What You Can Learn From Frustration: Thoughts on Anxiety and Self-Hatred

Frustration is a complex emotion. A cocktail of anger and exhaustion; a fiery sedative. When something is just not going right, someone is just not understanding the point, when you can’t quite make something work. It’s scraping past a satisfying conclusion and just missing it; stopping short of the finish line by two inches. It’s an amalgamation of uselessness and pent up energy, like a car full of gas with no wheels. It’s knowing what you want to say to someone, and feeling unable to say it.

Frustration has come to me at many times in my life. Mostly in the form of helpless uselessness, sometimes in relation to anxiety, and these emotions can often be served alongside a scoop of self-hatred and a modest helping of negative thoughts.

Continue reading

Bruises And Adrenaline: Doing Things That Make Us Feel Alive

“It’s the experiences that count, the bruises and dry faces,” my boyfriend said to me after spending the morning trekking across snow-washed countryside in blizzard like conditions. Walking back through the front door at lunchtime the other day more than a little beaten up felt like a relief and a reward all at once. It was 28th February 2018, the second day in a row we had woken up to a city painted white, and we had decided to make the most of it.

If you’re from the UK, you’re probably over this phenomenon by now as social media has been inundated with snow photos. People, like always in this country, were seriously excited. Of course the media went ridiculously over the top, and 90% of the news was about past, future or current snowfallPublic transport was cancelled or delayed, some schools were closed and the only thing the UK seemed to have improved on since I was a child was gritting the roads. When I was little, it would look like someone had dropped a huge tub of washing powder on the city; the world would be unrecognisable and all movement would halt. Now, main roads carve grey arteries into the landscape, allowing life to carry on flowing.

Continue reading

February Reflections – How My New Job Is Going, Spontaneous Adventures and Life Update

In my first ‘reflections’ post of the year, I described January as a whirlwind. If January was a whirlwind, with everything up in the air and swirling around me a little chaotically, February was most certainly a cheetah: definitely continuing the fast-paced rush of the previous month, but with more direction than a tornado. Allow me to explain.

This was the month of settling into my new job as a healthcare assistant. In January, I was completely out of my depth: I had no previous experience in a role like this and every hour was filled with foreign experiences. At the end of each twelve and a half hour shift I’d be totally wiped out, and sometimes tearful. This month, I’ve felt a little more in control, I know what to do and how to do it most of the time; I’m also starting to understand the dynamics of the team I’m working in. Each shift feels like I’m heading for a clear goal now, rather than nervously running around in circles wondering what’s next. I also did my first ever night shift a couple of weeks ago. That came with a whole bucketful of lessons in itself.

Continue reading

34 Thoughts From My First Ever Night Shift

Last night I experienced what it’s like to work a night shift in a hospital – for the first time ever. It was an intense, yet spaced-out experience which I’m finding hard to write about in any sort of coherent manner (probably due to the fact I’ve missed a night’s sleep and the skill of producing eloquent content is evading me right now). Because of this, I thought I’d write a post documenting a fraction of my thoughts throughout the night instead – this allows me to share with you all my feelings in the way I experienced them, rather than editing the events into reflective prose.

So here we go, from start to finish, my first night shift experience in 34 parts:

This feels like a dream, actually no, a nightmare. Is this real? I don’t think this is happening. In the car on the way to work at 7:30pm? No way.

It’s so dark out here. Like, impossibly solid darkness. No one should be heading to work when the sky is this black.

This really is real. I just walked through the hospital’s automatic doors and the antiseptic, musty, microwaved-food smell that I’ve come to know so well is hitting me full on.

Continue reading

Going Shopping – Conversations With Anxiety #01

Snapshots of the conversations that are had between anxiety and I: the things we fight over, the discussions and debates we take part in and the struggle to reason with irrationality. Some of these are based on past events or reoccurring battles, some on more recent occasions, and some are simply extrapolations of experiences I’ve had.

Me: Okay, just need my keys and phone and we’re ready to go!

Anxiety: Nope nope, I don’t think we should go –

Me: Shh, not now, I don’t have time for this.

Anxiety: No actually, it’s not that I don’t think we should go, I know we shouldn’t.

Me (sighing): And why would that be?

Continue reading

You Don’t Have To Eat Oysters: An Open Letter to Myself About Making Decisions

Dear 2018 Alys,

Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing the right thing with your life. In this fast-paced world of constructed online identities and overwhelming arrays of things and places and people and opportunities, you often feel lost. I see that look in the hazel of your eyes, your decisions are as uncertain as the shade staring back at you – some people see brown, others green.

But the question that consistently plagues you on some kind of level, whether that’s a buzz at the back of your brain or a drill in your temple, isn’t brown or green. It’s study or work. Distance learning or physical university. Travelling the world or the ease of home life. Healthcare or writing or the media industry. Internships or volunteering. Europe or America or Australia. It’s have you made the right choices so far or should you have done something different? And what’s the next step?

Continue reading

From Distance Learning to Physical Uni: How My Mental Health Directs Change

A couple of days ago, I wrote about why I chose to study for a degree with the Open University, a distance learning institution. That post can be summed up simply in one sentence: I started Open Uni because I wanted to study for a degree but I didn’t know if I could mentally cope at physical university or if the subject I chose, Sociology, was definitely the right decision for me. (You should go check that post out if you’d like the full context behind what you’re about to read, though!)

I concluded that post by mentioning the fact that I decided to apply to physical universities for this autumn, despite having a list longer than a transatlantic flight detailing all of the reasons why uni wasn’t for me. Whaaaat? I know right, I’m so unreliable in my decision making.

Continue reading