Monday, 31 October 2011

'In a relationship...' *

I thought I’d take a little time out from the recent focus on my employment status (and emotional state!) to say something about my relationship status.

It probably didn’t go unnoticed, if you have been following my blog for a while, that I am in a relationship after a period of singleness.

At first the news was greeted with some derision by some of my friends because of my posts about staying single etc. But those posts were never about ‘staying single’ for the sake of it. They were about the amount of thought-time and energy I was using to find the right person.

Then, along came Steph, kind of out of the blue, from somewhere I never imagined I would meet someone ‘compatible’. Funny how these things work out.

There I was, thinking I was happy being single, when along came this utterly delightful, enchanting young lady who has taken my world, a world that, largely, I was happy with, and shown it to have actually been lacking something – someone – so...integral, who I never even knew.

(I’m very aware that she’ll probably read this, which is a bit weird for me as I try to be honest but not say anything that she’ll a) think is purely for her benefit or b) scare her!)

I wanted to outline some of the differences between being single and being in a relationship. Things that I hadn’t really thought about before: I’d expected there to be good and bad points to being part of a couple but, really, I can only think of good things. (Aside from the realisation of just how selfish I’d become, which was/is a difficult thing to see, but is undoubtedly a good thing to improve upon!)

I’m hoping that this post doesn’t come across as, ‘Hey, look at me, I’ve got a girlfriend!!’ I know that, if ‘single-me’ had read this, I’d have probably immediately been bitter towards the smug-coupled-up-person. So I want to say that life was good whilst I was single, I was happy that way...and if you are feeling that bitterness, then I understand and I’d say try and find things that you love to do. Work on being the person you’d like to be. While you wait for ‘someone’, start to live; fill your days building the foundations of a future – whether you remain single or not.

And then, one not very significant day, maybe someone extraordinary might just waltz in and re-paint your life with such vivid colours, that it’ll make the grey-wait entirely worthwhile.

And, if they don’t, you’ll still have your own dreams in the making.

Alternatively, roll your eyes, tut, utter things like, 'Easy for you to say,' and close your's probably what I would have done!

*Credit to Stephanie Angus (aka ‘other-Steph’) for this post-title - she used it first!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Winter blues?

As I mentioned last-post (it seems weird that ‘blog-posts’ have become a unit of time for me), I have reluctantly accepted that I’ve entered a period of ‘Depression’. I’ve been trying to deny it for about a month, but it’s obvious.

Mostly this has left me feeling frustrated – there’s no real reason for it, other than the job-loss, but that’s not what the empty-hollow-sadness-in-the-stomach is about. I don’t know what it’s about: like one of those itches you just can’t find, scratching at the spot you think it’s at doesn’t provide relief.

There’s a blog I like, and this week it had this post.

The beginning, at least, is how I feel at the moment. I feel frustrated because I can’t just seem to ‘snap out’ of my sadness, and I feel disappointed in myself because I’m better than this: I’m not being ‘me’ – the fun-to-be-with, creative genius that many people have come to know and love.

On the plus side, I’m out of bed (writing this in Starbuck’s (other coffee shops are available)), and refusing to give in. Yes, my days are a struggle at the moment, and leave me feeling somewhat weary just by living: CBT is great, but the thought processes take effort, and when it’s a near-constant stream of negative thoughts you have to challenge, it can be draining.

But there’s a song that cheered me up a little this morning: Fader by The Temper Trap.

It contains the line: ‘I pledge myself allegiance to a better night’s sleep at home,’ which, whilst grammatically awful, contains a kernel of some way forward: I might not feel like doing much, so why not just get a better night’s sleep? Sleep is healing, after all, and it’s Winter anyway, so what better time to hibernate a little?

And maybe my frustration can serve as a catalyst as well – I wrote about anger being a motivation once before, so, if I/we let it, perhaps frustration at a situation can give way to a stubborn refusal to give in. So far, at least, that’s where I’m at.

I’d just like a happy day or two along the way if that’s not too much trouble, Santa. Thanks.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

What to do in a crisis of confidence?

Hold on to whatever talents we have...
So, the fateful day of my redundancy has arrived. Tomorrow I leave my job. And, yeah, it sucks. 

I killed my blog for a while as I took stock of my situation and threw myself into job applications etc. But I’m back. Because it’s good for me (and maybe you too?).

Sometimes things can affect us more than we think they will. I didn’t expect losing my job to matter that much to me, but it does. Several people have noted that I’ve gone into a bit of a ‘winter depression’ lately and I’m certain a) that they’re right, and b) it’s largely due to my impending unemployment.

What to do about it, then? A colleague of mine yesterday commented that being unemployed can vastly hurt your self-confidence: even ‘low’ jobs can start to seem overly aspirational (I’m not going to list any through fear of offending someone!), which is partly why I’m resurrecting my blog. Writing is something I believe I’m good at; it’s one of the few positive things I actually hold true of myself regardless of what anyone else thinks, and that’s due to some great, supportive, honest and trustworthy friends of mine who have given me confidence and chance to ‘fly’ with it. (Rebecca, that means you!)

My unemployment certainly has hit me hard. But I’m still a good writer. So, I’m trying to focus on that and the fact that not having to go to a 9-5 job gives me time and chance to pursue my writing. 

And that’s my advice for this post – losing a job, girlfriend/boyfriend, opportunity, or anything else doesn’t mean we’re any less of a worthwhile human being. We still have our unique strengths, talents, and great characteristics, so cling on to those and the fact of their existence. 

Which actually only leaves the financial implications of being out of work...I’ll let you know if I think of a solution to those.