It makes me giggle every time I think that Valentine’s Day turned into an acronym is VD, I know that is utterly immature but it seems funny given the context of what today means. A day for love and romance and in a lot of cases, sex. Without protection, VD (Venereal Disease) is a very real threat so hoping that people are being safe on this day of days. To the actual point of today though, it’s lovely that there’s a specific day of the year for people to be extra sweet and romantic with their partners and cynical as it may sound, I feel like that should be the case every day. I am definitely an old romantic at heart though and approach every day like it’s the last or Valentine’s Day in terms of love and affection. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to have a totally soppy partner who effusively gushes compliments and sweet nothings. This is probably why I have been dumped a lot in life!

I think when you suffer from anxiety, these kinds of holidays can add undue pressure to people who are in relationships and also amp up depression (as well as the anxiety) in people who are single when it spins around. The go-to thoughts are along the lines of “Why am I single?”, “Am I not good enough for anyone?” and “Will I be alone forever?” etc. So, if you are single today, use Valentine’s to be extra special to yourself. Show yourself extra love and care. Have a lovely hot bubble bath, treat yourself to a gift, eat chocolates, binge on your favourite show. Whatever it is you choose to do for you, just choose to do it. Make yourself the number one and then you don’t have to worry about someone else doing it for you and it’s highly likely that if you can love yourself more, someone else could start to do so too. Not that it’s the point of doing so though as self-care and self-love are hugely important to those of us suffering with mental health issues every single day of life.

For those of you all in relationships currently, I wish you a wonderful day and hope you are spoiled in the way you would like to be. Whether that be physically, romantically, lovingly or with gifts. We all deserve some love, from others and/or from ourselves. Have a fantastic day, wonderful evening and treasure the ones you care about and love. Sending out love to all of you.

Wintry Day

Slowly drifting from the sky

Now the white stuff starts to lie

On the ground, the roads and trees

When night falls, all will freeze

Frosty mornings chill the air

All around, snow’s everywhere

Long and dark, the winter’s night

Like my soul, Earth longs for light

Time to Talk Day

A big thank you to Liz for drawing my attention to this today. It’s Time to Talk Day and I would encourage everyone who is currently suffering, to do this. The best thing you can do is open up, let someone in a little and let some of what’s hurting you out. It’s not a miracle cure to your ills/anxiety/depression but it helps. A problem shared is often a problem halved and it lightens your load simultaneously. If I hadn’t spoken so much about my feelings, thoughts, anxieties etc then I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post. My blog has been a massive help and has given me a platform for sharing what eats me up and makes me feel my worst. While it may not make for the most riveting reading for my followers, a lot of people have been very supportive and lovely and I’ve made some genuine friends from this site.

So, please use whichever means suit you best. Whether you will call someone, speak to them, use a mental health charity or a suicide prevention line – make the call or speak the words. It’s life-saving for many people and often nobody has any clue exactly what you are going through. It’s especially tough for men to open up sometimes due to stigma and such but we need to talk, fellas. It doesn’t weaken you or make you a failure, burden or disappointment. These are all things I have labelled myself and I have been fortunate enough to have supportive people show me that I am none of those things. I am unwell, this is an illness and it’s a battle I face every single day of life. I imagine many of the readers of this post are doing the exact same thing.

I am always here for any of you as some of you have been for me. If you need me, comment or mail me or whatever – I am always happy to help or listen. It’s so important. Sending love to you all and hoping on a day of talking, you are taking advantage of the help available to you and opening your heart to receive some love from others and, most importantly, from yourself.

If you are, like me, in the UK, you can reach the Samaritans on 116 123 or email them at jo@samaritans.org

One of the other services I have used is called the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and their helpline for men is 0800 58 58 58

Thank you!

I just wanted to quickly post this to show my gratitude. I can’t believe I’ve reached such a milestone and I am so grateful to you all for reading my posts, supporting me and taking good care of me. I have been lucky to become acquainted with so many amazing people here.

So, thank you all. Here’s to another 500, hopefully!

Tipping Point

After what has been a surprisingly calm (still punctuated by brief anxious periods) week or so, I find myself teetering on the edge of the abyss again. I have absolutely no idea where this has come from either. I have the feeling of anxiety in my stomach and feels like it’s almost happening physically before it really attacks me mentally, if that makes any sense. Almost like it’s subconscious or my body is trying to burst into fight or flight in anticipation of a bit of a mental meltdown. My legs have been ridiculously restless so far today and I feel like my whole body hurts like it’s been tense for hours and hours on end. I didn’t sleep well after staying up to watch my team lose the Superbowl then felt too wound up to rest when I did go to bed.

I imagine the symptoms could just be from a touch of exhaustion but I feel like there’s something stinging the very back of my brain. Do you know that feeling you get in the back of your throat when a common cold is lurking within you? I get that kind of feeling for my anxiety, it’s right in the background and is just noticeable enough for me to sense the oncoming onslaught. I really hope that I’m wrong and I just need more rest but it definitely feels like I’m preparing myself for something or other. Whether that’s the anxiety expecting something horrible to happen, as it always does when it flares. Or if it’s just me expecting the anxiety and the resulting ruminations and fear. Either way, it’ll presumably all become clear before too much longer. I feel like I’m a slight nudge away from a very long fall after something of a grace period.

So, I find myself back here and writing about it. I really want to branch out and write about some other topics or maybe even just publish some creative writing or poetry but I always come back to making a journal of the anxiety saga I am living out. I use the word saga as it now feels like forever that I’ve been feeling this way and, in fairness, it has been a battle I’ve been waging against my mind for over 30 years now. It’s times like these when I realise that this has been a part of almost all of my life and makes me resent the people that contributed to me having such anguish, fear and undying feelings of wanting to run away/escape. I can’t wait to see my son tonight, it’s only been about 24 hours since I last saw him but I need to see his beautiful face and hear his wee voice. I’ve already welled up just writing this so I clearly miss him and if I am honest, I am desperate to be hugged today. I need that reassurance and security. If that makes me needy, then so be it.

Three Wishes – My Answers

I posted a couple of days ago, posing the question “What would you wish for, if granted three wishes?”. This is a follow-up to share what my wishes would be. There were a few replies so I’m very grateful and it’s beautiful to see a lot of selflessness in the wishes shared. It’s also interesting to see that a few people would wish away their pain or the equivalent thereof as I would be inclined to do the same. I’ve thought long and hard about this and finally come to a conclusion on my three wishes. I will tell you what they are and go on to explain why I chose each one.

1st Wish: I would wish away my anxiety and depression. This is a bit of a selfish opener from me but it would be the top of my list just now if I’m being truly honest with myself. The amount of time I have spent being anxious, scared and ruminating over almost 38 years of life is obviously immeasurable but fairly vast. I’ve been hyper-sensitive since my childhood on account of my biological father being an abusive drunk and then being bullied really badly for years when he finally abandoned us. As self-centred as it is, I would not take away my past in any way, I would purely only take away the mental health scars and issues left by such events. I wouldn’t want anything else to change because it makes me who I am but I wish I could have lived a life without these things either wiping me out or lurking in the background, making me wonder when they’ll decide to jump out on me.

2nd Wish: I would wish for health and happiness for all of my friends and family. This is a little bit of a selfish and non-selfish wish this one. It’s selfish in the way that I am only wishing for health and happiness for people I know. While I want all this for everyone in their own lives, I specifically want it for my loved ones as they are the people closest to me and I would see them benefit from this. We all go through challenges in life and I think some of my family and friends appear to have been through more than most. That’s easy for me to say as you never really know what others go through but I just want the best lives for those around me. They’re the people that have supported me, loved me, cared for me and been there through all the many ups and downs. I feel like this is the best thing I could wish for in return for all of these things they’ve done. Health and happiness is more important than money or possessions, easily.

3rd Wish: I would wish for the entire world to drop ancient grudges, prejudices and hatred towards each other. This one is a bit of a no-brainer and also sounds like a bit of a corny wish if I am honest. I can imagine it sounding a bit like a Miss World contestant wishing for world peace but I don’t actually care. Carl Sagan, amongst others, made mention of how small our planet actually is and the important thing to remember is that we’re all from this world and we’re all made up of the very same things the planet is too. We should take care of ourselves and our world and work together to make sure it’s a place for our species to survive in for as long as is allowed by the cosmos. I realise that one day, the decision to survive will be taken out of our hands (by natural selection) but while we have a choice, the choice should be to work together in everything. Help your fellow human, spread “wealth” so that others may live a little easier and some less largely, be kind to everyone. We all go through so many difficult things in life and if we all pulled together, every impact would be softened in one way or another. Unfortunately, it seems like human nature to compete and aim to be the best on some level or another so I can’t see it happening organically. Maybe one day, the threat of impending extinction could change that but I don’t imagine anything else being a spark for this type of metamorphosis of approach.

So, there we have it. Three wishes for three very different reasons. Thank you to those who responded and to anyone who fancies responding after reading this, please feel free. I am always interested to see what people would wish for and I expect more selfless answers.

Three Wishes – A Question

I want to pose this as a question to anyone reading this, please answer in the comments – What would you wish for if you were given three wishes? I know it sounds a bit corny as it’s a fairy-tale kind of thing but when you really think about it, how would you choose what to wish for? I’ve been obsessing over this for hours today and I’m still struggling for a finalised three questions. Please leave your answer in the comments as I’m keen to see what people would ask for. I asked some of my friends and the answers were very different in some cases.

I won’t do any more leading with this, just feel free to tell me yours. Once I’ve had a few responses, I will post my final three as a follow-up. Be thoughtful and, most importantly, be completely honest!