Last year I did two blog posts a day for Blogmas. It was at a time when I did not leave the house and when writing was my distraction. The content was not fantastic and the images were even worse but it took my mind off real life.
Doing Blogmas last year was a challenge; I was sleeping about 18 hours a day or not sleeping at all, I just had no get up and go to write something and I spent longer thinking about methods to kill myself than about anything else. Christmas 2015 was a terrible place to be but everything here looked very normal and simple and for a while I was able to hide the extent of my mental illness behind the blog posts.
Fast forward a year and here we are getting into the festive spirit of 2016; the year of sporadic blogging. As my mental health failed me through the first half of the year the blog fell apart. I was barely getting dressed let alone using any products or going to places to discuss and generally I wanted to avoid this blog becoming a diary and soon days without posting turned into weeks and sometimes months. As things took a more positive turn I felt more able to blog again and put more time and dedication into each post I do. If a post is not good enough it does not go up and with that Blogmas was going to be a challenge.
If you did not know, I work shifts five days a week (including a Sunday) and go to college on a Wednesday. With an unpredictable work schedule and a barrel load of college work to do I barely have the time or energy to do the hoovering let alone sit down and produce content I am happy with for an entire month. So by the time Friday came I had run out of prepared content and working 11am-5pm, after a 10pm finish the day before, gave me no time to get a post ready for 5:30pm and I felt so guilty and like I had failed myself.
But I never really announced I was doing Blogmas for that exact reason. The chance of failure was too high and when that hit I knew it would take several days for me to dust the dirt off and get back on with it. So here we are and I cannot say the weekend was just a blip and content shall continue because my time is limited and honestly my brain is too frazzled to think of things you as readers would enjoy.
I had hoped Christmas 2016 would be the proof I needed that I was over everything that had troubled me for the previous Christmas or two but instead those feelings linger. Blogmas has not lifted me into the festive spirit and the whole idea of Christmas has left my eyes red and my emotional state fragile.
It took me two hours of sitting in my coat and shoes on Saturday to leave the house and I only managed it because my partner decided to come with me. When I did I nearly punched seven people in the card shop alone for their lack of manners, elbows in the back and in one case snatching an envelope from me. I nearly purchased stuff not needed instead of the intended items just to get in and out of shops quicker because the music was so loud it was overwhelming me and my thoughts as well as hurting my ears.
On Saturday I realised my anxiety had not gone anywhere and that I had simply found my way of managing had been avoiding the things that triggered it to the point of panic attacks. I struggle walking through town to get to work but I have somewhere to be and people have treated me more like a human being since I started work again so I battle through (reapply spray and allow myself to calm and de-sweat before heading into the office). It reminded me I am still recovering and how to the outsider everything can look “normal” once more.
And by Saturday night I was curled up in a ball weeping. I hate Christmas and all the people that flock to town with the loud music and general cheery atmosphere but also because I felt weak. I felt ashamed I could not manage the shopping alone and that I am not better. I fely bad that my hatred of Christmas only grows as I remember to me how Christmas is about family but how I am increasingly distant from family and how others have passed away this year. I felt angry at myself and at 2016.
I am still weak and every day I add another lego brick to the protective wall around me but it is fragile and needs a lot of work still. And whilst life is uncertain I have learnt and being reminded of a few of things:
- I will not let the setback of one bad day ruin everything. A couple of bricks may have fallen but that allows me to re-build everything stronger.
- Blogging is about enjoying it and producing good content. Missing one day of Blogmas does not make me a bad blogger it makes me human (who has other commitments to juggle).
- The concept of Christmas may be increasingly tough and 2016 may have made me angry but this is about focussing on 2017 and using that bad stuff to make things better.
- In a loving relationship you support each other. He goes to town with me and I offer to proof-read academic writings. You give but it is also acceptable to take and you work best by going on the see-saw together.
- Just because things ARE better does not mean talking about the bad days and the bad feelings has to stop. People have seen the darkest side of you and they handled that so sharing fears and concerns is not going to scare them away. Everybody has bad days and whether it is getting angry about the car the splashed a puddle on you or explaining why Christmas is tough it is okay to not be constantly happy and “well”.
Recovery takes time and can be an up and down process but the hurdles are tiny compared to the ones we jumped to get out of the dark hole to begin with. Blogmas may have failed and Christmas might be tough but I have got over worse and dwelling on it too much takes away from all the things achieved since this time last year.
Look after yourself and remember to share your feelings.