By juck, Nov 21 2017 09:26PM

21/11/17 20.16

It’s a Tuesday evening and I have been working all day, it wasn’t just an average day but a management shift which has come with a few challenges along the way in terms of IT problems. I woke up late and was very reluctant to leave the sanctuary of sleep; I put on some of my favourite music and had to effectively drag myself out of bed, I was that late up today that I didn’t even shower, I fell into my clothes before having breakfast and heading out.

Work wasn’t extreme but was busy enough to keep me on my toes; I like being approached by others for help and I like the little problems that crop up along the way. It was nice because the main manager emailed me saying thank you and that she trusts me being in charge when all of the other managers are busy, this made me feel very good about myself and my abilities.

I have started doing “worry time” religiously every evening and am finding it very effective. I do my best to not worry about anything at all during the course of the day but allow myself 20 minutes with a notebook and a pen to worry a lot once every evening, I am a little surprised to find that I worry a lot over a lot of different things. Some of my worries are about how I am perceived, how I perceive myself and regular day to day interactions and problems, some of my worries are extremely far fetched.

The far fetched worries tend to knock on the door of my consciousness multiple times per day and if I am not careful I find myself at the beginning of a worry loop, they can be extremely sneaky. I have hit a stage today where I found myself wondering what to do with my brain and thoughts as I suddenly have a lot of free space and I am not used to having such clarity of mind. I find myself actively trying to find things to do now just to keep my mind occupied and am proud that I have just spent half an hour washing up and cleaning the kitchen and hallway. I am currently sat on my sofa reflecting and listening to some Jazz piano on Youtube in the background. When I am done here it will be time to post this to my website and go for a short walk around the block.

Last night I went to Leicester Time to Change and had a great time; I saw some friends and made a new friend. In fact I had such a good time that for a few hours all of my problems and stresses completely went out of the window and I found myself completely living in the moment for a few hours. I was a little loath to come home and on my journey the worry set in – I was worried that I still had a lot of things to do when I got home and in the end only managed to fit a few of these tasks in.

Today brought me back to reality and I am a little sad and a little worried about this; the therapy I have been doing “Community of Self” will be ending soon. It has been extremely beneficial and engaging, so much so that I have become committed to this art project as an ongoing therapeutic process which I can do at my leisure around work. I very much enjoy having a professional to talk to who doesn’t make me feel judged or weird and who is there to just support and help me. I am worried about loosing this support as fear I may slip back into worse obsessive behaviour resulting in loss of control. We only have a couple more sessions left which I aim to make the most of and I will be asking for a referral back to the Mental Health Facilitator, simply because I like having at least some form of support there. Even though I am not severely ill my problems impact on me enough to be at times distressing for me and I am conscious that I already lean on friends and family more than I should. I am actually thinking of decreasing the amount of video diaries I make as I am coming to learn how I am possibly using false openness as a coping strategy – I feel I am a lot more honest in my private worry time diary than I am in my video work.

Recently I have come to fully realise that I also have inferiority complex; I realised this years ago and then buried it again very quickly as I wasn’t ready to deal with it. I feel that I am a lot less successful than my siblings/wider family of similar age and can sometimes feel intimidated by those in better jobs than me. I especially feel intimidated by very good looking, successful men – I have even practically run away from them before if they have tried talking to me on a night out, at the moment I am getting sick to death of weirdos, druggies and unemployed men with no ambition. I am trying to up my standards but this is resulting in my trying to go for attractive, successful men, this is a source of internal conflict which won’t be helping this obsessive thinking.

At the same time I feel that my difficult past, mental health, looks, size, addiction and personality I am just not attractive to the men I would like in my life. I don’t love myself either which is also problematic, how am I supposed to expect someone to love me if I can’t even love myself? – I rarely even look in the mirror and tend to keep mirrors to a minimum in my house so I can avoid looking at myself. I simply feel below other people in most ways and struggle to really take in all of my positive points.

On top of this I would like to gain recognition as an artist; I would love to have my work in a permanent collection somewhere and would love to be published in a top art magazine - It saddens me to say that I want this so I can feel validated, I also want to prove those close to me wrong, some people in my life believed my degree and postgraduate studies of Fine Art were a waste of time. They have got me volunteering, internships and a local art studio space however no full time, creative job has ever come from this.

On top of the therapy I am also starting to study Philosophy which is opening my eyes a little more to my own behaviour and thinking. “Happy” by Derren Brown is definitely the most life changing thing I have ever read – I was always a little sceptical that reading a book could change someone’s life until I started reading this. At the moment I am about half way through and am honestly really enjoying the book, if anything it is bringing me clarity of mind and helping me to realise that I have been thinking in an unhealthy way for a very long time. At the moment I am trying to re-centre myself within myself, I am trying to learn to love myself and I am working on my mental health problems. I am trying to be content within myself no matter what and I am trying to accept the things that I can’t change and let them go.

I have upped my game with mindfulness and meditation practice and try to put them in place at least once a day. Mindfulness I do multiple times a day just to keep in touch with myself, it is particularly helpful when I am trying to stave off a very insistent worry loop – I tend to get these when my mind wanders at work or while walking to or from work and listening to music. I have started singing more (I am a terrible singer), for some reason it helps focus my mind and leaves me feeling a little happier and relaxed. Meditation practice is the last thing I do every night in bed and has actually improved my sleep a tremendous amount.

I also keep a little positive things book which I write in every evening; I dedicate 20 minutes to this (the same amount of time as worry time) and I pick through my day from the last time I wrote in the book until the present time writing in the book. Here I note all the positive emotions I have felt, positive interactions, nice things I have done for others or that people have done for me, my strong points that day and things that generally have lifted me. I have only been doing this rigorously for the last few days but during this time I have felt very calm and even tempered and very content within myself. During my day these positive things about my self spring to mind and I enjoy thinking about them. I am hoping that over time I will really learn to recognise and bring to mind my strong points and that I won’t feel less than other people. The positives diary is also a lovely thing for me to look at when my depression strikes (as it eventually will), I am hoping that by reading back over the diary I will gain some clarity of mind.

My other positive news is that I have gone a full 20 days without having a cigarette; whenever I feel I need one I remind myself of my recent cancer scare and it puts me off. I am generally quite good at quitting however I am not keen on the big, red itchy marks the patches leave on my arms – I guess this is a very small price to pay considering the huge health impacts that carrying on smoking will have on me. I tend to slip up quite badly when I have had a drink or when my depression and anxiety play up – I find myself reaching for the roll ups straight away, afterwards it takes me months to feel stable enough to want to have another go at quitting. I need to do it this time, no excuses.

As I spend roughly £30 on tobacco, papers and filters per week I have decided on a new project by way of reward; I am not trying to go about this in a materialistic way but I am really into having a CD collection and less into downloading music – for me it’s not about the actual ownership but I just love music and the lessons it teaches, I also love album artwork and like to know that my music will still be there if/when my computer breaks (I have a very old PC I call Frankenstein which my brother is continually fixing – he in fact keeps a selection of old parts put aside for me).

Rolling Stone magazine have released a list of the most influential 500 albums of all time; I have made it a personal mission to buy everything on the list gradually and want to start from the bottom and work my way to the top. The list seems very eclectic and covers a lot of artists that I have never heard of as well as some firm favourites. If I bought one album per week it would take just over 9 and a half years for me to complete this challenge – I am thinking of buying three albums per week however will need to allocate time to give each album my full consideration. I am actually thinking about taking up either sewing or knitting as something to do while listening – making art and drawing takes up a lot of my brain power and I would be concentrating so much that I wouldn’t fully be listening to the music, I am hoping that sewing something really easy would allow my brain to take in and appreciate this music. I feel I listen to a lot of the same music over and over and over again, it is time for me to start expanding my horizons. I am excited to discover some hidden gems and to try and educate myself a little; I don’t tend to watch an awful lot of television and music is preferable.

By juck, Nov 15 2017 11:05PM

15/11/17 21.27

This evening I am enjoying some quiet reflection time; I have had quite a nice day and am enjoying my enforced week off sick (Surgeon’s orders). I met a friend for brunch which was nice as I don’t see her very often. Afterwards I went to another friends’ house to help her with a little de-cluttering. To be perfectly honest I didn’t want to go however attended as a way of “paying it forward” – I have needed help with such things before and a couple of my friends assisted me in my time of need.

Although I hate housework and de-cluttering in some ways I felt it was a duty to the universe for me to go and try to help in a small way. I didn’t mean that in a pretentious way but my grasp of the concept of “paying it forward” (and I could be wrong) is that it is all about doing kind things for others and helping them out in a time of need either through passing on useful material items or helping in terms of moral support.

I really feel for this friend but at the same time also despair a little. I have known her a while and all through that time she has expressed a deep sense of unhappiness within her marriage. I am no expert as have never married, nor for that fact ever been in a relationship that has lasted more than two and a half years at absolute tops. The reality of it is that the only advice I can lend is theoretical and based around the judgement of my own small experiences and my own perception.

I keep trying to encourage her to enter in to a very honest conversation with her other half; I am trying to prepare her for the idea that he perhaps is just as unhappy as her. I have also warned her that as she has criticisms of him within the relationship, he may also have criticisms of her which she will be expected to consider at the time of discussion.

For some reason this exchange of feelings and ideas seems fine when one is single; however having had similar problems of unhappiness within previous relationships, open discussion between any couple can be extremely problematic. In several of my past relationships I have tried to open similar discussion for it to end up in a massive row, in some ways it is almost easier to just split up rather than have to go through this harrowing experience however in any long term relationship neither party is going to be happy all the time, this awkward exchange of negative feelings is a necessary evil. This is one of my main fears about entering into a relationship.

This evening my kettle has broken and I am feeling a little upset as I practically live on hot drinks. As a last resort I am using the microwave to heat up mugs of milk however I am honestly gagging for a cup of tea at the moment; I could always pop a pan of water on the stove however waiting for it to boil always seems to take forever, of course I would be watching it and this would automatically make it take longer still.

I have been watching a Ted Talk on “Being Yourself” and have at best only half watched it. I have also made a start reading one of my Philosophy books and feel like I have only half read the first few pages. By half watching/reading I mean that my mind is not concentrating 100% on exactly what I am doing at any one time, it conducts itself like a poorly trained Springer Spaniel and I very often find myself entertaining multiple trains of thought all at once. For example at the moment I am listening to some classical piano music accompanied by ocean waves (it’s designed to improve concentration), I am also listening to the filters on my fish tanks, I am thinking about making a cup of tea, thinking about replying to my friend on Facebook and trying to write creatively and edit as I go all at the same time.

I remember my time studying A Levels; I was taking Sociology as one of my subjects and was really enjoying it. One of the big studying problems I have is that when reading something very academic part of my brain tends to shut down; I feel it saying to the rest of my brain “this is really boring” and before I know it I have skim read over a couple of pages at lightning speed, taking nothing in what so ever. I also have a huge problem remembering case studies, the researcher’s names and the year of the study. I am actually a little surprised that on one of my exams I managed to get an A grade; for this paper I was studying a lot and not taking anything in – in the end I made a cassette tape of all of my notes and played it on a continual loop overnight as I slept. The next morning as I looked at my paper I instantly felt I knew nothing and decided to just write anything down, I still to this day have no idea how I managed to get an A or how any of this information stayed in my mind.

It is only over the last couple of years that I feel I am really starting to come in to my own and really starting to learn about who I am. It does sadden me to say that I have a huge inferiority complex and that I struggle to see the many things about me that are really positive; my previous private therapist was always trying to encourage me to see these qualities in myself. If I don’t stop and actively try to think of/evoke them my mind naturally reaches for all of the negatives – my little Negative man has a field day most of the time; he provokes Lonely and Worrier quite often and the three of them have a great time making me feel miserable.

I have recently realised that I have spent most of my life emotionally running away; like any other human being I have inner demons and psychological scars from an array of early experiences. It is only in the last couple of years that I have found myself in a stable enough place to begin facing these issues and trying to work them out and solve them. Although I am roughly three years into my personal improvement project I have come to a stage where the more I discover and fix, the more needs fixing.

As a person I have always been somewhat philosophical; my basis has been things I have observed about people, the things I observe and feel within myself and the insights I gain through looking at art and listening to a vast array of music. This understanding is obviously somewhat skewed by the prism of my own perception and experiences. My approach is from an emotional and observational place rather than a scientific place. I have recently started reading and researching Philosophy; I am still at the beginning of this educational journey and once again I am left with the feeling that the more I research the less I know.

I chose to study Fine Art at Degree and Postgraduate level which hasn’t really done a lot for me career wise; I was lucky in that I went to very good schools and I worked hard enough to earn good grades. As a child I taught myself how to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil, the interest came naturally and both of my parents actively encouraged me. During my early years I enjoyed a very middle class upbringing; my family lived in a large house on the south coast on England; the New Forest was basically on my doorstep and we used to go on sailing holidays every summer as we were lucky enough to own a boat.

Just before I became a teenager my mother sadly passed away after a very long battle with breast cancer; the whole family was deeply upset and as a young woman I found this series of events almost impossible to process in a healthy way. When I was 16 my father developed cancer, he also passed away when I was 18.

For the sake of trying to keep this piece of writing as short as I can I won’t go into my entire emotional journey during that time; it was very tough and I suppose in a lot of ways these events shaped me on some very deep levels. I decided to stick with my art as I was so damaged by the course of events that I needed the therapy; I was also not ready to verbalise how I felt and found the process of grieving along with the processes of discovering who I am and becoming a young woman very problematic.

As for my two relationships with abusive men; all I can say is that they saw me coming and took advantage of my insecurities. I have found through my more recent thinking time and observations of others that peoples individual insecurities can be fairly easy to spot. I am by no means a body language expert of any sorts however as an ENFP personality type (if Meyers-Briggs can be given credibility) I have an ability to pick up a feel about people.

In terms of employment skills I am a real jack of all trades; the creative jobs that I really yearn for are usually quite poorly paid for their location, in a lot of ways the skill set I have doesn’t quite match up to what they want, I find myself endlessly looking, getting down and not applying, or applying and never hearing anything back. Instead I have found a very good fall back option of working in non clinical roles within the health service; over the years I have begun to fall in love with the industry, in fact at this moment in time I couldn’t see myself working full time in any other industry.

Some of my family keep trying to tell me that I am already successful; I own a house with no mortgage, I have very minimal student loan debts, I work full time, all my bills get paid and I am paying for my own driving lessons. I am also fairly well travelled and rent my beloved local studio space. In roughly six years I will be going to New Zealand for the second time in my life, I have been saving towards this for the best part of this year.

The thing is that without wanting to sound greedy and entitled, I really want to make a big success story of my life. From age 7 until recently I have seen and lived through some really challenging times, a lot of these have been as damaging as they were humbling, they have also been very character forming. I don’t want to sound really over the top but I have always felt that I need to keep plugging away and embracing new challenges; I have a very keen awareness of how short and unpredictable life can be, at the moment I am on the up and I want to keep that going for as long as I possibly can.

I suppose I have been a lot of people during my short time on earth; I know this sounds a little strange but I have dressed, acted, thought and behaved very differently in different stages of my life. I find this learning process very beautiful and am really keen to carry on growing into the person I am supposed to be. I am interested in personal development and also have an awareness of my weak points and try my best to work on these where possible through ways which I find manageable.

When my time to die comes I don’t want regrets, I realise this is a lot easier said than done. As a human being I would like to say that I have experienced my version of life to the full; I would like to have reached my full potential as a human being by that stage and am hoping that I am lucky enough to get to an acceptable age.

There is something within me that continually drives me forward on good days and bad days; I regularly get criticised for taking on too much at once and for looking to the future too much instead of looking at what is going on in the here and now. I am still currently reading “Happy” by Derren Brown which is somehow making me question this mindset; I am yet to make up my mind on if this is a healthy way of being or if it would be better for me to try and mentally slow down a little and be more mindful of where I am and what I am doing in the moment at hand.

By juck, Nov 14 2017 10:59PM

14/11/17 22.21

Hi and welcome back; this evening I am chilling out in my pyjamas listening to “Shoes” by Kings X – I have finally bought a new keyboard so can now do correct punctuation again, go me! I love “Shoes”, it’s such a lusty, happy track and today it has made me feel better about following my own path and walking in my own shoes.

This evening I went to be early however have been lured in to coming out again by a job advert within one of my local hospitals. To be honest I am too inexperienced to go for the post itself however I have managed to get hold of an email address and have done a little shameless self promotion. What I am seeking is a chance to pop in for a look around and to find out a bit more about the team, potentially trying to land myself a little very casual volunteering.

I have realised recently that the NHS world is a lot bigger than the current job I am in. Currently I am part of the Academy which is a management training programme within the office. As part of it I have to spend a little time in the bases for the community nurses and the intermediate care team nurses. I have a bit of a character trait of not doing things by halves and am now on a mission to also visit and explore the local acute hospitals, after all we are all one big family/team so why not. Also if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Today I have finally bought myself a heater for my studio space. It is freezing in there and in the true spirit of being an old industrial building without heating, is always a few degrees colder than the outside world. I found myself just about warm enough, wearing a couple of layers and nursing a cup of coffee made with week old milk – the milk actually left a layer of silt in the bottom of my mug, without shame I spat out a mouthful all over the floor of my space, yes I can be a bit of an animal. Thank goodness for the old tea towel I keep there.

The basic structure of Addict is finished; he is large and bloated with a small head and a really long arm to hold a cigarette with. He is that big that he fills the chair, spilling over the edges and propping himself up with his feet. I built him out of individual strands of wire; I found this fairly easy and have linked the wires together using long nose pliers. I have also bought a fine wire mesh to use as a covering layer for him and my other figures. I want to use mod rock on them which is the same plaster bandaging used to cast broken bones. The wire structure as it stands has too many large gaps so if this was applied directly to it as it is now, the mod rock would sag in between the individual wires and give the figure a bit of a pitted appearance. By adding a layer of fine mesh I will be eliminating this sagging and making a more robust looking structure.

Once the mod rock is on I will need to decide on clothes and hair; I would like to make him a little business suit and tie however can’t decide between making one separately and dressing him in it or making the suit directly onto the figure which will probably be a bit easier. If I do effectively stick the clothes on to him directly I am a little concerned that they may not hand and bulge properly. Addict is very fat and grubby looking - I want this to be reflected in his outfit. I can source the material fairly easily from one of the charity shops I used to work in - all I really need is either a lift or a taxi. Buying a bag of old rags shouldn’t cost very much and there should in theory be a range of materials which I can use on each of my characters, I only need a little material for each figure.

Due to having a recent cancer scare and having to go to hospital for biopsies last week I forgot to order the fine mesh. It is due to arrive on Friday which is a little annoying as I wanted to make some real headway this week. Oh and by the way I don’t have cancer which is never a bad thing!

I have started making Creative while I wait for this material. She is one of my more positive characters and I am a bit cross with Addict and his self destructive behaviours. She is offering me a breath of fresh air!

Today I decided to crack open my roll of chicken wire; it is a lot harder to handle than individual wires due to the size of the holes and its more rigid structure, as a result I have obtained a few cuts on the back of my right hand.

After a bit of a fight I managed to get Creative’s body done; she’s not as off the wall as I originally wanted her to look. In my mind I wanted her to be a bit of a BDSM version of Jessica Rabbit; today I decided to make her with more realistic proportions however she is still very hourglass and busty. Her legs and arms have turned out a little strange looking and wiry; I hadn’t accounted for giving her nice thighs and shapely legs so they are kind of skinny and the same size top to bottom. For the moment I am going to go with this, I have some off cuts of wire put to one side so can always pad them out at a later stage. Creative is currently headless; I ran out of steam after a few hours and decided that all I wanted to do was come home and have dinner.

Creative is very tall however fits into her chair a lot better than Addict; I want to give her a black latex dress however that material isn’t found very often in a charity shop. Back in my time of volunteering I did once find a used latex dress in amongst someone’s donation. It was a shame that all of the other volunteers who were in that day were of the older generation so didn’t really understand what it was for. Obviously I took great delight in explaining latex fetish and to a small degree BDSM to them. If I were to find another in a bag of rags I wouldn’t be so keen to use it in my work, I don’t know how I feel about touching another persons sweat and intimate juices. For anyone who has never worn latex before, you sweat like a pig wearing it.

This evening I wanted to do a bit of reading and studying; it is now 22.54 and I have no idea where my evening has gone. I should really go to bed but as I slept surprisingly well last night I am expecting to really struggle tonight. Sadly I get sleep problems most of the time which tend to be extremely annoying; they are worse at the moment as have gone 13 days without a cigarette and instead am using NRT and vaping, for some reason this increases my sleep disturbances.

By juck, Nov 13 2017 01:25AM

12/11/17 23.39

This evening I have been listening to Staind, Alice in Chains and Tool. I have had quite a relaxing day with friends consisting of a nice walk and some food at my favourite local pub. Now is the time for some quiet reflection.

The happy news is that I don’t have cancer on my vocal chords, I have managed to quit smoking for eleven days and one of my fish is pregnant and looks like the babies are due soon.

Over the past month I have had rather a lot going on and to be honest it has all gone by so quickly that I haven’t been able to mentally stop and get a grasp of it all until now.

On the good side of things I have managed to lose just under a stone in weight, I actually feel a little thinner which is nice although still have a nasty double chin which I hate. On the bad side I have had to go for biopsies to my vocal chords under a general; they were looking for signs of cancer but to be honest at the time I found the idea of surgery a lot scarier.

I found that some of my pre assessment advice was a bit poor; I hate to be so blunt because the nurse I saw was great in most areas but I am just telling it as it is. When it came to smoking I was asked to be nicotine free for two days before surgery, the day of surgery and two days after. I used to smoke 30 to 40 a day and am a self confessed nicotine addict – a friend of mine has told me that as I am recovered Schizophrenic, my addiction to nicotine chemically is at the same level as a junkies addiction to heroin – I had given up smoking the day after I was told I had to have surgery on the advice of the consultant (I really hope I can beat this time as feel I can be very weak when it comes to not smoking). I found that the nurse was unwilling to discuss any suitable forms of suitable NRT with me at the time and I felt a little upset so didn’t press her for information.

In the short space of time between the assessment and the surgery I was determined to be off all forms of nicotine two days before being seen. I became very anxious about having problems with the anaesthetic and was already feeling very scared as it was my first time going under. I ramped down my nicotine dose very rapidly and even forked out for expensive private hypnotherapy as a last ditch attempt. As a whole the hypnotherapy didn’t fully work on me however I was surprised that she managed to get me under at all as didn’t think it would work on me. I lasted 24 hours nicotine free following the treatment and with an added dose of willpower, I feel this is a huge achievement. I finally caved one evening after work. I finished at 5pm and was craving really badly; I decided to go to the studio as a distraction but was becoming more and more anxious and couldn’t settle in to doing anything productive. Eventually I caved in and decided to go home, the studio has no heating and was bloody freezing. As soon as I got on the bus I burst into tears and spent the half an hour journey listening to music and quietly sobbing to myself. When I got home I became more distressed and couldn’t stop crying, the anxiety levels were terrible but I was determined not to cave in and have any nicotine. I finally hit breaking point about half an hour later and video called my friend for support – I really didn’t want to have any nicotine but mentally could not cope with the level of distress I was in. I felt guilty when I filled up my vape and sat there taking small drags and pouring my heart out to my friend. Over the next couple of days I phoned the unit a couple of times in tears and was eventually reassured that I could wear a patch and use NRT. I just feel we should have discussed this properly in the beginning however I was made to feel like I needed to be off everything which for me at the moment is impossible.

I felt really bad that I am an actual addict; something in my brain had clicked in that moment of distress and I finally realised that for all I joke about it I have an actual, all consuming addiction which I do not want. I sat there self loathing because every single one of my daily routines revolves around having a cigarette, I wish I could break free from it but over the years I have become locked in. I also feel really upset that it is a crutch and one of my biggest coping tools. Whenever my depression kicks in and whenever I get overly stressed the first thing I want is a cigarette.

I am currently making the Addict figure; he is quite large and barely fits into his seat, his long arm is there forever holding on to me and never letting me out of his reach. In that moment I felt he was the biggest part of me, ever present and all consuming, good for nothing apart from just feeding himself.

Protector, Investigator, Healthy, Hippie and Creative all began to get their heads together – they all agreed that Addict needs to be stopped, if he kills himself through smoking related cancer then all the others will also die because I will die. He is a pig and gives no thought for the others. He doesn’t care about my hopes and ambitions and is entirely selfish.

When surgery day came I did really struggle. I showered in the stuff they give you, popped a patch on and then caved and had a small piece of Nicorette chewing gum. I was so terrified that I was actually calm. My brother picked me up and took me to the hospital, leaving me at the unit because he wasn’t allowed in and going for a nice breakfast in town which I was jealous about. I was in a bit of a claustrophobic room which had a nice piece of art on the wall and a bit of a shitty, plastic looking mirror, there was a desk with a pc, a couple of chairs, a bin and a sticker on the door saying that the day before the room was clean. I left the door open and sat watching the world going by. I practiced a bit of mindfulness and a little breathing work and played on my phone seeking some support from my friends.

The healthcare professionals came and went, each taking their turn to see me and asking the same questions over and over. I was fine until the anaesthetist came in; there was nothing wrong with him, he was very professional and clearly a nice person. My problem was that I instantly fancied him - he was very handsome and had beautiful eyes. I am still unsure if this instant attraction was real or if it was my mental health playing up in a time of stress. I was sure I felt a spark and had I met him in other circumstances I would have tried talking to him properly and would probably have tried my luck in asking him out. Joker is on my shoulder at the moment telling me I am a fucking head case; why on earth would someone at that level of professional career and that good looking even give someone like me the time of day let alone that chance of a date, they are finding it funny (Joker is gender neutral) that I would even entertain the thought for a second. Lonely and Worrier have instantly chimed in saying that I would love to have a relationship with someone at the same time as now becoming obsessed with that thought and that person. It is now two days after seeing him and they are still playing me up.

During my more recent therapy sessions I had begun to think that I had got this thought pattern under control and mainly dealt with. I have been talking with my therapist about the idea of getting on a decent, paid for dating site and trying my luck finding someone I was really attracted to in order to test how my brain reacted to it.

This was all done in an instant last Friday and the poor bloke wouldn’t have realised that he would have had this kind of effect on me. To be blunt I am just another patient; he puts people to sleep and wakes them up again countless times a day, week in week out. I am sure that somebody like my self would have not stuck in his head what so ever.

As it turns out going under wasn’t so bad. I was absolutely crapping myself walking into the theatre room. I have been in a theatre before in an abandoned hospital as I can say it was a lot more relaxing than this place, sometimes darkness and torchlight is quite comforting along with the chance to have a proper look around.

Everybody was really nice and tried to help me calm down, Joker found it funny that as soon as they put the heart rate monitor on it was going really fast. By far the worst bit was when the oxygen mask went on, it really triggered my anxiety around breathing and was very claustrophobic – I pulled away in a panic and it took a lot of mental strength to lay there and just go with it. The next thing I was aware of I originally thought was the beginning of a dream however on closer inspection it was an awareness of people around me moving and doing things, then it went all dark again and I finally woke up being wheeled into the recovery area. I had a bad cough and dry throat which was expected, I also had waves of feeling sick and really wanted to sit myself up but was unable to move, the nurses were really nice and sat me up, I didn’t want to be sick because at the time I didn’t feel I had the strength to even lean forward and use the sick bowl. Luckily for me I recovered very quickly. Now I have done it the once I won’t be as scared if there is ever a next time which I hope there isn’t.

Now it’s all over with and I have no sign of any problems I feel a lot better. Apparently the anatomy of my throat is awkward and it was a difficult procedure, surprisingly I have had minimal pain and only one bruised area under my chin. I am feeling strangely happy which is drugs still in my system however Lonely and Worrier are still obsessing over this man and it is very irritating.

I have been talking to a few friends for some support and we have all agreed that I need to try and stop these kinds of thoughts as they are not healthy. I have realised in the last couple of days that as my Psychologist said to me, our work together would only get me so far. My therapy will finish very soon and I will then be on my own again. He has recommended that I take a six month break then go back to my private therapist again. I have so much work to do on myself before I can even entertain the idea of a relationship and I simply don’t help myself by getting obsessed then getting down.

I have a list of things I want to change about myself. Stop smoking and being dependant on Nicotine, lose quite a bit of weight, get fitter, sort my mental health out, learn to love myself and advance my career within the health service. All of this takes a long time to do and I am aware that I want the option of being able to have children - ideally I would want to be married first. Part of me thinks that at 31 I don’t have that long to achieve all of this.

The thing is that I have set myself quite high standards in terms of men now. No more druggies, no more unemployed, no more people without ambition or drive. I want a fully functioning, healthy, decent man. I also realise that to get what I am asking for I need to be what they are looking for.

Today I applied for some volunteering within my local hospitals as I feel I need to broaden my horizons a bit more. I really love my current job but realise that I want a bigger challenge as the work is becoming rather samey and I want to push myself forward. I am hoping that through volunteering a little here and there I can see what other options are open in my local health service. I am hoping to make new friends and professional connections and also get a heads up for any jobs I may be interested in and have people on side to put in a good word for me. To a lesser extent I am ashamed to say that a small part of me is also interested in meeting a decent, professional man for friendship and maybe more.

I now have a week off of work to recover from the surgery; generally I feel fine however need to take the Surgeon’s advice. This week I will be in the studio most of the time working on my art and giving myself the headspace to really push my project forward.

This evening I really wish there was a quick fix button for my psychological problems. I have been doing all I can to try and help myself through this since 2011 when I developed Schizophrenia. If I could turn back time and go back to 2008 knowing what I know now then things would have turned out very differently however I can’t just turn back the clock.

My last druggie relationship has well and truly fucked me up; it is now six years since we split up and this evening I feel like I am still paying the price for my massive error in judgement. I feel nothing for him and removed him from my life quite a while ago. Like all scars the psychological ones stick with a person; I hate to live in the past but today it is getting to me a bit. All these psychological problems were caused in part by the drugs, in part by him and in part by one of my family relationships which I still struggle to an extent with to this day.

I have no choice but to keep moving forward; as the weeks and months go by I am gradually getting better. I have come a very long way in the last six years however fully realise that I have a very long way to go. I refuse to let these problems beat me and one day I will have transformed myself in to the best version of myself I can possibly be.

It saddens me a little to say that I must walk this path alone; don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of people supporting me, what I mean is that I am unable to even entertain the thought of a proper relationship until I have fixed myself first. I don’t think it would be fair of me to expect anyone to want to be involved with me at the moment as I need too much support and at times can be very unstable. All I can promise is to keep on trying and hold on to the knowledge that I can and will do this. One day I will get there and will finally be able to love and accept myself. In the meantime I won’t dress it up and I won’t try and pretend that I am someone I am not.

By juck, Oct 25 2017 09:23PM

25/10/17 21.42

Today I have PMT and am feeling pretty crappy. Lonely, Worrier and Negative are in the driving seat at the moment; Addict is trying to help in the only way he can. As I sit with my cigarette Lazy is trying to encourage me to just go to sleep and forget about today. I have had a fairly average week, the shifts I am on this week aren’t great as they cut right into the day meaning there isn’t much time to do anything before or after work.

I am trying to live off of the little recent highs. Last Friday I had my photograph taken for Great Central which is an arts magazine; the photographer was quite cute and probably either taken or not interested. It was a good session and despite my feeling exhausted I had managed to do my hair and put my war paint on – my hair is usually an unwashed, un-brushed bun on the top of my head and for the most part I walk around without a stitch of makeup on. The photos were good but I hate my double chin and for some reason to me it looked huge in the pictures.

I had a really good weekend as well. Saturday I went for a lovely walk with a good friend at one of my favourite local places. Foxton Locks are lovely this time of the year; I love the crisp air, the autumnal colours and the absence of the summer crowds. It was quite a windy walk but very lovely. That evening I went to see one of my other best friends; we enjoyed watching a British movie about murder and ate fish and chips – my cheat meal of the week.

Sunday I went exploring for the first time in months; I rarely see my exploring friends and we don’t really keep in touch very much as everyone has busy lives and without meaning to be nasty we don’t have close relationships with one another. It was truly exhausting and showed up my huge lack of fitness. The buildings were vandalised but pretty cool and there was occasional good graffiti which I photographed. We had a laugh as always and met a group of grime artists from London who were making a music video which I found quite funny.

I didn’t really want to go to work on Monday; I think after such a good weekend not many people would feel like it, it is a bit of a shame that it is necessary – I have lived on benefits before and to be truthful it is no fun having to watch every penny, even down to things like the household grocery shop, minding when the heating goes on and trying to be careful not to spend too much on travel.

The other happy thing this week is that my Mollies have had babies; here were five little ones swimming around the tank on Sunday. I am a little worried as when I checked this evening I could not see any of them – they have probably been eaten, it has made me feel a little sad.

Today I made the mistake of looking up local arts jobs; surprisingly there are a fair few around. I should learn to never look because it always comes with disappointment. The good, well paid jobs want a level of skill which I can’t match up to. They require knowledge of financial software and a level of arts admin experience I just don’t have, they are also a fair commute away. For the pay rise I would get with the job I would lose a fair amount on travel itself. The others are part time hours and only short term contracts. I could try and drop some hours at work but I value the financial security I have of being employed full time.

Creative and Hippy fancy a change, they really want me to get into the arts scene and work my way up. Investigator is sceptical and advises against it; he values the consistency of a regular wage and the security of a permanent job. Negative uses this conflict to lower my mood and Worrier is concerned that I am not following my true calling – she simultaneously thinks that if I did get the arts job I always dreamed of that it wouldn’t be that great after all.

This week Lonely has popped up as well. Since the weekend I haven’t had a lot of human contact other than a few short phone calls, text messages and messaging over social media. She misses human contact and would like someone external to just be there to talk to. Lonely has persuaded me to look on my free dating site again although the responses I get to my advert are at best disappointing. At the moment I have a couple of people looking to have a good time messaging me, also someone with Aspergers. Without trying to be nasty I would rather not date someone who has a disability; my reasoning behind this is at times I need a lot of emotional support and I can be quite dependant. I would prefer someone very stable and rational in my life as a positive influence.

Over the last few days the Lonely, Negative, Worrier team have been picking over something a few people have said to me in the past. A relative and a few close friends have commented that I rely on others too much for emotional and practical support. Every now and again this makes me feel bad. One of my coping mechanisms as an extrovert is to reach out to others as the relationships and interactions make me feel better and give me energy. I suppose I am quite a dependant person. I don’t know how to make myself more self contained and more independent. My friendships mean the world to me and I would equally be there for my friends when they want me to be. It’s getting to me again today which is why I am writing rather than calling or messaging anyone.

I am skint until payday this Friday so I am trying to cobble together meals out of the remains in the fridge and cupboards. I really want a big fat pizza and some chicken but know it will need to wait until I have been paid. I am also trying to lose weight at the moment and have managed to drop half a stone in two weeks, I still feel fat though and unhealthy. The plan I am on can get quite tedious and I am slowly getting sick of having the same meals all the time. It is weigh in day on Saturday so I am hoping for another loss although I realise that after dropping half a stone really quickly the rest will be difficult to get rid of. Ideally I want to lose another seven and a half stone, I want my nice figure and tiny boobs back. When I was skinny it was such a wonderful feeling to just pull any old size 10 garment off the shelf and have it fit perfectly. I am not a size 22 and hate looking at myself in the mirror, I hate clothes shopping even more as the changing room lights show up every lump, bump and stretch mark.

This weekend I am going to see family; it should be nice but I always get a massive feeling of inadequacy whenever I am around them. They are a lot more successful than me in employment and relationships. On Sunday I am going for a walk with people from work – I am trying to set up a monthly walking group to try and improve fitness levels but have no idea who is going to come if anyone.

On that note I am off to weigh out more bran flakes and honey, I need another fix of sweet stuff and it is lower calorie than a load of chocolate. I am hoping to be able to relax a bit in a few days.


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