Personal Space Cakes

I went into hospital for a day last week, the culmination of a period of awfulness which I won’t dwell on as it was also the grossest thing ever, which no-one needs the details of…

Since then I’ve been trying to get on the beach every day, and do some yoga every day, for the last week or so. Not just trying, but bloody determined, to inch towards health again.

Today I decided to do both at the same time. Lovely. Morning yoga on a blissfully quiet beach in the sunshine, with just my dog, the rocks and the waves.

weirdos
This is how close they were. On a totally empty beach.

Until two ‘regular tourists’ (the kind who come several times a year) came and sat two feet from me. Literally, two feet away. I was in warrior three. They could have counted the stitches on the crotch of my leggings. Personal space, anyone?

I looked over, brows raised, but they didn’t move. So I finished my sequence, grabbed my jumper, and moved myself. Breathed deep, really deep, did some ‘fierce lion breaths, yeah’ and carried on with my practice.

I thought I dealt with it quite well. They are usually nice people, and I didn’t want to return rudeness for rudeness. They are also customers so it’s best to avoid the kind of rude I would have been. (What the actual fuck? Do you want to sit ON me? Because this couldn’t be any MORE uncomfortable than it already is!)

Unfortunately, I was mad as a cut snake. My emotions are a bit all over the place as I come off the antidepressants and recover from everything else. That or I just have PMT.

Then there was the silly cow with the insane dog…but we won’t get into that one.

Yoga and the beach, the things that always centre me – did not work!

But I went out for a lovely lunch and had a moan at my other half about it. Then we discussed going on holiday – much better.

Swell Lines

Then I had a shift in the Gallery. I intended to listen to some folk and make some more delicate drop earrings. I ended up listening to a lot of P!nk (explicit versions, ha) and making some big, bold statement pieces with lots of hammering involved. And I priced them higher than usual, because I am proud of them. I don’t even care if they sell or not.

That and a kick-ass training session (which felt easy, despite or maybe because of my week off training) and some writing, and I feel I’m on a bit more of an even keel.

Wonder what’ll capsize me tomorrow?! (No. Should be good. Family time.)

Cakes? Oh yeah. Made some sick cacao and peanut butter protein balls this eve. Not really cakes. But I liked the title.

Second biggest cause of workplace sickness

Lord Dennis Stevenson, CE of Mind, and Paul Farmer, chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, have written an independent mental health review which says 300,000 people lose their jobs over mental health every year.

300,000? Three HUNDRED THOUSAND?! This is the second biggest reason for workplace sickness. Wow. And yet…why does it surprise me?

From a personal standpoint, this issue has affected every stage of my life and career. College, where I was paralysed for about six months, doing nothing but reading books (that were nothing to do with my A-Level subjects) and rearranging my room. The deputy head was a saviour there, but they had no particular path to help available.

Two jobs, both of which I had to leave because I simply couldn’t do the work any more. One job was a major factor in my depression; the other team couldn’t have been more lovely and supportive. And the latter part of my PhD, where I had more than the usual amount of ‘I am never, ever going to get this done’ (the institution were great about it, and I did get there!).

It’s taken so, so long for me to be diagnosed, deal with and manage depression. Even knowing it isn’t just ‘a bit of a bad time’ or ‘moodiness’, and that it is a chronic condition. (Chronic just makes me think of Snoop Dogg and his blunts…I prefer ‘longtime’.)

Theresa May said: “It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is seen as just as positive as improving our physical wellbeing.” Yes. Just yes. Which is why I ain’t gonna hide it from anyone I work with again. (Difficult anyway, if I blog about it!) Sometimes I’m not very well, and I need to do whatever I need to do to feel better again. Simple enough…but often not. 

So the review has lots of good and positive steps, though we’ll see how they will translate into real action in real organisations, where managers are already stretched and maybe don’t have the capabilities to come up with a mental health plan. And it has to happen in smaller businesses too – they need support in order to be able to help employees.

Applause for the review, and of course for the Royals and other notables who are getting involved, and also the people like the ones on the Sky page, putting their experiences out there. On video. I ain’t brave enough for that!

World Mental Health Day

All right, it was yesterday, but I was feeling like the picture (left)…dark, damp and chasm-y… 

Everything the Royals are doing with Heads Together is so inspiring, and everywhere I go it seems there are conversations, promotions (Lloyds Bank today) and just a bit more understanding.

With the funeral yesterday of a 32-year old killed locally there was a lot of sadness around, and many people barely know how to deal with the more negative of their emotions. You don’t have to be happy all the time, or strong all the time. Getting drunk might help, but it’s not a lasting solution. Mates are important. Family.

I think Heads Together have got it so right with their new digital ideas too – online help and support is the way to go. If I want to explore possibilities for what the fuck is going on, those resources (especially other peoples’ experiences) are so useful.

For me this month, focusing over-hard on what I want to achieve has frightened me into inertia, and a lack of sleep in my nights and rhythm to my days has unhinged me a bit.

So tonight is an early one, and tomorrow will be better…like tonight’s sunset (same place, different focus).