Solitude – What’s the Big Deal?

To be alone, or to be lonely. There’s power in it… somewhere.


Happy Monday.

The phenomenon of the long weekend gives me a feeling of pure bliss… but once those few days are over, I realise it shouldn’t be normal to feel this much excitement at the thought of having a couple of days off work. So I end the weekend angry as hell. Slaving away shouldn’t be the norm –  I don’t want this to be my life, because living for the weekend is one of the things that reels my depression back in every time it feels like running away from me. Not so fast, we have work tomorrow! But, alas. I spent the Bank Holiday weekend on such a high, that being alone and back in reality right now just consists of me trying to pick up the pieces of myself after going splat on the floor. To be dropped from such a height is soul-shattering, and resuming normality is a long, painful process.

I’m one of the many people who has always loved my own company. The libraries, the lone cinema trips, the late nights with movies and a blank word document, the early morning sunrises with coffee shops and books. I’m always ecstatic at the prospect of having a few days to collect myself and bring myself back up to date with my life; maybe it’s the anxiety, but I need time to reconvene with my thoughts. I need to nurse my mind and cleanse my energy, to pluck off the remnants of the work-week and start brand new. ‘I’d get bored if I didn’t have work’ doesn’t apply to me, and I think you’re either attention-seeking, boring, or lacking in substance if you say such things. Probably all three. I have things to do, hobbies to engage in, plans to kickstart; so if you were to offer me three weeks off work, fully paid, I’m snapping it up without complaint because there is so much to be done. Everybody who complained about being bored on furlough deserves a kick in the face, I hate you all. I could check myself into a hotel for weeks on end and come out a much better person than I was before I went in. Either that or dead. Tomayto, tomahto.

Read more

Gratitude


This is a quick one on the importance of practising gratitude.

I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m a miserable bastard. I’m prone to feeling sorry for myself and believing life keeps throwing shit cards at me; every time I overcome one hurdle I’m already tripping over another. I know there are a lot of people who think like this. Those of us who have, unfortunately, been a little on the rapidly deteriorating side of mental health are very familiar with it. It’s helplessness, it’s pessimism (that we like to call realism because, let’s face it, we live in a shit world and things are more than likely going to go wrong more often than not – that’s just the way life is), it’s feeling oh-so tired of all the bullshit because when will it end? When will I get my walk in the park, when will I get my rainbows and butterflies? When will life slow down for me, when will I finally catch a break?

It feels like a storm and it’s never ending; sometimes I would have a fleeting burst of happiness and joy, and I’d clasp my hands around it in a desperate attempt to hold it close to me before it disappears forever, but it always flies away just as fast as it came. So I’ve learnt to not hold on; I let it come and go as it pleases. I don’t force it to remain, because the little happiness I do get I want to remain genuine, and I hope that it chooses to stay longer and longer. If I’m happy, I feel it. If I’m sad, I feel it. I don’t pretend it’s something else.

In amongst all the bullshit, though, there are ways to find something closer to happiness. Just like you can think your way into a bad mood, you can also think your way into a semi-good mood. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through gratitude. As a species, we are never happy with what we have and we’re always looking for more; consequently, we’re always dissatisfied. But stopping to really absorb the good that you do have does wonders.

No matter how low you feel, there are always things to be grateful for. I want to make it clear, however, I am never someone to say ‘you should be grateful because somebody else always has it worse.’ I don’t believe that, because all pain is subjective. When I talk about gratitude, about your own life, about finding things to be happy about, it is never ever in comparison to anybody else. Your life and your hardships have nothing to do with anybody else; there is no such thing as ‘be happy; someone else’s life is more shit than yours.’ Not only is that insulting to the other person, it does nothing to help you. Another person’s suffering does not negate your own. Not only do you still feel horrible, you now also feel guilty for feeling horrible. Yes, there are people starving to death, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid, no matter what it’s about.

I digress. Let’s think of gratitude as a source of light in your life.

Read more