A nice weekend

I’m slowly getting more effective at knowing how busy I like to be and what I do and don’t like to do.

  • I think I prefer working out in the morning. Get up. Get it done. Otherwise it looms over me. I’m discovering that having my clothes ready to go, and also a Podcast or Audible Book lined up makes me more inclined to want to get up. Also getting 8 hours sleep helps.
  • I like having 1 – 3 hours to myself a day alone, no less than 1 hour, but not much more than 2 really. I like that time to potter about at home, watch something on TV or do some journalling. More than that, and I can get a bit anxious, especially if I am around my phone. But if I can get out of my head and into an activity, or book, I’m all good.
  • I went to a friend’s 30 at the weekend. It was a BBQ that started at 4PM. I had 3 – 4 drinks and stayed till 9.30 and caught up with everyone I wanted too. Although I felt 5% anxious leaving early ish and not going out, a few other people had left by then and I stuck with my gut urge and didn’t feel to bad. Result? I woke up and made it to yoga on Sunday without a hangover!

We are all weird. The little things.

I work with a funny little bunch of people.

Pete, my MD and ‘Australian Dad’ who has taken me under his wing and is the most laidback boss ever. A teddy bear with the kindest heart.

Harry, my creative partner who turned 40 today. Shy and awkward when you first meet him, but a hugely talented artist with a quick, witty sense of humour when he feels comfortable and a love of comic books and heavy metal.

Steph, my assistant. 21 but more sassy and punchy than the rest of us put together. She often tells us what to do. (I’m a bit intimidated.)

Stephen in accounts. He loves his little daily routines (one soy cap, black instant in the afternoon). Super chilled but very anal about a tidy desk.

August. Food developer and lover of snacks (kept under lock and key). Eats his way across Melbourne at the weekends. A gentle giant who I’ve seen build in confidence over the past two years.

It’s funny. You take the little things for granted. I joined this company 2 years ago when I was going through a lot myself (struggling with severe anxiety after a break up and fall out with my parents for moving to Australia). Since then they supported me through my coming out journey as colleagues and friends. I felt like I had a little, dysfunctional Aussie family when I wasn’t speak to my own.

I’ve never dreaded coming to work on a Monday. In fact, my main issue is just how relaxed it is. I don’t feel like I am really learning or growing (perhaps as I am already at manager level and my interest doesn’t lie in marketing). Now I am thinking about leaving and doing a masters I’m already looking at work through a nostalgic lens. It has been the perfect environment for me to be in, feel welcome and able to be myself. Able to relax, and allow the anxiety of all the change to subside.

My gut is telling me it is time for more now though, but part of me wants to stay here, in the safety of my little 10 minute walking commute and loving team.

Foggy

I feel foggy today.

I didn’t sleep well. Lottie came in late from work and I hadn’t been to sleep.

I then had a few nightmares which were quite scary.

I woke up late and didn’t have time to meditate.

I’m now crabby, foggy and tired at my desk.

What can I do now to change this mentality?

Get one task at work done and done well.

Meditate at lunch time and go for a walk.

Tonight, actually go to yoga.

Then go home and watch episode 2 of Killing Eve (my new favourite show).

 

Where did the nightmares come from? I think perhaps the fact that I am thinking about quitting my job and studying brings with it some fear. Fear of change and the unknown when what I know is comfortable and familiar. I will try and meet that fear head on.

 

 

Comfort or growth

I have a dilemma. Do I stay in my job which

Is nice, fun and relaxing.

I enjoy showing up for each day.

Gives me a good salary, good vacation time and a VISA to stay in Australia.

Has a friendly, small team.

But leaves me twiddling my thumbs with not much to do feeling like it is all a bit pointless…

Or do I change and study counselling.

Hard work.

Expensive.

A leap into the unknown.

Who knows where it will lead?

Will I be a good counsellor?

Will I even like counselling?

 

I just stumbled upon this article How to Do What you Love and found it useful.

 

Staycation

I’m sat at my desk after two weeks off. It has been bliss. I’m normally such a do’er. I plan lots in; holidays, day trips, chores, but this time I didn’t.

We were away for 3 nights,

had a chilled Christmas Day at ours with other expat friends,

a low-key New Year’s on a roof top in Fitzroy (in bed by 1.30),

sorted a few bits around the house (but still stuff outstanding),

repetitively toyed with the idea of getting a cat or dog (neither yet, but leaning towards a cat as less admin).

That’s it, most days we had no plans at all.

I got up and meditated for 10 minutes + 10 minutes of Duo Lingo (a New Year resolution addition) then made a breakfast smoothie for us both.

Maybe we’d go to yoga or sit in the park with our books.

Perhaps we’d try a new restaurant for dinner, see a friend for coffee or watch a film at home. Perhaps not.

It was bliss.

 

 

Feeling positive and at peace

I feel good! Those suicidal thoughts and dissipated at the moment entirely.

What helped?

I think having a little break from work (2 weeks off over Christmas) has been good for me. Getting away from screens and social media, breaking my routines and spending quality time with my partner and friends, often in the sunshine and going for walks.

That sense of sad nostalgia I felt in December with Christmas looming has passed. I think a lot of people get it. You remember the old days, when you were little and Christmas was a big family event and December filled with fun parties. Moving abroad, Christmas is definitely smaller and you’re reminded of what you’re missing at home on social media. You remember new family tensions and feel guilt about being away, especially as your family are getting older or young cousins and nephews are growing up so fast. If you don’t have much family, or speak to them, you’re reminded of that as everyone else is seeing theirs.

But the little worries I had in December were just worries and by the time Christmas came I had mostly let them go. Created my own rituals with my girlfriend (stockings and then a walk in Fawkner Park followed by a main present at home with a glass of bucks fizz). Lunch was a roast dinner with turkey or vegi sausages on the BBQ (our Aussie twist) followed by Ice cream and sorbet. And we had friends over for lunch and games and then all went to the beach for sunset and a cocktail. We came back for a cheese board and watched half of Mean Girls on TV together. We overate and drank a lot. It was bliss.

I’ve also been quite diligent in my Meditation, often twice a day for 10 minutes. Once in the morning with the Waking Up app (followed by a little journal session and list for the day of what I want to do), and once later on, usually on the Headspace app whilst I’m sunbathing or lying on my bed. I’ve actually just added 10 minutes of Duo Lingo Spanish into the morning session (day one today).

I’ve been reading a bit more, opting for books I want to read but which are easy. So it makes it that bit more doable.

I’ve been walking and cycling around Melbourne and doing a bit of yoga and running. But not in an obsessive routine way, just naturally and when I feel like it.

I had my first shift as a telephone counsellor and it went well. I was super anxious before but able to be present and actually enjoy it. I feel proud of myself for facing my fear and felt this might be a future career progression for me so the fact I enjoyed it so much has entrenched that gut feeling I’ve been having over the past few months and I am now loosely looking into counselling masters courses.

I’ve given up dairy, something I have tried in the past. Chocolate is more of an issue than cheese for me but there are good vegan alternatives, and chocolate sorbet is delicious so I’m coping at the moment. I’m doing it as a January test, but with the intention of being a long term change to my diet. I often feel sick and bloated after cheese but hadn’t had the will power to make the change until now.

One nice thing we have done is buy a calendar white board which you fill in month to month. It immediately lets you look forward to certain things and put things in you want to do. I think it is a good way to help keep you’re mind focussed ahead and feel organised and on track. I got ours from Officeworks and I’m excited about filling it in each month, and if it looks bare ever, looking up different things to do or try.

I go back to work on Monday, and I am worried I’ll slip back into old negative thought patterns, but actually, not too nervous. I feel stronger now than at the start of December, and feel that having come through that dark depression, I am in a better place, and although it wasn’t nice, it has helped me get here. I think I know the warning signs a bit more too. Let’s see how I go. Happy New Year to you.

 

A few from Christmas Day 

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Yesterday I told my partner I have been feeling suicidal.

It wasn’t planned. We were away in Daylesford, a country town in Victoria, for a few nights. She knew I was interested in mental health and had bought me ‘Reasons to stay alive’ as one of my Christmas presents (sounds more morbid than it is). It wasn’t bought with any intent, but I did feel a pang of nerves and the thud of intense irony when I opened it. Only weeks prior I had been feeling very depressed and suicidal. Right now I would say it is fleeting, thoughts flick onto my radar about once a day but I haven’t felt completely consumed by them (meditation and journalling help).

When it peaked a few weeks ago, my psychologist told me to tell two people how I had been feeling and I just plucked up the courage to tell one friend last week, but somehow telling my partner just made it all very real. I didn’t want her to be constantly worrying about me, and I didn’t want to have to think about whether she was thinking about it all the time or if I was quiet that something was wrong. So I held back. My friend was hugely supportive though. It is a friend who lives in Sydney so I felt a nice level of space, but she is someone I am very close with. She was sad, worried and surprised, but comforted by the fact I had told my psychologist and they were not worrying too much and making week to week plans for me. She did contact more more than usual over the next few days, but now our relationship has gone back to normal. I told her I had told my partner this morning and I think that was nice for her, as I do think it is a lot for one person to carry. So between my psych, friend and partner it’s a good split maybe.

It feels weirdly nice to tell people too. I do feel a lot of guilt putting it on them, and a level of embarrassment, but compared with how bad the depression feels it helps and lightens the load a little bit by talking about it.

I was reading my new book aloud to my partner yesterday and a few chapters in we started talking about depression and I just made myself say it.

You know I said I was feeling a bit depressed a few weeks ago, well, I’ve actually been feeling suicidal. I don’t want to freak you out, I’m not going to do anything. But I thought you should know. I don’t really feel like that now. But yeah. It’s pretty scary. I’m speaking it through with my psych too though, and I told Lizzy as well, so don’t ever feel like it’s pressure on you. I love you and it doesn’t change that. 

She’s a very open, understanding and empathetic person so her immediate response was sadness that I had been going through it, but she was glad I had told her and said she was there for me. I do feel a relief from sharing the burden, and a little bit of guilt, but mostly relief. Stuff felt a bit weird last night, like it was on both our minds, but today, the dust seems to have settled a bit.

I know what I said is pretty full on so just digest it, and if you want to talk about it I’m happy to, and equally if you need support speak to your friends or family. I don’t mind other people knowing. 

I think I’m on a bit of a vulnerability come down now. We are back in Prahran, Lottie has gone to a yoga class and I’m relaxing on the sofa writing this.

I also just watched this which I found quite comforting.