Tag: adulting

An anniversary, of sorts.

This post deviates from the usual light-hearted tone I try to keep with this blog. It does have a happy ending, though!

Some facebook ‘memories’ photos have been showing up in my feed for me to share, and that made me realise a rather relevant anniversary for me.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of when I’d acknowledged that depression was completely kicking my arse, and I’d tucked my tail between my legs and run back to my dads house. The photo that prompted this post was taken on my first night back, when I went out for a meal with my mum, sisters, brother in law, aunt and cousin. I was attempting to present an image to the world that I was fine. I have a rather fixed grin on my face that does little to hint at how unwell I was inside. I spent the next 3 weeks as a sobbing wreck on dad’s settee, whilst trying to figure out how to fix myself.

I won’t dwell too much on the circumstances that had led me to that point. In essence, it was a perfect storm of circumstances – I am prone to seasonal depression over the winter months due to longer nights. I hadn’t managed to pull myself out of that when I started on some medication that was supposed to be able to help me quit smoking – but one of the side effects of that medication is depression. To add to all this, I was embroiled in a rather awful situation in my own life.

Sometimes, I look back and feel ashamed that I didn’t cope better. Because I’m supposed to be better than that. Then I total up everything that was going on, and realise that I shouldn’t have ever expected myself to be superwoman in the first place. I doubt there are many people out there who have the mental and emotional fortitude to deal with such circumstances without there being some kind of effect.

It sounds pretty rough, and it was – it was the lowest point of my life so far. I was really ill. But in my mind it marks the beginning of when I really started to take responsibility for my own mental health, and started making positive changes in my own life. I stopped taking those bloody quit smoking tablets, and switched to anti depressants. I worked towards letting go of the anger and bitterness over the situation I was in. I also became a bit more selfish – I realised that I do actually matter, and I owed it to myself to live a good life and to look after myself better.

I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come in the space of a year. I realised I have a network of solid and amazing people who I can approach for support when I need it. More to the point, I’ve let go of any shame in actually approaching those people when I do need a bit of a help. I have an amazing boyfriend in my life. I’ve moved forward in my career. I’ve adopted some of the principles touted by cognitive behaviour therapy to let go of my tendency towards warped thinking – in essence, let go of dwelling on the negative, and instead take a positive step forward. It wasn’t always easy. In fact, at times it was downright torture in my own head – but it has paid off. My life feels pretty amazing right now as a result – and it was me that got me there (with a little lot of help from my friends).

Now, that may not seem like much, but it’s pretty huge for me. I’m not 100% back to my old self – but that is not surprising. I have changed as a person (hopefully) for the better as a result of my experiences, so my old self is not someone I need or even want to be any more. I’ve lost nothing, and gained so much.

To sum up this post – depression is an absolute beast. Not only does it drag you down, it keeps you down by taking away the motivation to do anything to help yourself. I can only encourage anyone else going through this to please get help. Reach out to family and friends. See a doctor. Get therapy. Try anything and everything. It won’t be easy, but you’re worth it, even if your brain is currently telling you that you deserve all the shit that life is currently throwing at you. Your brain on depression is your worst enemy. Life can and will get better, and there is nothing shaming about accepting that you can’t always do it alone.

I am no longer depressed – I haven’t been for a good while now. I do still have my anxious moments. I know that I can’t allow myself to fall down that pit again, and I try to be very aware of the signs my own body and mind give me that I could be headed that way. I’m terrified of getting that ill again – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But that anxiety is merely the very last remnant of a time that is now in the past, and I am very eager for it to stay there. It’s the final thing to let go of – and I will throw it away, because I know it’s not worthy of being a part of me, and has no place in the life I want to have.

There you have it – I’m better, and I’m always working to get even more better. I am a work in progress, and I always will be. And the same goes for everyone else. So here’s the deal for me and everyone who is reading this – decide to be awesome, and keep being awesome. It’s worth it.

* One resource that helped me greatly is the MoodGYM training program. It’s free to use, and is accessed online: MoodGYM.

The consequences of exercise.

It was pointed out to me last night by a friend that I have been neglectful of my blog, and I needed to sort that out. Of course, she was right. She usually is!

So, a lot has been going on for me – new job, new prospects. It’s all been very exciting, and I do have plenty of blog fodder! The main thing is making the time to get it all written down. My most immediate blog fodder for now, though, is the self inflicted pain I have lived with today.

I have found myself working once again with a former colleague who is currently training for a marathon. Which means lunch time jogging. I’ve been off the exercise bandwagon for a short while now, so I decided that yesterday lunch time would be the perfect time to get in on this exercise malarkey again. Exercise is good, after all!

Me being me, I opted to not consider the consequences of going from sedentiary to an hour long five mile jog. On one hand, I should probably be pleased that I managed it with only 10 minutes of walking. That said, I had an awful night sleep due to the pain in my legs and hips.

It took me longer to get ready for work due to the difficulty I had in standing up, putting on jeans, putting on socks, shoes, etc. If I don’t move enough in a 10 minute timeframe, I feel like the lower half of my body has seized up. Going from standing to sitting, or vice versa, is sheer agony.

I have spent most of today walking like a duck.

The lesson here is probably that exercise is bad. I’ll need to practice this jogging thing more next week when the pain has gone away. Until then, I’ll probably see if I can convince the bloke to learn how to do sports massage.

I have no issues recruiting minions to do my dirty work.

Over the weekend, I attended a pool party for the blokes youngest. Of course, I ended up in the pool, because inflatables and floats are so much fun.

Amongst the inflatables were a load of balls. I proceeded to amuse myself throwing these at the bloke. Sadly, my aim is poor. Really, I was getting totally trounced in the floating ball battle, so I opted to take decisive action around the time he threw one that hit me right in the face.

I realised I needed an army. Given only our small party was in the pool, this was actually quite simple. I handed my stash of balls to the small group of children and suggested they needed to start throwing them at the bloke, because it would be funny. This worked perfectly, since they were all better at this aiming and throwing malarkey.

I think it was up to half an hour later when they got bored of this. Still, that was half an hour in which I was highly amused at what I had wrought. And then I got dunked a few times after, which I guess was fair, since I had recruited minions to do my dirty work.

I regret nothing. 😀

On cake days and being 21

Yesterday, I became another year older. If anyone asks, I’m 21 again. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Still, as I get older, my cake day seems to mean less and less. Which is a consequence of adulting, I guess.

I do miss the sense of anticipation I used to get for my birthday, though. To try and get around that this year, I ‘borrowed’ the blokes family to go out for a meal to celebrate. It’s probably the most I’ve done for my birthday in a very long time. I had a great time – but my anticipation was more for the actual meal than for the birthday itself. Not a bad thing, but at some point I’ll just have to accept that anticipating my birthday is a thing of the past. Or that I’m kind of food obsessed.

Still, cake day. The tradition here is to bring cake to the office for your birthday. My birthday falls at the time of year where the schools are on half term, plus Easter weekend is always somewhere close by. This means the office is generally quiet as people typically book the entire week off as a holiday.  In my case, the universe has *obviously* conspired to keep it cheap for me, as I don’t have to buy so much cake due to the lower number of people at work. It’s probably hubris on my part to see this as a birthday present from the calendar for me, but I’ll take it.

The next thing I’m anticipating is Dark Souls 3 coming out. It’s to be a belated birthday present, since the release date here is 12th April, last I checked. Now that’s something I’m really excited about. Expect a death-tage video shortly after that date!

The Politeness Trap

Many of us are conditioned to be polite from an early age. This could just take the form of minding our P’s and Q’s, or taking advice from an etiquette book.

This post has been prompted by another wander down memory lane. A parcel arrived for my birthday (which is tomorrow) over the Easter weekend, from my Aunt, which made me remember a previous birthday.

Anyways, a while ago, my Aunt had sent me a parcel for my birthday. It never actually arrived. This led to a fun chain of events and assumptions.

So, etiquette dictates that I send a ‘thanks for the present’ via some medium. However, it also dictates that while gifts are given, they are not to be expected.

I received no present, but felt it would be rude to chase it up. I certainly didn’t feel entitled to a present, so I wrote it off in my mind. I figured she had been busy with life, and forgot.

On the flip side, my Aunt received no message from me to thank her for the present, or event to let her know it had arrived. She wrote it off in her mind, thinking that I probably got busy and forgot.

Both of us were so hung up on being polite. I never thought to get in touch and say ‘Hey, where’s my present?’, whilst Aunt never thought to prod me with a ‘Hey, you never thanked me for your present!’.

It was months later when my father mentioned to me that Aunt had told him I never thanked her for the gift. Prompting me to say ‘I thought she hadn’t sent one!’. So we eventually had a conversation about it, which was summed up by ‘You know I wouldn’t not get you a present for your birthday!’ and ‘You know I wouldn’t forget to let you know I had received and was thankful for the present!’. Long story short, Aunt sent me another present, and this one arrived. Which was awesome.

The story has a happy ending. Though if we’d both been less polite, there would probably be less of a story here. I guess I just found it interesting that one of the social constructs in place to prevent hurt feelings – simple politeness – could have in this case caused hurt feelings on both sides.

I guess the message here is that whilst I do place a high value on politeness, sometimes we should let it slide a bit with people who are close to us to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings. In essence – politeness can trap you into the wrong assumption.

So, I’m pigeon blind.

Or something. What would be the term for seeing all medium size birds as pigeons?

I didn’t grow up in a rural area. The bloke did. We were outdoors on adventures this weekend, and he pointed out a Jay. Well, he called it a Jay. I looked at it, and I was sure it looked like a pigeon. I still am.

Then last night, we were watching Planet Earth after dinner. It was an antarctic/arctic themed one. I could swear that one of the birds in flight hunting another bird looked like a pigeon.

So now the bloke is (probably quite rightly) mocking me.

I still maintain that in both instances, the birds looked like pigeons to me. Ok, the second instance definitely wasn’t a pigeon. I believe David Attenborough. He strikes me as a trustworthy chap when it comes to wildlife.

That Jay was definitely a pigeon though. Pride is on the line, so even if it wasn’t, it totally was. Hmmph!

First world problematic decisions

One of the reasons I’ve been somewhat lax in my posting schedule recently is that I was wrestling with a career decision. Since it was occupying my mind, it was something of a struggle thinking of blog posts to write. And well – career decision. I couldn’t exactly post about it publicly.

This week, I did finally make a decision, which I’m pretty much sure means I now get to talk about it.

So – I’m relatively happy in my current job. I’m well set to progress up the career ladder, with some plans in that direction being mentioned to me. The work is fulfilling. I’m treated very well. So, it would take something pretty major to make me turn my head to another job.

Well, that happened. I was approached by a former awesome manager about a role in another company. At first, I did it due service – I checked it out, thinking that I most likely wouldn’t  jump ship because I am happy where I am.

What followed was a few weeks of flip flopping in my head. Current company is large, and has the issues that you will get working for any large company – that feeling of being a small cog in a very impressive machine. The other role is at a smaller company, meaning that anyone invited to work there will definitely have the feeling of making a difference.

In terms of problems, this has been a rather nice one to have. It’s certainly not a situation I’ve been in before, and likely won’t be again!

A lot of my own personal satisfaction comes from feeling like I’m actually relevant. Which speaks volumes about my ego. I spent a long few weeks writing up pros and cons for both jobs. It was ultimately a narrow thing. I didn’t discuss the problem with my current workplace, as this was not a decision driven by money – I wanted to avoid a situation of offers and counter offers. Some people will probably see me as somewhat crazy for going with that approach, but my own self image means I’m not going to behave like a complete mercenary.

As you can probably guess if you’ve read this far, I’ve opted to jump ship. I’m happy with my decision, and I’ve done it in a way that leaves me little leeway to change my mind. I do feel somewhat guilty, admittedly, as like I said – I have been treated very well. To my current workplaces credit, they have been very understanding and have let me know that if there is anything they can do to change my mind, I should mention it. Which is always a nice thing to hear – but I will stick to my decision as I don’t believe in messing people around. In return, I have a month of probably long hours to make sure that all the things I have started are finished, or left in as perfect a condition as I can manage.

I’ll be sad to go, but ultimately, I am very excited about moving on. I won’t get to see some of the things I put in motion through to fruition, but I have a boat load of new challenges to look forward to. I suspect that while I’ll have regrets at some point, I’d regret not chasing a new challenge even more – and that was the one thing that ultimately made my decision for me.

I found the holy grail.


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Cheesy chips and gravy!

Do you know how hard this is to find in the south of England?!?

I grew up with the expectation that chips from a chip shop could be served with delicious chip shop gravy and a smothering of cheese.

You don’t even *see* gravy on chip shop menus any further south than Birmingham. Apparently, it’s ‘just not done’. I have been sustaining myself for almost 10 years buying plain chips, and adding the cheese and gravy when I get them home. Thankfully, the chip shop is right next door, so the chips don’t get cold during this process. But FINALLY, yesterday – I found it. The holy grail of fast food, in the south.

Granted, I didn’t find this in a chip shop. The bloke and I ventured to a place called Bread and Meat for lunch. By chance, I saw something on the menu called ‘Poutine’, with a description of squeaky cheese and home made gravy. Heaven forbid we give something a common name here. This is Cambridge, dahling. I’m pretty sure the name justifies the £5 price tag.

But you know what? I’ll pay that £5 for cheesy chips and gravy, since that combination is apparently just not done down here. Just very much as a one off, for sake of my wallet.

If by some chance you have never tried this combination, I’d highly recommend it. Trust me.

Respect the facilities

First off, I don’t think of myself as a particularly judgmental person. However, there are some things that will make me judge people.

In particular, signage in toilets. Or office wide emails about toilet issues.

This may have been prompted by an office-wide email asking for the second time in as many weeks that whoever is flushing inappropriate material down the gents toilets and causing blockages to stop it.

The signage in toilets will make me judge the clientele of a building. Just how bad is the problem that a sign saying ‘Please dispose of your sanitary items in the bins provided’ is necessary? Even worse when you see the evidence of why this sign is necessary. Or ‘Please do not stand on the toilet seats’?

Of course, there is no way of knowing *who* the cause of these problems actually is without going all Big Brother and installing cameras. Which nobody wants, because … ick.

In my mind, you treat the facilities of a place that is not your home *better* than you would treat your own. Or at least in the same manner. Maybe the people doing these things are treating things in the same manner (ew.).

I guess my point is that these kinds of signs or emails should not even be necessary. You expect fully functioning adults to actually be toilet trained to a reasonable standard. Yet is seems that there is a minority who aren’t. And knowing that the culprit is a colleague is kind of icky.

So – don’t be that person. Clean up your own shite. Sometimes, literally, I guess. No one else needs to see or know. It shouldn’t even need to be said.

Respecting the facilities provided is really not that difficult. Leave things in the state you find them, at a minimum. It’s really not hard.

The first step into adulting.

I’m not sure what prompted my little trip down memory lane. That said, I do occasionally think back to various points in my life that I can acknowledge are crossroads.

We all get to a point in our lives where we know it’s time to finally cut the apron strings, and take that step – moving out from a parents house, and having to be responsible for ourselves.

It’s scary.

In my situation, I was living with my Dad. I’d recently graduated from university with a decent degree, so I was all set to begin my career in software development. Here’s the crunch part though – I was painfully aware that to follow my dream, and to continue following the path I had set myself upon, I wouldn’t be able to stay comfortably close to my family and friends. The jobs in my chosen profession were all down south. The closest thing to what I wanted to do that was located close to where I had grown up was a very poorly paid data entry job.

I guess this is why it took over 3 months for me to even begin a job search – and even for my Dad to mention that I should probably start job hunting. We both knew that me getting a job would mean that I would be moving over 100 miles away. I think it’s why we both avoided the subject for a bit. That said, my Dad was always very good about pointing me in the right direction of being a responsible adult, even when it was painful.

So, my Dad gently suggested that it was time to start job hunting. I got myself into adult mode, signed up for job seekers allowance, and started the hunt in earnest.

I had a job landed within 2 weeks. It felt too soon, but by this point, I was committed. I’m not sure if my Dad was surprised at how short a time it took. That said, I think that even if it had taken a month longer, it still would have felt too soon.

I remember my last night as a resident at Dad’s house, feeling incredibly melancholy as I sat outside just looking at the garden. I was less than 24 hours away from starting a new life in my dream career, but all in a place where I had no family and no friends. Maybe it seems dramatic – I was moving 120 miles away, but I have a car. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive. Phone calls are a thing. Somehow though, it’s not the same. I cried a bit, but I was still excited about finally starting to adult.

The first few years were tough. I think it took me 3 years to finally feel like my new city was home. I missed my family desperately. I still do, occasionally. I often wish I could live closer to them all. Moving out isn’t hard. Moving so far away is. I think if I’d known how hard I’d find it, I would have chickened out.

That said, I have no regrets. I feel that this was my first step into ‘adulting’, and I think I did ok. I’m also grateful that my Dad allowed me that small breathing space after gradutation to carry on being his little girl for just a bit longer before making it clear that I did have to start being fully responsible for myself. Thankfully, he brought me up to have the resilience and knowledge that he knew I would need to make it on my own. Which I guess is another thing to be grateful for.

That said, he’s not rid of me yet. Parenting is a 24/7 job for the rest of your life, and I phone him most evenings just to make sure he remembers this. When visiting, I am seen off with a carrier bag full of food and necessities. His house is still a place of refuge when life throws a curveball my way. It’s comforting to know that he still has my back, and should I need it, I can always run back there with my tail between my legs. I know that I’m lucky to have this. Even though my Dad has made sure I can adult with little assistance, knowing that he still wants to look after me has been a huge comfort over the years when life wasn’t treating me well. Just because I *can* do it all on my own, doesn’t actually mean that I have to – and I’m incredibly lucky to have that kind of situation.