Anger: The Mask Unveiled

Last week I read this post by Dorothy (she’s really writing some awesome stuff at the moment!) on Anger.  It really hit home with me because anger has become my default emotion recently.  It used to simmer under the surface, now it bursts out before I can get a handle on it.

angerI had always put my anger down to circumstances, I had a right to be angry at the injustice that I was feeling.  Anger has become so much more than that over the last three or so years.  At first I still put it down to circumstances, I had a lot going on, I was right to be angry about it.  Right?

One thing that my psychologist has reiterated to me over and over again in the time that I have been seeing her is that all emotions have their place.  Even the ones we see as negative serve as a warning signal for us that something is not right.  These emotions however don’t serve a purpose beyond that, and that is where I run into trouble.

I was using anger as a mask, as is so common with people who have troubles with anger.  The anger acts as a distraction, so that the real issue doesn’t show it’s ugly head to the people around me.  Of course the anger causes issues all on its own.

A few months ago I was writing a short story, and it was only when I got to the end that I realised that the story was about me.  My readers were much more intuitive and picked it up much sooner than I did.  That short story was a turning point for me.  It was the point where I realised that anger was much less of the real issue for me.

I was using anger to mask the anxiety that I was feeling.  The feeling of being judged by the people around me, the people who really didn’t know me at all because they were faces in the crowd.  I felt it easier to be on guard, ready to snap at a moments notice than to own up to the anxiety I was feeling.  How wrong I was.

Owning up the feelings hasn’t magically made it better, but it has meant that I can begin to work on it therapy.  It’s going to be a hard process, I know that it won’t just disappear forever and that like all things I will have to work hard to keep on top of it.  However I want to see an end to the anger.  I want to see an end to the lava that is just waiting under the surface.

Do you struggle with anger?  What have you done to help stay on top of it?

Why I blog about mental health

It’s the first of October, the first of a month long dedication to all things mental illness.  As with all things, the best place to start is the beginning.  For me the beginning is why I choose to talk so openly about mental illness.

Why I blogI first started this blog in April 2011, at the time I wasn’t even sure if I would continue on with this blog.  I figured that I would bang out a couple of posts, get bored and then give up.  I wasn’t banking on falling in love with the online space, of having my voice heard.  I realised that I had an important story to share.

Over the last three and a half years I have definitely had my fair share of doubts about whether I could continue this space.  I had my biggest identity crisis last year after Problogger because I wasn’t sure where I could go with my story.  I was feeling boxed in by the mental illness tag and I was worried that the blog was exasperating my illness rather than being a help.

It was then that I first realised that blogging was about my voice, not just about the content and that I could write about anything I wanted.  With that realisation, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I still wanted to write about mental illness, it’s what I know, but I had given myself permission to not be pigeon holed by it.  Just like in therapy, I had come to a point where I realised that I was more than my mental illness.

I’ve been dealing with my mental health issues and by extension, the mental health system for the last 12 years.  I have had ups and downs and I knew that I could use these experiences to help people.  I wanted people to understand what it was like to have to navigate a system that is flawed, a system that is almost designed to punish it’s patients instead of treat them.

The thing that I most wanted from blogging, and is what keeps me going when I feel overwhelmed, is to educate those who still buy into the stigma.  I want to show the people beneath the diagnosis, to show that we aren’t people to be feared.  I enjoy being able to provide information in a way that is easy to digest.

I hope that by telling my story, I can encourage someone else to tell their story.  It is only through sharing our stories that we can push through the stigma around mental illness.  The stigma is still rife, and that is why I blog about mental illness.

The Last Laugh

She saw him across the room and she felt her heart skip a beat.  Whenever he caught her looking his way she felt her cheeks burn.  He was out of her league and she wasn’t stupid enough to even try.

The room was filled with people she had been working with for the last 20 years, she looked around and felt like she didn’t know a single one.  Even her secretary called her Ms Oliver and she doubted that the woman even knew her name.  There was no personal feelings shared anymore.  It was what stopped her from making the next move.

This party was for her, yet as she looked at the cheap decorations and the massive cake, she realised that no one had made the effort to ask her what she wanted.  The party was to celebrate her service and yet it was just like every other party.  There was nothing special, not even her name on the banner that spanned across one of the walls.  She looked closer and realised it was the same banner that was used when Claire had announced her pregnancy last month.

She wondered what she was still doing here.  There was nothing left for her anymore.  Nothing except the man across the room.  The man who she was too scared to even talk to, she ducked her head when he said hello to her.  He must have thought she hated him.

He started working at the firm last year and she still hadn’t spoken a word to him.  She had faced big executives in the courtroom but a man with big baby blues turned her into a puddle of goo.  She had started to dream about him every night.  The dreams made her blush harder when he looked her way during the morning business meetings.

No one else had made her feel this way, no one in her entire life.  She chastised herself for allowing him to get to her so much.  The room suddenly started to spin, she placed her head in her hands to try to steady herself.  She felt a warm hand on her shoulder and deep, gravely voice ask her if she needed anything.

Her back stiffened.  It was him.  Touching her shoulder.  She needed to get it together quick smart, preferably with her dignity intact.  She took a deep breath and slowly raised her head.  There he was, with his big blue eyes staring at her with concern.  She gave him a weak smile before telling him that she was fine, just a little overwhelmed with all of the excitement.

He sat down in an empty chair to her left.  She felt her heart rate quicken, if she didn’t calm down soon she was sure to pass out.  She grinned at him like an idiot, he must have thought there was something wrong with her.  She was sure of it.

He leaned towards her and whispered in her ear ‘I don’t like these things either, want to get out of here?  I know a great little cafe around the corner that should still be open.”

 

Linking up with Jess for IBOT.

 

You mean the world to me

This week Kirsty has given us the prompt for I must confess of ‘What is your most treasure piece of jewellery and why’.  This is a nice and easy one before I start my month of mental health on Wednesday.  If you would like to share your story during the month then please get in touch.

jewelleryThis necklace with two rings and a charm is my most treasured piece of jewellery.  I rarely take it off and usually only take it off when I am doing a home dye job.

The ring on the left is my engagement ring.  Since I have put on a lot of weight it no longer fits on my finger.  I don’t want to get it resized though because I know that when I am at a healthier weight it fits perfectly.  It’s like my silent reminder to get back to a place where I feel healthy again.

The ring on the right is a blue topaz ring which Paul got me for my birthday the first year we were together.  I didn’t wear it for a long time because he got a ridiculously small size and it didn’t even fit on my pinky finger.  I got it resized so that I could wear it, but like my engagement ring, it doesn’t fit now that I have put a lot of weight on.  It was the first expensive present I had gotten from a boyfriend and thankfully Paul also has beautiful taste in jewellery.

The charm at the bottom is from my best friend.  She got it for my birthday last year after making the trip here for the weekend.  It’s a bit hard to read in the photo but the inscription says ‘crazy’.  Every time I see it in the mirror I smile and think of my awesome, beautiful and funny best friend.  The reason behind the inscription is that we wouldn’t have met if we weren’t crazy.  I know I’m glad that I have her in my life.  She’s seen me at my worst and has still stuck around.  I love her to the moon and back.

Together they make up my most treasured piece of jewellery.  I’m so lucky to have a piece of jewellery that brings together so much love.

What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?

Boredom Busting

I have a bit of a confession to make Loungers…this weeks prompt is a completely selfish pick on my part so I really hope that someone has some boredom busters for us!

Mr 5 isn’t at school yet (he missed the cut off by 19 days!) so school holidays don’t have a direct impact on us yet.  Beside the parks being that little bit busier, it’s business as usual here as Mr 5 goes to a daycare with a Kindy program.  I really felt for the parents of school kids here this week as the weather has not been accommodating to outside play at all.  Apparently the rain is due to return on the weekend too!

If going to the cinema is on your radar these school holidays, I wrote this post at the start of the year of my tips for taking small kids to the cinema.  Although with the price of movies going up and up it really puts families with more than one or two kids out because it’s just too damn expensive.

So if you have any boredom busters that are winners in your house then please feel free to link up a post below!

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