I’m a creative person, that’s one of the few things I can say about myself with certainty… along with; I love both champagne and Kit Harrington in equal measure, Mexican food is my favourite and I HATE Tuesdays. (I don’t care what anyone says, the Tuesday blues are worse).
When I was a kid I used to write stories all the time. My topics of choice weren’t exactly you’re typical happy go lucky stuff. I mainly wrote about danger, ghosts and death. I recently flicked through an old notebook, probably from when I was around eight. A few stand out classics are – ‘Drugs Kill” – “The ghost who visits my dreams” and “When a cigarette ate our house” (it was a story about fire, I was trying to be clever). Any psychiatrist would have a field day with that material I’m sure!
For the record, nobody in my family smokes or takes drugs, so I must’ve seen that type of thing Casualty or something. Casualty really used to freak me out actually, it’s where my fear of internal bleeding came from. Seriously even now when I bang my head I automatically think; “omg what if my brain is filling up with blood?”
ANYWAY – Yesterday afternoon the ‘Sunday night butterflies’ arrived much earlier than usual. Normally they wait until the evening to surface, but yesterday it was around 3pm which took me by surprise and I reacted badly. To be clear, when I say butterflies I mean piranhas which gnaw at my stomach, and when I say badly I mean I sat on the bathroom floor desperately sniffing lavender oil and blasting music in my ears. I figured Taylor Swift can drown out any bad thoughts right?
I’ve had a long weekend doing lovely things with Dan, friends and Rigby of course. It was perfect actually, I haven’t felt so happy in months. I think that we (all humans) create a bubble when we have time away from work or school, It’s like a safety blanket of sorts. So when my happy bubble burst yesterday the thought of returning to normal life filled me with dread. It was all completely irrational and I know this, but when has that ever stopped the tiger’s claws?
- Your new colleagues will eventually find out what a freak you are. You can’t hide forever.
- They probably already think you’re a disappointment. You won’t pass the probation.
- You’re going to get ill again and this time it will destroy you.
The tiger doesn’t pull any punches!
So I sat there for a while and let the waves of panic crash over me. Then suddenly out of the blue I had an urge to do something that I haven’t indulged in years. (No, sadly not hard-core S&M). Actually I’ve never shared this aspect of my personality, so please try and keep the sniggers to a minimum. I like to make collages or mood boards. YEP, you heard me! Most teenage girls had posters of boy bands or actors on their walls, but not me. Pictures of beautiful women, pages from books and sometimes even dead flowers were plastered on mine. It sounds weird I know, but I took great comfort in collating things that I found beautiful. Yes I realise this all makes me sound like a pretentious prat, but it was never for anyone else, only me. In fact I think it freaked a lot of people out, (including my mum). I remember she asked once, “is it the clothes that you like in the photos, or the women?” Her very sweet way of asking if I was a lesbian.
I have this habit, whenever I see something in a magazine that I find beautiful or inspiring I rip it out and squirrel it away in my desk drawer. I also have old birthday cards, book covers and postcards from loved ones.
So yesterday without pausing to ask “I’m I too old for this shit?” I began putting the pictures and items up on my pin board. It took over an hour and it felt good. Not only was I engrossed in the task, but I felt as though I was embracing something in myself that I would normally chastise. I really enjoyed EVERY second of it and by the time I finished the butterflies/Parana’s had lessened. Make no mistake, they were still there but at least we had coexisted in peace for a while.
Here’s my advice to you this week. Find something creative that you love and make time for it. Baking, drawing, music, football, gardening – as we get older hobbies are often the first thing to fall victim to father time, and ironically they’re so important for the soul. (Sorry for the BS word, I tried to think of something less cheesy but failed – so soul it is)!
Maybe one day I’ll express how my anxiety makes me feel through collage. But in all honesty, I’m not ready for that because I’m afraid of what it might look like. But for now, please find a photo of yesterdays’ effort below. Do be kind as I’m not an artist, I just do It for me. But hopefully it will inspire others to get crafty this week!
Btw I would encourage everyone to sign the Equality For Mental Health Petition –http://www.equality4mentalhealth.uk/
“As ministers make final decisions on the Spending Review, we urge them to treat mental health equally with physical health. We ask for the same right to timely access to evidence based treatment as those with physical health problems.” This quote sums up my beliefs exactly. Like a damaged limb, the mind also deserves equal treatment.