Tuesday, 13 October 2015

the ups and downs

Firstly I have to say, thank you so much for the comments and emails I received on my last post. It's always a little scary and intimidating to put that kind of stuff out into the world, but your words have meant a lot to me, so thank you. xox  I think perhaps one upside of this type of thing (apart from inadvertently losing three kilos in a week?!) is that you do discover how much people care, both out there in "blog land" and also in real life.  My friends have been great and even my boss left me the kindest voicemail yesterday, which caused me to instantly burst into tears when I listened to it.  My family is lovely as ever though to be honest I'm not sure they quite know how to handle it, but that's ok.  They are there for me and that is the main thing.

So my psychologist/counsellor has given me the week off work; a type of inability-to-cope-with-life-right-now leave, I suppose, on the condition that I get out of the apartment at least once per day (I'm not giving you a certificate if you're just going to wallow in bed, she said).  It has been a huge relief but I will say that the days are bloody long (um, it's only Tuesday morning here).  I did pretty well yesterday - drove out to Tamarama beach (for a weird sentimental reason which was a bad move, probably) to sit in the sun for awhile with my self-help book (hah!), journal and coffee (is it weird to sit on the beach with a coffee?).  Oddly for a Sydneysider (what with the beaches and all), I realised that I do not actually own a beach towel (how?), and so had to make-do with a picnic blanket, which made me feel really self-conscious until I realised honestly, nobody cares about you and your bloody picnic blanket, as if they are all sitting around saying "look at that fool with her picnic blanket", get over yourself!

Anyway, apart from the self-consciousness and sentimentality, the whole experience was actually pretty therapeutic while it lasted.  It was a perfect Spring day, and the sun was hot on my skin.  I dug my feet into the sand to feel the coolness underneath and watched the surfers catching waves before tumbling off their boards and disappearing into the water.  And I love those moments when all the waves happen to be building at the same time, so everything is quiet before they simultaneously crash onto the shore.

After sitting around for awhile, I did the coastal walk over to Bondi beach and back.  It's kind of weird, though, how you can be surrounded by people but still feel really isolated and alone.  On the drive home, the all too-familiar heaviness started working its way back into my chest and that is where it has stayed.  And now it is 11am on Tuesday morning and I am still in my pyjamas, trying to talk myself into going somewhere by way of distraction from my thoughts.

Far out.  How can you feel numb and awful at the same time?  I will say, though, that one of the books I am reading has been excellent (am highlighting it like mad) - Sophie Scott's Road Testing Happiness: How to be Happier (No Matter What).  It's really very readable, relatable, and practical, which is exactly what I was after, so that is at least something (positive thoughts).  Perhaps I should get dressed and take my self-help book out to a cafe? :)

PS.  Thanks for reading if you have gotten this far.  I just realised this is a kind of nothing post.  Here are some photos I took on my iPhone yesterday (am still too unmotivated to get the real camera out).

Sunday, 11 October 2015

truth time

You know how they (they) talk about the discrepancy between someone's online life and their actual life?  How people often just present the highlight reel online, so everything appears to be sweetness and light (or flowers and visits to the beach or whatever)?

Yeah, about that ...

Some time ago I became a little guarded about how much personal stuff I share on this blog.  Life was starting to get a bit intense and I didn't really want to write about it (nor did I know how), so I decided to stick with posting photos, which seemed like a relatively neutral way to keep the blog going rather than allowing it to fall into the Blog Abyss (not that it would matter if it fell into the Blog Abyss, I suppose ... ?).

Anyway, the truth of the matter is that I am not fine.  This year has been massive in terms of life changes, and everything has finally caught up with me.  I am suffering from crazy levels of anxiety, and have panic attacks on (at least) a daily basis (always interesting when they occur in front of others.  Today my poor mum saw me have one for the first time, and she kept saying talk to me and tell me what's wrong despite the fact that I couldn't breathe let alone speak).  At this point, I haven't been able to eat a proper meal in days, my apartment is a mess (highly irregular for my neat freak self), I am completely lacking in motivation and focus, and I have been unable to do my job properly for quite awhile now.  It's a pretty screwed up, miserable place to be and quite frankly, I have become kind of an unpleasant person to be around.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that it often takes hitting rock bottom to achieve clarity and the desire to take control of your circumstances and emotions rather than letting them control you, and I have finally arrived at this crappy point, albeit having done a lot of damage along the way.  And so, I am going to start to rebuild, and find ways in which to manage my anxiety and all the other negative emotions that have taken hold of my life as of late.  Today I even bought two self-help books out of sheer desperation (Roadtesting Happiness - How to be Happier (No Matter What) and Authentic Happiness), bloody hell!  I tell you, I felt super lame at the counter, it was like the quickest transaction ever before I practically ran out the door with my purchases.  Would you like a bag for those?  Uh, YES PLEASE, and preferably one that is not see through.

So anyway, I just thought I would share a little more about what is going on with me, and maybe mix it up a little with the blog content from time to time going forward (this is the current plan at any rate).  I do generally find that reading about the personal experiences of others in dealing with things like anxiety is enormously helpful, so maybe somebody out there can relate, too (?).

Aside from all that, I hope you are all having a lovely weekend :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

beside the seaside

Daylight savings kicked in over the weekend and I have yet to adjust, the result of which is that it is now past midnight and I am still relatively wide awake.  Sigh.  I am really going to struggle at work tomorrow!  Anyway, the weather has been so amazing these past few days - the heat has finally arrived, hooray! - and early yesterday evening I went for a bit of a wander around Bronte and Tamarama beaches.  It was so, so beautiful I actually almost cried (lame, I know); the waves crashing on the shore, the green and blue hues of the ocean contrasting against the pastel-coloured sky,  watching the sun set (though not literally, as I live on the east coast ;) and the stars come out ... it was impossible to not feel that life is actually pretty amazing (I think I need Ocean Therapy more often!).


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