You’re Not Alone

Well, I had honestly forgotten how good it feels to talk about how down I’ve been feeling. I’ve been counting down until November 27th, when the first round of uni offers come out, and I’ll hopefully be accepted to start a postgraduate Diploma of Education. Until that time comes, I have to suck it up at work.

I NEED a career change. For those of you who don’t know, I literally work in a hole. I have no idea why I thought that was a good idea. I’m not a physical person. I don’t have good endurance and I’m not good in confrontations. Why the hell did I think working in the mines industry was for me? Yes, it’s a lot of money, but there’s a reason for that – the jobs out in the middle of nowhere are not for everyone. At least I can say I’ve tried it, but after almost a year of reignited anxiety issues I can see the slippery slope before me, and I am not going any further down that (rabbit) hole.

As it turns out, there are other people at work who have also had enough. I suspect there are a lot of people in the world like that. I should count myself lucky that I can rack it all up to work. Ideally, if I change the work, I’ll be feeling better. I’m not sure if it will be so easy, but I know I need to try something different. Teaching feels like a good move.

Anyway, what really resonated with me was when someone told me, “You’re not alone.” It’s a pretty simple phrase, but when it comes from someone in the same environment as you, or someone who really knows what you’re going through, the relief that washes through is just something else. It really does feel like a weight is removed from your shoulders.

The consistent sadness I feel at work, fluctuated by panic attacks and rare, strange happiness rebounds, I know I’m not the only one going through this. I’m not the only one who needs out. For now, it’s enough to know that I’m not alone. I hope that everyone else who is going through the same shit has their own way of changing their life for the better. Sometimes, talking to people helps you keep going. And then there are times when you know you need to do something more than talking. I guess I’m at that stage.

You’re not alone.

Lovely Desperation

I think we all get a bit desperate sometimes (unless you’re completely satisfied with your life in every way, in which case, well done. Seriously.). This past year I’ve been fluctuating between different directions of desperation. I desperately want to quit my job. Then I desperately want to be able to enjoy my job because hey, it pays pretty good and my life would be fine if I could just learn to like it. But when I’m working, I just want to write. When I’m working, I just want to read. I don’t see the pay as a reward for hard work – it’s just a reminder of how much time I’ve wasted. That’s honestly how I see my work: wasted time.

I know a lot of you out there are artistically minded. You love imagination and beautiful things. Some of your are even fortunate enough to make a living doing you enjoy. Of course, fortune isn’t the whole of the matter. You invest the whole of yourself into what you do – you threw caution to the wind and put your heart and soul on the line. I desperately want to do the same.

But I’m just so damn practical!

Maybe practical isn’t the right word. But it’s something cold like that. Logical. Calculating.

Pessimistic.

I like to think of it as realistic. I went straight from high school to uni because I was realistic. I went straight from uni into a full-time job because I was realistic. I thought of these things as starting my life. Building a foundation. But how was my life founded? What was I building towards? I find myself surrounded by people who are truly invested in their careers but when they talk about them I completely lose interest. It would be so easy if I was as driven as them. If I were so motivated towards ‘progression’ and ‘advancement’, then things would be simple.

But the truth is, I want to stop.

I don’t care about working towards the next step up the ladder. I don’t care about gaining experience. I just don’t care about my work.

Then that little voice crops up again – anything could happen in the future. Anything. Bad things. Things that cost money, and will always and continue to cost money. What are you going to do then if you quit now while you’re still able to work?

I hate being realistic. Reality sucks. I worked that out when I was fifteen and I found out ‘adventuring archaeologist’ wasn’t a real job. That’s why I started writing. My first book was about the search for Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s secret tomb. So why was I trying to act in accordance with reality? Because I can’t run away from reality. I can’t hide from reality. But I bloody well want to sometimes.

Do you ever have a certain feeling bubbling up inside of you that you are doing the exact opposite of what you are meant to do? That desperate drive to be who you really are, and damn the consequences? It would be so liberating. I could be so free.

But I can’t escape reality. So the argument goes around and around again. I want but I need. I need but I want. I’m not even sure which is the want and which is the need anymore. Do I need money or fulfillment? I suspect my perspective is skewed, but I’m not sure where the bias lies. What’s more important to me? What will matter more in the future? I’m just stuck in this state of desperation, swinging between positivity and negativity.

I don’t know if you could tell, but I had a fairly shit day at work.

Ugh, I know I’m in a bit of rut right now. I love this blog, and I love writing and I love reading, and work isn’t preventing me from doing any of these things that I love. After all, I still have a bit of time at the end of the day. Maybe tomorrow I can afford a better perspective. But right now, I just needed to rant. I’m sure you’ve felt the same at times. Thank you for giving me this space to voice myself, even when I’ve gotten a little ugly. Please feel free to rant and rave at me whenever you feel like it – now that I’ve put you through this, you have every right to do the same.

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

So far, the world in general has had a pretty shitty year. None of of us need reminding about all that, I know. Because it’s difficult to talk about. It’s difficult to think about. It’s difficult to deal with.

It’s easy to try and close off from the things that freak us out. And most of the time, that tactic works. Most of the time, we’re strong enough to deal with the rubbish that life throws at us. But these things wear us down. Being strong wears us down. Then we’re just acting strong, pretending to have something we don’t. We pretend to have it all together, when in fact it’s all unraveling behind the scenes. 

The fact is, deep down, we all know where suicide comes from. We all know fear. We might experience it differently, because it has many different forms, but we know its essence. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to have never had suicidal thoughts. But I’ve been afraid. I’ve been anxious, stressed, distraught and all those other words that we give to feelings that cripple us. We’ve all had a little piece of ourselves open up, to see that door that leads to despair. Most of the time, I’ve been able to close it. But I know it’s there. I can’t predict what will happen in the future. Something could happen which would lead me down that path. Or perhaps there won’t be a specific event to trigger something – it might be that the things I deal with on a daily basis become too much.

We need to be aware of this possibility, in ourselves and in others. So when you ask someone how they’re going, really ask them. You know how good your mask is. I know how good mine can be. I know I’ve had times where I can’t believe in myself, and I just wanted someone else to believe in me, for me. Be that person, if you can. Open your heart and your mind. Really put yourself in another’s shoes.

And when someone asks how you are, be honest. Sure, I’ve gotten some strange looks for the answers I’ve given. It’s completely automatic to just say, “I’m good. How are you?” But when you respond with honesty, “I’m exhausted.” “I feel terrified and I don’t know why.” “I’m sick of all this.” people double-take. I’ve had it happen. When I was just dropping by someone’s office and they asked, “How are you?” and I said “I’m tired.” they just kept going with the automatic “Good thanks.” as if I’d in turn asked them how they were. It was about three full seconds before they stopped themselves and said, “Hold on, did you say you were tired? I’m sorry! Why are you tired?” That was all I needed to just start talking. I didn’t need much, just a little to confide in someone, to build back up my own self-esteem. It was a small moment, but it was liberating to share my burden that had been building up that past week.

These are only little things, and they’re only my own experience with those crippling feelings. But I believe talking helps.

As always, my email is open: nogaku89@gmail.com

If you need more information, this is a good video on depression:

http://www.upworthy.com/what-is-depression-let-this-animation-with-a-dog-shed-light-on-it

Actually upworthy has some pretty good stuff, if you’re feeling righteous or just need cheering up.

Small Defeats: Water off a duck’s back, or the final straw?

We all have them. Sometimes it seems like it happens every day, sometimes more than once a day. It would be wonderful to be happy all of the time, but we need a reason for that happiness, a reason to be peaceful. We need time to ourselves and space. And sometimes things. Just. Don’t. Work.

I remember once just standing in front of the bread section in the supermarket, and I had a moment. I had just wanted bread. I didn’t know if I wanted light rye/ sourdough/ wholemeal/ wholegrain/ white/ white plus fibre/ multigrain/ country style or whatever the hell else there was to choose from. I just kind of… broke. All I wanted was bread. I left the store without buying anything,

Then I had to go back later and picked light rye.

I’m not sure what had happened. I was just suddenly overwhelmed by the choice I had to make. This is not the first time I had experienced one of these ‘small defeats’ but it was probably the most stupid example of it happening to me. I mean, I freaked out when faced with bread. BREAD DEFEATED ME.

What the hell was going to happen with my head when it was finally faced with a decision of enormity? The strangest thing is, sometimes I’m great. I’ve made big decisions before. I was out of work for six months after the coal price dropped and I was applying to at least one job advertisement a day. I just kept plugging away at it and eventually I lucked out (and I know that was all it was – there’s still plenty of good geologists out of work). So I knew I had a bit of grit. But then other times when I’m financially stable I can’t pick out a freaking loaf of bread.

I think we’re all vulnerable to this. Over-thinking things, expectations we place upon ourselves, society telling us that we must be successful because if we’re not successful then we’re failures. I’m not always vulnerable. No one wants to be vulnerable. I want to be tough. I want to be strong. But sometimes that willpower just doesn’t back me up. My self-confidence fades, And I’m vulnerable again.

Most of the time I’m okay. But sometimes a little problem just isn’t water off a duck’s back. Sometimes it becomes the straw that breaks.

We need to be conscious of this, for ourselves and others. Just because we seem fine it doesn’t mean we are.

And the next time you see someone standing for a solid ten minutes in front of the bread isle, maybe just suggest your favourite bread (which is now light rye for me). Don’t snap at them to “move your stupid ass!” because then you might be hit in the face with the donuts and find the perpetrator has already bolted out of the store.

Just a word of advice.

Have you ever had similar experiences or have any advice? Please feel free to comment.

And here’s a picture of a duck. It cheered me up.

Beautiful Duck 24

Do you want to talk? Or maybe you’d prefer to sing?

With the passing of the wonderful Robin Williams, I’ve decided upon something. I’m a big believer in communication helping people. But for some it is very difficult to talk about the things they worry over to people they know, or even to a stranger face-to-face. 

So I wanted to propose something. I have a gmail email that I don’t really use for anything (save for requiring it to buy google play apps), so I wanted to use it for this: talk to me.

You might not think this is a good idea, but I honestly don’t care if this email account just gets spammed. I’d expect there would be other services like this on the internet, but I just wanted everyone to know that I’m willing to listen – to anything. I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a therapist, but I promise to be non-judgmental and understanding. I also promise to never disclose anything you tell me. And I will respond. I will do my very best to help you. If I can’t, maybe I can help give you the confidence to find the help you need. Hopefully none of you need this, but I’m here if you need me.

You can reach me at nogaku89@gmail.com

Aaaand on that note, I’d like to suggest something that always helps me when I’m feeling anxious (which had been quite a lot when I was going through university).

There’s a great story about how the Welsh men became good singers. After working in the coal mines all day, the men would come up at the end of shift to view the last ray of sunshine before the day finally ended. They would all stand outside the entrance to the underground, and they would bellow out a ballad together. They believed that the actions of loud, powerful singing would clear their lungs of all that horrible black dust.

I believe that the power of singing can expel more than coal dust – I have sung out lingering anger, oppressive sadness and coiling fear. To be clear, I am a really, really bad singer. But when I’m alone in a room at the end of the day, I let it rip. I sing out my heart and my head (because it’s my head that gives me most of the trouble). I don’t just sing, I belt it – the aim for me is to push and shove that awful feeling inside me out.

I sing the classic Mien Herr from Cabaret (you’ll never turn the vinegar to jam, Mien Heeeerrrrrrr)

I sing the earthy beats of Lorde’s Glory and Gore (you can try and take us, OH!, but we’re the gladiators)

I sing old school Green Day (I am one of those melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone no doubt about it!)

I sing Lily Allen (don’t try and test me ’cause you’ll get a reaction)

And lots of other good purging songs.

But hey, enough about me. Everyone has their go-to song, right? You might like singing Bruce Springsteen (You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much) or, for the Aussie purists, The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (I am not going to quote those lyrics because I try to avoid swearing in my posts, but it really is the best song I could sing to let the anger out).

Maybe you prefer softer songs. Maybe you like church choir (which were probably started to help people express their emotions along with their faith). Or maybe you like singing songs from a hundred years ago (pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile)? Actually I really like songs from the twenties too (most folks they keep complainin’ whether it’s shine or rainin’, never satisfied ’cause they never tried to be glad that they are livin’). Actually I don’t like the message in that last song. It’s got a good beat, but it encourages people to smile when they feel lonely. Don’t put on a fake face. It takes too much energy and it doesn’t ever reward anyone, especially you. But I digress…

Sometimes you need an anthem to empower you. Sometimes you just need it to get through the day. I find singing really therapeutic. Maybe because it’s the closet thing I can get to screaming without the neighbours calling the police on me.

So please – if you can’t talk, then sing. Even if there is no one to hear you, it helps. I promise ❤

Good luck everyone!

MdD