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.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”― Mark Twain
This is a bit of a funny statement for both repressed anger, and anger unleashed can both be extremely harmful.
They have been plenty of assaults, even murders, carried out in a moment of uncontrolled anger, for once it is given free rein it is very hard to moderate. Even words that are exchanged in momentary anger can cause an untold amount of damage.
Then, of course, there is ‘road rage’, where someone behind the wheel is consumed by anger to such an extent the idea of careful driving goes right out of the window. It is usually caused by another driver; someone going to slow that is holding them up, or someone that has thrown down the gauntlet by overtaking. Many road traffic accidents are the result of unsuppressed anger.
One the other hand, repressing anger can be very self-damaging, physically as well as psychologically. Both heart attacks and strokes can be brought on by a sudden build-up of intense emotion that is held inside. Blood pressure soars. Anger causes chemical changes inside the body that can lead to all sorts of physiological issues.
Probably the biggest result of repressed anger is psychological. It flares, then goes on to a slower burning, just ready to be ignited again. The effort to keep the anger from being shown can cause total withdrawal, self-harm, anorexia, severe mood-swings. The list goes on and on.
The best way of dealing with anger is to find a safe way of letting it out. Punching a pillow can be great, so can punching a wall but it does hurt more. Any physical exercise can help control anger and bring a bit of perspective – I used to walk and walk until I felt calmer, but then I’d have to walk all the way back.
Art is a good outlet for anger, especially visual art. Black and red paintings – brilliant anger exorcism. Writing can be excellent too, especially free verse where you don’t have to be constrained by form.
Of course this is all about ideals. When I get angry, I will lash out, then suffer the guilt which leads me to taking it out on myself. Either that or I’ll hold it in until I fall apart, then after a while crawl back up again.
|Honestly, I don’t think my hair is much affected by the season of the year, but is definitely by my state of mind.
It’s only a few years ago that it was long. Really long. Below the waist long. And then I got depressed and decided to hack at it with the scissors. Needless to say, it ended up being quite short. Even now, how short it is depends on whether I’ve had any major upsets. I suppose in a way it has become my outlet, like self-harming but without doing any real damage.
I often used to keep it short when I was a teenager, and as I am not skilled at hair-cutting it looks pretty much the same now as it did then.
I’ve never been one for going to the salon of hairdresser but once, a long time ago now, I decided I wanted curly hair. I even took a picture with me, just to show what I meant. What I got was nothing like what I wanted. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say it was awful.
It took me one day to decide that it had to go, so for all the money I’d spent on having it ‘properly styled’, I went and chopped off every single bit that had the slightest curl to it. In some ways that turned out to be money well spent, for I haven’t been to a hairdresser since.
What kind of ending do you prefer to read: the happy ending, the tragic ending, the change of heart ending, or the be careful what you wish for? Why? Which matrix attracts your own writing?
I read a lot of different types of books, mostly fiction, and whether it should have a happy ending or not depends on the type of story. Some things it’s obvious are going to end well, and it is impossible to imagine a way they could end differently, but for the most part I’m not that keen on happy endings.
I can really enjoy a book right up to that last chapter, but if it is too syrupy in a way that is totally unconvincing, it will sour the entire read. From the choice above I would say that I prefer the ‘be careful what you wish for’ or the ‘tragic’ ending best.
Why do I prefer the sadder endings? Perhaps because in my experience that is more likely to be believable.
As far as my writing goes, I was once told that to be a character in my writing is to meet a horrible ending. And often that is true. I very rarely write ‘Happy-Ever-After’ tales although I have done on occasion.
A lot of the time I write on darker themes; lately I’ve mainly be writing to the horror genre. Then again, I don’t like to be pigeon-holed so I’ll write something different when the mood takes me. Quite often I’ll write on contemporary themes, such as bullying, isolation, homelessness, abuse... that sort of thing, and just like in life, for the most part the endings won’t be happy.
|The hedge-growth is beginning to come into its own.
Blackberry brambles spring out with those
tiny white flowers that precede the fruit
and those barbs that love to snag and grip,
grabbing the unwary and pulling them up short.
But look in the green and there -
a hint of pink in the form of the opening bud of a dog rose.
Lean in close for a better view but be warned;
there are more thorns, more barbs, as nature
in her wisdom, has seen fit to give them.
Across the way there’s a different type of hedgerow;
the purple of rhododendrons mixes with
the yellow and pink of fragrant honeysuckle,
only don’t be fooled, for there in the grass
the nettles lurk, the thorns twine...
A trimming clip with thick gloves that fail to protect
from the pointed spike
that punctures the fabric and pierces the flesh.
Enough, I’ll leave nature to have her way,
withdrawing to a distance and closing my eyes
to the mess, I’ll let those bits of color
bring a kind of peace.
Include the words: rose, honeysuckle, pink, wisdom, peace
‘People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer
when they’re happy’ - Anton Chekhov.
I can’t really bring myself to agree with the above statement. Happy or not, they are still going to know if it is hot or cold, dry or wet. I think it’s more a case of them not minding what the season is.
There has been quite a lot of research put into SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) where some people seem to become depressed during the shorter days of winter while in summer they feel fine. It can also occur during a persistently wet or dull period in any season.
Some clinical psychologists suggest going outside into sunlight as soon after waking as possible. The theory is that it elevates and kick-starts your mood, and that it will stay lifted throughout the day. All I can say is that this is not something that works for me; if I am depressed sunshine, or the lack of it, makes no difference.
I am not a spring/summer person. I prefer winter, although autumn is my favorite season. In part, it’s because I can’t bear being too hot; it’s easy to layer on the clothes but there is a limit to how much you can take off. Also I’m more comfortable under dimmer, darker skies and I much prefer the moon to the sun.
"What I can say is that all my characters are searching for their souls, because they are my mirrors. I'm someone who is constantly trying to understand my place in the world, and literature is the best way that I found in order to see myself." Paulo Coelho
I guess we all put a bit of ourselves into characters, but that’s not to say we are our characters. If we write about mass-murderers, demons, racists, fascists, bigamists, or any other pretty unpleasant person, that’s not who we are. But we can use these in the way they interact, or are seen by other characters as a way of getting a greater understanding of our own thoughts and feelings.
I often write things out in an attempt to get a better understanding of a situation, or just to vent out pent up frustration. I used to try to get a better understanding of my place in the world but for the most part I’ve given that up as a lost cause.
Writing is a great way of attempting to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, of trying to imagine how other people might think and feel. Can I really think like a man? A child? Can I imagine things from the point of view of someone atrociously rich or desperately poor? It can be quite a challenge to think of a type of person you really despise or dislike and attempt to see through their eyes, write from their mind.
As to the question of whether I get any clearer insight into myself or my life; it’s a nice thought but I’d have to admit that is very rarely the case.
"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,