Worry time, positive time, my new personal challenge

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.

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