and I don’t need to suffer.

What Now?

You might be wondering: what’s going on now that you’ve managed to fight your way back up, Duncan? To be quite honest, not a lot has been going on recently. I have been taking a lot of time for myself. I have been chilling out and getting a good night’s sleep for work as often as I can. I have been eating as well as possible on this tight budget and I have been seeing my friends and family whenever I can. Now that I feel like I am in a better place, I will be able to write more often. I will be able to start making more videos for my YouTube channel. I will be able to enjoy my life, as well as ensure that I am a more active member of this wonderful blogging and Mental Health Awareness community. I want to start really making a difference in the world of mental health and what better time to do it other than when I am feeling positive and productive?

I will probably be looking for other bloggers to collaborate with in the near future. Already, I am in talks with somebody about a few different projects and I have been in touch with one of my favourite bloggers about doing a collab with them very soon. We had planned to publish a post for World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10th October but life got in the way for both of us and in the end this wasn’t possible. We will be getting together very soon, I hope. It’s going to be a very busy time for me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I will of course still be doing my #BeardedChat and keeping up with my @BeardedRT account, as well as keeping you all updated on my personal/blogging Twitter, @TalesofaBeard. There has never been a better time to follow my blog. I promise you that it will be a very exciting, thought-provoking and even funny time for all of you who are keen to keep up with my goings on.

Why don’t you join me for it all?

Love and Peace

Today, I Was Feeling Down

Here is my latest video! It is a proper vlog this time around and I had so much fun making it! Like and subscribe to keep up to date with my vlog!

 

 

Love and Peace

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