Bad Days

I’m not having a good day today. Not that it’s anything unusual for me, but these last few weeks my moods may have started to lift a little. Either that or I’ve subconsciously learned how to allow things other than anxiety and intense sadness in.

It kind of feels like it’s crunch time at the moment. Things can’t stay in this state of suspension forever, they need to start moving forward again, but the truth is, I just don’t know how. I need to be working, that much is obvious, but the endless stream of spending hours on applications only to be followed by rejection letters is getting more than a little draining now.

Failing finding employment, I could be working on myself. Taking care of my health, planning business ventures or just generally taking care of my wellbeing – but I’m not doing that either. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve completely forgotten how to live.

The last two days I have woken up with the very best of intentions, but the universe has had other plans, so as such I’m now just as unproductive as if I hadn’t even bothered trying. Feels great.

On top of that, I know what a drain I’m being on those around me. I have two modes at the moment, honest or the act. The act being to pretend everything is fine, or at least not as bad as they think it is. It’s exhausting, un-motivating and boring.

I just feel like I want to scream out; ‘I’m here! Please give me a chance!’

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It’s not in your head.

Hello, and welcome to 2018.

Not a great deal has happened so far because I’ve been struck down with the flu for the past two weeks, but that’s okay, I can deal with that.

After writing and re-reading my end of year blog, it made me realise that I have been bottling up an awful lot, which is probably doing little to help my low moods. As I’ve been so much less social over the last year, not only do you not get the chance to talk things through with people, but it doesn’t really allow space in your mind for anything other than the gloom. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of friends who are always happy to listen, but it gets to a stage where you just don’t want to burden them anymore.

I’ve been making more of an effort to talk to Joe about things. I’ve been completely honest each time we’ve spoken, because I need at least one person to understand the frustration I feel. This has proven to be very helpful, and I’m sad I didn’t open up to him in this way sooner. Not only has the weight eased slightly, but it’s also helped me gain some perspective by allowing him to have his say on the situation.

One of the biggest issues I’ve had over the past few years has been to do with employment (or lack thereof.) My past few jobs haven’t resulted in very good things happening. Either I haven’t been suited to the job, I haven’t enjoyed the job, or the employers have just made things difficult in one way or another. I’ve always considered myself to be a person with a good work ethic. I’m working class to the core, I know the drill and I’ve never felt hard done by because I have to go to work. However, while sitting at home alone wit my musings, it dawned on me one day that the one common denominator in all of these situations has been me. I need to accept responsibility and accountability for that, whether or not any of it has been directly my fault, I have been there and need to accept my share of the blame.

For the last few months I have been beating myself up about not being able to make any of my last few jobs work, so I made this the subject of conversation with one of my talks with Joe, and while I still have to accept there may be things I could have done differently, he has shifted my perspective on the matter quite drastically. And my god, did I need to hear what he said.

‘You’ve been worn down. It’s not all in your head, you’ve fallen victim to some horrible people over the years, it’s no wonder you feel the way you do.’

And suddenly, I felt a little better. Less paranoid, less angry at myself. Because it’s true. I didn’t choose to be bullied out of my job at the beauty company, someone made me their target and thrived on belittling me. I didn’t choose to be fired from the home accessories company, they’d misunderstood me at interview and expected too much in too short space a time. I didn’t choose to be born female meaning management at the big supermarket head office didn’t feel as comfortable without their preferred male counterpart.

Add to this the redundancies and the subsequent court cases and that makes for some colourful work history. It’s all happened, I’m pretty sure most people go their whole lives without encountering half the shit I have. (Apart from sexism.)

It’s not all in my head, and it isn’t ALL me. If someone else told me the stories I have, I wouldn’t blame them for feeling so lost, I’d commend them for keeping at it for so long, but you know, it’s conceited to be too self-celebratory so we repackage it with doubt and self-loathing – and self blame.

I really hope that I can go back to work this year, but I’m not going to take any old thing that comes along. I’m tired of being the one who has to prove herself constantly, I know what I can and can’t do, now it’s up to them to prove why they deserve to have me work for them. Work is tough, it’s inevitable, and something we’re all likely to be doing until we drop, so I’m no longer willing to compromise or put up with other people’s shitty behaviour. You reap what you sow, so if you bully. belittle or try to undermine me in any way, I’ll walk.

 

Let’s talk about 2017

We’re here again.

We’ve reached the end of yet another year, one I’d really rather forget.

With Neko going missing I don’t think this was ever going to be a good year, but this is one that went from bad, to worse, to unbearable at some points.

I wish I was able to offer up some note of hope or faith or optimism, but I just don’t have any of those things left at the moment. I know we’re supposed to go into New Years with at least a little of those things, but all I have is the looming sense of fear that it’s just going to be more and more of the same.

Entering 2018 I am going to be sad, broke and feeling as though I am the least employable person in England. I need things to change so that I can take care of myself and relieve the pressure I’m putting on Joe because he’s working so hard to support us both and it’s super unfair. I apply for so many jobs but never get anywhere and to be honest I’m a little tired of hearing the well scripted rejection letters consisting of tripe about how the standard was so very high – and basically I’m not good enough. I’m tired of going to interviews where I am tasked with things which have nothing to do with the job I’ve applied for, how is that a fair assessment of how well I can do they job you’ve actually advertised. I’m tired of interviewers not listening to what I’m saying and twisting it to make it into something that suits their agenda. Job hunting should not be that hard or that unfair.

I work hard, I try hard. I just need a chance.

This year has also been kind of lonely, I’ve not seen that much of my friends this year and that is largely down to me. I promise I will try to be a much better friend next year.

Health wise, this has been one of the hardest ones on record, and I don’t just have the uveitis to thank this time. I’ve been struggling with low moods for a very long time. This year, it all came to a head in very traumatic circumstances, which I won’t go into. Diagnosis: Panic Disorder and Depression. I used to be one of those people that didn’t really understand depression, but now I do, and it all came too late.

I’ve always been pretty open about suffering from anxiety. The symptoms are very physical and hard to ignore, depression is something which can easily be confused or mistaken for low mood. Then one day you realise those low moods have been hanging around for quite a while and have long outstayed their welcome. You’re exhausted constantly and everything feels like an effort. It doesn’t take much to upset you and them bam! All of a sudden, there it is. The big black cloud of depression. So cliched, yet so true. The world is suddenly full of dark fog and you can’t find your way out no matter how hard you try.

I’m still very much lost in that fog. I will be until help arrives and I have no idea how long that will take.

Creatively, this year hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been networking like crazy and met some awesome people, been to some amazing shoots and got to do things I never thought I would. Here are a few highlights.

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twinshotweb

 

Gigi2web

 

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Auriol18-2

 

So there you have it. 2017 all wrapped and almost gone. I would really like for the creative stuff to keep going, but the badness to stop.

Please cut me a break 2018. I’m not sure how much more I can take.

It’s Been A While

Well, Hello World.

I’ve taken a deliberate hiatus from blogging as I promised myself the next post I wrote would be about how Neko returned home and life went on as before. But he never came home, and now 9 months down the line I don’t think he ever will. My heart is completely shattered and it still hurts every day. The hardest part is just not knowing what happened to him, even if it was bad news, at least I’d know and be able to grieve properly, but that’s just not going to happen.

We actively searched for the first few month and received several suspected sightings, but nothing ever came to anything. We leafleted our local area, put up posters and shared in endless Facebook groups, but no joy.

Life has effectively stopped since he left. This year has been terrible, and while I can’t wait for it to be over, I am dreading next year being just as bad and nothing changing.

Ive been out of work for the last 6 months. This time through choice. I was bullied out of my job at the beauty company, then let go from the place I went after that. I’m done with shitty jobs. I’m done with being treated like shit. Done with putting so much effort in, only for people to tear me down anyway. I need a break. Whatever I do next needs to be a good calculated career move and not just taking another shitty job for the sake of it, I’ve learned the hard way that it just isn’t worth it.

So right now, I’m at a crossroads. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, but I need to fix myself before I do anything else. I’ve been suffering from the worst anxiety of my life throughout this year. It’s gotten so bad that it’s now my default setting to be on edge and completely wired all the time, I can’t switch off and I can’t calm down. My brain is a foggy mess, and because of this, I didn’t notice the depression creeping up on me either. I’m a mental and emotional wreck.

I’m sorry this isn’t a very cheerful blog post. I will update again very shortly and update you all on my camera related adventures, which have been sort of ok this year and I’d quite like to share some stuff with you all.

Thanks for reading guys, I hope you’re all well and doing awesome.

Missing

It’s 1.30am and we’ve just returned home from a gig.

I’m sitting on the landing floor talking to Joe as he calmly tries to stem the bleeding. I realise that this moment right here, is strangely poignant and as I watch my husband bleed into the toilet bowl this situation just sums up how our lives are at the moment.

It’s not unusual for me to be awake at this hour these days. My mind is full of static and panic so rest doesn’t really feature that heavily in my routine at the moment. I’m not sure when I’ll rest easy again, for right now I’m living out my worst nightmare.

Neko is missing.

He disappeared on March 19th sometime between 8pm and 10pm. This is so out of character for him, especially as the night was rainy. He hates the rain and comes rushing home as soon as he feels raindrops. If you open the door to the rain, he’ll hiss at it as if he hopes this will make it stop. At first I thought he may just be sheltering somewhere, but when he still wasn’t home the next morning I knew things weren’t right.

We went searching as soon as it got light enough to see, but no joy. We scoured the length and breadth of the golf course which backs out onto our garden, we even donned the old clothes and went climbing through bushes, but nothing.

I’m afraid we’ll never know what happened to him. The night he went missing also happened to be bin night. If something bad has happened, he may have been taken away before we even had the chance to look for him, but still I’ve leafleted houses, put posters up, shared in all the local animal groups, called all the local vets and shelters, but nothing.

We’ve tried every piece of advice given, and with every day that passes, the worry just gets worse. Most people have been hugely supportive and sympathetic, which gives me some faith. I look for him whenever I can, I call for him every time I step outside the house and my heart sinks a little more every time he doesn’t respond.

Add this on top of everything else that’s happened lately and it makes for a very dark mood indeed.

Firstly, my Uncle died. He was the best. I come from quite a large extended family, and I’ve always been the oddball I guess. He understood me and never made me feel I had to put a face on to please everyone else. He was there with me when I was first told I would go blind, and attended many of my subsequent hospital appointments along with my parents. He was one of life’s good guys and I will miss him so much. The funeral was awful, but in the most beautiful way. Everyone was in tears and it was lovely to see just how much he meant to everyone.

I’m being bullied at work. I have a new manager, she took over around the same time my most recent spate of poor health began, I’ve needed a few days off over the last few months due to illness or infection, but anyone would think I’d been trafficking children with the way she likes to make me feel about it.

When I first started the job, I declared my health condition on the medical form I was issued and have never hidden it away or lied about it. I’m sick of being made to feel bad about something I have no control over, I’m sick of being made to feel like I’m a slacker, because I’m not. I’m good at my job, I work hard and I take three buses to ensure I get to work every day, how many people would do that for a part time job?

I’m resentful of the fact two of the best things in my life have been taken from me already this year and I’m left with this. I’m tempted to make it easy for her and just hand my notice in, but I’m tougher than that and I will not be beaten over something I can’t control. No, there is nothing I can take to stop the side effects from my meds, no it can’t be controlled by my diet, and no, there is nothing you can do to stop it interfering with my life, this is the hand I was dealt and I play it to the best of my abilities.

So, that’s where we are right now. I’d love to be able to write a happy blog on here one day. Today is not that day. Until I know what happened to Neko, I just don’t know when that will be.

Take care of yourselves, and give your fur babies a massive hug. Tell them how much they mean to you, hell, take a day off and spent it with them. Just don’t take them for granted.

For now, I soldier on for little Yumi, who misses her big brother terribly.

PS:- Neko is microchipped and neutered.

The White Rose

This morning it was light when I left home to catch my bus at 6.30am. The day then grew into a beautiful spring day, and as it did so, the words of Sophie Scholl echoed in my head for some reason.

Unbeknown to me, today marks 73 years since her brutal execution by the Nazis.

If you’re unfamiliar with her, then please check out this article. It really is an excellent read, especially if you’re into your War time history.

They were guillotined 72 years ago today. And they deserve remembering.

If you’ve never heard of The White Rose movement, this is as good a place as any to start.

Enjoy.

It’s been a while

Well, Hello there.

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve not written here for a long time. I’ve not done much for a long time, but I’m just about ready to come out of hiding now and get back out into that scary old world.

January was hard. I had a lot of horrible things to deal with and I fell into a really bad place. Life is full of ups and downs, having been accustomed to the downs in life and therefore generally managing them pretty well, I can usually find the light at the end of the tunnel, but this time I really couldn’t.

Usually, even in my darkest hours I have found something to cling to, something to keep me going, or was simply able to tell myself that things would get better in the end, but this time I just didn’t see that at all. I couldn’t figure out what I possibly had to look forward to any more. I felt trapped in a world of endless tomorrows where nothing made sense. I couldn’t move forward because it felt like everything was constantly blocking my way and I’d be trapped forever.

Then one day, after waking myself up with a panic attack, I knew I had to do something. So  I reached out. The solution may be long winded but was much simpler than I imagined it would be and after a few hours of what felt like endless phone calls, it was finally in place and I could finally move forward.

I then became ill. Weak, exhausted and stressed, I just wanted to sleep forever. Then the bleeding started and the weakness got worse. I powered on as best I could but felt like I would just burst into tears over the most trivial things. Shortly after came the pain. Swiftly followed by the blood tests, now I’m just waiting for the results.

One afternoon, I sat at the bus stop waiting for the first of my three bus journey home from work and checked my email. I do this every day. A glimmer of hope finally arrived. The following day, so did another. Now there are three. Suddenly, the fog began to lift and I didn’t feel quite so lost anymore.

Now, I’m awake. Awake doesn’t mean what it did six months ago. Six months ago, being awake meant functioning like a regular person. Today, being awake means making it through the day without needing to stop for a rest or a nap. On the best days there’s no pain either.

For now all I can do is wait until the Doctors are able to tell me what is wrong with me. But that’s ok. There are minuscule things to look forward to, and eventually these will grow into better, brighter days and I’ll remember what it feels like to be human again.

Please don’t suffer alone. There is always help to be found if you’re willing to look for it. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or a bad person, it means you’re ready to take the steps you need to come out the other side. And you will. The bag of prescription drugs that was so tempting some days still sits untouched in the kitchen cupboard and that’s where it shall stay.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now, but I’m going to use this tiny bit of energy I have. It feels good. I’d almost forgotten how good it feels to be productive.

Be good to each other. We are all we have.