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Societal Thoughts

Here in the UK, Television presenter Caroline Flack took her own life, after being publicly hounded by the tabloid newspapers. She was about to be prosecuted for an alleged assault on her boyfriend.

No-one knows the facts, no-one knows what actually happened that night. The British newspapers took it upon themselves to act as judge, jury and executioner, they showed very little regard for Caroline’s wellbeing or state of mind. In an unpublished draft from her instagram page that her family released today, she mentioned how her life had been swept off her feet, she no longer had a voice or a chance to defend herself. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like. Where the only escape route from this witch hunt is to end it.

There’s talk about ‘Caroline’s Law’, a view to end this mistreatment of people who are in the public eye. Is it too late for reactionary laws? How many people have to take their own life before something is done?

There’s now a t-shirt being sold with a quote from one of her instagram posts.

Don’t get me wrong, the more exposure that suicide prevention gets, the more money raised to help people who think that this is the only way out can only be a good thing.

However, we must identify the root cause.

I don’t think anyone can argue that the tabloid press is rotten to the core. Putting profits before people. I get that as a business, they have to make money somehow. But there are other ways, literally any other way.

We are in the age of social media. There isn’t a bigger platform anywhere in the world, where you can influence the public more than on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The trouble is, that you have papers, journalists & influencers who will say something just to get attention. They probably don’t believe some of the stuff that they say, yet choose to say it because they know it’ll create a reaction. Their engagement has never been higher after a moment of controversy.

It’s how they make their money, maintain their profile and use their status to influence people around them. It takes a strong person to take a stand and not get sucked in.

Something that I believe it comes down to is individual expression, self confidence and inner peace.

Social media portrays this example of an ‘ideal body’ or ‘perfect lifestyle’. This is the standard to which we judge ourselves.

No-one comes close to what is being portrayed, it’s but a small snapshot of someone’s life, mostly exaggerated to make people think they’re perfect.

We must own our individuality, embrace authenticity on a wider scale, accept people for who they are and be kind.

Don’t believe what you see on social media. As with all portrayals of a utopian world, not is all as it seems.

Therapy

It’s been a while.

I had my follow up call with my therapist yesterday. This is the one where they leave you for three months to see how you cope after an 8 month programme of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

It went well. Compared to last year I am so much more content with things, I’ve got more of a handle of things and I know what my triggers are. I know that I live with anxiety and that’s okay. I have people that I can rely on to support me through any rough patches.

I remember talking to a friend about how annoyed I got that my house wasn’t being kept tidy by my partner at the time and how much it derails my day. The overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that this triggered was something that I couldn’t work past.

She said ‘I think you might be suffering from depression’

That’s a funny thing to hear. You think you’re okay, you think that your reaction to something so small is rational. I can’t be depressed, I’m happy and outgoing, that’s not me at all.

It was.

Referring myself for therapy was one of the best things I have ever done.

My therapist reminded me of things I had said when we first started our sessions. One of them was ‘I just don’t want to be sad anymore’.

I struggled with depression a long side anxiety – mainly onset by a breakdown of a relationship & one of my best friends passing away far too soon.

I thought I managed to get myself out of it when I met someone new, but it was just papering over a crack, which was getting bigger.

Being able to talk to someone who had no emotional investment was cathartic. Yeah, you can talk to friends, family or loved ones but they all carry with them a certain paradigm in which you exist.

Everyone has their own agenda, whether it’s obvious or not.

Which is why I liked my therapist so much. I could be brutally honest, without fear of repurcussions. So I got everything out, over the course of 8 months. We applied framework to help me manage my feelings, something that I have not been very good at.

Now I am grateful for everyone in my life. This process has taught me the importance of opening up to people, investing emotionally into them in order to get the same back. Some people aren’t for you, but they will make themselves known very quickly.

If you are struggling, talk to someone.

If you’re not struggling, check in with a mate. It only takes a minute to ask how someone is doing and it could make the world of difference.

Your happiness is tied to your freedom

I made a decision last night, to take control of life and make my own decisions rather than waiting for someone else.

It’s liberating.

Finally I have the freedom to dictate play, start myself on a journey that isn’t anchored by expectation, circumstance or loyalty.

I’m going to a party tonight and it makes me anxious. I don’t really know anyone, apart from the main person and their significant other. The thought of not fitting in, being liked, having anyone to talk to, not having fun. I’m not drinking so does that mean I won’t be involved? I don’t get invited to these things much, do I remember how to interact with people? I don’t want to make a fool out of myself, I don’t want to be too boring. These are the thoughts that swirl round and round in my head when I am asked if I’ll attend.

Of course I’ll attend, it’s one of my best friends, but the worry goes on.

I, of course, know that this is going to be all okay but I’m sure it’s my mind raising its shields and trying to protect me from social rejection.

Being able to throw myself into the unknown is a struggle that I am living with, I choose to play it safe & do what I know.

This decision to lead a liberal life and take control is the first step in redemption.

The Optimist

optimist | ˈɒptɪmɪst |

noun

1 a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something: only an eternal optimist could expect success.

2 Philosophy a person who believes that this world is the best of all possible worlds or that good must ultimately prevail over evil.

Optimism, hope and positivity are such precious things. Every day I see people that are slaves to the machine. Commuting every day to a job that they spend more time at than they do at home, yet hate every second of it because that’s what society expects of them. Like lambs to the slaughter, they don’t think for themselves, they don’t present any sign of individualism. Each person gets lost in a sea of grey, dashed with red and blue. Looking, acting & feeling the same. Trapped.

Every so often someone comes through that gives you hope. They are authentic, they are happy, they are different. They don’t follow the crowd, they stand out, whether it be through looks, personality, behaviour.

It’s these people that I gravitate towards, to be a force for good. Together we create this community of hope, of optimism that life is better beyond the grey.

There is always hope beyond what you can see.

Growing Pains

So the next cycle I’m about to enter within a number of days on The Pattern is called ‘Growing Pains’

This is where I evaluate what is and isn’t working at home, at work and in my relationship. Funnily enough, this is something I started doing between Christmas and New Year and I have been seriously looking at ever since.

Yes, life get’s in the way and monumental change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s good to make lists of what works vs what doest work.

I did this, and whilst I won’t share the details for obvious reasons, it was made very clear that work and home need to change.

These 9 months are a reality check

Wow, 9 months sure is a long time. It’s true that I am a victim of impulse and circumstance, I am where I am today because I’ve had to react. It seems it’s time to start taking back control and forging a path that I will be proud of.

The trouble is that I’m impatient by nature. I want things now, why should I have to wait? Well, this is called growing up.

For home to change, work has to change first. I’m on it, what that looks like at the end of this 9 month cycle remains to be seen. I know what I’d want in an ideal world and I’ll keep working towards that, however, it is a reward that only so few manage to achieve and so many fail miserably.

In the meantime, I’ll most likely revert to type and make impulsive decisions, choosing the first thing I see and attempting to stick with it.

I know this blog must sound like I’m moaning a lot of the time, but know it’s with the intention of resolution. I’ve realised that is is a good channel for me to stop internalising everything. Having it all written down is cathartic and allows me to clear some room upstairs for other things to fill it with.

If you could change anything in the last 10 years, what would it be?

Well that’s a loaded question.

I’ve asked this question many times to people and the general response has been centred around career. Everyone has dreams, but when you’re that young you sacrifice dreams for reality. You’re always told ‘you can’t do that’ or, ‘you’re not good enough to do that’ so then we just make do with our disappointments and get on with it. If we’re luckily enough, we make a connection with someone who can give you a really decent opportunity, if not then you’re on that 9-5 train.

I think my answer is to take life a bit more slowly, don’t be so eager to move forward, move up or move on. Enjoy what you have and take the time to appreciate what is now and what can be.

Focus on the little things and the big things take care of themselves.

The Cycle Repeats

The plan was to attend a job interview, for a job where the money wasn’t quite as good, but it represented a way out.

Michal Lukasiewicz – Pensive

It’s new, but familiar. Something that I have been craving for a while. It’s no secret to my friends and loved ones that I do not enjoy my career.

Despite my best efforts, there has been no progression. Maybe I should follow my advice from blog #2 and break the cycle, something that has literally just occurred to me. For years I have tried and tried to break the glass ceiling by doing the same thing, but at different companies, yet the result is the same.

I can hear you saying ‘that’s all well and good, but you have an interview tomorrow’

That’s the thing – I withdrew from the process.

It has been on my mind a lot recently, am I really that desperate to move that I’d take a pay cut, longer hours and a location that’s further away?

Have I conditioned myself to like my early starts & early finishes so much that I am too scared to go to a ‘normal’ routine?

Do I have it easy where I work? Absolutely!

Do I have the respect of my peers and colleagues? Yes!

Am I challenged? No…

The trouble is, the more I think about these things, the more I like that I can go home early and have the rest of the day to myself. It’s easy, it’s comfortable and it allows me the breathing space to compartmentalise the day.

The thought of breaking that routine by attending an interview was far too daunting as it forced me to leave that cycle of comfort, I’d have to step outside of the box and quite frankly, I wasn’t up to it. I want to go home, get into bed and wish the day away.

So I cancelled it and now I sit here frustrated with the fact that I did so. Breaking the cycle is a hard, hard thing to do.

Transfer this train of thought onto food, money and exercise and you begin to see the bigger issue.

How I break through this, I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying.

Patterns

So today I was recommended an app called ‘The Pattern’

This is an app that uses decades of research to give you insights about yourself based purely on when you were born, your name & where you’re from. I can tell you, it’s spooky with how accurate it is!

It’s split into ‘Your Pattern’, ‘Your Timing’ and ‘World Timing’, the idea to get insights into your own self, where you sit in life and where you sit in the world.

I click onto ‘Your Timing’ and it tells me I’m currently in a cycle called ‘Let go of Chaos’

Which is strange, because if you’ve read my first real blog post ‘New Years Revelations’ then you’d understand that this is something that I have started by learning to appreciate what I have and changing my mindset to focus things that will benefit me in the long run.


My next cycle is called ‘Growing Pains’ which focusses on what is and what isn’t working at home or at work. This is so strange, because I’m having a crisis of confidence with my career where I’m borderline desperate for a change, having fallen out of love with the industry I’ve been working in for the last 10 years, I’m eager to stretch my creative muscles, but have none of the self belief to go with it, opting for the easy life over the rewarding one. I think this blog is a way for me to start honing my writing skills.

I wonder where this story will take me.

Destructive Behaviour

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week around destructive behaviours, how they manifest themselves and whether or not I can break out of this cycle.

I struggle with this when it comes to money & food.

Getting fit & healthy, losing weight and feeling confident in my skin is something that I have wanted for as long as I can remember. Being financially stable, having savings & not living paycheque to paycheque is also something that I have struggled with.

I know that in order to achieve this, I have to demonstrate consistency and discipline, so why haven’t I been able to do this despite countless tries?

The answer, I believe, lies within unpicking the destructive behaviours which prevent me from achieving my goals.

I live with anxiety and this does play a big part in my behavioural presets. I rarely want to step outside of my comfort zone because of my fear of the unknown, even though my comfort zone is inhibiting my progress, I’d rather stay safe in there than exposed.

Here is an excerpt from an article on Psychology Today in relation to destructive behaviours and mindfulness:

“You may have learned to use dysregulated behaviour to try to “turn off” painful or uncomfortable emotions.

However, trying to “turn off” emotions is like putting an airtight lid on a pot of boiling water. The steam and pressure (the emotions) will continue to build – until you may feel you are constantly under pressure. Eventually, the pot will explode, which is when emotions feel especially unbearable. Consequently, you may feel compelled to try to “turn off” the heightened emotions by engaging in the dysregulated behaviour again.”

The behaviour in question is eating crap food or spending money that I don’t need to spend. Both of these are at the expense of my long term goals of achieving financial stability & a body that I’m proud of.

I don’t know how I’m going to go about changing this particular set of behaviours, but I know is something I am going to have to address if I want to achieve my goals.

On an aside, I would love to hear feedback on what I’m writing and how I can improve!

New Year’s Revelations

The concept of the ‘New Year’s Resolution’.

Every year, people will commit to goals that are unachievable, born out of over indulgence. The idea of new year, new me is structurally sound. However, the resolutions that you hear are ‘I’m going to get fit’, ‘I’m going to eat healthy’, ‘I’m going to not drink alcohol for the entire month’ and so on and so forth.

Personally, I have fallen into this trap many times, jumping straight on that health bandwagon. Now, we both know that the majority of us will uphold this new lifestyle for a few weeks and then we get derailed, resulting in a downward spiral of binge eating, binge drinking, or total disregard to the promises we made ourselves.

This year, I’ve decided to make a mindset change. Instead of promises of chiselled abs, a super clean diet or the new found ability to tap dance, my change of mindset revolves around slowing life down, enjoying the moment and appreciating what I’ve got.

I am under no illusions that I will come up against obstacles and challenges along the way. This is a fundamental change in the way that I think and behave, It will take time and I will have to be patient, which is easier said than done. The first step, is this blog.

Appreciation Is defined as the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.

I am impulsive by nature and the appreciation of things is something that I find very difficult. I can absolutely recognise and enjoy them, but nothing that is material has a long lasting effect on me. I guess that could be the inherent problem with modern day life, there’s always something new to be had and the acquisition of new things has been made easier by buy now, pay later schemes. This one requires some work.

What has come a lot easier to me, much easier than I thought, is my appreciation of people. In business, the sign of a good leader is to surround yourself in experts, people who know more than you do and therefore can advise you on how to develop and grow.

It’s exactly the same in our relationships. Surround yourself with good energy, people who support your personal growth, who add value to your life. Take the time to tell people what they mean to you, a little gesture can go a long way.

Change is defined as the act or process in which something becomes different and Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same act over and over again and expecting a different result. So when you get to the point where your resolution has fallen flat, break the cycle of insanity and do something different.

The Inaugural Post

Hello!

Thank you for stopping by, wherever you may be!

I wanted to start by just explaining what this ‘blog’ is going to be about. The answer to that is, quite simply, I’m not too sure. You could classify it as ramblings of a mad man/woman, observations on life, or just someone who is desperate for attention.

The main idea of this is that it remains anonymous and more of a documentation of the human condition. I am lucky enough to work somewhere where I encounter all sorts of people and I have a lot of time to observe and reflect. You could call it a diary.

That being said, I guess this blog has an element of self help about it, mental health professionals encourage those who suffer to write things down in order to help with compartmentalisation and they’re right, it does help.

’til next time.