Posted in The small things lists

10,000 steps (shameless self promotion)

I’m on day two of the 10,000 steps challenge and a couple of readers have asked if I’ll be posting a link to my fundraising page on this blog. I had thought about it, but didn’t want to appear cheeky and I was worried that things might get a bit mixed up and I’d get ‘outed’

Anyway, now that people have actually asked it doesn’t feel so cheeky, so I’ve posted it below.

I know that you guys have never met me, but I suppose you know better than most just how important charities like Mind are, so, if you’re that way inclined I’d mean the world to me if you decided to support me by making a small donation. If you’re not that way inclined, maybe you would consider supporting me by taking a look at my other blog which I’m using to document the challenge. It’s not as good as this blog, because so far the only thing I’ve thought of to say is ‘took some steps…. Took some more steps’. But hey, you never know, it might get better as the challenge progresses.

Re the worry about being ‘outed’ I’m publicising the resources above to everybody who knows me – some of those people know what goes on in my head and others don’t. If you do visit either of those sites I’m relying on your discretion. I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands here, but I am doing this for Mind and you lot are a lovely bunch and I’m sure I can trust you. The only other thing to say is that even if you do get to find out my real name I’d like to stick to Wee Gee please because I like it better that way.

Anyway, here’s the page you need  if you feel like making a donation:

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

End of shameless self promotion.

Posted in The small things lists

All the small things

I’m conscious that the lists I mentioned in my earlier post must seem rather small to a ‘normal person’ (it’s okay, I’m the one with mental health issues – I’m allowed to indulge in a little bleak humour if I feel like it) and to be honest, they’d probably seem quite small to me if I were feeling a little better. But I’m not feeling a little better quite yet and they’re about as big as I can get. For now.

Depression brings with it all kinds of negative thinking  – paralysing feelings of hopelessness, an overall sense of dread and rather distressing thoughts of self harm to name a few – but none are more damaging that the guilt and shame that you somehow end up heaping upon yourself during a low period. The smallest of ‘failures’ is turned into a major catastrophe in the blink of an eye and the guilt and shame that you feel in light of this self imposed fail mark is enough to render you utterly defeated and send you yet deeper into the mire.

With this in mind, it important that, as I try to reach in a pull myself out of my pit, I don’t set myself unrealistic targets. What I’m actually  trying to do is build achievements little by little without the prospect of guilt looming large and challenging my progress.  So yes, the things on my lists (from here on in to be known as the ‘small things’ lists) seem fairly insignificant in the main scheme of things but I refer you to the wise words of Vincent Van Gogh:

‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together’

So my take on it all is…. what he said.

Is seems like a good time to review my progress with the small things lists. It’s not looking too bad really (note the things I’d like to do are a little longer term so nothing to report just yet):

Three things I need to do:

  1. Visit my friend and her new baby: In the diary.
  2. Get a haircut: Well no, not yet. But then I haven’t decided what I want to do with it yet.
  3. Make a new Spotify playlist: Most definitely in progress. It’s going to be a masterpiece so may take a while to complete.

Three things I like doing:

  1. Walking in pretty places: Did you see the weather this weekend?!
  2. Wii Fit: Check. Three sessions under my belt.
  3. Reading: Finally got around to starting José Saramango’s Death at intervals.

I think that’s looking pretty good, no? Go me!

Posted in The small things lists

Being boring

One of the songs I heard on the radio this morning – courtesy of the rather marvellous Sean Keavney on the equally marvellous Radio Six Music – was one of my guilty pleasures: The Pet Shop Boys, Being Boring. If you’re not familiar with the song all I’ll say is that I suggest you acquaint yourself and leave it at that. I should confess to having something of a soft spot for the Pet Shop Boys (it’s a camp thing I think), but beyond that, the song has always resonated with me partly because it’s sad and sad always resonates, and partly because ‘being boring’ can be an outcome of depression for me.

I was a shy child and I grew up to be a shy adult; that’s just my character, and it isn’t much of a problem for me in normal circumstances. When I’m well, shyness is an obstacle I can overcome  fairly easily – I can get out to do things and socialise, I can even, on occasion, bring myself to try new things and meet new people. But when I’m not so well, the low mood and shattered confidence I experience exacerbates the problem to epic proportions. I suppose you could say that the two things – shyness and depression – come together to form a perfect storm. Here’s why….

When things get bleak, I don’t like myself very much at all, and to be fair, my company sucks. That’s barrier number one – if you can’t bear to be with yourself why on earth would anyone else want to spend time with you (not an altogether illogical thought process). After a little while with my dark passenger on board, I start to resemble what my mum would describe as ‘death het up’. I’m not eating well and I’m usually not sleeping so I look tired and drawn. Being bothered about my appearance is beyond me and even getting a haircut is a challenge too far so I also look dishevelled and worn around the edges. That’s barrier number two because I don’t want anybody to see me like that, or for that matter think that I’m really  like that (this one not quite so logical, granted). Barrier number three is the big one for me, because eventually I lose all interest in the things that usually interest me. Put bluntly, I don’t actually have anything to say apart from ‘life is unbearable for me right now and I wish I was dead’… not much of a conversation starter, eh? So, for me, all of the barriers seem to conspire to knock what is already a slightly fragile sense of confidence and increase my shyness tenfold.

By the time I’ve landed in my pit it really does feel like the only thing I can do is stay there and hide for a little while because I didn’t have the confidence to do the things I was doing in the first place. All of which just makes the barriers bigger and more difficult to break down. The challenge, of course, is to do something about all of this.

We’ve already established that I’m a little shy so I think it’s safe to say I’m not taking up speed dating any time soon. Some things, however, are more realistic and I’ve started by devising myself a couple of good old lists!

Three things I need to do:

  1. Visit my friend and her new baby
  2. Get a hair cut
  3. Make a new Spotify playlist

Three things I like doing:

  1. Walking in pretty places
  2. Wii Fit
  3. Reading

Three things I’d like to do:

  1. Join a book club
  2. Get a manicure
  3. Join a gym

Finally I’m armed with some achievable lists and I can forget about the other things that crowd my thinking for a little while. There are lots of things I could do, but right now, these are the things I’m working towards. When I start pulling them together, I’ll be socialising again, taking care of myself and maintaining some interests. Feels like a plan. I’ll let you know how I get on….