Easier said than done for some – right?! But three of the wisest words ever uttered. I have already seen a lot said and published about Mental Health Awareness week (15th – 22nd May) and the focus on Anxiety.
There is someone I work with regularly who seems to be afflicted by anxiety – to the point when I start to wonder if they are enjoying anything about work, or life outside of work. It seems to me it is making them ill. We have had numerous conversations recently and I think I am seeing some improvements. When it comes to work – I think the person is seeing that the volume of work does not change if we become more anxious and the anxiety does not help us become more effective or help us gain satisfaction from work. In addition my colleague has started to do more to increase their joy in their spare time. That is good.
How about you? What do you do to care for your mental health and to deal with anxiety?
I am gazing up at you and feeling like I desperately need to talk to a friend who knows me inside and out. I need a friend who can see what is going on in this heart of mine when I cannot find the words. I need a friend who will listen and understand and empathize. I need a friend who knows this pain and has words of comfort and wise advise to offer.
I am feeling so very small, and a little lost. But I know you are more magnificent than all the works of your hand. In all these years, this heart of mine has gone on beating, and I am amazed that I breathe in and out without thinking. I am in awe of countless miracles around me.
Things are changing around me at a pace that frightens me. I suddenly am unsure which step to take next. I am consumed with the heartbreaks of those I love. There are sinister characters that lurk on the edge of my life, using their vicious little fingers to spread slander and malicious gossip about me….again….for no other reason that I am going to marry a very fine man. They don’t like it. They don’t know me, but they want to hurt me.
I cling to him, for he is my greatest treasure. Our story is one that fills me with faith and hope, for I have already voyaged stormy seas and seen my timbers shipwrecked, and yet you rescued and restored me, and made sure I was sea-worthy once more. But the fear is still there, perhaps heightened by the memories of that darkness.
That feeling that I am just a tiny insignificant pebble, and yet, you in all your majesty, lower yourself down to my level to hear my heartache. You are more wonderful than all the mountains and forests and oceans and all of the vast heavens above. You take note of all the suffering of those who long for goodness to fill this earth. You hold their prayers as deeply precious.
Time is passing, the grains are falling away, the pages are turning, the scenes are racing by….just a little while longer….and these fears will have passed, these fears will be no more.
I have at lease twenty things pressing on my mind right now, all swimming around and jostling for attention. I have made a start to compiling a thorough guide to all the little tasks I have ended up doing at work….because it seems like a good idea. I am still awaiting the “verdict” in relation to the job interview I mentioned last week. I have friends who are keeping my mind busy – one with an exciting new project, one who is very very ill and starts palliative chemotherapy today, one who has just given in her notice to her job, one who had a back injury over the weekend and is struggling to walk….
…and the list goes on.
Jack has been instigating some serious talks over the past few weeks. Some about our future, the wedding, the decisions ahead of us, and some discussions about right now. He has been very candid about the what will happen if I am accepted as a full time volunteer again when we marry: DESK JOB.
I spent so many years on site, in the thick of the action, in the midst of our wonderful volunteers….I don’t really want to be lumped with a desk job. But he reminded me that we do not pick our assignments.
All sorts is swimming around my head. I think I am going to look at dresses, pictures of lovely dresses, for some reason that does help to distract my mind from all sorts of pressing concerns.
I am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.
Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.
When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.
Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses
But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:
But it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.
I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.
As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.
I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.
But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.
Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.
Just a little reminder that I am still republishing older posts most days. I know it can be confusing. But most of my posts recently are about events back in 2018/2019.
I am jiggered! Do you know what that means? If you are a northerner, I expect you understand, but if not, it means I am tired out. Wiped out, done in, exhausted! I have a genuine reason! I have worked long long hours every day from Wednesday until now…and my body is busy. Busy in a way I cannot comprehend, but all sorts must be happening with little apricot.
Work has been fairly busy, especially Friday. I got a bit worked up about something on Friday afternoon. The past basically. Everything that happened with Jack. It upset me – a lot. I had a terrible night on Friday, I had a real sharp pain that felt “unearthly”! It kept me awake which was frustrating because I had to be up early to work on Saturday.
All is good now…and I should be looking forward to a rest day…HOWEVER (a “however” in capitals is very foreboding)…I have a hospital appointment tomorrow, including another CT scan. Always wanting to be told I have the all clear…but I have so recently had head problems…I am fearing it might be news I don’t want to hear.
But…what is the point of worrying?!!! It is not going to help anything. So…instead, I shall settle down and hope for a good night’s sleep instead. Good idea hey! I am going to publish this post before I fall asleep here at my desk.
Oh and Goldfinch sent me lovely messages, which still cheer me up more than anybody and anything gracing my life.
These past few weeks, there has been a lot more fog than I remember for a long time. Freezing fog. I have arrived at work shivery and soaking wet.
I know the way to work like the back of my hand. It is interesting to me, because when it is foggy, I have only been able to see around three or four metres ahead of me. Then there is a thick white grey cloud that obscures everything ahead. But I don’t worry, because I know the way. I know the route. I have been here before, many times. I am not afraid.
When you sense a fog descending in your life, don’t despair. You can do this. Keep doing what you know you need to do, one step at a time. I know from my own experience that it can be frightening – to be stuck in a life fog. To not see the way out, to not see the route ahead can be scary. But take the few steps right in front of you.
The fog will lift.
Soon the choice that all humans will have to make will be as clear as daylight.
Have you ever had to work in retail? I always knew that one of the biggest challenges for retailers is shoplifting.
I know of a recent incident where teenage girls were shoplifting herbal supplements (health conscious shoplifters?) and when a member of staff from a distance made it clear they were observing and offered the girls a shopping basket the result was appalling behavior. Swearing, spitting, the teenagers accusing the member of staff being racist (even though the member of staff was black), and then to leave things on a sweet note, one of the teenagers decided it was time to throw the fizzy drink she had been sipping all over the two member of staff who were now present.
Charming young ladies, I am sure they must be the pride and joy of their families!
I was watching the BBC Breakfast News this morning while listening to the sound of the pouring rain outside. I saw something shocking. They had a report on retailers facing an increase in abusive behaviour from shoppers, particularly since the start of the…you know. The report was not focused on shoplifting at all, it was more to do with incidents of aggression that retailers seen a significant increase in this year.
They played a video, and I must warn you, it is quite disturbing to watch. Well, it shook me up.
Apparently the store assistants had reminded the customer of social distancing requirements. I imagine that like every other shop they would have had visual aids displayed to bring this to the attention of shoppers. (Most people have been careful and considerate about social distancing requirements, but others have been casual or just careless about the clear instructions we have been asked to follow.)
Frustration, prolonged stress and anxiety – a lot of people have been shaken up by the events of 2020. I think some people are like a bottle of fizzy pop…ready to explode. I think we are going to see more explosive behaviour over future weeks and months.
My nearest neighbour is obviously enjoying the pleasant spring weather we are having.
I see him more and more. Now that the evenings are lighter. he greets me whenever I come home.
Have you noticed more birdsong than normal? I don’t know whether the birds are singing more than they usually do, or whether I can hear them more clearly because there is so much less traffic on the road. Birdsong is one of the sounds I relish each day.
It reminds me of a verse I embedded on my heart when I made the decision to reject full-time work and a university education. I always wondered how I would be able to afford to be a volunteer and live on a part-time wage.
Stop being anxious about your lives as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not life mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? – Matt 6:25,26
For five years I did not earn any wages at all. I had basic accommodation and meals. I did not miss any of the things money can buy. There were wonderful wonderful things in life. Wonderful people. Wonderful experiences.
Aaaaah – sigh! I wish I could write more, but I am sleepy after a long day at work. Goodnight. Remember to listen out for the birdsong tomorrow.
I am heading to bed to make sure I have enough rest before another crazy day at work tomorrow.
I know there is a lot of anxiety and stress around, but please try to make sure you rest and sleep sufficiently. Sending love to my entire human family. We are all in this together. We want you to get through this time. Good night for now. May your slumber give you strength!