Are you having fun yet?

Stefan 5

Hello and welcome to another post.

My last post on Veganism did surprisingly well, receiving many more views and shares than usual. That was nice.

I have been doing some thinking.

About what I should do with the rest of my life. I have too often given into fear and plodded along, feeling safe but dreadfully uninspired and listless – ‘going through the motions’, as they say.

Ever since I left High School at 16, I have felt lost and worked in jobs I despise. All for that small paycheck each month. After High School, I went to College and studied Business and Finance. I only picked the subject because it sounded safe and usable in the real World. Not to mention, I had no idea what else to do. I thought about doing Drama and Film Studies … that kind of thing. But the realist in me said it’d be a waste of time and would get me nowhere.

I did tremendously well in the Business & Finance course (a BTEC National Diploma), getting top grades, but I felt no sense of achievement because it was all meaningless and I was too busy worrying about my health and feeling depressed (having reacted badly to the medication, Roaccutane).

It is surprising how fast the years can go by. Let’s face it – there are things along the way that are changing and keeping you busy, so you don’t always notice what is happening and where you are headed. Suddenly it’s the start of another year, or your birthday, and you realise you are wasting time …

I have been working within Insurance for the past 3 years (working for 3 different employers). I can do it, easy enough. But the repetition, the stress, the workload … where is the pay off? What’s the sodding point?

I realised that part of the problem is feeling stagnant. I am no longer learning and I am terribly bored of it all. A job can suck all of your energy if it isn’t right for you and so I realise it is time to get my act together, before I end up trapped forever.

So, whilst I don’t have a precise plan yet – and I really should have figured all of this out sooner – I am going to learn new things. I am going to follow my heart, because I have rarely done so and it has left me a shadow, barely living.

I think my options are as follows:

  • Study part-time, selecting an Open University course. This would take six years.
  • Or – going to a University and getting a Bachelor’s degree. This would take three years.

I think I prefer the sound of Option B.

So, the next question is what would I study? It’s got to be something I actually WANT to learn and use. I am going to dig deeper, but my interests (that I think I could get a job out of at the end of it) are:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Social Work
  • English (Writing)
  • Journalism
  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Animal Science

I think Psychology or Philosophy are the two that stick out the most for me. I don’t really know what job I could get from Philosophy, but I am very interested in ideologies surrounding our existence and around ethics. As I have explained before, and as you may gather with me being a HSP, ethics are very important to me.

But that’s good isn’t it? …

I’m thinking now. Instead of feeling like I can’t make a decision or feeling like my only option is to do what I have always done, I am actually looking into my options. I used to hope that there was an easier path. One where I didn’t have to study. But any time I look at jobs being posted, they are all … ahem, crap.

Without a degree, I can easily get a job in retail, insurance or admin.

But life is too short to sell your soul for a paycheck. I crave meaning and I want to care about the work I do.

I want to make a difference.

If I have to study for a few years in order to secure a better future, then so be it. And I am still terrified. I can still over-think it and worry that a degree isn’t enough to find a job afterwards. Or that I’ll struggle. Or people won’t like me on the course.

But sometimes you have to tell that cynical voice to keep it down and focus on what you want. And you need to have a bit of faith in yourself.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

~ Alex.

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For those who haven’t achieved anything…

I, too, have got into the mindset where I feel I have done nothing of value with my life.

That if I died tomorrow, I would die without having anything to show for it.

And maybe that’s because we idolize Film Stars and Musicians, who have a a host of glamorized achievements under their belt. Or maybe we see inventors like Steve Jobs, or authors like J.K Rowling and we just cannot live up that level of success and contribution.

And, of course it is extremely unlikely than anyone can! Let’s be real for a minute.

But just because you haven’t walked down the red carpet to screaming fans, or got a number 1 record, doesn’t mean your life is meaningless. It doesn’t mean you never achieved anything.

For example, you might drive a car. That’s impressive – even though some driver’s make me wonder if the test is still too easy. But really, something as simple as passing a driving test shows what can be achieved with practice and dedication. I passed my test on my forth attempt. That sounds bad, and I used to get really nervous because I don’t do well in situations where I am being observed closely, but I have never had an accident in the almost 7 years I have been driving. And hey, I could have quit after 3 fails – But I got there in my own time.

Some people might pass their test first time round, but then rush into a sense of immortality and invincibility. And then they have an accident or, worse yet, die.

This has gotten a little dark, as is usual for me.

But let’s think about something else you might have achieved. How about passing your exams in School? Sure, maybe you weren’t a straight A student. But if you tried your best and didn’t end up unemployable afterwards, that’s worthy of a pat on the back.

And maybe you think your job is a bit shit. Maybe it’s dull, or a monkey could do it. Maybe you are right. But, in time, you can get where you want to be.

Also, we don’t need to see success in the same way we always have. Maybe success is being a good person who does good things selflessly. Maybe someone who looks after the sick and vulnerable is the real success. Maybe that’s what should be valued, instead of good looking people on the TV.

Because there are a lot of rich and famous people in the World who are fucking assholes. They have betrayed people, or maybe exploited people/animals to get where they are now. Like, there are a lot of rich farmers. And Steve Jobs is responsible, in part, for slavery and human rights violations. Think of all the overworked people in China, getting paid fuck all so Apple can reap ridiculous amounts of profit. And I might be a hypocrite for saying that, because (like most people) I own an iPhone. Though I didn’t actually buy it. It was a hand-me-down.

But maybe we should look beneath the surface instead of focusing on the iceberg (or Success) that we usually zone in on.. Maybe some people’sĀ success is a veneer of shit, decorated in some shiny glitter. Maybe all that money is the product of blood, sweat and tears.

And, ultimately, whether you die a Millionaire or a struggling single Mum on benefits, you still die. Your body still gets buried in a hole or burnt to ash (pretty nice thought, isn’t it?).

So, if you want to achieve more, be reasonable. Life gets in the way and we are all trying the best we can (well, not everyone is, but those reading this Blog are the one’s who are in touch with their desires). If you want something bad enough, I believe you can get it. Refuse to quit and don’t give up when success doesn’t come quickly.

But also remember to take a chill pill and lay off the pressure sometimes.

~ Alex.

P.S. I set up a Facebook page, so give it a LIKE šŸ˜‰

 

Feeling Depressed :( *Trigger Warning*

Depressed

Hi.

I feel really, really, REALLY bad.

I’m going to be very transparent in this post. Like a freaking window.

I set up this Blog out of pure desperation. I am so desperate to escape my current lifestyle of working in a busy office and dealing with what feels like constant stress. And I needed to be able to express myself to people who don’t know me in real life. I feel thin-skinned and after a while of facing the bombardment of noise and bright visuals, I want to hide away. I start getting really anxious and don’t want to be around people.

I can’t look anyone in the eye, because my self-esteem has died. I start to feel paranoid that people are judging me or whispering about me.

I start to question everything.

Why is this World so cruel? What if there is no such thing as Karma? What if the people who do bad things just get away with it? Why do the bad guys so often succeed and will our World always feel so hopeless and upside-down? How can I escape this? Maybe I should just live in a cave away from civilization. Will I always feel this unhappy? What if there is no such thing as long-term happiness? Maybe the odd moment is all you get. And then you just die. Holy shit – What if this is as good as it gets? I just want to feel peaceful. I just want a bit of space and quiet. I don’t fit into this way of life …

I have been working in the wrong jobs for years but, realistically, I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do to get my life on track. It’s hard as a creative person.

I want to be a writer, or do music, or help animals.

But there are too many people in this World and they are better than me. They don’t all have adrenal fatigue or anxiety & depression. I have these obstacles. I have no confidence in myself. I feel like a lone wolf when I go about my daily life. I feel SO alone. I feel like I have nobody to connect to when I’m at work. I feel like nobody understands me. Maybe I am just a freak.

Surely it isn’t supposed to be this hard. I have read SO MANY self-help books and where have they got me? What change have they helped to create? Nowhere. Nothing.

Where do I begin? I am struggling to pull myself out of bed to face what will be another exhausting day. I just want to stay inside, away from the madness. I just want to read books and watch TV.

Due to the stress I have experienced, over such a long period of time, I am gaining weight around my stomach (AKA Visceral Fat). This can kill you in the long run, and though I still appear skinny to anyone who would glance my way, I feel uncomfortable sitting down. I have ‘Skinny-Fat’. My diet is good. I walk a lot. But stress increases cortisol production from the adrenal glands and this in turn leads to weight gain. Until I can deal with the stress (and I’ve tried for years at this point), I am screwed.

I just feel like I’m sinking into a pit of doom. I want to feel safe. I want to feel like there is hope and that I can get better. But I don’t know where to start.

I would like to hear some words of encouragement if anyone is in a position to help me. I’m feeling really lost.

šŸ˜¦

 

How To Deal With Anxiety (HSPs).

Matrix

This follows on from my last post, where I talked about why anxiety is common among Highly Sensitive People.

You can read that post HERE.

After living with Anxiety (and Depression) on and off for 10 years, I wanted to share what I have learned and how I deal with my crazy little mind.

I spent a lot of money on supplements for a long time, because I was convinced my anxiety and depression were related to a physical problem. I’m not talking about serotonin – I am talking about the negative side-effects I experienced following treatment with Accutane (as previously discussed). I figured I was only depressed and anxious because I felt weak and tired a lot of the time. Or that my body was over-run by toxic medicine residue.

Did any of those supplements help? No. I literally pissed away thousands of pounds and noticed absolutely NO changes. And when I say supplements, I mean I tried like everything. Ancient Chinese herbs, multi-minerals, other herbal remedies (specifically made for me by a Herbalist). All kinds of nasty stuff, like ‘Chinese Bitters’. Holy cow, they were bad!

At one point, I literally put Coffee up my ass!

Don’t judge me! I was super desperateĀ to feel better and even though I knew it seemed like a long shot, I was advised that it’d help cleanse my liver of toxins. To be honest, it felt quite nice (haha) though those days are now ‘behind’ me.

Get it? ‘Behind me’ … like my butt.

Anyway … it’s totally true that there is a mind and body connection. Stress can literally kill you if you don’t take it seriously. At times, I wonder how the f*ck I’m still alive. Like, I’ve been through some deep shit, man. How has my body not just given up? How have I not got cancer?

Despite some ongoing health issues – which I will touch upon in a future post about Health and High Sensitivity – I am very lucky to have not been struck down with anything life threatening.

But if you lack energy, motivation and generally feel a bit naff, it could be that your mind is having an effect on your body. Just in case anyone is still in doubt or somehow thinks this sounds New-agey, it is pure science. The placebo effect has proven how our mind can influence our body. There are plenty of metaphysical books out there about healing. People claim to have beaten Cancer and other incurable diseases by changing their lifestyles and their minds. I for one believe them, because life is too bizarre to be a mistake.

I don’t think we are supposed to just die for no reason, having not achieved the things we are capable of. Although, having said that, this World is obviously very mysterious and, at times, frustrating and brutal. People die because of other road users, or terrorist attacks, or sociopath cannibals. It is hard to give meaning to some things.

Can you tell I am just writing without a thought? This post may seem a little all-over-the-place, but I’m in the zone!

Let’s get to the point though. Anxiety is a big problem. If you are anxious (or depressed, or just generally feeling like crap) a lot of the time, your body is in fight, flight or freeze mode. I’m sure you have heard this before. The whole Caveman thing, where we are faced with a Lion and our adrenal glands are put to work. Everything is put on hold, resulting in susceptibility to illness, a low sex drive, digestive problems and a bunch of other weird stuff. Your heart might race. You get a throbbing headache. Maybe you feel dizzy.

Here is what I can tell you …

  • The more you fight to change the anxiety response, the worse you feel. Because it doesn’t work like that. You are anxious because you are stressed out and resisting what is your current reality. Continuing to fight, while seemingly noble, will not change anything. If you enter a situation where you feel fear, do not try to change your reaction. You can’t! Allow the anxiety to remain there and slow down. Focus on your breathing and allow yourself to just stop caring for a minute. I mean, Jesus, you can’t carry on living like this all the time, right? It can be hard when you are stuck in a rut. Sometimes you need to get away from the situation that’s bringing you down. But sometimes, you need to accept your limitations and shift your focus.
  • The more grateful you are – for the things that are awesome about your life – the better you will feel. There are some Millionaires who are less satisfied with their lives than those who can’t even meet their basic needs in Eastern Countries, stuck in poverty. Often, what we focus on is what we feel. So choose to be grateful for the things that are good in your life. I guarantee you have plenty to be grateful for. Your current mindset may say otherwise. Don’t believe a word. It’s easy to keep saying you will be happy when you quit your job, you find a loving partner, you go on holiday or whatever. But sometimes things are complicated. Sometimes dreams remain dreams. Sometimes a holiday is not forthcoming. So look around at what you have now, in the present. Nothing can last forever, so remember to enjoy the things that surround you at this moment in time.
  • Exercise is so important for the following reason. Anxiety and stress cause your adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and cortisol (hormones). This is okay in moderation, but if it keeps happening you wind up feeling like a deflated bag of potatoes. Exhausted. The best way to release that pent up tension is through exercise. Like, for me, I do get stressed more easily than some people. If I don’t get away from the office during my lunch break, I can start to feel more and more pissed off. I need to have some alone time and space from people. I need to get away from buildings and cars. I get to a spot of nature and it helps. Maybe I still feel fed up afterwards, and want to go home, but it’s the best thing I can do. Combine nature with exercise and you’re onto something good. For me, gyms are ugly factories filled with steroid-injecting, mouth breathing meat-heads, so I avoid them.
  • Anxiety is normal. We can’t feel great and relaxed all the time. And our World promotes anxiety through the negative stories in the news – and there is always a new one. The trashy magazines that tell you how you should look are nothing but poison. People on Social Media can seem so happy and all-together. Remember to keep a realistic perspective. Some people like to make our they are fine when they are really not fine. Not everyone in the streets is a murderer. Celebrities aren’t flawless and pictures are heavily edited. Most of all, accept that with this life (that we have been GIVEN) we can’t always have it our way. Appreciate the good times and carry on when things are hard.

Because I guarantee you, if you feel beaten up at the moment, you will feel better and will have a smile on your face again soon. Anxiety cannot survive if you have hope and love in your heart. So choose to believe there is a reason for all of this. Look for the good in things and if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to take the reigns and create change.

I wish you all a wonderful week.

Please share this blog post if you enjoyed it. It isn’t easy trying to reach people when you are only just starting out.

I would love to hear from you. What makes you feel most relaxed? What are your anti-anxiety tips?

Peace and love,

~ Alex.

Do you feel like the only HSP in the World?

I know that I can feel very lonely and isolated in my day-to-day life.

Sometimes, I can be feeling quite happy and at ease, but I can also often feel incredibly anxious, paranoid, drained of energy and in need of a big strong hug and a reassuring, ‘It’s okay. Everything will be alright. Just hang in there. You are doing well’.

On the bad days though, when I am stuck at work (in my corporate office job) those hugs and kind words aren’t usually forthcoming.

I can feel very lost, like a child desperately looking for their parent in the School yard. I feel vulnerable, like I’m pretending to be an adult. I am a tall kid, wearing a suit and tie. I am an imposter. ‘Nobody else feels like this …’ I think.

But, as I have previously stated, Dr. Elaine Aron (the expert on this stuff) says that 15-20% of the World’s population are Highly Sensitive. On her website that promotes the film ‘Sensitive The Movie’, there is a claim that 1.4 people are HSPs.

While this claim is obviously an estimate, it’s probably pretty close.

Which can be relieving to know, but also seemingly impossible.

Because you cannot see that people are Highly Sensitive, unless you are very observant or spend a lot of time with them. Most likely though, you are focusing on yourself 90% of the time. And so are the others. Isn’t it funny to think the others probably assume you are an extrovert, or Non-HSP?

Do you know where your work colleagues go for their lunch? Do you notice the other people leaving the office by themselves? Are they heading off to meet a friend or do they just need to get some breathing space? What about that person in the corner of the lunch hall with a book? Maybe they are like you.

P.S. Don’t you hate when someone tries to start a conversation with you when you are reading a book?

“What’cha reading there?”

(*Thinks* GO AWAY)

“Oh, erm … it’s a book about … well, it’s a romance. It’s a lovely little novel about someone getting disciplined by a fella called Christian Grey. It outsold Harry Potter.”

It actually outsold Harry Potter. Oh dear!

So, while you will continue to have days where you feel weak and need picking up, try to keep a rational perspective. Some people are good at blending in with the crowd and go unnoticed. Others are good at acting and go home exhausted afterwards.

There is nothing wrong with being a HSP.

In fact, much of the traits that are a part of being Highly Sensitive are wonderful. Things like honesty, integrity and kindness. Creativity and appreciation for the arts. The lack of desire for superficial material possessions. The spiritual connection to animals and people. Real, deep connections instead of shallow or even ‘fake’ friendships. Thinking about the people in need, instead of just caring about your own desires and stepping over anyone who is in your way.

I don’t mean to make this an ‘Us Vs. Them’ thing. I just want to remind you that this isn’t a curse. And I also don’t want to give the impression that I think everyone who isn’t Highly Sensitive is a heartless, cruel, two-faced bastard. I’m merely saying that HSPs are – in my opinion – never those things.

Thank you for joining me in another post.

I will speak to you again soon. Until then, take care of yourself and remember YOU ARE AWESOME.

~ Alex.