Journey of Life, Working Life

Depression/Anxiety can hit at any time.

Over the last few weeks, I had been feeling like I had got my life sorted and I had everything set up. I have a job and I have a place secured for September at university.

Last week, I became ill and had to take a day off work. Then, near the end of last week, I had a lapse near the end of my last shift. I felt tired and unwell. I was in no way rude or unpleasant. I didn’t use a negative tone; I just used a negative word to describe behavior, like ‘mean’ or ‘nasty’, rather than saying ‘not nice’. In a nursery environment, word choice is considered important.

No one said anything to me, despite hearing me say it clearly. As soon as it left my mouth, I realised that I shouldn’t have used a negative word. I quickly made it positive again and told the other staff about my struggles in terms of when to be harsher, with the current fear of children walking all over me.

Anyway, I was in a low mood at the time for no reason I can even think of. But, once that happened, my Anxiety came into play. It made me re-think the moment over and over. Knowing I’m in my probation period, I keep fearing I’ll lose my job. I know it’s unlikely but I missed one day due to sickness and dragged myself in on the Friday to say one thing which actually wasn’t that bad, but I can’t stop worrying about.

I like the environment. I like the people. Yet, I’m not a huge fan of the toddler age group. I like the babies and pre-school age but toddlers are by far the hardest age group I’ve worked with in terms of expectations and I’ve worked with teenagers.

I’ve also been trained on nappies but nobody has told me whether I have been signed off! So I’ll have to ask on my next shift. I feel like I have been given a great opportunity, which I’m very grateful of, but I haven’t been given the training or structured support required.

I did online training about child development but all it did was tell me how a child develops, not how to support that development. So, all these techniques, I’m picking up as I go along by essentially making mistakes. I don’t like learning by my mistakes in an environment where they can have an effect. Plus, I then worry about them just not giving me hours because of my mistakes.

All this Anxiety has then made it so I start questioning everything, like my September course and my capabilities in the future. It’s like a spiral and now I’m sat here trying to rationalise it all and tell myself that I’m doing great and even if they do give me less hours then I’ll just begin looking for a different job because it’s not the end of the world.

*EDIT: Just after I posted this, my work got in touch with me, asking if I can do an extra shift this week. This has sort of put me at ease thankfully! But, I’m still trying to get my head around it all and push for more learning opportunities.

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Working Life

Phoning in Sick

In some jobs, I haven’t felt guilty in phoning in sick. There wouldn’t be a huge amount of repercussions if I did and some of the staff were horrid people.

When I began working within school and nursery settings, this all changed. It’s conflicting. I don’t want to phone in sick because I really like the people and I want to be there because I know that it will mean somebody else will have to cover me. On the other hand, I don’t want to get the children ill. I know that I haven’t just got a common cold. My dad has been off work with it and before this he has never phoned in sick. So, I know that the children could catch it off me and it could be a lot worse in them because of their low immune systems.

I phoned up the nursery who say they don’t have a firm sickness policy unless it’s vomiting or diarrhea. I don’t think that’s a great thing considering it’s a place filled with young children. Nevertheless, I said that I’d rather try and get better today, hoping I’ll be back to normal for Thursday and Friday. If I were to work the 10 hour shift as planned, I’d probably just get worse and be sick potentially the rest of the week. They said that’s fine and someone will cover.

I worry about my job because I’m on a zero-hour contract, so they could just not offer me any more shifts. I’m on my probationary period and I really need this job and the income. But at the same time, I worry about the children catching something off me. I would hate that. My immune system isn’t great. I mean, it’s gotten better over the years as I eat more healthily and exercise more, but it still isn’t the best. In actual fact, I”m hoping the nursery environment may build it up after a while, with my exposure to so many germs.

I know they won’t just fire me because I was ill this one day. It is a lovely place and I really like the management. I just hope they don’t hold it against me.

Am I right in being this cautious about my own well being for working the rest of the week, as well as looking out for the children?

Right after getting off the phone from the nursery, I was very close to being sick. I haven’t taken the dog out for a walk because of how cold it is and I really want to be well for tomorrow.

Do you think they will hold it against me? I did say I’d woke up with a sore throat, but it’s much more than that. Now, I’m wishing I’d have gone into detail about my throbbing headache and nausea.

Journey of Life, Relationships

Being yourself

You always get told ‘just be yourself’ when it comes to dating.

I try but the nerves always make me defensive, then I come across as cold at times and I’m nothing of the sort. I don’t know why I do it, but I just become matey matey and seem to friendzone them and become to sarcastic, which can end up in me not only pushing them away but also insulting them.

I’ve never been great at the whole dating thing. I can flirt if I want something. I can flirt without intending to flirt. But. As soon as my brain thinks there may be a chance I might like the guy and see the potential start of something relationshipy, then I change. It’s like I can no longer be myself. Like myself has left the planet and been replaced by someone who is rigid and always has a retort.

My troubled relationship with my father has affected the way I see men, especially ones that I think of romantically. It’s strange because I have had boys have crushes on me and most of them were my friends first. I think it’s because they see the real me, the considerate and caring side of me. But, if it’s a person who I don’t have that friendship with and they only see the anxious cold side of me, they obviously don’t take a shine and don’t want to go on a date with me.

I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t.

This problem has been there since I was a teen. I get scared of opening my heart to anyone a become stiff and stubborn. Because of this, I’ve ended up with several guys who have had crushes on me with broken hearts because I genuinely only see them as friends, as well as me never getting anywhere with guys I do have a genuine interest in.

After gaining more confidence, I am seriously opening my mind up to experiences. Yet, I’m still struggling with this. I’m struggle to lower my hard-as-nails protective front that I put on when I’m feeling vulnerable. I don’t know if that will ever go away, many years of abuse by an alcoholic father really does take its toll on you, but I’m hoping I’ll get better at showing my vulnerable side or at least staying calm in the initial stages of the dating process.

I do like myself. I just don’t like how defensive I can get. I know why I’m like that and I resent my childhood for it, but it’s still something I have to work on or at least meet someone who is willing to spend the time breaking down those barriers.

Being yourself is much easier said than done sometimes.

Journey of Life, Relationships

How many people should I have slept with?

It’s the old presumption that women should not sleep with lots of guys and guys should sow their seed.

I have slept with 2 guys in my life so far at the age of 24, whilst my friend, who is only one month older than me, has slept with over 30. I think neither are wrong. As long as you’re safe and careful, then why should anyone be judged a high number.

However, recently, I have found that I have been judged on my number! When I have said that I’ve only slept with 2 men, they look at me shocked and put-out. “ONLY TWO GUY?!” is the normal response.

I feel judged for not sleeping with that many men, like I am weird because I was faithful in a relationship from 19 to 23 and didn’t want to lose my virginity to just anyone.

I’ve had somebody say to me: “I’m just really surprised. I mean look at you! you’re really hot.” I’ve never really understood what looks have to do with it.

People assume that if you’re big or they don’t think your hot that it’s not surprising because ‘you just didn’t get the chances’, like it explains the low number. But, if you’re not particularly ugly and you’ve got big boobs, then surely you should have slept with more people.

I mean, I was large as a teen and lost weight as I got older, but even when I was bigger I was approached occasionally. In actual fact, I think I got approached more when I was bigger! I don’t know if they thought I was easy because I wasn’t the smallest or what, but I had much more men who would come over and try to talk to me. Now, I sometimes get looked at/ stared at and they just never approach me!

Anyway, my point is that I have had the chances and I rejected those chances. Sometimes because my Anxiety was taking over (which I regret because there were some really cute nice guys) and other times because I just wasn’t feeling it. Then, I got in a relationship and I’m extremely loyal. But, I don’t think I should have to explain this to people when I tell them my ‘number’. I feel like I have to justify myself and my limited sexual experience.

Saying this, maybe my friend would have to justify herself to a guy when he hear her number of 30+. You get judged for sleeping with too many people and, now, also too little.

Why can’t we just be open-minded and accept other people’s sexual number, without looking dumbfounded?

I asked one of the only two guys I’ve slept with how many girls he’d slept with (simply because he’d asked me about my ‘number’). After a bit of badgering, he guessed 95 and he kind of looked ashamed. I just said: ‘Ok. Wait. could I be 100? Would I have got a prize?!’ We laughed so much.

I know there isn’t a right number of people to sleep with. I realise mine is a low number and I’m ok with that. I do want to get more experience and find my sexual self. I realise other people may be ashamed of their own numbers, but we should never make them feel that way or reinforce it if it already exists.

Just be you.

 

Relationships

Is a short answer better than no answer?

Updating those of you who have read the last 2 posts today on the situation of the text message I sent to the guy I’d had a one night stand with.

I sent him an almost scripted message. The whole ‘hey, got your number off a friend. had a good time on … just wanted to give you my number 😉 x’

Basically a text message that would be prescribed to you be a dating coach (a.k.a. my friend who actually did script it for me because I’m terrible at these things).

Well, I did, in fact, get a reply. I wasn’t really expecting one. Low and behold, I picked up my phone at nearly 3pm and I had a text. I thought, that can’t be him. It’ll be some spam text or something like always. Nope it was him.

Don’t get your hopes up.

So his reply was: Ok well now I’ve got it 🙂

Yes that is it. Nothing exciting about that right! No ‘x’ on the end. No sexual undertone. Just plain kind but blunt.

I’ve taken it as a nice let-down, which I’m totally OK with because I didn’t expect him to reply at all. I’m still super proud of myself for texting him at all!

My friend tried to say ‘well he didn’t have to reply at all! That shows something’. I’m not trying to convince myself that’s true. I’m just accepting that I had a good time and the texts prove that it’s not going to be awkward when I see him in the pub. I’m happy with that!

So, what do guys think? Do you agree with me and think that’s a nice way of turning me down or do you agree with my friend and think that he replied so it’s a good sign?

Either way, I’ve decided not to reply and not to get hung up on it. I think I might actually start enjoying my life as a single pringle.

 

Journey of Life, Relationships

Rejection isn’t going to kill you.

To all those that have read my post from this morning, here is a somewhat update.

I texted the guy from the one night stand with a smooth message. In all honesty my friend had to tell me what to type because I am terrible at this whole dating game. It took me what felt like a lifetime to send the text. My Anxiety was in overdrive. I kept thinking, what if I’m weird for asking someone else for his number? if he wanted to text me then why didn’t he ask me for my number? what if he got my hook up Facebook message which I sent whilst drunk the night before and quickly blocked him out of panic? – then I’ll really come across as a stalker or desperate and I like to think I’m neither.

It was over an hour of me debating, leaning to just leaving it because I don’t need this hassle and it’s only sex. It’s not the end of the world. I mean, I genuinely don’t see me spending the rest of my life with a guy like him, it wouldn’t be like I’d be missing out on my soulmate.

I sent it.

Weirdly, I sent it because of those reasons. I was doubting myself over and over again. I even started to do the whole social reasoning that men should ask the girl for her number, rather than the girl. But, I came to the realisation that if I sent the text and was rejected or ignored, it wouldn’t be the end of the world either, just like if I didn’t send it – which for some reason was a more comfortable option for me.

It’s only been a couple of hours since I sent the text, so I can’t tell you yet whether my message has been ignored. I know that he works throughout the days anyway; I just happen to have today off. If I didn’t have today off, I wouldn’t be replying to any texts until after 5:30pm because we are not allowed our phones on the premises.

But, it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t ever get a reply. Rather than being anxious and worrying about whether I made the right decision to spontaneously hit the send button at a speed in which I couldn’t change my mind, I am proud of myself.

I am proud of the fact that I did something which I was so anxious about. I am proud that I have essentially approached a guy without a drop of alcohol in me. I went way out of my comfort zone and was proactive in the dating game.

Like I said, all I’m looking for is to discover my sexuality with this guy, not marry him, but that didn’t make sending that text any less scary.

To the girls or guys that struggle with their confidence in terms of approaching someone, just remember that being rejected is not the end of the world. Everybody has their reasons for rejecting an advance and it is not necessarily to do with that cheesy thing you said or tripping on your bag or your looks.

I always used to think that I’d be rejected because I’m not good looking. My low self-esteem has always held me back from recognising advances, as well as making them. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that not every guy will reject me. Some will obviously, but that isn’t the end of the world and you can’t think that you’re not worthy of anyone just because you’ve been rejected by an insignificant amount. Own it. Learn from it. Be proud of yourself for putting yourself out there and get ready to do it again until you get what you’re looking for.

Journey of Life, Relationships

Do Friends with Benefits Ever Work Out?

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about a one night stand I had (my first ever) and how it has restored my confidence in sex, myself, and the existence of nice men.

Well. My brain keeps going back to that night and how great I felt afterwards (apart from the mind-numbing hangover). Talking to my friends, I said that the guy is not boyfriend material but the night was filled with good sex. I reckon he could teach me a thing or two and he is very kind.

They all suggested that I try to get his number and text him, attempting to make it a friends with benefits situation. Well. Drunk me was all up for this, wasn’t she? She texted the mutual friend from my mum’s phone (my mum actually said that I could get his number that way – yes my mum is all for me broadening my horizons) and this morning, I got a text from my mum with the guys number on it.

Now sober, I don’t have the confidence, or stupidity, of drunk me to text the number like I was intending to. But, the question on my mind is do friends with benefits ever work out, either mutually ending or a relationship? Is it inevitable that one will catch feelings and get hurt?

I’m not saying that I’m just trying to protect myself – I wouldn’t want to hurt him in any way either. If I text him then it may not just be that one night of good sex and I can’t figure out whether that would be a good or bad thing. At the moment, I look at that night as eye-opening and a lot of fun. I don’t want me to ruin that fondness.

On the other hand, good sex is good sex and I could build on that night and discover even more about my sexuality.

If you have any good or bad stories about friends with benefits, please let me know. My friends are encouraging me, thinking that I will be happier with getting regular sex, but I would never be happy about hurting someone or catching feelings myself and being hurt. I’m not vulnerable and I’m thankfully not one of those girls who imagine their wedding to a guy when they first meet them, but I couldn’t say that I wouldn’t get feelings.

I know he’s been hurt before and I mean really hurt. I’m pretty sure that’s why he’s shy with flirting with women. He didn’t ask for my number after and my first thought was ok, that’s it. It was a great night and we’re leaving it at that. But, he does regularly go into the pub that me and near enough everyone in the village goes to, so it is inevitable that we will see each other again.

Even if I did text him, he might just tell me to sod off anyway so all this thinking would be for nothing. I don’t know. I’m just going to tear my hair out and watch Netflix whilst eating peanut butter from a jar.

Send help. Please.

Journey of Life, Relationships

Where did everybody go?

Have you ever just looked at your life and wondered where everyone went?

This evening, I was supposed be going out with my friend for a few drinks. I don’t really know why I got my hopes up. She’s never kept her plans. Every single time I’ve arranged something with her, she’s always bailed the same day of it. Not just the same day, but just hours before.

Anyway, I’ve just not answered her message because I’m annoyed of this regular occurrence and I was actually looking forward to going out tonight. I don’t have work tomorrow and I like the weeknights because they’re not normally as busy.

It was only as I was getting more and more annoyed by the situation, that I realised that there was no one else I could ask. I only have one other friend and she lives over 50 miles away from me (she’s at university). I have a somewhat other friend, but she lives even further away than that!

I looked back on my life. I mean, I grew up in this same village, yet I have no real friends to show for it. It doesn’t help that I moved away for over 3 years, but I didn’t even manage to keep the friends I’d made when I moved away. My mum keeps telling me that I need to get out there and make other friends, so that I’m not relying on a select few.

I realised how many friends I’d lost over the years. I used to tell myself that I’d dropped them for being bad friends and to a point this is true. But, some weren’t bad friends, some just drifted away. When I realised how little my selection of friends is, I was hit by a feeling of loneliness. It felt like I had next to nobody.

I’ve always said that I’d rather be isolated than surrounded by the wrong people. But, I’ve only just noticed that I’ve ended up with essentially one friend… who is a bad friend. I’ve left myself in a lonely position. I’m not comfortable going out without another person, but then I won’t meet other people if I don’t go out. It’s a horrible circle of terror.

I’ve never really been that bothered about going out drinking or going shopping with friends and I don’t really understand why it bothers me all of a sudden. I think that I’ve finally found a little bit more confidence again and I have nobody to share it with. I feel an urge to be outgoing, weirdly enough, like when I turned 19. I may be quite a few years older, but I’d begun to feel like that again, until I realised that I’d lost most of the good friends I’ve had.

Journey of Life, Relationships

One Night Stands

So. I’ve always been the type of girl whose said “I’d never have a one night stand. I couldn’t do it. I just wouldn’t trust a man that quick and I’d just feel so uncomfortable and unsafe.”

Going out on Friday night, that all changed. I went out to meet my parents and their friends, thinking it will be a quiet drink. I had a few more pints than I’d intended (my mum was buying, so who can blame me?). Later into the night, I told my mum’s friend that I’d always had a thing for the ex-barman (who was sat near the bar). Well, she’d known him for years. His mother is her bestfriend. She got up and said “wait a minute” and off she went to approach the guy.

I don’t know what she said. I was so confused. I didn’t know she was going to play matchmaker or anything. She waved me over and  my mum, sat next to me, nudged me to go to him. “let your hair down”, she said.

We talked for a long time, whilst my dad, who I’ve never got along with, scowled at me. Anyways, I ended up going home with him. I’d seen him around and had little chats for about 8 years and people I trusted told me what a good guy he was. I think this put me at ease. It wasn’t like I went home with a stranger. I knew he was kind and it didn’t worry me going back to his.

I always thought I’d feel ashamed, uncomfortable and guilty, having a one night stand. I know this isn’t the traditional, go back with a stranger type, but it is definitely something that was outside of my comfort zone.

Instead of feeling horrible about myself, I actually felt good about myself. I felt proud that I’d stepped out of my comfort zone – I felt more confident. The night was definitely an experience. I’d only slept with one guy before that (my ex-boyfriend, who I was with for 3.5 years). So, I was kind of scared about sleeping with somebody else. I didn’t know if it would be very different, worse, better, confusing, awkward, etc. But, in actual fact, it shouldn’t have been scary. Now that I’ve crossed that barrier, I’m not scared any more.

Don’t get me wrong, this one night stand business is not going to be becoming a habit! I have friends that do this all the time and they don’t seem to value the person they are doing it with. I don’t want to see intimacy like that, but the experience has made me more aware of sex with other men and less scared of it. I regret nothing.

Healthy Living

Tai Chi and Yoga for your mental health

I have struggled with my mental health for many years, as do many others whom have suffered abuse. I have anger issues as an adolescent and Depression and Anxiety are ongoing.

Recently, I started practicing Yoga and Pilates for an abs workout and to increase my flexibility. I wasn’t really thinking about Yoga’s benefits in relation to mental health. Yoga is focused not just on physical movements, but also your mental awareness of yourself and the things around you. It is about building a connection with your own body and the earth, controlling your body and relieving pressure both physically and mentally.

I know this sounds cheesy. Before this, I would have been the first to call BullS**t. BUT. I genuinely feel like, not only are my abs getting a workout (mainly from the Pilates) and my flexibility increasing, I am focusing my mind on my physical environment and body rather than getting consumed with overthinking things I can’t change. I am more spacially-aware and I feel more motivated after Yoga to do other physical activities. After doing more physically engaging things, I feel more accomplished afterwards.

I’ve also been doing some Tai Chi. I have found this so relaxing! It has made me more aware of my breathing and when I do practice even 5 minutes of Tai Chi, it calms me, my thoughts, and my muscles. I have been doing this after a work out or simply when I’m stressed. I’ve found that my joints feel less stiff and ache less. I’ve always had issues with my joints, probably because I was fairly overweight throughout the majority of my life.

From doing Yoga and Tai Chi, I feel more in control of my own movements, more relaxed, and more motivated. I have been doing these every other day in my living room. I think they are great forms of exercise, which allow you to learn to control your body and your breathing. Most importantly, they allow you to focus and remain calm with the slow movements.

If you have mental health struggles, I highly suggest giving these a go! Tai Chi is the less demanding physically, but Yoga is a great start if you want to get physical results as well. Personally, I do a 25 min Yoga session and then do 5/10 mins of Tai Chi afterwards.

You just need a mat and access to YouTube! No need to spend loads on a gym membership or classes.

What do you think of these exercises? Let me know what you think and any suggestions are always welcome.