Reasons to be cheerful/ grateful/ positive

So my anxiety has sucker punched me in the gut today….its been a while. I know it will pass, so to distract myself I’m going to think about all the positive things in my life. Here goes:

1. My family. My family are the best. They know me better than I know myself and ALWAYS have my back. They are supportive and wise. I am so lucky to still have both of my parents. They are my go to people. They always give me wise counsel.

2. My boyfriend. I am so lucky and thankful that he is in my life. I’ve been happier these last eight months despite everything and that’s all down to him. He really understands me and knows how I’m feeling instinctively. He is also a huge support.

3. My friends. I have the most fantastic loyal and supportive friends. We may not live close to each other and we’re at different phases on our lives but I consider myself incredibly lucky that I can call, text or message my friends for a chat/ support/ honesty/ a good laugh and to take the piss out of me depending what I need at the time or they need from me.

4. My cat. He makes me laugh, is my shadow and looks at me sometimes like I’m bananas but I love him and would not be without him. Its been good for me to have him to look after and he takes care of me too. He’s my boy and I’m his human.

5. This blog. Blogging has really helped me. I’m still very new to it but I enjoy it. It’s a welcome distraction. I’ve always loved writing and have kept a journal for years. Sassy has given me an alter ego to express my thoughts without feeling exposed. It’s also been a great outlet for me to channel my thoughts on life, my mental health and anything else that comes to my mind.

6. Autumn. My favourite season of the year. Much as I love summer and the sunshine, by far and away my favourite time of year is autumn. Being able to wrap up in cosy jumpers, cuddle up under a blanket watching movies, light my autumnal candles (Yankee Candle scents Golden Chestnut, Spiced Orange and Soft Blanket are my current favourites.) I’m an Autumn baby so its in my nature. I just love being cosy!

7. Walking through crunchy leaves on a crisp day. Very much linked to my love of autumn. Pulling on a pair of boots, scarf and heading out for a walk is one of my favourite things to be able to do. I love the crunchy sound and all the colours of the season. All while getting fresh air, stretching my legs and clearing my head.

8. Cooking/ baking. I love getting into the kitchen and cooking or baking. I love making old favourites, batch cooking or baking scones, banana bread, muffins…whatever the mood takes me. I find it very therapeutic. This is definitely soup weather and I love it! Time to get my cook on!!

9. Being independent. I’m lucky that I’m very comfortable in my own company. I’m also well able to give new things a go. Whether that is building a flat pack bookcase, varnishing a pine blanket box or changing a light bulb. I’ll get on with it. I love the sense of satisfaction achieved when I succeed or accomplish a task. This sister is doing it for herself!

What DO I want to be when I grow up?

I’m starting to think that I’ve been settling. I’ve been off work for several months now, I’ve always said that I love my job and I don’t want to leave. I was asked how I feel about having been off and my honest reply was that I miss the people but not the work.

I’ve also come to realise that I’ve defined myself by my job. I’ve let it become who I am rather than the job I do. That’s not healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I’m good at what I do and I have more years of experience than I care to admit, but maybe I need a change.

Herein lies my question and if I’m honest, my difficulty. I know what I’d love to do – become a sommelier. My difficulty is that it is a complete change and it is scary. I had a light bulb moment when reading Laura Clery’s brilliant book IDIOT. (I read it in one sitting, I just could not put it down. I definitely recommend it. So does Dawn O’Porter, if my recommendation isn’t enough.) I realised that I too make decisions based on fear. Fear of failure, fear of change, fear of taking a risk, fear of not knowing what will happen, fear of not being able to pay the bills. I could go on but you get my point.

I wasn’t always scared. Even if I was, I didn’t let it stop me. I’ve upped sticks and moved to a different country. I’ve moved to completely new places where I knew nobody and I’ve succeeded. I’ve even ended a long term relationship when I knew it wasn’t right for either of us. I’ve also taken some risks (I think that was more about my mental health signaling that I wasn’t well rather than a calculated risk though.) I’ve made those brave decisions in the past, so what is stopping me now?

I’ve exhausted my full sick pay entitlement and I’m managing. I do have the security of a permanent position and am very broody. (I’m very aware of my age when it comes to my desire to be a mother. I’ll be classed as a geriatric mother, which just sounds unbelievably awful.) I think it boils down to confidence. I am far from the most confident person but following my dream gave me the courage to do whatever it took. Move to a different city, not a bother. Need to drive for work, drop me off a hire car and I’ll drive there. (Back in the days when I hated driving and had no car.) I can’t quite figure out at what point I stopped dreaming.

There’s no doubt that my recent physical and mental health difficulties compounded by my work issues have knocked my confidence. Truth be told, it was on the floor. I had none. I was convinced that I was a failure. I’m not fully back to myself yet but I’m getting my confidence back. A wise woman once told me that “energy follows thought” and my friend is a big advocate of having a vision board so maybe it’s time I start to create my vision board, think those positive thoughts, create that positive energy…and start dreaming again.

A work in progress

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Sometimes I speak without thinking. Sometimes what I say comes out wrong. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. Some days I feel like I can take on the world, other days getting out of bed is a challenge. I try my best. I’m still learning.

My mental health is definitely a work in progress. I take it day by day. I’m getting better and am working hard to continue to get well. The stigma of mental health is still something I am battling. I know it is ok to not be ok, but saying that out loud to another person is something I don’t feel able to do. I don’t know why? Maybe it is because it feels like an admission of failure, like accepting that I’m not superwoman. I have long been battling against my superwoman complex….its a work in progress.

I spend my working life problem solving and helping people to solve their problems. Mental health and its impact features in my working life and I regularly encourage people to seek support from their GP’s. I have accepted that I am experiencing anxiety and take medication for this. So why don’t I say it out loud?

I am human. I have limits. I have skills and talents, strengths and weaknesses. I’m open to trying new things. I’m absent-minded and can be easily distracted. I went upstairs to get sellotape, I found it and came back downstairs where I then found myself battling with the ivy that is trying to take over my garden. It took me what felt like minutes to figure out why I was gardening and not wrapping the present I intended doing. Answer, I saw my roses needed deadheading and went from then to the ivy. I’m a daydreamer.

I’m also getting older, I got an appointment through for a cardiac assessment. It was a sobering moment. I know it’s all part of my head to toe health assessment, but it gave me a jolt nevertheless. It reminded me that life is fleeting. I’m human.

I’m perfectly imperfect and that’s okay. I’m me and there’s nobody in the world I’d rather be.

Tired of feeling anxious

Today has been a bad day. Nothing particularly bad has happened, I’m just tired of feeling like I’m living on my nerves all the time. I’m tired of feeling jittery and jumping at every notification that my phone sounds. Tired of jumping at every noise the wind makes. Tired of feeling overwhelmed.

I know it takes time for medication to kick in…I just wish it would hurry up. At the same time, I’m annoyed at myself for needing medication. It makes me tired too, so in the mornings I feel spaced out and discombobulated.

Discombobulated. I like that word. I like words. My blogging is helping me put my thoughts and feelings ‘on paper’ so to speak. I like writing, I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Still do. I like that this is separate.

I’m also annoyed and frustrated at myself for having slipped back into my unhealthy eating habits and having gained five pounds. I really want chocolate to cheer myself up but don’t want to gain more weight or go out to buy chocolate. Food/ eating is not a healthy coping strategy. Now is not the time to be hard on myself, I’m still working on being kind to myself. Tomorrow is a new day, I’ll get back on track and start using my NutraCheck app again.

I am so thankful for my cat. He’s very affectionate and loves being petted and having his belly rubbed. His purr is so soothing, I could listen to it all day. He’s very vocal and not shy at letting me know if he’s hungry or wants attention. We look after each other. I’d be lost without him.

My boyfriend is also a brilliant support. He keeps me sane, keeps me calm and can always make me feel better. Even thinking about him makes me smile. He makes me happy. We talk all the time and message each other loads when we don’t see each other. I’m so lucky that we found each other. I know I’ve definitely met my soulmate. Suddenly I don’t feel quite so anxious anymore.

Trying to think positively

I’ve felt a bit off today, a bit stressed and anxious but nothing I can really put my finger on. My sleep hasn’t been great for a few weeks which doesn’t help, but then I’ve never been a great sleeper anyway. The milk was sour this morning but it is summer so it happens and it’s easily replaced. I decided to get some fresh air to clear my head and follow the advice of the medical professionals whose care I am currently under.

I said goodbye to my cat who was dozing on the sofa, pulled on my trainers and pulled the door closed behind me….only to realise that my keys were still inside. Sigh! All was not lost, I had my mobile so called a locksmith who very quickly – within seconds – had me back inside and out of the rain….of course it rained, it’s summer in Ireland after all!! So after trying to avoid taking medication to calm me down, I did take a Xanax to calm me. A cup of tea (with fresh milk) just wasn’t going to cut it this afternoon.

I know that avoiding a problem is no way to solve it but right now, I’m not ready to leave my bubble. It feels safe in here. If locking myself out causes me so much stress, how on earth can I return to reality and work with all its stresses and difficulties currently?

I am trying to be positive and look on the bright side. Starting with my thinking. I’m a strong independent woman. I have lots of different skills and abilities and am working hard to get my confidence level back up. Its taken a bit of battering professionally and I hadn’t fully understood how much it has affected me.

I also have the most amazingly supportive boyfriend, family and friends who have my back. My boyfriend isn’t seeing the best of me at the moment, I want to get me back not only for me but for him. We have a bright future ahead of us and I want to be fully immersed in it with him.

I found today stressful, but I survived and ultimately its not the end of the world. I will get the better of my anxiety and I will find the courage to tackle the difficulties at work….but just not yet.