Tag Archives: A Voluptuous Mind

A History of Silence

The other week was Mental Health Awareness Week and I had planned to post this then as a celebration of my own mental struggles – but of course I never got the time/had the energy to sit down and polish off the right words. I do think it’s great that this week is marked in the calendar and that it prompts so many valuable discussions. In the wake of the devastating news about Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbits, it feels especially poignant.

Where do you even start though when you’ve been plagued with doubt your whole life? And why does it always feel so narcissistic to talk non-stop about this stuff? I’ve dealt (and sometimes ignored) my own depression and anxiety since teen age. I always thought I was just supremely anti-social and lazy (I am lazy) but I’ve come to understand that it’s not that black and white. Sometimes the feeling of not being able to physically haul yourself out of bed isn’t just because you’re a sloth. As for being around too many people, that’s all symptom of the same condition. Some days I can’t bear the thought of having to deal with another living soul. My family used to describe me as sensitive and you know what, I really am – and there’s nothing wrong with it.

When I first moved to Brighton I was grappling not only with a dramatic move and adult life away from home but with crippling loneliness. I didn’t like myself very much, felt hideous 24/7 (adult acne did not help) and all I wanted to do was hide away. As I adapted to my new life some of that fell away but I’d fall hard for the wrong men and then feel everything ten fold. The first time I sought (not very good) assistance from a medical professional was because of a man (I had an affair with someone completely unavailable). Really it was about all those feelings backing up one on top of the other and having no understanding of how to deal but the boy was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I was immediately medicated with no other discussion and whatever I took then was not the one. My doctor was well-meaning but not exactly open to a conversation about mental health and I guess I didn’t really care to understand the whys then, I just wanted to be ‘fixed’.

A few years later, during my black period (age 24-30), I was in a very bad place. I was trapped in a relationship that was slowly killing me. For the most part I was numb and uncaring about everything but inside I felt trapped, scared and I did not want to be part of anything anymore. I walked on eggshells around a man that scared and controlled me in subtle ways. When he told me I was crazy I believed him. When he told me I was lucky he didn’t hit women, I believed him.

Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing and it’s sometimes hard to remember how bad things were then but they were the pits. I thought seriously about ending it and planned my out meticulously, something I’ve never really told anyone and certainly nobody at the time. I had it all mapped out but now I think if I’d gone through with it, it would have been a cry for help. Not to trivialise the choice to end a life, I have every sympathy for anyone in that position but I personally wanted a way out or for someone to reach out and tell me what to do. I’m thankful I didn’t act on that and one day did find the strength to leave him. I still dream about that time and live in dread that one day I might bump into him again.

Life since has been up and down of course because it’s life but it’s been good. That anxiety though just doesn’t want to let go. Everywhere I go I am constantly wrestling with the internal voice that tells me I’m worthless and failing at everything. Every time I walk into a new social situation I’m sure everyone hates me – and I will often lie awake at night because I forgot to say goodbye to someone and have probably upset them in some irreparable way.

It’s a funny old battle – the war between this negative voice and the real me – but they are both me and we have to find a way to co-exist. I’m medicated again, I started up on Sertraline about ten months ago and it seems to be suiting me. My lovely doctor also got me signed up to some CBT training and counselling and has generally been adorable every time I’ve rocked up to her office and sobbed my heart out. I’ve been lucky this time and things feel more manageable. Some environmental changes can trigger a particularly bad period but other than that I’m coping.

My heart goes out to anyone with the same feelings and it breaks my heart when another person loses their battle but I understand. Suicide doesn’t make a person weak and if that’s the only way to find peace then I get it – although I would hope there’s always another way.

Things might be getting better and there is less stigma attached to these mental conditions but we still have a long way to go.

Here are a few deeply relatable illustrations about anxiety that I love:

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So much for Motivated May, eh? I had all these plans to keep the posts flowing throughout Mental Health Awareness Week and then… I couldn’t muster the energy. Instead I had a very chilled week, mainlined Safe on Netflix and spent time with my beloved. Which sometimes is all the self-care you need.

MHAW was a busy one at work though with workshops every day which I made sure I attended. While they won’t change my life forever, they have given me plenty of food for thought. Particularly when it comes to diet, direct sunlight and digital behaviour. I’m not talking going on a diet obviously, I’m talking about the things I ‘should’ be eating for optimum mental health – fermented foods like kimchi, anyone? Sauerkraut with every meal? I’m definitely falling short of my 5 a day (bare minimum) and probably should swap out my daily Wispa for an apple but we’ll see.

Apparently you’re also supposed to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight into YOUR EYEBALLS every lunchtime too – which I definitely do not do, what with being ginger and mutant and all.

For me it’s the digital side of things that is the real problem, I’m the worst for falling down a blue light rabbit hole before bed and not being able to sleep – so I’m looking at what I can do to rein that in. So much of the time I spend on social media could not be considered ‘quality’ and I can do without it. That’s what books were invented for, right?

All in all I think I’m in an okay place. I was going to do a whole spiel for the week about my history with depression and hey, I still will but in a few days when I get my act together. In the meantime, I’m just here thinking about life and kicking myself that May wasn’t the hive of activity I planned it to be. Joyous June, anyone?

Consider this a check in, filler post while I sort out my life.

How are you?

Update on Anxiety

My anxiety has been more in check these last couple of weeks since the panic attack but I am definitely feeling more sensitive to certain things. Like, if there are too many people at an event, I’m out thanks. I’ve always been this way to a point (50% introvert, 50% extrovert donchaknow?) but as the nicer weather starts to show its face and large pockets of people congregate all over the place, it fills me with dread. Even if they are all smiley and happy.

I’m not against joy or anything and I love people really, even though I pretend I don’t – but large collectives stress me out. Even at my own events (like I throw those regularly!), I feel like I can’t sufficiently spread my attentions around and get flappy. So I’m feeling a bit angsty lately and fighting the urge to hide away – I say fighting because so far I’m winning, go me.

These kind of introspective periods make me think a lot about what I’m doing with my life and although I’m pretty happy, I’m starting to lose patience with some things and some people. I think I just have to keep reminding myself that I have the power to make changes, however small.

Thankfully it’s the Bank Holiday weekend and I’ve got lots of plan to podcast, watch movies, see good friends and just chill the fuck out, without having to make any big plan yet.

Bring it on.

Motivated May

I am hereby renaming this coming month Motivated May and vow to post at least three times a week for the month.

I have so many book reviews and half-completed drafts in my folder that I’d love to finally publish – plus, it won’t hurt me to have a think about the posts I write for a while. Film reviews are great and I love doing them with Jill but I have more in me, I swear.

In other news, I’ve started a film blog over at Thursday Night at the Movies where I talk solely about films I’ve seen in the cinema. It’s going pretty well and encouraging me to go to the theater as much as possible and see things I might not normally. Have a glance, if you’re into it.

So, a busy month ahead, which is good because I’m never happier than when I’m watching movies, blogging and podcasting.

See you soon!

Catch Up

 

Remember when blogs were a form of journalling? When we’d write down what we’d done in that day or how we felt about certain things as if our online space was a fluffy pink lockable diary from the 80’s? (Nineties, 2000’s, whatever).

I feel like somewhere along the line I’ve lost what blogging means to me – even more so every person and their barista has an internet presence, be it a snarky Twitter feed or a mini-blog in the form of Instagram stories, is it even a thing anymore? As I type that I know that doesn’t matter at all, I’ve never had that much of a following and that’s completely fine – the interaction I’ve had via my blog has been meaningful and life-affirming in a way 10k likes could never be (I’m assuming).

I do this for myself first and I can’t imagine that ever-changing. But I do want to get back to a more passionate place. I love reviewing films, I love talking about books and TV I like too – but where are the feelings, where is the truth? So I’ll be exploring that in my posts moving on. Who knows where this will take me?

Anyway, a catch up, Dear Diary! My husband and I are currently on annual leave and I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying doing absolutely nothing. Films, Drag Race and reading in the bath, none of the spring cleaning I’d planned to do, none of the socialising I imagined myself doing (that part’s an out-and-out lie, sorry). It’s what we need right now and I’m not going to fight my desire to nest.

We also just got back from a few days in Amsterdam which was really lovely and chilled. We didn’t go as crazy as that city sometimes warrants but we wandered and ate and took a boat trip and looked at dicks in the sex museum and generally just hung out – it was perfect.

I didn’t partake in Amsterdam’s number one delicacy but I still enjoyed sitting outside the coffee shops, watching people. It’s such a cool city just to be in.

Today I’m catching up on blogging, both here and on my film blog, watching a few films for the podcast and I might do a Trixie Mattel inspired make up look, if I’m feeling it. I’m absolutely loving the freedom to chill out in my pants and do what I like. Tomorrow we’re doing a double bill at the flicks. All in all, a good week is (un)planned and I intend to enjoy it before reality comes knocking again.

Have a good week all!

I am 3

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Hello there!

A Voluptuous Mind turned 3 on Friday so welcome to the annual birthday post! I’m probably just going to freestyle this bad boy rather than follow any sort of structure this year which is part laziness/part not really having my head in the game – but I think that’s cool. (See previous years 1 & 2).

So! Three, eh? I wish I could remember what I was doing at three. I had a newish baby brother so back then that would have been the most exciting thing going down in my world. If we could time travel back, you would probably find me obsessed with two things: Papa Smurf and Wonder Woman. Unless that came just a little bit later in life. Remembering is hard, man.

But three is a good old age. It’s the age that people start telling you kids get interesting, with more defined personalities. I feel the same way about this blog in some ways. I’ve always had a voice sure, but since I stopped worrying about not having a ‘theme’ or definite manifesto, I’ve been having more fun.

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I love the things I talk about and I think the only thing I really want to apply to future posts is more candidness. The things that have happened over the last fortnight with my Mother-in-Law have changed my outlook, I swear and I’m entering the next phase of life with a more devil-may-care attitude. All that means is more honesty, more carefully picked fucks and a shit ton more swearing – but I’m really looking forward to being more open.

Jill and I will continue to review films with more emphasis on the kind of movies that made us want to do this in the first place – the bad ones. Apart from that, no plans, just doing.

So here’s to A Voluptuous Mind’s Level 3 – I’m ready to kick some fucking arse, yo!

Who’s with me? ❤

Blue Monday

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I was going to do a whole schtick about Blue Monday and my ‘cure’ for such days but, on reading the post back, I realised it was coming off too flippant. Like, ha the cure for any bad day is obviously Jason Momoa’s Instagram, and while I wish more than anything it was that simple, I know it’s not.

All I can say is that anyone affected by anxiety and Mental Health Issues, I hope you get the help you need. You’re not alone, no matter how much it might feel that way.

And maybe Blue Monday is a good thing if it gets us all talking about the January Blues and how depressing it can all be. Maybe in knowing something like this is coming we can better arm ourselves against it? Practicing self-care is incredibly important, be that a bubble bath or taking the whole day off social media to protect yourself from triggering news. We gotta do what we gotta do, right? There’s no other way.

This isn’t meant to be a woe is me post personally but I know how it feels to feel hopeless and trapped and terrified, something I’ve held on to for way too long, let me tell you. And it rears its ugly head in the form of anxiety and doubt all the time. But things can get better, do get more manageable and they can change.

They can change for you too. 💙

If you’re in the UK, you can dial 116 123 to get through to The Samaritans.
This is a handy looking list of Mental Health helplines is good too.

Oh, just in case, this is Momoa’s Insta. 💙