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Treading Water

Please note: all images are my own (as usual) and are from my trip to Almeria, Spain. They may seem out of place but they’re a metaphor for how I currently feel. They are also joyous and sad memories (they’re also beautiful too).

I often feel that no matter how well I do, I’m always on the edge of a cliff. Never too far from slipping into the recesses of my own mind. I fear if I ever did that I’d lose any progress I’d made in the past couple of years and probably never get out again.

That fear is often paralyzing. It makes me stand so still. Because if I do not move, I cannot slip.

This is all a metaphor, of course, there is no cliff and there is no danger of falling prey if I move forward with the confidence I should have. I’m an intelligent person, I know that most of the time I’m able to see things from an unbiased point of view, and usually from both sides of an argument.

I should be more confident than I am. I’m a skilled person, I can be poetic, romantic, but I’m always genuine and never do I betray myself for the sake of others. I am a nice, kind-hearted person.

But these things are all meaningless to my own mind. I do not feel confident in these things. I know there are people who are more intelligent or more skilled, kinder, and understanding. And thus I feel like I have no right to feel confident in these things.

I worry that any confidence I do show will come across as arrogance. A trait I do not naturally possess but fear people would mistake me for having. These fears stop me from being the person I want to be and I have no real clue as to how I get around them.

I was working with my counsellor to understand how I think/feel things and how I automatically let these negative thoughts roam free within the depths of my mind. I have done for a great many years. Trying to change the direction of a needle from negative to positive is the most eluding thing I’ve come across. I do not understand how I can do it. I do not feel like I can do it.

I know these are just the negative thoughts holding on and that I’m allowing them too much fuel and time. But I do not understand how I can stop them. Even with the tools given to me by my counsellor I find it incredibly hard to stop certain thoughts.

They know my own mind better than I do and it’s a battle I have no idea how to fight.

A prime example of this is the memories/thoughts I have involving [E]. it’s been nearly a year now, and I still have moments where I find myself thinking about how much she means to me. How much I miss her, or how much I wish I could see her and just be around her.

I often dream of her and even more often I find myself thinking about times we met up and spent together. The feel of her skin when we held hands, the smell of her breath when we kissed. I can remember it all. And it kills me.

Most days I can get by and shake the thoughts away, focus on something else, and move forward and not let these thoughts/memories get to me.

But sometimes, especially when I’m having a tough day (or things have gotten particularly overwhelming), these thoughts wash over me like an incoming tidal force. I have a thought about her, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory of her, or the sight of the giant reindeer I see, lit up with Christmas lights, every night I walk home from work. I acknowledge the thought and try to replace it with another, the thought of the next Marvel film, or I try to scour the passing faces for ideas about a character in my short stories.

As I already said, on a good day this method works. But during times I feel overwhelmed, tired, stressed, anxious, or frustrated, these thoughts gradually become stronger.

I may be able to get past the first one. Maybe the second too. But they are relentless. As if my own mind knows that it’s just a matter of time. One after another memories pepper my resolve. Every one of them forcing me closer to tears than the last. Tortured by my own mind. It sucks.

I think the fact that these memories are a mixture of joy and sadness is what ultimately gets to me. Because the conflict of emotion is so tiresome that eventually my brain gives in and allows my heart to take the emotional strain. That’s when the tears start. Because these thoughts are nice, they’re beautiful, but they’re painful too.

I wish nothing more than to have that feeling back, of loving someone so completely. And having it returned. But more than that, I want that feeling back with [E]. I bury these thoughts because to allow my mind to dwell on them is unhealthy. I need to feel confidence and strength that is mine. And not rely on someone else. I know that when I’m ready I can be strong and know that happiness is what I can create in my own mind. And when I get there, if I get there, then I can be happy with someone else. I hope that person ends up being [E]. But I know it most likely won’t be. And that’s arguably the saddest thought I could ever have.

Wow, ok, so this is a long post. I think I should stop it there, and maybe think about what it is I’ve said and also calm my own thoughts down. Thank you for reading, especially seeing as this is a long post. I appreciate your readership and of course any comments left (as long as they’re not negative) are always appreciated! Until next time, thank you for reading.

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Taking time

So, I wanted to take some time to go over the past few days…

I had a talk with my manager and it went ok. We spoke about how I’ve been feeling recently, about how the expectation is become too much, about how I feel taken for granted and underappreciated, and how I’ve been feeling personally.

It went Ok, in that I [eventually] found the confidence to say most of what I’d written down, and she seemed to accept my comments in a mature and understanding way.

We spoke about possibly moving me onto a different part of the department in the new year – a prospect I’m not totally on board with – but that was only an idea.

I tried to better explain what happens to me when I get anxious/frustrated and as difficult as it was to explain I think I did ok.

I also spoke to my friend (K) on the way out and cleared the air (for me at least as she didn’t think anything was wrong). So I left that night relatively proud. Proud that I’d said what I wanted and also that I’d said a few things I was scared of admitting. To both my manager and (K).

I told my manager I didn’t appreciate her rudeness [she’s usually fine but recently she’s been getting rude for no reason] and also opened up and old (K) why I’d been worry so much about our friendship these last few weeks.

I told her the truth; that this time last year I had two people in my life I felt completely comfortable with. But now I only have her. And I’m scared I’m going to lose the only friend I feel I can talk to about almost anything.

She laughed at me and called me silly. Told me that she wasn’t going to stop being my friend because I annoy her (I hadn’t annoyed her but i told her I was worried I had) and that I shouldn’t worry so much about things with her.

I agreed and simply stated it’s a fear that i have [people I care about leaving] that feels a little real this past year (I’d buried that fear a long time ago, but not gotten over it).

So,my good mood returned and whilst I felt relieved and immediately happy with how I’d handled the day, my anxiety still sat there like the ephant in the room. An annoyance that couldn’t be budged.

I tried to hold onto the feeling of being proud and somewhat the confidence that came with it (albeit a small improvement).

It did not last as long as I wanted and the following two days did seem to eat away at that platform I’d built.

But I’ll discuss that in my next post (it’s going to have a different tone so I wanted it to be separate from the slightly more positive tone of this post)…

Fighting frustration…

I tried to really go forward this morning with positivity in the forefront of my mind.
It started poorly but I held on, just.
But frustration soon sunk its teeth into my feelings. And it bit down hard.

I fought tooth and nail to try and push past it but every time I felt like I was holding steady? I got hit over and over again.
The more frustrated I got the more anxious I got. I started to doubt myself. To over think everything…
Every look my way, every little thing I did, it all played on my mind and made me shrink inwards. It was really hard to so anything.

I managed to talk to someone one for a moment or two. And although that made me feel better – it didn’t last and the void left just flooded with anxiety…

This is so incredibly hard to deal with. And the worst bit is worrying how my actions affect my friends. The closer I feel to the friend the more worry I feel. The fear of pushing them away or upsetting them just takes over and overwhelms me.
And seeing as the friend I felt closest to was at work today; the worry I felt was just upsetting. #cryitout was the order of my walk tonight…

Winter comes…

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this already?

But I came across it last night and it hit me in my heart all over again. I still feel the same month after month. And it is a little maddening…

But that said, this short (but sweet) poem says it all…

Winter comes…

My heart,
A wall around it,
Cast from solid ice,
It thaws whenever you are near,
But when you leave,
Winter comes.

Feeling sad and misunderstood…

It’s hard. It’s really hard to smile when you feel sad.

I’m not talking about waking up in a bad mood and spilling milk on your shirt sad.

I’m talking waking up in an ok mood. Getting to work only to have your relatively (new) positive mindset slowly ground down into sadness and an ever increasing feeling of not being good enough. The worry that you’re being the awkward one who won’t let something go, instead of saying something that needs to be said because if you don’t it will eat away at your insides and cause you an immense amount of frustration.

I touched on a subject with one of my colleagues today. My Team Leader.

She mentioned clocking in/out times and mentioned me clocking in early all the time. She asked me not to do it a few weeks ago and I simply replied with: “I don’t expect to get paid for it, I just want a few extra minutes to get set up, so yes I will continue to do it.”

I thought that was it. Dealt with. Yet today there were some comments about me finishing late all the time (9 times out of 10 it’s because I’m serving a customer or doing something I have to finish before I can leave.

Now, to be clear, I never expect payment for these times. I just do it. In retail sometimes that’s the way things go.

However, what frustrated and made me feel really low was a couple of comments about a time when I was late leaving because my manager and team leader were looking at some important thing in the office.

My problem was that I’d said several times that day I was due to leave at X-time. My Team Leader said they’d be back in time – no problem.

The time went past my leaving time and no one around. 15minutes later someone else came in and relieved me. Still no sign of my team leader.

When I mentioned this casually, today, I was met with a response that summed up everything I hate about my job: “yes, well what we were doing was more important” …

Let that sink in a moment. Whatever thing my manager and team leader were looking at was more important than one of their staff members being able to leave on time. Worse? My Team Leader had refused to pay me the overtime for making me late…

To say I’m angry would be an understatement. Comments like that are enough to lose my respect. And I hate needless disrespect – especially when it’s something I give every person I meet.

You have my respect by default. It’s yours to lose. But if you lose it? You don’t get it back.

It’s moments like these were I lose my confidence. Where my mind challenges what it hears by saying “maybe they’re right?!”

My initial response should be to challenge what they say with my own opinion. And prove my correct viewpoint (when it is correct).

Instead my initial response is to be negative. To turn inwards and think that maybe I am in the wrong…

I wish to be different, to be more confident. But how to get from here to there? That’s the mystery.

Until I figure it out I have to live with this frustration, this self torture, and try to push myself – all the while hoping I’m pushing in the right direction…

Hurdles and waves…

Today. What can I say about today?
It started ok, and grew into an ok day.
I didn’t let things get on top of me or frustrate me (we, not too much).

And whilst I made it through the day with some sort of stability, there were little moments that threatened to knock me overboard and into the sea of confusion that bathes my mind.

I kept my head and struggled through. And just when I thought I’d made it, I hit a huge hurdle.
I was talking with a close friend, when another colleague came up and joined in the conversation.

{Wave 1} That made me feel a little awkward (not their fault just how I am these days) but I managed to cope.

{Wave 2} When some lewd comments were made by the other colleague (and egged on by my friend). This increased the awkwardness but in doing so I started to panic about what to say.

{Wave 3} The worry from not knowing what to say set in. Inquisitive remarks from my friend put me on edge and ik started to spiral. I turned away from them in case I started to cry (another worry as I do this when I go like this. It’s overwhelming).

{Wave 4} Looking for a way to leave without making it obvious of the reasons why. I cant think, I’m ruled by worry and need to get out. My friend doesn’t understand (I think she thinks I’m being silly but I don’t blame her she has never felt this so she’s not aware of how it feels)…

I left. Shed a few tears on the way home (formed of frustration and embarrassment). I then got ambushed by thoughts and memories as I walked.

A worry filled and to a stressful day…
This morning’s ok mood seems like an age away right now 😔

Thoughts drag me under, as waves roll in…

So, where do I begin?

These past few days have wreaked havoc on my calm. Anxiety has ruled me and broken me still.

But I’ve tried to ‘fight’ it, to stay calm and not let the anxiety take over. But it’s never as simple as that.

I’ve been trying to practice self-love; trying to keep the self-doubt at bay. But there are moments that just eat away from under my will. Like rot in an old wooden table; the moment I climb on top of it and feel safe, it gives way and I fall.

There were moments today when, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a familiar face, (E).

In those moments, for a split second, I hoped it was. My heart fluttered like it always used to. And then, like a glass of cold water hitting my face, reality hits. Hard. It’s not her, of course. And those butterflies, those ladybirds, fade. And a small, solemn, cloud fills my mental sky.

And the memory hits hard. As hard as the original fall.

I manage to fight off the tears from the pain these thoughts still cause. Knowing I’m not yet over things. The love is still fresh as ever in my heart and whilst I know it’s fruitless to feel such things, I cannot seem to ‘unfeel’ it.

So, I have to struggle through these moments. Trying incredibly hard not to become annoyed at me for feeling such things. To stem the flow of frustration for falling back into these thoughts.

Sometimes I do better than others, as one would imagine, but there are times when I fail so completely it is hard to explain. That nearly happened today…

I was on the bus (on my way home from work) and I slipped. I felt upset from all the anxiety felt during my shift. But there was a moment when I thought about my friend (K) telling me about her recent date, and all I could think about was a night I spent with (E) before she started her nursing placement. It is a memory full of emotion and whilst I can think about it now (I’ve got my guard up to stop too much emotion coming through), earlier I was vulnerable to my own thoughts and almost gave myself to this one.

I managed to snap out of it just in time. Tears already forming in my eyes. I tried no to be too harsh on myself but did I still felt so stupid. To let such a thought still affect me so much seemed seems so stupid. But I suppose that’s the point of the self-love. To teach me kindness and learn to love myself rather than hate myself.

I’m sure I’ll get there eventually but for now, I still have a way to go.

I didn’t go out for my walk tonight either. It was far too windy, and my normal walk might have been too dangerous. So I chose to stay in my warm bed and just relax (try to at least). I’m not really sure it was a success but I’m glad I didn’t go out tonight. It’s so violent out there…

Weather permitting I’ll go out tomorrow, but for now, I’ll settle for my lonely, warm bed.

Worrying and sleepless…

These past few days have been nothing but a pit of worry and anxiety.

I have a meeting with my manager tomorrow and I’m scared of what will happen. Nothing big or life altering will occur.

But I do need to say how I feel and not be a walk over anymore. I’m just scared it will turn into an argument when I just need them to understand they’re taking advantage of my quiet nature.
Not anymore.

But I haven’t slept properly since Friday night, im feeling run down, and my brain feels like it’s overheating with worry.

I’ve tried to calm, by employing the techniques I’ve learned, through my counselling, but it’s still there in the back of my mind. I need to learn to let go of the negativity, desperately.

If only I could be a little more positive and keep the voice of positivity louder. Just for a couple of days. I need some confidence and resolve – just to get me through tomorrow’s meeting…

Trying to find my calm…

So, last week was stressful, frustrating, and (emotionally) painful.

There have been plenty of little things that have added to a growing pile and it all became a bit overwhelming.

I’m struggling to see the point in some things and it worries me that I’m seeing things incorrectly.

I know I have trouble with being confident but I worry so much about getting worked up about things that I might have wrong.

I’m in serious need of finding some conviction as I have a discussion next week which will hopefully help in easing some work related issues.

After feeling so frustrated and angry when I left work yesterday I slept on things and while they still bothered me a lot this morning, I went out for a walk and calmed my mind. Using the sounds and sights to fill my thoughts. It worked.

It was not a complete success but it helped me chill out (a feeling I’ve not felt at all this past 10 days or so).

Capture my smile…

I really, really, like this photo. I took it this morning on my way to work.
The colours are just amazing and the image came out alright on my phone (I often find some images like this come out a little lack-lustre). Every now and then, an image I take captures how I feel in that precise moment. Many have captured sadness, anxiety, pain, love.

But this one captured my positivity. It captured a rare smile. And every time

I look at it I find that smile, no matter how brief it lasts.

That’s what this image means to me.