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Shy

Everyday, I say:
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to talk to people too.
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to contribute your view.

Leaving things alone can let things happen.
I don’t have to be someone else, I’m not.
Comfortable at home with the cat is my fashion.
I can do this whenever I want: A lot.

Everyday, I say:
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to talk to people too.
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to contribute your view.

Being still and listening to the world around me.
Brings me more comfort than a hug or a chat.
I know for you it’s different, it doesn’t astound me.
So I can speak up and help you out like that.

Everyday, I say:
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to talk to people too.
It’s ok to be shy.
But it’s ok to contribute your view.

Questionable CBT

Situation:

“I was feeling bad because Mr B reacted unexpectedly.”

Thought: ‘I must have annoyed him.’

Feeling: ‘I feel like a bad person for annoying people.’

Behaviour: ‘Not going to social occasion at the pub.’

Physical symptoms: ‘Feeling anxious’.

Alternative:

Balanced thought: ‘Mr B might have issue of his own, maybe he’s got a lot on his mind, or something stressful happened recently to him. I may have annoyed him, but it’s more likely that was not the sole cause. That could be why he reacted like he did.’

Balanced feeling: ‘I feel empathy for Mr B and will check he’s ok tomorrow.’

Behaviour: ‘Go to social occasion at the pub and have a good time.’

Physical symptoms: ‘Drunk.’

How I improved my health.

  • Eat more fibre. (Check nutritional information on packets or go for wholegrains/fruit/veg.)
  • Eat less sugar. (Reduce refined sugars – try to limit yourself to less than 20g refined sugars a day. Feel free to eat what fructose and lactose you want.)
  • Eat more protein. (I am vegetarian and wasn’t getting enough. Might not be the case for carnivores.)
  • Don’t starve yourself of fat/non-sugar carbs.
  • Fast for at least 12 hours everyday. (Eg. Between 8pm and 8am.)
  • Make breakfast your biggest meal of the day. (Provides energy when you need it the most.)
  • Eat more resistant starch. (Wholemeal bread instead of white bread, wholemeal pasta instead of white pasta, brown rice instead of white rice, etc.)
  • Drink more water/sugar free drinks.
  • Exercise. (CouchTo5k, walking, swimming, cycling, anything that isn’t sitting down all day.)
  • One (or more) day a week not thinking about any of the advice above.

Disclaimer: this guide isn’t gospel, it is 100% anecdotal, but it has worked for me.

A poem written on the bus home from counselling

Dreamlike imagination stems not from a wilderness, but the void. All ideas come from this same source. Ideas may arise from each other yet can remain separate concepts.

Memories exist like lucid footprints in the snow. The fall of expectations meets the pressure of a successful outcome, covering past happiness in a lack of nowness.*

In the present I’m a star seer looking out through the window at the night sky. Enjoying the moment for what it gives. Sadly, this will change, but I must accept it. Acceptance is the root of all self improvement.

*I apologise for this monstrous sentence of pretentious twaddle in particular.

Winter

Sitting at my table drawing because I don’t want to pay my TV licence.
Everyone’s overdrawn. I’m lacking inspiration. I’m losing patience.

Draw the curtains because the night is closing in.
It’s too cold to go out. I’m sick of living in my own skin.

People are being encouraged to do it for themselves.
Where has the community gone? Where do I belong?

Not knowing what is going on in the age of information.
This is the new normal. Caring is becoming informal.

Pandas

Pandas are solitary creatures,
who sit around and think until it hurts.
They feel stress more than most,
as they ponder over problems and worries.

There is a place where pandas gather.
Together stronger, not facing the world alone.
Sharing hope, helping each other recover.
They keep in touch and give one another hugs.

Attempting to heal can be simple.
Support can be the smallest thing.
In their minds, they begin to thrive.
In their hearts, ever closer they come.

Pandas are solitary creatures,
who sit around and think until it hurts.
Never will they suffer alone,
For all pandas help those in need.

Schizoaffective Disorder

Imagine not really knowing if you are dreaming or if you are wide awake. You are either feeling super elated or depressed or both at the same time. You can’t talk clearly or communicate how your feeling and you don’t know where you are or what’s going on.

Seabear Tree Arms

An old bear paw, sitting in a jar.
Under a tree that never grew any leaves.

A light blinking through the branches.
A clouded mind clawing at the calm.
Wandered towards the timber,
bent and twisted.
Sanity falls.

Laying there in a daze.
Next to chlorophyll
functioning in the grass.
Every blade as important as the next.
Together creating a habitat.

Storing hope for new roots.
Sparking aspiration to be well again.
You can really find yourself, in losing your mind.

Pencils and Pens

I like pencils and pens,
writing materials and paper.
Lions and tigers,
cheetahs and leopards.
I like jumping and puddles,
getting muddled and confused.
Plants and flowers,
flour and bread.
I like eyes and ears,
sensing life and feelings.
Thinking and reversing,
negative photos and drawings.

When I was 6

Between the ages of three and six years old I had a reason not to give up, an ambition for life, a purpose. A future.

I wanted more than anything, to be, when I grew up, an apple tree. I wanted to live in the corner of a beautiful garden getting visits from the birds and the bees. I wanted the wind to blow my branches to provide hugs and to drop my delicious apples to feed those who were hungry. I liked the idea of being stationary. I had moved from a large bed in my own room to the attic. It was the first night after we got the latest in roof windows installed, which were the fashion at the time.

I had had a pleasant day talking to the old plasterer. I only remember he was old so he was about 16 – 90+. He had an old hat. Possibly a flat cap, a popular accessory among the pensioners of the area. He had done a good job with a smooth finish, so much so i would stroke the wall around the window just to appriciate the smoothness.

It was later that day it happened… Night came as I lay in my bed. It used to be bunk beds but my Dad had sawed them in two to become two single beds. Mine was the bottom bunk. Anyway, I couldn’t sleep that night. I had been awake for hours. Lying there, just looking through the roof window, the light pollution of the city bled darkness into the sky. The stars were out…

My earliest favourite reading books were about counting to ten and basic science for children. They were mostly published by Penguin or Puffin. One of the books said stars were giant burning balls of gas just like the sun. I must have been read this book recently because it was then it dawned on me.

Never before had I contemplated what I was. What life was. What I was doing here. I was the sort of child whose main sad thought up until that moment was ‘other people can’t have been around before me… I would’ve remembered them.’ And that was only sad because people would laugh and dismiss this truth. It was soon to come when a moment in time happened, where I would become disappointed. Too scared. Too afraid of what was. I felt reality’s full force. All its fierce flames and its endless meaning.

I no longer could accept my future would be being an apple tree. I felt my branches had fallen off and my apples were rotten on the ground. All my hopes and dreams faded into darkness in that second. Into the space between the supposedly giant balls of burning gas, my mind was lost. I was a dead tree’s stump in a great wasteland where nothing was alive. I was null and void. I was minute. Smaller than the smallest speck of dirt on the new glass of the roof window. Against these giant balls of burning gas the size of dots against the deep, ongoing, pure black of space. I was insignificant…

And so, it had happened… So, I reacted, I ran down the attic stairs, across the landing past the door of room, I did a hair-pin turn like a frantic rally car on a tight muddy track, down the stairs again I ran, I reached the bottom and without losing any momentum I took a quick right into the brightness of the front room. My mum was there, stood hands on her skirt, warming her arse by the fire. I had slowed down by now and was pacing slowly towards her, under the headache inducing light. It was then I bent my neck back, looking up at her face, a formidable five foot and half an inch off the ground. She looked back down at me. Her pale face, no make up, pointing down at me, crushing her chin in two. She looked as she had seen a ghost… “Mum! Its all too big! I can’t cope!” I said. “What is?” She replied, her voice quivering. “Everything. Everything is.”