Journal/blog dealing with mental health aspects and random thoughts
Thoughts Of A Troubled Mind |
This is very much a learning exercise for me. I have never written a blog in my life but, as they say, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. So here goes.
Please be patient, and any tips will be really appreciated.
"In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember." ~ Edgar Allan Poe.
Our minds, our brains, can be tricky things. I’ve often tried to remember a name from the past, only to be defeated and then later on think of an initial letter. Even though I am not consciously thinking about it, there is a noticeable part of my mind that ticks away in the background. Sometimes it even leads to a ‘Eureka’ moment, when I’ll suddenly say a name out loud that has no relevance to the situation I’m then in.
Then there are those other things that we try to remember but can’t really. Maybe someone else will have filled us in with their own version of the event and we’ll seize on that as a memory. And that’s what it might be, but it isn’t our own. We are reliving something through someone else’s eyes.
At other times we’ll try to recall a moment, a memory, and no matter how hard we try to bring it to the front of our minds, we come up blank. That leaves the choice; either let it go, forget it altogether; or let our our minds get creative and imagine a memory. So long as we realize that that is what we are doing, I guess it can’t do any real harm .
|What does the word ‘spirals’ bring to mind?
Swirly patterns of all different shades. Some deep primary colors, others the more muted pastel shades, perhaps mixed up with some dashes and splodges – expressionist style.
A sink full of water after the plug has been pulled. The water swirls in ever-decreasing circles as it succumbs to the forces of gravity and gets sucked down into the drain.
Snail shells, some sea shells, and those millipedes when they have curled themselves up into a spiral twist.
Springs! A spiral coil of wire, especially when pressed down, held in resistant position.
But mostly the word makes me think of my day. The circles I walk in are quite large to begin with but I can guarantee they won’t stay that way. I’ll walk a perfect spiral path of ever-decreasing circles, one careful step after another.
|What does getting back to normal mean to me? Honestly, as far as my own life goes, not lot. I have come to realize how odd my daily life is for I don’t see people from out of my household, and only go out twice a week to get groceries.
In other words, my normal life is most people’s lock-down.
Yes, the realization was pretty depressing and will anything change in the next few weeks or months? Not for me.
There are other members of my household who are quite effected, in that they usually go out far more than I do. They also socialize, and it has been tough for them. Getting back to normal for them will be made up of freedom to move around and freedom to meet up with others.
A week ago I could not imagine that things would go back to anywhere near how they had been. One of the first things that I thought would go was foreign travel, apart from in some kind of real emergency situation. And yet I am hearing news reports that going abroad on holiday might not be so far away. Will anyone want to go? Apparently they do.
More shops are starting to open, which must be a good thing. Pubs and restaurants are not yet open but again there is increasing pressure for them to be allowed to do so. This is not something that has any bearing on my life, but I can understand that to many this is a big step in getting back to normality.
Living out in the country there is very little public transport. Those that commute to work, by necessity mostly drive themselves. I would guess those that can work from home will continue to do so, but that’s just a guess.
And that sums it up really. No one knows what the new normal will be, or whether another lock-down will be necessary in the future. It is unknown whether the virus will die down during the summer and take a hold when it gets colder again. For me it does not really matter but for most it must be a time of uncertainty.
‘One good thing about music, when it hits you,
you feel no pain’ - Bob Marley
Do you agree with this statement? I’m not sure that I do.
So there is no physical thump or slap, no real blade slashing or stabbing, but the emotional impact of music can certainly feel that way. Especially if it is a piece that has some kind of negative associations in the past.
The other thing is that certain lyrics, to me at least, are very emotive because of what they say. Mostly these are pain-filled lyrics of some kind of desperation. Some are haunting, while others are almost frantic, but they all have one thing in common. If I pull on the headphones, turn up the volume and put the song on repeat, it’s going to make me cry. I’ll keep it going until whatever emotion is bugging me reaches a crescendo then begins to fade. Music as catharsis, I guess.
Perhaps listening to the tune, the rhythm, the beat doesn’t hurt, but if there are lyrics, that will be what holds my attention most. And as with any words, lyrics can hurt,
So there has been talk about easing of the lock-down. As more and more countries are trying to get back to some sort of normal there seems to be increasing pressure to speed things up. The number of cases has been in decline while we have all been kept pretty much segregated but there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen as people begin to mix more, interact more, again.
Our Phase 1 announcement was made today, announcing changes that will come into force after the weekend. Mostly it's about outdoor workers like builders and gardeners - they can go back to work; DIY and garden centers can reopen, providing they have space for social distancing. Outdoor leisure facilities will be allowed to open, but only for those that live within 5km of them. Groups of up to four people will be allowed to meet - outside and keeping 2km apart.
The only change that is going to effect me is the decision to make face masks compulsory in shops from Monday. I have spent the last two months not wearing one, but now it seems like I'm going to have to change my ways and comply.
I've heard a lot of virologists say that coronavirus is here to stay, and we are all just going to have to find a way of living with it. Unless there is a global supply of vaccines a lot of things will never go back to how they were. Then if it is like influenza and changes every year, it is going to be almost impossible to produce enough vaccines annually - by the time a batch is made the virus will have no doubt evolved.
How will we ever adapt?
A lot of people have been working from home, and I would imagine that will be something that will continue to be encouraged. Perhaps there will be small group meetings once a week although online conferencing might make that unnecessary. More shops are going to have to open, but then there's the problem of increasing commuters. On line shopping will become much more of a thing, but not everyone has a computer or internet access.
One thing that has been well reported is the reluctance of people to attend surgeries or hospitals for other reasons. There will have to be some way found to increase confidence in attending medical appointments. Again, there could be more phone consultations - it's been proved that they can be done now - but people are going to have to feel safe seeking help when they need it.
Movies, concerts, sports events are more likely to be streamed into people's houses. I can't see them opening packed arenas any time soon, but you never know. Money can be a big incentive. And what about foreign travel? It's not something I've ever really done, but I know there are plenty of people that travel to other countries far more than once a year. There has been discussions about allowing some flights to resume, with a fourteen day quarantine - not a lot of good if you're taking a vacation.
Education is going to present some real challenges. Younger children might not be very much at risk but they can still spread it and pass it on. I guess a lot of the older students will be taught with a combination of remote learning, and staggered class attendance.
All this depends on what the virus does. For as much as there are people that say we are going to have to live with it, there are others that seem to believe it will simply disappear.
What won't disappear is the mental health consequences that almost every country has yet to assess. There were already long waiting lists, and now there is a crisis. I'm used to living like this; my general daily life has barely changed, but I'm struggling to carry on. I've always had a battle with depression and right now it's winning the war. I can't help thinking how much of a struggle it has been for those who usually lead very social lives and have suddenly found themselves cut off and isolated. Most will find ways of getting through it, and even more will bounce back once things become more settled. But some won't.
Honestly, I don't know what to expect of the next six months... the next year. But then no one else does either; it is something that only the passing of time will tell.
‘Writing is exposing yourself to strangers’-
My initial response to this quote is that it depends on what you write. Not every story or poem is deeply personal, and sometimes it is not personal at all. It can be written for no other reason than to amuse or entertain either the reader or the writer themselves.
There is a school of thought that says everything you write reveals something about yourself. I don’t believe that to be the case at all. Putting yourself into the mindset of a character does not make you that character, does it? I guess in a vague sense, it might reveal something, but just because someone writes from the pov of a murderer it certainly does not follow that they commit murder or relate in any way.
However, blogging or personal poetry can certainly be revealing. It is meant to be that way. However, I don’t think the intent is to reveal any hidden secrets to other people, strangers or not. The only person that can know what words are true, how they are intended, what they really mean, is the writer themselves.
I often use writing as a way of talking to myself, of sorting out my thoughts and feelings towards something or someone, in a way that makes at least slight sense to me. I will use scenes, characters, scenarios as an attempt to understand life, when for the most part it makes no sense whatsoever to me.
It can be interesting to see how readers interpret my words. It’s rare for someone to really understand a piece of soul-searching, for them to get what I am trying to whisper or shout. But think about it, and you’ll see that that is exactly as it should be.
|I seem to remember a saying that went something like, ‘Mama knows best.’ This was something that always confused me ‘cause even as a child I knew darn well that Mama couldn’t know everything. That being said, there had to be some things that she wouldn’t know, and, dare I say it, I might know better.
She did like to come out with these sayings some of the time. When I was having a real tough time with friends who had turned out to be enemies, she’d tell me: ‘Life isn’t always a bed of roses’. Huh? That never made any sense to me whatsoever. Who’d want to be laying on those flowers whose scent made me sneeze and whose thorns made me bleed. Surely there were better flowers to use to make her point.
Another time Mama said, life is like a box of chocolates and I remember asking her if that meant it would melt and go soggy if things got too hot.
‘No, Honey,’ she’d said. ‘It means that sometimes you really like what you get, sometimes things are okay, but then there will be occasions when you’ll just want to say ‘Yuck’’
I remember how I looked her in the eye and said, ‘I always look at the lid and leave the ones that I don’t like for someone else.’ She’d given me a half smile which seemed a bit sad, but then she’d had to go dashing off to get something out of the oven.
Today I just realized what the look meant. There is no lid. I can’t go picking and choosing, not now I’m an adult too. The chocolates are like decisions. You pick one and it’s only when you take a bite of it that you find out if it’s good or bad.
I think my box must have been packed at the end of the line, when they’d run out of most of the delicious ones, had just a few that were okay, but the bulk of them were like the turkish delights or the coconut ones – things that make me go ‘Yuck!’
‘With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.’ -
This is something that resonates quite strongly with me. Every day when I wake up, I tell myself that it is a new day, and that it could be a good one.
Without fail, those feelings do not last.
It’s not that I don’t try to hang on to that positivity, because I do. But others either do not share this, or are determined to sabotage it. The strength I’ve got is taken up by the act of getting up, and if not then, in staying up.
New thoughts? I think I’ve gone through them all in the attempt to find a way to fix things, to make things go a bit more smoothly. I know that I’m going to be presented with some form of conflict which I’ll either be directly involved in, or will have to mediate.
So, I guess I’d have to say that I can understand the statement, would like to believe it to be true, but in my experience it is nothing more than what is known as a ‘pink elephant’.
|If having ‘green fingers’ means that your garden thrives, plants grow, well the answer to that has to be no. Unless weeds count, for a certainly have a talent for growing those.
There can be no doubt about it, plants just don’t like me. No matter how thoroughly I follow the instructions on a seed packet, they simply refuse to grow. And on the very rare occasion that a tiny green shoot does begin to appear, the following day I can guarantee that it will not be there.
I don’t mind hard work, or getting my hands dirty, so it’s not that.
One year I went all out and bought a variety of seeds, and some pots to plant them in. I put the required stones and sand in the bottom to help with drainage, and I mixed up a mixture of soil and peat. Very carefully, I made the holes the exact depth, with the required spacing, and I waited and waited. Zilch! Not even one tiny little shoot made its way up through the soil, and I think it was at that moment that I gave up trying to grow anything.
Luckily we have plenty of colorful plants growing wild here. Honeysuckle and fuchsia grow every year, as do a couple of tulips which were there when we moved in, and the same with daffodils. We have wild roses growing between us and our neighbor, and a few other flowering shrubs that I don’t know the names of.
For the last couple of years, we’ve had a few primrose patches, and there’s always an abundance of daisies, buttercups and dandelions. So, maybe I don’t have green fingers but there’s still plenty of color to be found outside.
|The question I have to answer here is: ‘What do you wish more people knew about you and why?’ To be honest, I was going to skip this, as what I wish for more than anything else in real life would be invisibility. Not for any suspicious reason, but simply so that I could go through life unobserved and not always feeling how much I am being found wanting.
That wasn’t really a way to answer the question though. Instead, it would be a cop-out, a side-stepping of what it was asking. The problem I have is finding the words to express what I mean.
What I would like most people to know about me is how socially awkward I am. I can talk online, at least to a few people; I can talk when there is a definite purpose. Let me try and explain what I mean by this. If I have to go and see a doctor, I know what I am expected to say – more or less – and the same applies in shops when I have to exchange words with the staff. I’m always happy to say ‘Hi’ and ‘Thank you.’
No, what gets me stuck every single time, is chat. I simply cannot make face-to-face conversation. Even with people that I know quite well, I quickly dry up.
And I want everyone to know it’s not personal to them, it’s how I am!
Maybe it’s because I am paralyzed by the fear of saying the wrong thing. On the other hand, it might just be that I simply seem to have so little in common with anyone else. I’ve had a lot of experience of saying the wrong thing – in fact I do that every single day, multiple times – and that makes me cautious, self-conscious and for a large part of the time, mute.
I’m not being rude, stuck up or standoffish. I’m not being confrontational or hostile. I’m just confused and lost, feeling very much like a stranger in an even stranger land. I WANT to be friendly, but I really do not know how.
So, if you see me walk by just lifting a hand in acknowledgement, but not stopping to gossip or chat, just know it’s nothing personal but simply who I am.