I’ve been okay most of my life and that is no longer okay with me.

20935031_1764905090475674_5873656598480374990_o
Originally posted on That Awkward Conversation – https://www.thatawkwardconversation.com/new-blog/2017/8/20/ive-been-okay-most-of-my-life-and-that-is-no-longer-okay-with-me 

Being someone that has mental health issues and an illness can be quite disparaging to say the least. Society teaches us that we are to put up our guards and create this façade of ‘okay’. Since when did okay become alright and acceptable? Okay is bland and boring and doesn’t really say anything. Okay does not cut the mustard. If you were to ask someone how they are going and they respond with ‘okay’, you have wasted your question. It can be such a nothing word. And this nothing word has been a personal favourite of mine for a long time. My stress levels were okay. I had convinced myself that my eating habits or lack thereof were okay. I was only drinking and smoking socially and that was okay. I was making excuses for sh*tty relationships and sh*tty people but again, that was okay, because they made me feel okay. Cue alarm bells ringing! This was not okay and something had to be done and it was done and then suddenly just feeling okay didn’t mean anything to me anymore. This mundane four letter word almost became like every other four letter word; a ‘swear word’ and one I tried to not use too often. Except the word sh*t. I think that word is fab FYI!

Much like anyone else who also has anxiety, depression or any of the other forms of mental illness, you become accustomed to this feeling of nothingness and emptiness. It becomes a sort of security blanket. You are wrapped up so tightly by it you almost feel at any given moment it could just become too tight and swallow you up whole. For a brief moment this might not even feel like such a bad idea. You might go to bed wishing to not wake up, but you do the next day and so the cycle continues. For as long as it needs to and as long as you can push through with being just ‘okay’. I am in no way saying this is what it is like for everyone but this is me. Brutally honestly, me. For me anyway, it’s like this crazy rollercoaster it has its ups and its downs. You will go through a period were it’ll throw you upside down and you feel like you are going to puke and your eyeballs are going to fall out of your head. Then there will be a smooth ride, a brief transition where you feel as though everything is okay. But if high school science taught me anything, what goes up must come down. So you learn to cope. Your coping mechanism could be anything. Mine? My coping mechanism to dealing with losing grip on reality/everything is to turn to my best friend or a brief freak-out or what is now commonly dubbed the sh*t-fit. We might sh*t-fit with each other at least one if not twice a week. Yes, sometimes it isn’t for anything health related. It might be men related or sex related which I guess is men related too. It could be university related (in my case HIGHLY linked to mental health), gym related, family related etc. the list really is endless. This weekly catch up with him, to me, is far more therapeutic than anything else.

One thing that people say to do is take it day by day. Which is so true and something you can only do when you are ready. You can cry, sing, laugh, or snort your way through your story and telling it in whatever which way suits you. But be warned; people are impatient little things sometimes. When someone knows something is wrong they want to fix it. They want to fix you and make you feel like you’ve just ingested a big bowl of chicken soup. It is the hero complex and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t feel that way too. But be warned, there is NOTHING worse than someone trying to get something out of you BEFORE you are ready to tell them. I constantly have had people berating me, if not begging to be told what is wrong. The problem? Half the time, hell definitely more than half the time I don’t even know what is wrong. Why am I crying? No clue. Why am I suddenly the worlds’ most-laziest person (when I am usually exercising for over an hour a day) and eating my body weight in chocolate (when I already know I have a diary intolerance)? Hmm, not too sure on that one either. All I know is the ‘label’ of triggers is bullsh*t. They differ from person to person and boy oh boy do they differ within me too. They differ definitely weekly, if not almost daily. My anxiety stems from stress, I know this. Hell I am pretty sure even my dog knows it. But at least I know the trigger. But what does my stress manifest from? HA! It would be easier to write what it doesn’t come from. Originally my anxiety was triggered by my un-wavering and self-destructive relationship I had with my body perception and my sh*tty relationship with food. My body dysmorphia is still something to this day that gets me anxious and stresses me out but I know I don’t want to make myself sick again. I don’t want to be self-destructive because I honestly don’t think I would be able to handle it again the second time round. I know I am fit(-ish), healthy and can indulge in ‘naughty’ foods every now and then. I don’t punish myself for eating chocolate or having a drink when my day has sucked. I know that when I start stressing out and I am no longer just okay that sh*t is about to well and truly hit the fan.

Whenever I think of mental health of both my own and of others I always revert back to the movie ‘The Sweetest Thing’ – great film. If you haven’t seen it, Netflix it. Right. Now. In the film there is a part were Cameron Diaz says something which she immediately backs up with “Just kidding” or “I’m joking”, to which Christina Applegate’s characters call BS on. “People only say just kidding so they can say what they are feeling without being judged”. This is something that always stuck with me from that film (as well as that cool lil jingle in the Chinese restaurant). This is also something I strive to no longer do too. For so long, I would “crack jokes” about how I was feeling and then when I got any sort of reaction and gauged someone cared I would quickly whip out “just kidding” to automatically make myself feel indestructible again. Because no-one other than myself should know I was feeling like sh*t. It was this societal perception that I had become so brain-washed by that saw little ol’ Ez at 16 years of age see that I had to be embarrassed. Because that is what society teaches us right? WRONG! Changing this mindset was what led to me to where I am now. Not physically; as I am currently sitting on the bus on the way home from University. But more so in general. I am no longer working a sh*tty job that paid well but made me feel the size of a peanut (which is hard when you are nearly 6ft tall!). I am no longer tolerating and giving excuses to ‘okay’ things. I’m interested in what my friends and family are doing; not that I wasn’t before but now I am actually listening properly. Sorry mum. I am no longer letting things upset me or allowing myself to be treated like trash. If I had a problem with something or someone, I say it because I am not okay with it.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. And boy oh boy am I lucky that I am a sarcastic b*tch in that case. For me, my entire life is one massive comedy. I use humour like it is my first language and swearing as my second, closely followed by English as my third (Apologies to my grandparents; I am a lady I swear #punny). Right now, I’m good. I had a horrendous two weeks, I cried, I laughed, I had large bursts of rage, I got made, I broke sh*t, I drank, I smoked (BAD!), I cried some more. But the one thing I did? I survived. I made it. The past two weeks sucked but I am here and I am going to make the next fortnight my b*tch. I have a plan. I have everything set out. I know what I have to do. I am just going to do it. And you can too x

 

Time to talk about everybody’s favourite ‘A-word’

I don’t hate anybody or any things really (rarely), but this, woah he’s a real b*tch or see you next Tuesday. I hate it.

Anxiety is absolute bullsh*t.

It is physically draining and can hit you like a tonne of bricks or can smash into you quicker than dropping your iphone on your face lying down. It affects everyone differently too. Of course being the loving bugger it is, it doesn’t discriminate. EVERYONE and ANYONE can have anxiety, or be anxious at some stage. Seriously, everyone. The only difference is it is more than often not spoken about. You can be the happiest and most outgoing person in the room but the split-second anxiety rears its ugly head you can be sent into a downward spiral.

Let me break it down for you in more layman’s terms. It’s like when you wake up and you’re really hungover or groggy and you go down to Coles looking less than fresh and it is GUARANTEED that you are going to run into someone looking like a hot mess. You. Cannot. Avoid. It. Then boom, of course, it happens. You know it’ll happen even when you are on a glowing post-orgasm high, you know it’ll rear it’s big ol’ ugly head whenever and wherever it feels like it.

So here’s lil old me minding my own business, attempting as best as I can to keep on top of things – obviously failing miserably but still singing Yonce’s ballad ‘Survivor’. Yes, I know that was Destiny’s Child, but I can’t think of the others’ names; so therefore invalid? Then NEKMINIT it appears. It constantly maintains eye contact with you and tries to hold you in conversation when all you want to do is retreat to your bed (with your McDonald’s) and hide from the world. It isn’t to be confused with being similar to when a woman gets her aunty flow once a month (lucky bastards), there isn’t a set date or time or even an event that triggers it. It can legit be the smallest most insignificant thing that can trigger it. So that’s been me for the last three months on an anxiety bender. Hasn’t been as fun as any other bender I’ve been on before but boy oh boy has the crashing and burning been just as horrific.

The worse thing is it doesn’t discriminate – age, gender, profession, religion – you name it, you can be affected. I have friends, good friends, almost other limbs that have anxiety issues yet until they told me, I had NO idea.  I know of children who have anxiety issues and it truly breaks my heart. To have a child tell you, they are feeling so short of breath whilst being unable to explain why, to not want to participate in sports or hang out with their friends and just want to sit in their rooms and cry, that, well that is truly gut-wrenching. Anxiety works in mysterious ways. It affects everyone differently. Some people cry. Some people have panic attacks. Some people can’t talk and practically turn mute. Some people get anxiety diarrhoea which can decide to show up whenever. Anxiety is pretty right? But it’s time that people, women, men, old, young, whether they are chronically stressed from work or stupendously stressed from being at home with their kids, dogs, or ferrets, etc. to talk about it. Don’t hide it. Don’t hide from it and definitely don’t suffer from it. I’m saying wear an ‘A’ on your shirt as a tell-tale signifier because one it would be confusing and two, well, we all know the story of the Scarlet A, or ‘Easy A’ for the kids in the room. #awkward

Whether it’s talking to a friend over a wine, cuddling your dog and divulging everything or simply speaking to a counsellor, you are not alone. You never will be alone. You aren’t pathetic. You’re strong and being told how to feel when you don’t even know how you feel yourself, is a joke and they can eat one. It’s 2017, not 1817. People need to be able to talk about their feelings. It doesn’t make you any less of a person nor does it diminish you. Nor does it make you any less of yourself. Being anxious, having anxiety, having an attack doesn’t define you. It f*cking sucks but you come out on top. You come out as a better person. You don’t let it break you. You kick it’s arse.

I am pleased, and almost relieved to see how much is being done for mental illness, mental health awareness and overall general health and wellbeing for people. These days people do talk about mental health, however the hardest thing that still remains is to admit it to yourself, and then to share this new-found truth with others. You need to know you are safe and loved and you can talk about things, your life, your stresses and your daily issues that are encountered. It is definitely okay to vent every now and then. It’s more than okay to need to let everything out so you don’t rage unexpectedly one day out of the blue. Every single person is human and isn’t expected to be a robot all of the time.

So right now, it’s a Tuesday afternoon and I’m watching Netflix and having a cider. You know why? Because it’s been a sh*t week. Yeah it’s only Tuesday, I know; but I deserve it. Did I set myself a ‘no drinking during the week’ ban? Yeah I did. Am I going to listen to it tonight? No way. Because I deserve this god damn drink. And I will definitely deserve the second and third too.

So the big ‘A word’ hey? Bet you dirty buggers thought I was going to say something else; what, like abstinence…? You filthy animals. 


For the love of all things guacamole, If you or anyone you know needs to talk about anything, do it. And do it often. You’ll never know how much even a brief conversation can help someone.

 

Why is it so hard to take your own advice that you give out so freely to others?

I don’t know why but previously, during my early (single) years I was always the go-to for all advice on relationships. No idea why as it didn’t make any sense. Still doesn’t really. But everything from babies to fights to in-law problems, I knew it all. I could dish out advice quicker than they could tell me about their problems. I was the Buddha of relationships. Did my advice ever work? Probably not. Did they ever listen to me? Again, probably not. But my friends entrusted me with their problems and the goings-on and I was happy to oblige. Fast forward to now. Everything in my relationship turned to sh*t. And if it was a girlfriend going through this I would know exactly what to do, what to say, how to treat their ex-partner. I would be able to fix me. But when it’s your own advice, and you say it to yourself, you’re bloody Helen Keller 2.0. Blind and deaf to the entire thing.

Now, a little bit, ahem, older, maybe wiser, definitely more experienced and definitely more attune to the world around me, I am asked for opinion and advice on things regularly. The one thing that I wish I could solemnly do however, is give myself advice. And listen to it.

The best thing to do with pain, is wait. Sounds cliché AF but time really does heal all wounds. Whether it takes days, weeks, months or even years, it takes time. So you distract yourself. You might get a new hobby, or start reading again, or masturbate. You distract yourself so you don’t think about the pain that you’re feeling. You don’t want to spend time dwelling on the past, what happened or worse; what could’ve happened.

The weekends are the worst. Because even if you are trying to take a ‘break’ from alcohol aka becoming a drunk mess and crying in public; other people do not. Other people like to tell you their drunken feelings and opinions. A lot, and I mean A LOT of people will tell you that they never liked them, they always knew something was off about them or that they knew they weren’t right for you. Of course, unless these people are malicious a-holes, they are trying to be sincere and cheer you up. And of course, it doesn’t work, but I’m sure it helps them feel better to get it off their chest and to ‘help’ you.

satc-quote

Until now, I hadn’t realised how much of a hard bitch I was when it came to other people. I was so quick and found it so easy to say, “dump him”, “move on, you aren’t happy”, “he doesn’t deserve you. He is so batting,” or my old favourite, “you deserve and can do so much better.” Who the F am I to say what someone else deserves? My other favourite was always something along the lines of reminding them to be the bigger person and to ensure that they stay the ‘mature one’. Safe to say, today I have failed my biggest advice BS spiel.

I have been petty. I have deleted every trace of that person from my life – the photos on my laptop, reset my phone to factory settings, deleted every trace of them and their friends off every facet of social media I could find. And of course after this, I decided to go investigating, ahem, stalking. Stalking for any skerrick of hope that they are hurting as much as I am, for answers, for opinions, for information on what he was doing. Why? Absolutely no idea. Did it help? No. Did it make me cry? Of course it did. It was inevitable, it had to be done for peace of mind, and in some weird twisted way it was therapeutic. I knew it was wrong because I would NEVER admit to anyone I was doing it. But this is all part of fixing myself. Since alcohol doesn’t work – found that out the hard way – I found this to be quite soothing, comforting almost.

So now I’m helping myself. I am literally doing everything opposite of what I would tell someone else to do. I am not going to kick myself over what has happened though. The actions that took place sucked and definitely kicked me in the hypothetical gonads but I sure as sh*t can’t change anything and I am beginning to see that I wouldn’t want to. I wasn’t, and he definitely wasn’t happy and we hadn’t been for a very long time. So it’s both a blessing and a curse.  I am going to jump on the hobbies bandwagon, take up tinder full-time, maybe dabble in knitting, smash through another three different seasons of some mindless TV shows and who knows, maybe take up bikram yoga? I’m not too sure yet. Maybe ask me next week what I end up doing.

Peace out, love recently retired advice girl x