I’m back

*waits for applause and hears nothing but crickets chirping* haha

 

Ok, I decided to come back to this and maybe take a different tack because this is all about using my experiences to help other people, not a popularity contest. I suspect that no matter how close I get to the best version of me there is, many of my facebook friends either aren’t interested in what I have to say as it has very little to do with their experiences, needs, interests etc, or they’ve already formed a kind but negative opinion of what I’m all about.

This blog is NOT about “poor me, look what the horrible world did to me” In fact, I don’t want sympathy or mithering, I’d like people to really know me and know all sides of the incidents they’ve judged me on. Mainly though, it’s about what I’ve learned from my experiences and how that might help others, maybe just with “me too” effect or by helping people who want to help others to understand how and why some things are unhelpful.

It hurts to be invisible and powerless and it hurts to be judged and hated just for be unhappy and saying so. Human nature sucks. I consider myself a good person, I might not be popular and attractive, I might not raise £1000 for charity or be inspirational and strong or brave but I spend a lot of time and energy on trying to improve the lives of other people, even if only for a moment, that has to count for something?

I’m starting to lose my faith in myself and doing this but maybe if I hurry up and click publish maybe I’ll stick with it and next time start trying to get this out there to the rest of the world. As I’ve said so many times, I can’t be the only one, I know I’m not the only one. 

This blog is closed until further notice.

I set wordpress to nag me to post weekly blogs but I lost the will when I realised I have a readership of 6. It’s not surprising really, my facebook friends have had so many of my inner thoughts and they’ve already made their mind up about me and nothing I write here is likely to be of interest. 

My counsellor says that other people’s perception of me doesn’t matter but how can it not when it stops me reaching people and raising money for charity. Just 5 people sponsored me, ok I managed to raise money by asking for donations instead of birthday gifts but most of what I’ve raised has been from selling things. I can’t compete with the beautiful, brave, strong positive people. I’ve stolen my own voice and my power and put myself into an impossible situation. 

I’ve shared too much about my social anxiety, self image and of feeling unwanted. This makes it hard to know which compliments, positive feedback and invites stem from kindness/charity and which are genuine. To be honest, they all feel like the former. It’s also made me more unwelcome socially, not only am I ‘no fun’, I’m now a problem that needs to be looked after or soothed. Then, when I do meet up with people it feels more awkward, like my social anxiety is the elephant in the room and the other person is under pressure to not say or do anything that will make me feel worse. 

I really need a clean slate because no matter how much I rebuild myself to something other than a mess I’m still in the shadow of what I come across as. How do I do that though, when most of my life is lived virtually? Maybe just disappear for a long time, but that will be very lonely and isolation is not good for anyone really. 

 

I think for the time being I need to stop setting myself up for upset because even on the days that I believe in myself the reminder of what other people see me and my lack of value is too much to fight against. 

I can’t be the only one.

I’ve realized that as I don’t have the guts to promote this blog properly I only really have a potential audience of 190something facebook contacts and an actual readership of 4-6. I’m sure my last 2 posts, which were more personal vents than anything else, will not have helped. I’d like people to understand me better for who I am, not just how I come across at times.

I feel like I have no voice because of my emotional nature and tendency to freak out and act on emotional impulse. My sensible brain always kicks in waaaaay too late. So I’m a drama queen who imagines and perceives negatively.

There seems to be a huge pressure to be positive and “choose” happiness and ironically even more so in the chronically ill community when actually people have more right to feel negative and unhappy at time because actually it’s pretty shit to be constantly ill whatever the level. There are a great many shares I see over and over again on Facebook and I know the people who post them do so because they feel the need to to remind themselves not to slide down into misery or because they think they will help others.

I want to say a little about me to demonstrate my point about all this, because I worry about the negative affect these things have on others too, not just how they cause me problems.

It’s no secret that I suffer from depression and I am ALSO unhappy. These two things are separate, obviously they play off each other, being unhappy with my life makes it harder to win the constant fight against depressions and suffering depression makes it harder to feel happy even if everything was “perfect”. There are aspects of my life which make me unhappy at times, my physical health is an issue. Whilst I am more well than I was and much more well than many I know, I am still ill, I suffer discomfort, pain and exhaustion and this restricts my life and my potential to work. This is a situation that I am mostly unable to change and I have mostly accepted and adapted to it, sometimes the enormity of what I’ve lost smacks me in the face but then I remember all the things I’ve been lucky enough to do and what I can still do and what I still might achieve and this softens the blow. Oh hey, look, I do positivity and hopefulness! I’ve been told I’m negatives and ignore the positives, which is slightly hypocritical as my positives are clearly being ignored too! My main source of unhappiness is lack of social interaction, feeling connected to people and being part of a social group. I’ve gone on and on about this and just ended up feeling worse about it all. I don’t for one minute believe that people are out to get me or make me feel bad. There are some unpleasant people for whom I am a magnet but mostly I know that people have good intentions but they are so focused on their belief they are giving the right advice they miss the point and in my case can just make matters worse. I DO count my blessings and I DO look at the positives but being good at making jewellery doesn’t stop me feeling lonely and isolated. Maybe, if I was too ill to socialise then I wouldn’t be so distressed but this has been a problem for a lot longer than my ME has been around. The biggest reason this makes me unhappy is because it feels like it’s proving all the people that bullied, criticized and excluded me right. I do love seeing my friends and their kids and going out with my mum and her friends but there is no one to go where I want to, no peer group, nowhere that I belong, that’s what I’m missing. I barely even socialise on facebook because I feel so out of place, like it’s crossing a line to post on walls or join in threads where mutual friends are talking.  I also get frustrated with the advice to stay positive and be hopeful. That’s not going to change my situation, I want to do something to make my life how I’d like it, I just don’t really know how or where to start and the older I get the less it feels like I’ll ever be anything other than everyone’s weird single tagalong friend. Trying to explain this gets me labelled as negative and actually told that I’m wallowing….. I’m not, I just don’t want to accept an unhappy life where there might be something I can do to change it and being told to accept it feels like no one thinks I deserve better or that they just want me to shut the fuck up.

 

So, that’s my experience. I can say that I know that some very positive people feel under an awful lot of pressure too and I know others who have every reason to be unhappy in their current situation and those who have been through bouts of depression recently are hiding their true feelings from those who should be offering them support and criticizing themselves mercilessly for it, myself included.

Can we please stop stigmatizing unhappiness?

It’s normal to feel unhappy at times and it’s a perfectly acceptable human experience. Obviously, it’s a good idea to try to change that feeling and do what works for you, it might be counting your blessings and focussing on something else, something positive or trying to find a way to change what is making you unhappy.  If you care about someone, remember, there is a big difference between helping someone feel happier and forcing/guilting them into saying they feel happier.  In my experience, empathy and understanding is much more effective way of helping, try “that’s understandable” or “would you like to talk it through?”, dismissing someone’s feelings with an “at least you…” or “but you’ve got x y z” is never going to really help, sometimes people just need to express themselves in a safe environment so you don’t necessarily need to fix it, or say “poor you”  just be there.

 

As for those positive messages shared on photos on facebook, I know there us a wonderfully passive aggressive argument that they’ll only make you feel bad if you’re being negative but I believe in not causing distress to others even when I think I’m right. Things that say “I don’t have the perfect life but I CHOOSE to be happy and count my blessings.” “it’s easy to be happy, just be grateful for what you have” seem to me to have a rather aggressive and manipulative bent to them. The first seems to come from a place and position of superiority (I’m better than unhappy people)  and the second seems to be rather guilt trippy (happiness=gratefulness therefore unhappiness = ungratefulness). Admittedly I have very negative thought patterns, this is because of my early experiences, I didn’t choose it ( most of us are products of our experiences) and therefore I’m going to see the negativity in things. It doesn’t make me a bad person, in fact, I strive to be the best person I can and leave those I come into contact at least not worse off for having met me and hopefully a little better off. In some ways it better places me to notice potential harm and although I am very aware of the effect these things have on me, for others it may not be so conscious, these things may be wearing them down on a subconscious level.

I’m honestly not criticizing people who share these things, I’m certainly not saying that they are sharing them to feel superior or guilt others, they’ve probably not even see the negative potential but it IS there  and I would love everyone to think more about what they say and how they say it on the subjects of positivity and happiness. Often people just need love, empathy and a little time to get there by themselves.

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day, from the cat.

I am a tragic spinster cat lady, the single childless butt of many jokes.

I’m not as uptight as that possibly makes me seem, I even bought myself a mother’s day gift from the cat. Also I’m not really single any more but let’s deal with one thing at a time!

I always wanted children, I would have also liked to work with children. I imagined getting married and having children and a house full of fun and laughter.

I can’t have children and boy have I been criticized for saying this and god forbid, occasionally being sad about it. I suffer from depression and this means I am constantly fighting a persistently low mood, there is always a battle to prevent myself sliding down into a deep dark pit. This constant battle against being sad for no reason (other than chemical imbalance) is made harder by events and circumstances that cause sadness and for me, one of these is being unable to have children but I don’t tell anyone anymore, I don’t express it or even allow people to know I’m sad without telling the reason.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t weep about this every day, I’m mostly over it, got used to it and think it’s generally for the best but there are pangs, especially around mother’s day and when my friends have children and when my mutual friends talk about parenting and I just look on.

So, what exactly am I here to moan about? It’s really about other people’s reactions to me being upset and saying I can’t have children. Believe it or not, this isn’t always moaning about how I’ve been treated and I certainly don’t want to make anyone feel bad (like my last post did) but maybe sharing this will help people in similar situations, maybe help people be more sympathetic and less dismissive.

The first and common response is this: “having kids doesn’t mean you’ll have a perfect life”. This is a similar thing I was told repeatedly when I’ve been sad about being perpetually single “relationships aren’t perfect” usually followed by an example of annoying thing their partner does. I KNOW, I’m not imagining some perfect un-achievable ideal, but no one I know would swap their children and in most cases their partner for the world. I’m still not really sure what people are trying to achieve with this tactic, I’m not a 16 year old crying over not having a boyfriend like all my friends. I’m a 30 something who is sad about not being able to have children and also over not having someone special to share my life with to love and be loved by and at the time, by the belief (which many shared) that I’d always be single.

The other attitude, only  from a couple of people,  was something along the lines of this: “you could technically still have children, it’s not impossible, you’re just using it as an excuse to be sad and it’s offensive to people who are really desperate and can’t have children”. Yes, it’s not impossible but let me describe my situation. I’m 36, I have fertility problems (polycystic ovaries), I suffer from depression which may or may not be passed on to children but if I became pregnant I’d have to stop taking the medication which is the only thing that has successfully treated my chronic and severe insomnia. I’d also be extremely high risk for postnatal depression. I have a chronic illness which causes extreme fatigue and exhaustion. I’m on benefits because I’m not well enough to work (even under the government’s new very harsh work capability assessment). I’m single.

Yes, if I “really wanted to”  I could have fertility treatment, I could “manage” without medication and survive the sleep deprivation and inevitable effects on my health during pregnancy, I could be treated for post natal depression, I’d get benefits and carers. I could get a sperm donor! It’s also been insisted that I could adopt, I’m fairly sure that’s not true though.

I don’t judge or say that anyone who may be in similar situation is doing the wrong by pursuing motherhood. However, in MY exact situation I don’t consider it to be an option and I think I make a good case for that but just because it’s technically my choice, doesn’t make it easy to live with my reality. I’ve been told if I really wanted it I’d try everything at all costs! Aside from the fact that I don’t have the energy and time to invest in such a massive battle, what about the costs to the child? It would be loved but there is so much potential for my situation and health to cause harm and distress. I just can’t be that selfish, a good mother should do the very best she can for her children, and the best I can do is to not have them.

I reserve the right to feel pangs of regret and sadness every now and then and to continue signing cards from me and the cat.

At least you made it through it

“At least you made it through it”

What situation do you think this comment is appropriate for?  A job interview? A dentists appointment? I think it suggests some kind of unpleasant but necessary event.

This was said to me about my birthday. It raises 2 issues with me.

First of all though, my facebook friends reading this will have noticed I bang on about my birthday a LOT. The reason for this is that I think your birthday is the one day of the year when you’re allowed to be a bit of a diva and do (health permitting) what you’d like to do with your friends and be made a bit of a fuss of. I’m well aware that some people don’t like to celebrate their birthdays and that’s their choice and I don’t see why it’s helpful to say that to someone who does like to but can’t because no one will/can come. 

My birthdays have a bit of a history of shitty things happening I’m not saying there haven’t been some good ones but since being single (6 years) after being in a long term relationship that really damaged my confidence and self image they have been pretty shit. People like to tell me my expectations are too high. I want to get dressed up, go out with people who actually want to be there to a place of my choosing and have people act like it’s a celebration instead of watching the clock or texting their other half constantly. Exactly why is that unreasonable? The birthday I “made it through” was shit, I was too ill to go but I got bullied into it, I cried in the toilets for 20 minutes and no one even noticed I was gone. Then when I tried to rearrange it at a later date to go to the place I actually wanted to originally, the friend who promised me he’d come no matter what blanked me and the others didn’t want to as they’d already attended my birthday. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking I’m focusing on the negatives and not counting my blessings. All I have to say is that the reality is that I have been let down, insulted and had a shit time on my birthday, not because of my “negative attitude” but because of unpleasant and upsetting happenings. 

I’ve been criticized for chopping and changing plans and told just to choose a date and a venue and stick to it. The problem is people only see one side of it, they don’t see the invited guests saying “I won’t come if you’re going there”, “a different date would suit me better” so I change it around and then still get a no-rsvp so I give up and cancel because no one is actually willing to turn up to the same date and place. I’ve even been criticized for making such a big deal of it because it makes my friends feel guilty so I had to stop inviting people I knew it wouldn’t be straightforward for and I’ve now reached the point where there’s no one left to ask . There has to be at least 2 people coming because the memory of being told (on my birthday) that things are “no fun” with just me still affects me deeply. Year after year my birthday demonstrates to me that I have failed to improve my social situation. 

I have lots of friends on facebook and I in no way want to belittle their support and kindness towards me but the reality is, I am not part of anyone’s social circle, in real life or online. The reality is, that when I leave facebook in a couple of months time I will be very much alone. It may seem odd for a lonely person to choose this but even though counselling is helping, I can’t keep exposing myself to all the things that try to drag me down.

Right now I feel incredibly depressed, I cannot see any way I can improve my situation, I don’t have access to new people and even when I do I don’t become part of their lives, they have their friends and their families, there is no use or space for me. I know how lucky I am to have the health that I do have, and to be able to go out but every time I want to do something or go somewhere that isn’t appropriate to go alone it grinds me down a little bit more. I’m 36 years old and physically able, I shouldn’t have “go bowling” on my bucket list, should I? It feels incredibly painful to be missing out on life because never managed to integrate into a social circle, it seems to me a very good indicator that I am lacking in some way. I want to a chance to be young before I’m old and my personality seems to be screwing up any chances of that.

I wish people would believe that I’ve actually had negative experiences and not that I’m just being negative about them. I live my life, I’m the only person that sees 100% of everything that happens to me yet people will still continue to tell me I’ve got it all wrong. Facebook doesn’t reflect reality, I’m told this all the time in the belief that I’m comparing my life to how other’s seem to be, I’m not, I’m comparing my reality with what I think are quite normal and healthy desires. 

I said the comment raises 2 issues and the second was this: As I’m so open about my negative thoughts and feelings about things, I find that people often confide in me when they’re feeling bad about something because they know I won’t make them feel worse of try to force them to say they feel better than they do. So please, if you’ve got this far, let the people you love know that it’s OK to feel negative emotions sometimes and give them a safe place to express them. My personal experiences is that if something has made me feel bad, it doubles the upset when I’m forced to pretend otherwise or when I’m told that I’m simply being negative. Lets stop stigmatizing unhappiness, especially for those who are chronically ill and have good reason to feel unhappy sometimes. Wallowing should not be encouraged, but everyone has the right to feel unhappy every now and then.without being criticized or guilted for it. 

 

 

 

I have a huge list of blog fodder, I’m oh so opinionated and I often see things in a different way to others. It may or may not help people to share them, sometimes I hope and strive to avoid being judgmental except towards people who willfully knowingly harm others, I’m ALWAYS better than that.

I’m currently having issues with my heart, maybe just ME or medication side effects flaring up. Hopefully nothing serious and soon gone but stressy emotive subjects are best avoided because my pulse rate is already ridiculously high!

SO with that in mind, I’m going to simply introduce another blog I’m starting: Confessions of a Craft Tart

http://confessionsofacrafttart.wordpress.com/

Warning, may contain glitter!

 

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Facebook has become a bad environment for me. I can’t even post to my own profile without feeling anxious. I’ve had some bad experiences, lost/strained friendships, some down to well intentions and misunderstandings with good people and some down to deliberate spite from not very nice people. I do make myself a target and because I’ve been so open with my insecurities and issues it’s invited a lot of comment on and interpretation of my behaviour, which though well meaning, is not good for someone who is already incredibly self conscious and worse still my positive acts have been dismissed as a symptom of my  problems.

Then on top of that there is the constant stream of news stories, social injustice, murder, rape, child abuse, animal cruelty. I feel so world weary.

I’m feeling extremely depressed right now, I can’t even put my finger on why and I’m dealing with some difficult stuff. I’m waking every morning in a state of panic, it’s a struggle to leave the house, I can’t motivate myself, tears are constantly near, I feel old and tired. I’m really sensitive to other people’s moods, I can’t talk to the friends who are contacting me and I definitely can’t initiate any contact with others.

I hate my birthday, not in the way that people normally hate birthdays. I’d love to be made a fuss of and to feel special and important but mostly my birthdays are a reminder of sad times, being ignored, left out, forgotten. I tried to turn this year into something positive, a facebook event, to encourage my friends and acquaintances to treat themselves and a request that people who would be sending me a card/gift to make a small (cost of a card and stamp) donation to charity. I’ve had it suggested that I do things to get attention and to make people think I’m nice, to show off and get glory and feel popular and those words are hurting me now as I wonder how many people think I’ve done the above for those reasons. The whole thing is making me sick with anxiety.

I’m still really hopeful that my counselling will help me live a calmer life and spend less time hating myself just for being me but right now this minute, I’m not sure I really want to be part of this world.