All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Thirteen things to do instead of smoking…

Yesterday, I had a major set-back in my quit smoking endeavor. After a brutal night of no sleep, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks (courtesy of my bedfellow, PTSD) I turned to my age-old coping mechanism and puffed my way through a pack of smokes. I was angry with myself. I was annoyed with myself. But there is little I can do about it now other than slap my own butt and start the day anew. So. Instead of smoking I’ve decided to Thursday Thirteen my way through the morning, with thirteen things you can do instead of smoking. Hopefully writing it will renew my determination and help others struggling with this crazy thing called quitting smoking.

So without further ado…

Thirteen things to do instead of smoking

quit-smoking-now-no-smoking-please

~ in no particular order ~

~1~
Exercise!

So you’re craving a cigarette? You need that sweet feeling nicotine gives you? Stop. Take a breath. And go for a walk instead. If you don’t feel like walking, go for an endorphin creating session at your local gym or a thigh burning bicycle ride. If you don’t feel like doing either of these things, press play on the video below and spend ten minutes working your cute little butt off. Exercise will take your mind off your cravings and help shape a better you in the process.
I promise.

~2~
Binge!

I’ve long been a fan of the binge-on-your-favourite-TV-show craze. It’s a pleasant way to pass the time, keeps you entertained and engaged, and can quickly take your mind off the unpleasantness of nicotine withdrawal. So instead of lighting up, slip a DVD in your player and treat yourself to several episodes of your favourite show. You’ll forget about smoking in no time!

game-of-thrones-daenerys-targaryen-dragon-20150624140946-558aba2a95724

Top five TV shows to binge on:

1. Game of Thrones; it’s a contemporary classic for a reason
2. 24; Jack Bauer can kick anyone’s butt, including cigarettes!
3. The Walking Dead; zombies, zombies, and more zombies!
4. Castle; if Molly C. Quinn can’t curb your craving, nothing will.
5. Doctor Who; the Daleks can exterminate anything, including nicotine cravings!

~3~
Om nom nom!

Instead of smoking your way through a pack of cancer causing chemicals, why not sate your cravings with some scrumptious food. Since quitting smoking I’ve been addicted to toasted cheese sandwiches, peppermints, licorice and maple pecan pastries. But you could try something more healthy, say fruit juice, carrots, celery or salad. Find something that works for you and go with it. You’d be amazed at how quickly yummy food can take your mind off those evil, vicious, cravings.

The+Perfect+Grilled+Cheese+Sandwich+800+1581

How to make the perfect toasted cheese sandwich

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 slices bread, day old
3 ounces cheese, grated/shredded, room temperature

Directions
1. Heat a pan over medium heat.
2. Completely butter one side of each slice of bread.
3. Place one slice of bread in the pan, buttered side down, sprinkle on the cheese and top with the remaining slice of bread, buttered side up.
4. Turn the heat down a notch and cook until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
5. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2-4 minutes.

~ from ClosetCooking ~

~4~
Video Games!

Video games can be a godsend during a quit smoking campaign. They keep your hands occupied. They keep your brain engaged. And they’re both an entertaining and enjoyable way to pass the time.

Last week, on my first day without cigarettes, I treated myself to a second-hand copy of Yoshi’s New Island for the 3DS. The idea was that the happy, bouncy green dinosaur would help take my mind off the cravings, and for the first few days, until I completed the game, he did. Since then I’ve moved on to other video games in an effort to take my mind off cigarettes. And they’ve helped, enormously.

Lego-batman-the-videogame-characters_(1)

Top five video games to take your mind off smoking:

1. Lego Batman; a glorious game of minion fighting and puzzle solving.
2. The Legend of Zelda; by the end of your first dungeon, cigarettes will be a thing of the past.
3. Yoshi’s New Island; you’ll enjoy the dinosaur so much you won’t think of smoking.
4. Mario Kart; challenge yourself with time trails, they’ll stop the cravings in their tracks.
5. Brain Training; keep your brain engaged with simple, fun trials and tribulations.

~5~
Music!

Music has the power to transport us to another time and place. It has the power to make us happy when we’re sad. It has the power to take hold of our soul and shower us with warm feelings of excitement and merriment. So instead of lighting up, log onto iTunes, stick a CD in your stereo, and blast your cravings away with your favourite tunes. But make sure it’s something you love, something that speaks to you, something that will get you singing and dancing along. Your cravings will evaporate in no time.

~6~
Blog!

If you’re a blogger, why not write your way through the cravings. Settle down in front of the computer and exorcise your demons through words and emotions. Write about your day. Write about your craving. Write about donuts. Just write anything. By the time you’ve shared your moment with the world your cravings will have disappeared and you’ll have gone another hour without the dreaded cigarettes.

It you’re not a blogger, then log onto the internet and check out other people’s blogs. Spend some time surfing the net and experiencing life through the thoughts and minds of others. By the time you’ve read your umpteenth blog post your cravings will have dissipated and you’ll have gone another hour without the demon cigarettes.

Blog-Image

Top five blogs to read your way through the cravings:

1. Panic Disordered
2. Many of Us
3. Strong Enough to Break
4. Blahpolar Diaries
5. Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess

~7~
Have a bath!

No-one smokes in the bath. No-one. Mainly because your cigarette would get all soggy. So instead of lighting up, strip yourself naked and soak yourself in a calming, relaxing, sweet-smelling tub of hot water. Not only will you be showing yourself some (much-needed) self-love, you’ll find the soothing water will evaporate any craving you’re experiencing.

bath

Top five secrets to the perfect bath:

1. If you use the right ingredients, bathing makes you look younger
It’s true – high quality, natural bath salts can take years off your appearance by helping your body defend against climate and UV exposure, genetics, and other elements that speed up the aging process. Not only that, but natural salts can help your skin repair and restore its youthful smoothness and vitality on a cellular level, addressing existing signs of aging such as fine lines and an uneven skin tone.

2. Atmosphere is key
Before you take your bath, make sure the lighting in your room is soft and low. Either dim the lights or place candles along the rim of your tub. Bring in a portable CD player and play your favourite, soothing music. Before you know it, your bathroom will be transformed into a quiet, tranquil oasis.

3. When it comes to bath salts, the more, the better!
Don’t be shy! Be generous with the bath salts – the more, the better. Grab a handful or, even better, two – and hold them under the running water as you draw your bath, allowing the salts to release their fragrance and oils into the steam as they fall into the water. The idea here is to replicate an oceanic environment – after all, there’s nothing more therapeutic than soaking in the sea.

4. Keep that curtain closed.
After you step into your bath, either partially or completely close the shower curtain or door. This not only seals in the heat (so water takes longer to cool), but it keeps in all that fabulous, fragrant steam. The steam will open and cleanse the pores in your skin, giving you a youthful, healthy glow.

5. Not so fast – keep soaking!
After 10 minutes of soaking, you may be tempted to hop out of your tub and go back to other activities. Instead, lie back and stay there for another 10 minutes. The bath salts will have time to work their magic on your skin while the warmth of the water improves your circulation and lowers your blood pressure. Not only will soaking longer help your body, but it will greatly benefit your mind. Believe it or not, it takes a while to get “used” to relaxing – those first few minutes are often spent thinking about appointments, projects, and deadlines. Once your mind is clear, close your eyes and relax!

~ from SFSalt ~

~8~
Go to the cinema!

You can’t smoke in the cinema. Well, you could, but it would be illegal, and you’d risk the wrath of both patrons and employees alike. So take your mind off the cravings by treating yourself to a movie and popcorn. Unfortunately, I can’t indulge in this activity as my social anxiety prevents me from being around so many people so, if you’re like me, why not recreate that cinema feel in the comfort of your own home? Just pop some popcorn into the microwave then curl up on the couch with your favourite comfort movie. Your cravings will just vanish, I promise.

~9~
Read!

There’s no pain or torment in the world that a good book can’t quell. So instead of reaching for your smokes, reach for a good book instead. You’ll be transported to another world, fall in love with enigmatic characters and lose yourself to the danger and excitement contained within. So much better than killing your body with harmful substances.

Woman reading a book

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
~ Jane Austen ~

~10~
Massage

Last night I dreamt (the divine) Karen Gillan was giving me a full body massage. It made me realise that (a) my life is devoid of human-to-human contact, (b) that dreams are so much more exciting than reality and (c) massages rock!

So instead of lighting up, pester your significant other until they tear your clothes off, lie you down, and massage the living hell out of your aching, cigarette craving body. By the end of the massage you’ll be relaxed, invigorated and ready to face the next challenge.

If your partner is ignorant to the ways of massage, why not get them to watch this video:

~11~
Colouring In!

Colouring in is no longer just for children. In recent years it has become quite the adult entertainment device. Not only is it an incredibly mindful activity, it can work wonders in taking your mind off whatever problem you’re having, including nicotine craving. So instead of cracking out the smokes, open up a pack of delicious coloured pencils and get creative!

Here are some colouring in pages to print out:

~ Click each image to enlarge ~

~12~
Spanking!

Okay, so I’m running out of ideas. But bear with me. It may sound random, it may sound bizarre, it may even sound a little kinky, but a good spanking will take your mind off whatever problem you’re having. So cosy on up to your significant other and quietly request they smack your cute little bottom until it’s rosy red and flooding you with warmth and excitement! Your nicotine cravings will be gone in an instant, I assure you. :p

OTKspanking

Six of the best spanking tips:

1. Massage is a nice way to prime his (or her) butt pre-spank. Start by gently caressing his cheeks, and after a few minutes, begin kneading them as though you were making dough. Every so often, give him a firm pinch to prep him for more intense action later on.

2. When you’re ready for the big shebang, keep a few pointers in mind (and share these with him, too): (1) Mix things up – try a series of quick little slaps, followed by one big whack. (2) Alternate between smacking with an open palm and a cupped hand; each feels and sounds different. (3) Stick to the fatter lower part of his butt or his cheeks, and avoid his tailbone.

3. Try this game: Collect a bunch of household objects that would make fun DIY floggers – a wooden spoon, spatula, paperback book, etc. Spank him with one of the items and have hum guess what it is.

4. A cute way to send the message that you’re in the mood for a spanking. Use permanent marker to write something sexy on the backside of your undies, like Spank Me or I’ve Been Naughty.

5. Dirty talk makes spanking even hotter. Tell him, “Honey, every time I spank you I want you to say ‘Again, please,’ like a good boy.” It might spark some sexy role play.

6. Make sure you decide on a safe word first – something totally disconnected from sex like “popcorn” or “sunshine”.

~ from Cosmopolitan ~

and

~13~
Plan for the future!

Think of how much money you’re saving from not smoking. Pretty soon you’re gonna be rolling in the stuff. So instead of smoking, get your mind working and figure out how you’re gonna spend all that money. Are you going to treat yourself to a new book? A new video game? A day at your local spa? Or have you decided to save up for something more magnificent, like a holiday, car or house?

holiday

Now that you’re no longer a smoker, the entire world is your oyster!


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Thirteen tips to help you survive Christmas

If you’re anything like me, Christmas is not the all-out happy family and friends fun fest that the media would have you believe. Instead, it’s a time of loneliness, emotional triggers and wishing to whoever will listen that the whole ‘holiday period’ would just bugger off and leave you alone.

Well, help is at hand. For today’s Thursday Thirteen I’m going to share some of my plan for getting through this insidious time of year relatively unscathed. Who knows, perhaps you will pick up a few ideas to help you survive this year’s silly season.

Christmas

~ in no particular order ~

1. Take steps to minimize self-harm

Because of the sheer number of emotional triggers that occur for me during this time of year (e.g. Samantha’s death, my girlfriend cheating on me on Christmas Day, not very pleasant memories of my abusive relationship) there is always the very real chance that I will resort to self-harm in order to get me through the days. However, as this is something I am trying not to do this year, I’ve taken steps to minimize the possibility.

Firstly, my random assortment of cutting implements have been given to my support worker to keep locked up in an impenetrable building during the holiday period. Secondly, I have placed on the fridge and bathroom mirror a list of distractions that I can utilize instead of self-harm. And thirdly, I have given myself permission to forgive myself should I take a misstep and actually self-harm.

Should this be a problem for you, other possible things you can do are: have a help-line number on hand in-case things become too difficult to control, make sure you have a trusted friend (or friends) that you can turn to if needs be, organize a ‘tool box’ of coping and distraction implements that you can use instead of your usual self-harm implements.

2. Seek out other people…

Most major towns and cities will have a charitable organisation that organizes a Christmas event for people in need. In my town there is a community lunch being offered, where people who don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with can enjoy a cooked meal in the company of other, like-minded souls.

Although I didn’t attend last year’s event – for reasons I shall divulge in a moment – I did head down in 2011, so this is an option that’s on the table if I can handle being around other people this Christmas.

So if you don’t fancy being alone for Christmas, why not do a little bit of local research and see what community events are planned for your towns or cities this year. Even if you do have people to spend Christmas with, you can always volunteer your time to help make Christmas a special time for those who are most in need.

3. …or spend the day on your own

The reason I didn’t attend last year’s community Christmas lunch was because my anxiety was so extreme that I couldn’t handle being around other people last year. There is also the trigger of being reminded just what I’m missing the most in my life; the company of others. However bizarre it may sound, being around others will often amplify my feelings of isolation and loneliness, thus making it more difficult when I return home alone.

As such, there is the very real possibility that, like last year, I will be spending Christmas Day alone. Although this sounds rather sad and pathetic, it really isn’t.

One of the best Christmases I ever had was spent completely on my own. I didn’t see friends, I didn’t see family, I didn’t see anyone. Instead, I chilled out watching movies, reading books, going for casual strolls in the snow and treating myself to a blissfully tasty home-cooked Christmas dinner.

Given the media make it abundantly clear that you should be spending Christmas Day with family and friends it’s all too easy to forget that there is nothing wrong with being on your own.

So if this is how you are choosing to spend Christmas, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it. Not even yourself!

4. Limit your alcohol consumption

Last year, I found myself turning to alcohol as a means of surviving the Christmas period. Normally I will drink alcohol on only four days of the year – my primary triggering anniversaries – so after last year I am acutely aware that this could become a problem again this year.

The plan I have in place to prevent this from happening is very similar to that of the self-harm issue above. I have resolved not to keep any alcohol in the house, I have my list of distractions to turn to in times of distress and, once again, I’ve given myself permission to forgive myself should a misstep occur.

So if the holiday period is a depressive one for you, and you feel you may be turning to alcohol to ease your pain, remember that alcohol is a depressive, so all you’re doing is making it harder for yourself!

5. Distractions I: Watch an uplifting movie

One of my primary methods of distraction is film and television. In preparation of the Christmas period I have made a list of films and television series that I want to watch; all of them being titles I can utilize to help me survive; all of them being ‘uplifting’ or ‘comic’ in nature.

So this year, in times of distress, I will (hopefully) be entertained by Monsters University, Due South, The To Do List, 30 Rock (S7) and The Lone Ranger.

Perhaps you too could benefit from preparing an emergency movie list! :)

6. Distractions II: Play an engrossing video game

Last year, I saved Hyrule twice and prevented Lego Middle Earth from total annihilation. This year, I plan to save Hyrule again (courtesy of a replay of Skyward Sword) and will no doubt play in Lego heaven once more courtesy of Audrey’s favourite game, Lego Batman. All the while reminding myself that there is nothing wrong with having a bit of playful fun over this time of year.

So if video games are your thing, perhaps you could plan to play through a particular title, or have a few old favourites up your sleeve in case of distressing times.

7. Distractions III: Write…Write…Write

As everyone is rushing around cooking Turkeys, tripping over presents and trying not to look silly in flimsy paper hats, blogs the world over will be desolate wastelands. But if you’re on your own, there’s nothing to stop you posting whatever meaningful thought that comes to mind. Writing is, after all, one of the most therapeutic practices there is and there will always be people like me waiting to read your words.

So if things are getting too much, remember that not everyone is with their family and friends, some will be sitting in front of their computer looking for things to read and people to spend Christmas with.

So get writing!

PS…if you’re stuck for things to write about, I will be undertaking a blog challenge of my own creation during the twelve days of Christmas, so you’re more than welcome to play along with me! :)

8. Treat yourself I: Gift for you

Christmas is a time for giving…so why not give something to yourself?

As I know Christmas is going to be a vicious period for me, I always try to buy myself a wee present to reward myself for all the good work I’ve done throughout the year. In the past these presents have ranged from a cherished music CD, items of clothing, a much wanted book or watchalicious DVD box set.

As yet I haven’t decided what my present will be this year, so if you’re not sure either, get your thinking caps on as Christmas is only six days away!

9. Treat yourself II: Food for you

As with item 8 above, one of my other personal traditions for Christmas, especially since my homelessness ended, is to treat myself to a particular foodstuff that I wouldn’t normally buy throughout the year. This foodstuff is something that always makes me happy, that I think is the most delicious thing in the world and something that I actually look forward to eating; namely, Yorkshire Puddings! :p

So why not reward all your hard work this year with a delicacy you wouldn’t normally buy, a foodstuff that will put a smile on your most worthy of faces.

10. Treat yourself III: Shower yourself with self-love

This is hard for me to do at the best of times, let alone during the most insidious and unpleasant times of the year! But this year I am going to do my level best to love myself as much as humanly possible.

Whether this is allowing myself an extra-long shower with sweet-smelling body lotion, indulging in half a dozen candles that are just as odorlicious as the body lotion or other, somewhat naughtier delights, this year I am going to try to make Christmas all about loving Addy.

So why don’t you do to? Love yourself, I mean, not me! Single out a few things you love to do but rarely get the chance – candlelit baths, massages, other, somewhat naughtier delights – and relish in the act of showering yourself with the love you rightly deserve.

11. Sleep!

With all the stressors and triggers ravaging your body, you may not be getting as much sleep as your body needs to function properly, so do your level best to get at least a few hours sleep each night.

Your body (and mind) will thank you for it if you do! :)

12. Remember that you’re not alone!

When the demons of isolation and loneliness consume you, remember that you are never alone. Even if you don’t have family or friends to turn to, most help-lines are operational throughout the Christmas and New Year period so don’t feel embarrassed to call them if you need to talk to someone.

But if you’re anything like me, when things become too overwhelming you completely forget your own name, let alone mental health help-lines. So one way you can remind yourself of this option is to create a helpful list of numbers – such as, Lifeline, Suicide Prevention Helplines, the Salvation Army, your local hospital or mental health service – that you can call if things get too overwhelming. Once you’ve created your list place it on the fridge, next to the TV, on a prominent mirror, so that you always know where it is should you need it.

13. Be prepared

If, like me, you know that the Christmas period is going to be a challenging, stressful and unpleasant time, channel your inner-boy scout and be prepared.

Hopefully this list will have given you a few ideas you can put in place to ease the stress over the holiday period, but if not, perhaps sit down and try to come up with a few ideas that could ease the loneliness, anxiety and depressive thoughts; and once done, perhaps consider sharing your ideas in the comments field below.

With all the media hubbub and consumerist shenanigans that occur over this time of year, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hurricane and swept away. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Remember, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan; and this year I am planning for a healthy, safe and relatively stress-free Christmas. How about you?


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Coping Skills: Fifty Things of Self-Love

Earlier this year I wrote a post called Coping Skills, which shared a coping skills worksheet that came to me via Indigo Daya’s website. One of the categories on this work-sheet was ‘self-love’, which are all the things you can do to love (or care) for yourself in times of distress.

In this section of the work-sheet I wrote:

Me? Love myself? You gotta be kidding, right? This never happens…but I know it ’should’ be happening, so I seriously need to sit down and try to work out some ways that will allow me to love myself. I just don’t know how anymore. :(

Now, six months on – and to celebrate my 550th post! – I’ve decided to take up the challenge and come up with fifty things of self-love; for how can I ever hope to experience positive emotions again (e.g. happiness, joy, contentment, relaxation, nurture etc.) if I don’t know what will bring them on?

My Self-Love List

A few notes on the above list:

(i) For the sake of clarification, I decided that ‘my’ definition of self-love is: ‘anything I can do to feel something other than shit’. Your definition may be different (and involve less/more swear words!)

(ii) In terms of the final count, instead of merely stating movies, books etc. I decided to expand these sections by listing the five most awesome candidates. It is these five things that are included in the final count of fifty, not the movies, books etc. genres themselves.

(iii) And for all of you rolling your eyes at ‘masturbation’ and ‘kissing/sex/oral sex’…What? I’m just being honest! :p

Now, over to you…what things do you do to love yourself in times of distress?
Are you willing to take the fifty things of self-love challenge?


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Coping Skills

We all have good days and bad days. For some of us, especially if mental health issues are involved, the bad days can be all-consuming, so when they hit we need to have the coping skills to deal with the emotional distress we find ourselves in.

My support worker recently gave me a worksheet – created by Indigo Daya (a Melbourne based mental health trainer, consultant and change agent) – that gives advice on how we can help ourselves cope during such difficult times, across six different aspects of our lives:

Coping Skills

Worksheet Layout and Text © Indigo Daya

On the reverse of the worksheet there is space for you to write about the various coping skills that work best for you. You’re also encouraged to print out a copy so you can refer to it in times of need. Whilst I’ve stuck my hard-copy on the fridge, I’ve also decided to include a version of it here on the off-chance it will inspire someone in ways they may not have thought of.

In working through the worksheet it became apparent to me how reliant I am on the distraction set of coping skills. In fact, aside from the occasional moment of emotional release, virtually all of my coping mechanisms fall into this category.

This realisation has encouraged me to look at some other coping skills (such as grounding and self-love) to see if I can create some new skills to better assist with distressing periods, especially when lack of concentration makes it difficult to focus on any distractions.

My Coping Skills

Worksheet Layout © Indigo Daya

If you would like to view Indigo Daya’s Coping Skills worksheet and print a copy to complete yourself, you can do so here.

Whilst I work on the areas I’m lacking skills in, I’m interested in how other people cope with life’s distresses. Do you tend to rely on distraction? Or are you more a self-love or emotional release person?

Feel free to leave any coping skills advice in the comments below, who knows, you may find yourself accessing your higher self and helping someone else. :)


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Sunday Stealing: Self Image

This week, we conclude the epic 100 Question meme that began here and continued here and here.

84. Describe the routine of a normal day for you:

I wake up after a couple of hours sleep feeling exhausted, confused and blargh. I switch on the radio to catch up with the day’s news and current affairs and then read my daily websites to explore different stances and opinions on the day’s news and current affairs.

After this I write a few blog posts, only some of which get published, before catching up with antics on the fried gold blogs I follow. After this I usually mosey down the road to wander around doing very little before returning home to cook dinner, listen to the radio, write more blog posts before finally going to bed (usually around 2-3am.)

Following the odd random dream (usually sexually based) and nightmare (occasionally sexually based) I wake up after a couple of hours sleep feeling exhausted, confused and blargh. I switch on the radio to catch up with the news and current affairs and then read my…

85. What is your greatest strength as a person?

As I’ve said previously, I consider my greatest strength to be my ‘inner strength’; the only thing that has driven me through the years of nightmare. If it weren’t for this stubbornness I would have been dead a long, long time ago.

86. What is your greatest weakness?

My erratic moods coupled with social anxiety.

This combination affects my ability to be there for the people I care about (see: Grace in 2008, Kathy in 2007 amongst others), my ability to focus on what I want to do (see: NaNoWriMo 2012, any of my writing projects), keep me from writing emails (see the length of time it takes me to response to emails), prevents me from commenting on websites (see the 12 articles I want to comment on at the moment, but can’t) and generally impacts on every area of my life.

Although I abhor blaming my mental illness for things, especially the first item above, it would be wrong of me to say it wasn’t part of the cause. I hate it, I wish I was able to communicate normally, I’ve never come to terms with it, and only once came close to overcoming it.

87. Are you going to run for President in 2016?

Yes. But I’m not telling you what Presidency I’ll be running for :p

88. Are you generally self-contained?

The last time I checked all my organs were located within my body. So yes, I guess I am self-contained.

However, should I ever find a rogue kidney or spleen lurking under the sofa cushions, I’ll happily redact my answer.

89. Are you generally organized or messy?

Everything external (flat, computer files, objects, paperwork) are generally perfect.

Everything internal (mind, memories, emotions) are generally chaotic and messy.

90. Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at, and three things you consider yourself to be very bad at:

Three things I am good at:

1) Creating
2) Cunnilingus
3) Honesty

Also, amongst many others: writing, cooking omelette sandwiches, photography, giving massages (especially backs & buttocks) and empathy.

Three things I am bad at:

1) Talking to other people
2) Writing timely replies to emails.
3) Seeing myself as a decent human being (thanks for the long-term psychological damage, emotionally abusive ex-girlfriend!)

Also, amongst many others: [given I’m trying to think more positively about myself, I refuse to write any more things I’m bad at today!]

91. Do you like your neighbours? Do they like you?

One of my neighbours is an incredibly annoying. If he’s not playing the same Evanesence song incredibly loudly for six hours straight, he’s blasting the sounds of first-person shooter video games through my wall. If he’s not blasting the sounds of first-person video games through my wall, he’s slamming doors left, right and center. If he’s not slamming doors left, right and center he’s leaving his front door open whilst turning his TV up to maximum volume so I can hear every syllable of the show (usually reality TV) perfectly.

He’s not a bad guy, he just doesn’t seem to be able to understand the concept that sound travels.

As for whether they like me? Probably not. But I don’t spend much time communicating with them so they don’t know me very well.
(Note: this is social anxiety, not snobbishness!)

92. Are you different in public then you act among friends?

Given my lack of friends in the real world and my social isolation I’m unable to answer this question. Sorry.

93. What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?

To be a: friend, a husband(/defacto partner) and a father, concurrently.

94. Where do you see yourself in 4 years?

I’d be surprised if I wasn’t dead – but then I said the same thing four years ago (and I’m still amazed I’m still alive) – so who knows where I will be in four years. Hopefully in a relationship with an intelligent, gorgeous, inspiring, compassionate, (kinky), woman whilst earning money through writing and creating.

Probably doing exactly the same as in question 84 above.

95. If you could choose, how would you want to leave this world?

Given my current increase of suicidal thoughts as a result of the changes that have been occurring, bipolar mood swings and the continuing belief I’m not a very good human being, I don’t really want to answer this question today. Sorry.

96. If you had only one week to live, what three things would be bumped up on the bucket list?

Item 1, Item 36, Item 100.

Although in all honesty, if I had only one week to live I would dedicate that week to knocking as many items off the list as possible!

97. What is one thing about you that really stands out?

See my answer to (85) above. Also: my honesty, my creativity, my drive to succeed, my butt and my passion (which is immense!)

98. What three words best describe your personality?

Creative. Passionate. Eclectic.

Runner ups: Honest. Kinky. Friggin’ awesome.

99. What three words would others probably use to describe you?

Note: This answer was written, begrudgingly, after collating all comments received over the years from other people:

Worthless. Repulsive. Useless.

Runner ups: Evil. Better off dead. Friggin’ awesome.

100. What advice do you have to give?


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Ten inspirational self-esteem quotes

It’s time you had a time out

Contemporary life can, at times, be somewhat stressful.

We fill our lives with Twitter, Facebook, the need for twenty-four hour a day contact and blogging. There’s traffic congestion, inbox congestion, nasal congestion and artery congestion. The eternal quest to eradicate wrinkles, lines, body hair and blemishes. Does my bum look big in this? Does my cleavage look too small in this? Does my toe look like it has a fungal infection in this? There’s the endless balance between work, home, family, friends and random strangers. Electricity, food, medication, gas, water, rates, taxes…those bloody taxes! Every day of our lives is an endless stream of stress and tension, relieved only when we chance upon some time for sex, cuddles, massages and cunnilingus. But only if we’re lucky enough to have them.

And then there’s physical health, and mental health, and emotional health, and at some point we need to stop.

Breath.

And take a time out.

This week has been such a week for me. I’ve tried to balance the mood swings, the loneliness, the insomnia and anxiety as best I can, all whilst undertaking exercises to increase positive thought and work toward better self-esteem. I’ve sought support (no change yet), completed dozens of forms, argued with Centrelink and found little joy in the long, cold nights.

There have been triggers galore trying to sabotage me, rivers of tears trying to humiliate me and flashbacks aplenty to some of the most traumatic, painful moments of my life. There has been servings of victim guilt, survivor guilt and man guilt mixed liberally with grief, sadness, worry and a pinch of depression with a heavy dollop of isolation.

So today, I am leading by example, and choosing to stop. Because if I don’t, my mental health will collapse and my self-esteem with it.

Although I cannot advise you on how and when you should stop – as you know your life and mind better than I – please take some time to work this out for yourself. I cannot say it strongly enough, but one of the key things with building self-esteem is knowing yourself. Of being aware of your triggers, of your moods and the balance with everything that makes up your life.

When you have the courage to pause and admit you need some time to relax away, to remove the stress and focus on joy, you’re well on your way to better self-esteem.

So for today there are no exercises, no lists, no technical worksheets requiring work and thought. There is only me, telling you to go and do something nice. Run yourself a bath, cuddle with your loved one, eat some ice-cream, go for a walk, pet your dog, phone a friend.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it puts a beautiful, calming smile on your beautiful, worthy face.

Inspirational self-esteem quotes

 


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Exercises to Build Self Esteem: #1. Pleasure and Happiness

“Pleasure is the only thing one should live for, nothing ages like happiness.”
~ Oscar Wilde ~

Accentuate the positives

The first exercise toward building better self-esteem is to focus on the positives. Now, I’m not a convert into the positive thinking movement, in fact I find books that proclaim all we need to do is think positively and everything we want will magically appear out of thin air complete crap. I don’t believe someone can ‘pretend away depression’ nor do I believe thinking positively will cure you of cancer or the myriad of other illnesses that people suffer from.

However, thinking positive thoughts about ourselves can bring about an attitude change toward better self-perception.

Once upon a time I was in a counselling session. I had seen this counsellor for several sessions and in each one he noted how stressed and tense I was; how I sat in a defensive position, how I guarded my words, how my entire being was rigid in a state of alert tension. To combat this he began asking me about times in my life when I was at my happiest, I began talking to him about Grace, about pub trivia teams and then about Louise, about camping in the wilderness, about Kathy and Deborah. Within fifteen minutes I’d launched into a monologue that lasted nearly thirty minutes, merrily skipping through my travels in Canada, of hikes with Annie, accidental beaver spotting and a rambling diatribe about how I missed the confidence I’d exuded during that period. After my talking tailed off he pointed out how my demeanour had changed; I was now sitting upright, arms by my side inside of crossed in front of me, there was a spark in my eye and the tension had melted away with each second I’d allowed myself to bathe in these memories.

The simple act of returning to pleasurable times had caused a noticeable physical and mental change within me.

People suffering from low self-esteem often dwell in the unhappiness, the pain and the negative aspects of their life. They do so to ‘prove’ their thinking is real and that they deserve to think so harshly of themselves; rarely, if ever, do they focus on positivity and pleasure.

Thus, today’s activity (from Self-Esteem Experts) is to create a pleasure list; a comprehensive directory of all the people, places, things and activities that bring you pleasure whenever you think about or partake in them.

Once you have completed the list, pin it on your fridge, carry it in your wallet, keep it somewhere close so that whenever you are feeling unhappy, or judging yourself harshly, or experiencing a bad self-esteem moment, you can turn to it and allow yourself the memories of happiness that will see, like in my counselling session, a noticeable change in attitude.

Writing your Pleasure List

1. Take a clean sheet of paper and head somewhere you feel safe and relaxed.

2. Divide the paper into four sections:

– Section 01: People and Pets (who bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 02: Places (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 03: Things (that bring me pleasure when I think of them)
– Section 04: Things I like to do (that bring me pleasure)

3. Then write as many examples as you can under each section.
4. Remember to allow yourself to feel happy!

No matter how negatively you think of yourself, no matter how hard you convince yourself you do not deserve happiness – you do! You deserve all the happiness in the world, so always remember to focus on the things you adore, the places you cherish and the people you love. In time, you will see a positive change not only in how you think but how you see your beautiful self.

My Pleasure List

Given my life is an open blog I will now share with you my pleasure list:

B&B Threesome; alas, not that kind of threesome! (February 2000)

There are snakes in that lake! (Canada, 2000)

The green skirt of my dreams (February 2007)

Hostel Takeover; my one and only pub trivia team (March 2006)

(All images painted by renowned impressionist painter Mr. Pho Toscape and © Addy)

Tomorrow…Ways to Build Self-Esteem #2: Talents and Skills