Mental health is like balancing in a bowl on a cone on wheels that’s on a ball that’s constantly turning

Take a wrong step and ooops, backwards you go. But. And here’s what many people don’t get, same works the other way round; make a small step forward and you will feel amazing; you can have the best day ever, cry because the color of the sky is light (not dark) blue again and you can actually take a breath and smell the flowers. You can feel the warmth, the love, the pride, the progress of the one step…and then realize you are balancing in a bowl on a cone on wheels that’s on a ball that’s constantly turning.

It’s. Not. Sustainable. You will not stay in one place, there is no mellow of a mental health problem, it’s not a chill place, it’s not like people are not doing anything to change it. People are, we are. Ever tried on balancing on anything? A board on a rock as a kid, a balancing board as a fitness freak adult, or the funny as balls as a hotshot on Total Wipeout? If you did, or if you want to try it out now (take a 2by4 and a round enough rock, I’ll wait), you will know it takes a shit ton of strength just to keep balanced, just to stay in that one place and not worse.

The energy it takes just to cope. The energy it takes to function. The energy it takes to maintain at least a bit of our social or job or economical or whatever bits of us…the energy is enormous… and if and when we try to change our position, ideally for the better, we are faced with the balancing act again. And! Let’s keep in mind that the world we live in is constantly turning, and not just in a  geographical sense…although I’m pretty sure that’s true as well…stars and whatnot, horoscopes and tectonic plates. K. What I mean is that our social worlds are changing, friends getting more kids and dogs and exes, family members getting more or less annoyed with us, jobs becoming harder and/or more filled with dickheads, tinder dates getting pissed off for…oh what a fun new post this will make! ..The world is not waiting for us to get our shit together. We are not on solid ground. Any move forward will make our legs wobbly, our hearth tremble, our brains panick…can we maintain this new position? Can we move forward? Will we fall backwards? And same with any fallback; we will take the extra panick, anxiety, shame, blame, energy, and first of all, feel like shit for the step backwards, and then for balancing us again, for again one day to move forwards; energy.

And, so, hence, furthermore, moreover, etc.; here’s the extra extra thing. While we feel like we are alone in our bowl we for damn sure also feel the entire world is watching and judging us. So. If you are yourself, or the whole damn other world, reading this you can help shift and keep the balance for you and/or someone for the better. Help, don’t hurt.

Help leave the past behind and move forward, support building the new way around for the better. Actions speak a millions words, but the rigth words will already be worth millions.

You are not alone!

Oh hello mommy issues – guess it’s happy hour for all my fears now

The devil you know. It’s a great saying. Sticking to the shit you know..it’s easy. It makes a lot of sense. Again, I thoroughly regret ever starting with talking about fears. It would be easy, I thought. It would be simple, I seconded (thanks, random voice in my head). Where are we now? In a turmoil of fucking fear of future. …well, no, no fear, not of future, …well…. Where we are is a turmoil of all the things we were, are, and could be. We are in a turmoil of all things stopping the future we want.

Let me explain. I know I’m a daughter of an alcoholic, and an emotionally abusive mom. My dad would drink, cheat on his wives and girlfriends, and break every promise he ever made. My mom would take her anger at me, put me down, call me out on random shit, accuse me of everything and anything…to put me down. That was my normal.

As I grew older I started to slowly realize that maybe the dad I admired and looked up to wasn’t as good as I thought he was. The man who I grew up idolizing wasn’t actually worth it – at all. …he was smart though, charming, funny… but an asshole.

But. Here’s the thing. I have been so afraid of becoming my dad. The good things about him, like his charm and IQ – I have it, I hate it. His habit of having two-three bottles of vodka a day – nope, not there…wine though…I was especially proud of this 40 days of lent, of no drinking. I did it, could do it, easily. Fear  922527 – Me 1. I have always been afraid of turning out like my dad.

Little did I know, I would one day wake up realizing I’ve turned out like my mum.

After the divorce, when I was about 8 or so, I remember my mum having boyfriends. Me even meeting couple of them. But after that; nothing. After that my mum turned into a…and I mean no disrespect, if anything, I owe my life to her for this…single mom with three kids. She spent her life making sure we would have everything we needed in terms of food, clothes, and eventually a loan against her house that allowed me to get my bachelors.

I love her. I respect her for that. I am forever grateful.

My mom sacrificed her own well-being and wishes and dreams for me and my brothers. But she never got over what my dad did to her, and from what I gather there is a lot of bottled up anger and regret in it too. I never got the love of a mother, never felt it. I felt the regret, anger, and bitterness. I got, whatever she felt for my dad. I was an emotional punching bag for her.

It hurts me to write this.

I saw a woman ignore her dreams, her work, her social life. I saw her giving up on her and focusing on us. She would play candy crush on her computer, have a beer or two and watch tv. She would start missing all her deadlines, she would get shit from her clients. She’d play candy crush, have a beer or two. She would feed us, but she was away – mentally. We could see her, but not feel her – not the love at least. Not me especially. Me, more than my siblings would get the anger and the hate. The snappy comments, the bitterness. The emotional abuse.

It hurts me to write this. So I will stop it now.

Point is. I woke up a few days ago and saw my mom looking back at me in my bathroom mirror. My weird as nightmares did warn me about it, but still! Hello revelation! I have indeed turned out like my mom. I have given up on being me, I’m overwhelmed and overinvolved in other people’s problems, I have a drink or two way often, and I’m damn good at candy crush. I’ve completely lost myself. I’m supportive of my friends and loved ones though, I have a strick no emotional abuse polilcy, but still…what a thing to realize…what a think to reflect on…what a thing to act on…

I guess this doesn’t make sense to you…I’m certainly still making sense of it myself… Go fears!

Does losing my fears mean losing me?

Aren’t the fairy tales the worst (…this will make sense by the end of the blog post…maybe…). “Spend time with your fears”, “use your fears as a stepping stone”, “focus on your fears instead of your goals”. Who the fuck says stuff like that?? …for fucks sake…dumb as shit…….. Oh, right, that was my last blog post…the dimwit I was back then…I thought that was actually good advice…thought I’d solve aallll my problems thinking aaaaallllllll my problems were related to being too pretty few years ago… how great I thought this moment would have been where I could write my genius blog post with having solved it all!

Well..it did not quite go that way did it? DID IT? …no, no it did not… and also, get off your high horse you dimwit you…

I actually took my own advice…spent some time, long time with my fears. Sure, one of them is facing all the criticism that would follow if people would see me. I knew it existed. I wrote about it. I was also semi-aware of my fears of being just like my dad; overly sarcastic, charming person who eventually will hurt everyone around them by breaking their promises, cheating on anyone who can be cheated on, etc. etc.. An alchololic. I thought I’d take that on; a friend of mine was starting her annual lent journey; 40 days without alcohol or sweets. I’m in! I’ll prove I’m not an alcoholic!

40 days without any alcohol or any sweets – I did not think I could make it. And why? Here’s why: 1. The only thing I hate more than being told what to do is to be told what not to do 2. 40 days without any alcohol or any sugar; don’t think I’ve had that since I was 13…and that’s just for alcohol…with sugar we would prob have to go back to, I don’t know, when can toddlers have sugar? 3. My dad was an alcoholic and while that’s my mental image of pure hatred, how close am I actually of becoming him…?

Guess what happened? Guess! I made it. It was actually easy. I made it through 40 days without any alcohol and any sugar and I think it was harder on random waitresses than it was on me…

-Waiter: Should we start with a prosecco for everyone?

-Friends:  Yes, yes, yes, yes….

– Me; no, can’t drink alcohol right now

– Waiter: no problem, we have great mocktails

– Me: Sure, but I can’t have any sugar either

-Waiter: oh…let me ask our chef… *questioning all his best service pledges

-Waiter; so here’s a drink with cucumber, lemon and basil

– Me; It’s great *putting on a fake smile and a thumbs up

– Friend who shows up to dinner right after; oh that looks like the best mojito ever!

– Me: ….it’s water… *turning my fake smile into a sigh of deep disappointment

My learnings? Well. Damn right, previous blog post you (me?), I am my biggest challenge. And what this time of proper self-reflection showed me; the fucking fears I knew I need to, and will, deal with are only part of it. I can be without alcohol, I sure need to lose weight. But. Here’s the real shit: I’m afraid of moving on from me. I’m afraid of moving on from what I need to be to survive my past. I’m afraid of letting that me go.

I guess this might not make sense to a lot of people, but maybe it will make sense to some. In a very messed up way of putting it; I knew my life was not a Disney movie, but I needed it to be one. I had to deal with a lot, I went through a lot. I thought I needed to keep to it so that I could be “saved”. I thought I needed to have it, so that I could have my happy ending. And without it? No happy ending. Without it, I’d be one of the normies. They surely don’t get a happy ending, surely not as great as mine. I mean, if you are normal and happy and healthy and not completely fucked up; can you get a knight in a shiny armour to save you, can you save yourself? Is your story worth telling? No, not according to fairy tales. You need to suffer for it.

And oh my…does that not lead you to fucked-up-ville? You need to be properly fucked up so that next you can be happy? You need to stay fucked up so that others see your worth? So that others can look at you with “she went through a lot, it’s a miracle she’s still alive”. AND. If she’s not fucked up, she’s just one of “us”, a normal person trying to make it through life. And want to hear the most random fucked up thing? I’m afraid to give blood because I think my purpose and will to fight is tied to my blood and by giving it away I would give a part of me away! It doesn’t make sense!

What’s my fucked up biggest fear? Losing part of my fuckedupedness. I actually fear that getting better would mean losing part of me. And I do get that, I had to fight to get here, and I fought, and I will fight. But come on….I need to fucking let that fucking fucked up shit go. I for sure need to, and can, use that as a stepping stone to level the fuck up. …damn…

Welcome to the top of my world – get cocky with me

I have just learned to make keto margaritas! Celebrate with me! Keto margaritas. Is that not the best thing in the world? What an achievement. Hand clap.

And get ready for a plot twist #spoileralert. I will not be sharing my dark side of the mind stories today. Today’s about the highs, the future, the potential, the wishes, dreams and goals. Today’s about celebrating our awesomeness. Today’s about patting ourselves in the back and saying atta girl. Today’s about telling ourselves, and the world, how great we are, and how we are going to do great things.

I’ve had a good week. Sure, I still have my ever-growing list of people to kill and I keep reordering it based on the incompetence points people insist on gathering during the weeks. And some people really seem to want to go for that “dickhead of the moth” trophy. But. I’ve had a good week, even with the aspiring incompetent dickheads. An article I wrote is getting recognized on LinkedIn, my manager (who is still in the running of becoming the next dickhead of the month) has changed his behavior and actually tries to make me happy, I got to make my nieces happy by drowning them in presents, and, maybe most importantly, it’s finally sunny weather and I’m on my balcony, listening to music, and enjoying a frozen margarita – a margarita that will not destroy my diet.

I took out my paper and pens and started drafting some global strategic initiatives for my function. Some ground-breaking, change-making initiatives. Brilliant stuff really. Can’t wait to send it to my manager who now apparently has recalibrated his default settings and should now fully support me with them. And then I stopped. I picked up another pen instead, and opened my notepad, my blog notepad. A journal if you wish. A book where I write down stuff I might want to write on my blog too. I thought I needed to share this with you. A post of positivity and light. Today. This week. I got reminded of why I do what I do. Why I’m still here. I’m damn capable at my work. I’m awesome. I’ve done great stuff, I’ve made a change – and not just in my organizations but in other people’s lives. This week. This week reminded me of that.

This moment. In this moment I’m full of energy, determination, and fighting-spirit. I will improve, create, help, support, drive, grow – myself and everything around me. I will do awesome stuff. I will help others. I will make my life worth something. There is no way in hell I would have gone through everything I have and not use it to try and make the world a better place. I will make a change. I will.

Maybe that’s why I created this blog. Maybe that’s the reason. It’s not to drown in depression, it’s not to drag others with me. It’s to share what I’m going through. It’s to shed some light into the mental issues people go through, and how mental illnesses impact people’s lives. It’s to show how multiple different sides and realities can coexist in one person.

I am fucked up. I suffer from depression and anxiety. Everyday for me is a fun game of “which issues should we trigger today? Daddy issues? Nah, we had that last week, let’s go with abandonment today”. I deal, I cope, I survive, and I want to do something with them. I am not my issues, I am more than that. I am successful, I am smart, I am capable, and if you believe my friends I’m also lovely and funny and charming as hell. I’m awesome.

What am I saying? Life is not black and white. Just because you are one thing doesn’t mean you can’t be another. You can be a mess but also successful. You can be successful but also a mess. Own your issues, own your awesomeness. Do great things.

Your move – your call – your call

I’d have so many Pavlov jokes. He’s a classic. Dude’s a legend. I mean dog, bell, food – pure genius. A bell that was rang, a bunny that got shocked, we are all programmed to operate a certain way when faced with a certain stimulus, or a trigger. But as babies, as babies we speak no language, we fear no evil, we hope for nothing. Enter childhood conditioning.

From day 1 onwards of our lives we are brought up by our parents, or other people, our elders in anyway. We mimic their behaviours, their worlds. We take our behavioural cues from them – do what they do, and respond by doing what seems appropriate to them. We go through a constant brainwashing of reward and/or punishment. If we do good we are rewarded by a smile, a hug, or material things. If we do bad, then, well, other things follow. We learn what to do, how to react, how to behave. We build our understanding around our parents, our environments. What happens at home must be normal; they are our elders, they were there before me, they must be right.

In our childhood we are like sponges for learning, we haven’t yet developed our critical thinking capabilities so we just accept everything that comes our way and believe whatever we’re told. We get installed with the basic programming: someone gives you something, you say thank you, a stranger talks to you, you walk away. Our world is simple. It’s black and white, yes or no, good or bad. Our brains will accept and adopt everything, especially if it comes from our parents. Our brains are selecting the settings for the game of our life:

  • Language we speak: English/German/Spanish/Vietnamese/…
  • Religion we start with: Catholic/Jewish/ Muslim/Buddhist/…
  • Measurements we build our worlds with: Metric/American/…
  • Hair style we think is appropriate for our gender: Long/short
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Medium/Hard

When we grow older we might start to fight this early programming. We start to consider other variables and other possibilities. It’s no longer a simple formula of if-then but a string of different possibilities. Our worlds become less black and white and start to resemble all shades of grey. Our worlds get complicated. And as much as we fight it, as much as we want to change, do better, be smarter, be different, there are occasions when our basic programming kicks in.

For example, I have a new manager, who I absolutely hate. He started in February but has been double-hatting, still responsible for his old job and the new until two weeks ago. Sure, he has had to take care of two different jobs at the same time, and about a dozen personal topics as well that I knew about, so I guess he’s been busy. But he has been ignoring me. My wants and needs, my strategies and proposals, all ignored. He’s happy to take the credit whenever I do awesome stuff but will not have my back when I’m struggling. He claims he likes me, but will do nothing to show it. Except for words, he will say words. So do I believe them? No. Because childhood conditioning. All I see is a hierarchy figure ignoring me when I need him but happy to take all the glory when I succeed. All I see is nice words being said that will only result in disappointment. It’s been the key correlation of my life; nicer the words, bigger the betrayal, bigger the hurt. All I see is an absent dad. My mind matches his behaviour with that of my dad’s. My dad used to say he loved me, but would never show up to things that matter, was not there for me. He’d lie, he’d ignore. Therefore, my mind matches my feelings about my dad with my new manager. I want to see him suffer. I want him to crawl in front of me asking for my help. I want to see him fail. I want him to beg for my forgiveness. Is that fair to him? Probably not. For the past few weeks I have been feeling worse and worse of my manager’s subpar behaviour, and while yes, he has been a horrible manager by any global standard of good leadership, there is also the unwarranted negative feelings of mine that he gets to deal with.

This week I made a choice. A choice to separate my past from my future. My manager was faced with a situation I could help with. And I needed to decide whether to offer my help or not. My past baggage told me to let him fail, let him fuck up at work so that I could smile next to his sorry ass and see him feel bad for not asking for my help, for not acknowledging my worth. The kid me in would have felt good, vindicated in a twisted way. That decision, that act, would have served my past me – the anger and hurt I felt for someone who no longer lives, for someone who for sure was not my manager. I chose different, I chose to give him my advice, my help, and to also tell him how his absence has impacted me for the past few months and how I wanted things to change. I made a decision for the future, I made a decision for healing. I made a decision for my healing.

Dear John – The power of jealous exes; anxiety and depression

I have two very close friends. We’ve been besties since I was a toddler, well, the other one was there since I was kid, the other I met when I was in my early teens. They’ve stuck by me all these years. I’m 35 and we’re still going strong. Although, we did have a bit of a fallout. These “friends” of mine are anxiety and depression.

They are a little bit different these two friends of mine. “Friend” number 1 showed up when I was still a small kid. I remember being about 4 years old when I had my first anxiety attack. “Friend” number 2 came to the picture around age 12, and brough a lot of dark clouds with them. They seem to like each other these two. Sometimes one is stronger than the other. I know this from for example from my personal hygiene. When anxiety is in the lead I take a bath everyday day as water calms me. If it’s depression’s time to lead I won’t shower or bath for days as every little bit of interest in self-care, even the basics, is suppressed.

A few years of therapy has shown me they are, after all, not the best companions to have – and that I should try and break away from them.

And I’ve worked on it! I have worked on building my distance, ghosting them. I’ve, each day, worked on ignoring them and moving on. I’ve tried and sometimes, more each day, succeeded in ignoring their late night DM’s of “You up? Want to cry hysterically for a bit?” or them wanting to bring up all my cringe worthy moments of my entire life.

I am on the winning side though, I am letting go, I am building my distance and trying my best to ignore their calls. I don’t want to go back to them.

The problem is we had something. Something real. Something meaningful. A real connection. They understood me like no-one else and were there for me when others weren’t. Sure, they are slightly obsessive in nature and didn’t really allow me to have other friends. They even tried badmouthing others with “they will hurt you”, “they don’t care for you, your’re nothing to them, they hate you”, “they laugh at you”, but they were there.

So. Enter a new acquaintance; moments of happiness. Whether in the form of a new bathroom carpet or a drink in the sun with no worries, my previous besties aren’t too happy with this new addition to my life. The threat of a break up is getting real. Maybe we aren’t just going through a break, maybe the strong feelings we once had are no longer there? Maybe we aren’t meant to be after all?

I’ve had so much fun with my new friend. I started a diet three weeks ago, a keto diet, and have already lost 5 kilos, I’m sleeping better thanks to my new bed, and I’m re-gaining my work motivation. I’m doing so much better, and actually feeling positive about the future. And what do my jealous, neglected exes of anxiety and depression do? They raise their ugly, obsessive heads. They’re hurting me, trying to beg and force me to come back. They bring up all the negative emotions – a true saga of how everyone, including the universe, has let me know. They play their games, they keep me up at night, and this morning, they won. They won.

They won. My anxiety doesn’t allow me to sleep, my depression want’s me to suffer. This morning I woke up sleep deprived feeling all things depression. The tears started falling from my eyes, my brain checked out, and my body was calling for quits. I was a mess. But! Little did these fuckers know I’ve grown stronger, there is a part of me that will not give up, and that part, that part is now in the lead. That part. At 9 am this morning assessed the situation and decided that given the emotional turmoil I’m in I cannot just ignore it, I need to let these tears flow and the wave of negativity to pass. I’ll allow it to have it’s time, hear it’s message. Let it have it’s time, tell it’s story . And then waive good bye to it.

I created a list of all my negative emotions, and went to the store to get alcohol. This morning by 10 o’clock I’ve done a lot; sure, I started drinking but I’ve also had a look at my emotions, reflected on them and addressed them.  I’ve burned that list of negative things, literally, I wrote my feelings down on paper and lit them up. I’m not in a happy place. My mood is all kinds of negative – all the betrayal, neglect and hurt, they are all with me now. But I burned that, and I will keep burning it. That shit needs to go. I might have lost the battle today, but I have not lost the war. The prosecco I’m drinking is dry, the vodka I might start with has no carbs. My keto diet still stands. I am still working on bettering my future. Depression and anxiety; you are nothing but a small bumb on my way. I will keep going.

I know you will keep messaging, and screwing with my head. We did have something, something I thought would last a life time, my ever after. But I’m now after my happily ever after. So. F you. You can keep trying. But we are done. Sincerely yours not anymore, me.

Is my story worth it – is a bathroom carpet worth a read?

I don’t quite know why exactly I started this blog. I was drinking wine, I know that. I do stupid..no! not stupid, questionable. I do questionable shit when I’m wine drunk. Mostly flirting with anything that moves, occasionally turning into a super sarcastic dimwit you cannot but love, sometimes sleeping with people who are too young for me, every once in a while hysterically crying in a corner, and oh so, so often starting something that “makes total sense!” – to wine-drunk-me- makes total sense to wine-drunk me…

I guess this blog was one of those things. I was wine-drunk. I had an idea and went with it. Now, you need to understand this, wine drunk me thinks she’s awesome, and to put it in humble, modest terms; omnicapable (love her <3 ). …aaaaand then the next day comes and sober me takes over with the not-this-again-routine, …it’s a good one, really got that all sorted out…after like two decades of doing this…ffs……this would make a sweet process chart, but I’ll go with bullet points this time…oh no I won’t! Enter! Process chart! Boooom! Let’s chart this shit!

I get side-tracked so easily….the chart took me like two hours to complete, and it’s mostly focused on sleeping with random people or texting whoever – random people, or friends, or colleagues, or whoever basically. But…my point was. I drink wine a lot, went through some shit and occasionally I do stupid, although entertaining, stuff. There is a fairly strong correlation between the three, I can admit that….especially at the age of 35…there’s only so little I can put on my mommy and daddy issues, some issues I should own as well. Anyways. The point…the point…right! While I was having my bathtub wine today I was staring at my bathroom carpet and started smiling. – Sure, part of it was the sweet, fresh rosé kicking in, but a huge part of it was the realization; I bought that carpet not because I needed it, but because I wanted it – and because I could.

We are not yet talking about overly expensive designer stuff where you basically pay for the marketing rights of the specific brand and not the material costs (maybe one day?) but more like levelling up from IKEA. But still, I can upgrade, I don’t just have to cope or survive, I can enjoy. And it’s not about money, this wasn’t about money. It’s about the difference of where I was, and where I am today. See, I have these moments. These tiny moments. They last for just a few seconds. I can be looking at an inanimate object, laughing at a friend’s joke, or just enjoying tea on my balcony in the sun. For just a moment I feel happiness, calmness, content. My mind is making space for beauty, peace, enjoyment. In these fleeting moments I feel thankful, appreciative, and reflective of all things past, what I’ve been through, dealt with, and where I am today. In that moment, in those few seconds I’m in a state of bliss, in awe of everything. It’s not all doomsday emo-shit anymore. My world is not all dark and grey. Not all hope is lost. Not everything will fail or end in sorrow. …I mean… It could be, it might be, it eventually will. I’m not an optimist, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I revert very quickly back to “shit happens and then you die” -mode. Realism, as I like to call it.

But does it matter to anyone? Would anyone else relate to my immense joy of looking at a carpet? While I’m not really looking for validation (happy with my millions of imaginary followers), nor am I expecting others to understand, I do wonder if people have similar experiences or thoughts. I think having a bathroom carpet I never thought I could have is an amazing celebration of where I started and how far I’ve come. I’m extremely proud of it. It might not make sense to everyone or be big enough a thing to matter, but if you can relate, awesome! The moments that matter come in the strangest packages. But isn’t that what life should be about? Moments that matter? Moments that for whatever reason, make you feel something? Moments that are meaningful to you. I for one am looking forward to more of these moments – more moments that make me smile.