Short Post: Back to Reality, Property-care, Self-care and Gardening.
It has been a little while since I have written anything online. Isolation bit, and in trying to deal with the death of my aunt at the start of the lockdown, help my parents organise her funeral and house clearance, keep up with my friends via different social media platforms and gain some organisational ground in my work and home life, I suffered an emotional and mental landslide.
I am feeling better now, and after a much needed visit to stay with my parents and see some familiar faces without the use of my mobile phone or laptop, I am feeling somewhat re-energised to continue trying to carry on with my attempt to try and appreciate this summer and the opportunity it could perhaps offer to focus on what I enjoy. In short, pottering around the house and garden, keeping in touch with friends, health, hobbies, and trying to live a happier more balanced life.
Next post coming soon, and more garden pictures from my own garden. Thank you for reading. From Ellie.
Got involved in a creative work project / charity fundraiser (see previous post) – a video which has now reached 40k people on Facebook, and been liked, shared and watched (at least in part) around 10k times, All Over The WORLD.
Started using a white-board to motivate myself, write daily tasks, or daily ‘themes’.
Thoroughly de-mossed and re-seeded my lawn.
Done other less intense, but still quite tough garden jobs, like ‘splitting agapanthuses’.
Made a short, but complicated ‘Birthday video’ for my Brother in Law.
Created and produced a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) Gratitude Award system, called the Golden ‘SAMI’ Awards.
Designated 16+ of these Awards to various friends, family members, and colleagues.
Held an ‘Oscars-inspired’ Award Ceremony – on Facebook Messenger, to present 8 of these SAMI awards to my closest friends.
Created 2 short ‘video trailers’ for the awards, including an introduction from hosts, Ricky Gervais, Ellen Degeneres, and Stephen Fry (again, all video clips)
2 personal video voice messages, filmed in my garden, to open and close the awards.
Produced a longer video compilation, with soundtrack – 6 mins, to function as the ‘close of ceremony’ or ‘After Party’.
I have been inspired by Pinterest, to think about creating a Vision Board – and have already found a couple of canvases, and bought a couple of magazines to ‘cut from’.
I have been inspired by Pinterest, to consider painting some stones in a creative way. Not done this yet, but I have suitable stones and paints.
Been active in my garden, which still needs a lot of work to get it to a standard I would like.
Created a ‘mannequin’ mate – called Winston, who lives in my Garden or Shed (this was initially done for the Birthday video – but I have kept, named and improved him. I like having his company and occasionally talk to him.
Started buying cut flowers regularly again, and enjoyed arranging them nicely / looking after them.
Started listening to and enjoying music again, mainly Classical radio or motivational movie music.
Changed bedrooms, as my back hurts and my normal double bed has missing slats and an old mattress.
Am considering staying in the smaller bedroom, which overlooks beautiful trees and gardens, instead of the street. This means I have the window open more, and wake up to birdsong and a view of a lovely old cedar tree.
Which consequently means, I have a new ‘spare room’ of a sizeable nature. I am currently thinking whether I should turn this into a work-out space for Yoga, Zumba, and eventually HIIT training.
Alternatively, it would make a great Hobby-Room for artistic projects like painting/crafting.
It might function for both of the above, without need to re-arrange furniture. I’m not sure until I’ve dismantled the bed, and thought about how much exercise matting to buy.
I have also been to Covent Garden Opera House, to see La Traviata. and The Globe Theatre, to see Romeo & Juliet. I am eagerly awaiting Twelfth Night, which I think is coming soon, and is a great play. All of these have been ‘at home’ performances, and I have donated to the venues.
I have also found some new coping strategies, like a joining Facebook support group for those suffering a similar condition to me, and also a couple of Interest/Community groups on Facebook; Photography, Suffolk community pages, Gardening etc.
Normally I would add some beautiful photos to all of this. I have taken LOTS of them. However, I am a little tired today, so am trying taking it SLOW. So, I will only add one photo, which is todays message or ‘instruction’ to myself.
I love being like this. I am feeling like I can enjoy being myself again, and am capable of action. I would like to maintain it, and harness the energy, and creativity. However… there are some downsides and warning factors that I have been considering:
I am very vulnerable to criticism right now.
I am very vulnerable to rejection right now.
I may inadvertently cross boundaries. However, lockdown means that this hopefully is a little less risky than previous occurrences of hypomania.
I should plan my social-contact carefully, so I avoid getting desperate or overwhelmed.
I must reach out to the appropriate people/places for each contact I make, and at appropriate times. Friends/Family/Support Group/Therapist/Psychiatrist/Blog.
I may annoy or irritate or offend, and equally get annoyed or irritated or upset by people close to me. I must watch this.
I must remember that some people cannot understand or empathise with my current behaviour.
I must remember to eat and look after my personal hygiene and sleep routines.
Think thats all, may need to re-visit later. On with ‘The Show’.
Hey guys, I’ve recently run a marathon in aid of some charities, please show your support and give generously 🙂 !
Actually, this is not quite accurate. The marathon I have run, has been a ‘mental’ one. It took just over two weeks to complete. I’ve never run a physical marathon, and likelyhood is that I won’t – so I don’t know what it feels like as an experience, but my ‘mental marathon‘ went something like this: First Week: Conception of fundraising idea – Really exciting, little bit of apprehension too. Beginning Training – This involved making some phone calls, research, and deciding on a plan. Suddenly there was lots to consider and lots to do. Committing to the effort – A few days in, there was no turning back. I was bloody doing it and that was that. In addition, my fundraiser required collaborating with others, so I set about rallying the troops. Second Week: Set backs: By the start of the second week, the race was just about to begin, but I got really ill and had to step back for a few days. This was unhelpful, and possibly caused a few unnecessary issues. Here we go: We are well and truly up and running with this now, its great, I’m loving it and its not that hard after all! Hang on a sec: I might have spoken too soon, this really isn’t that easy. In fact, can I just stop now? No!? Well okay, I guess I carry on for a bit, but I’m definitely not happy and I want it all to be over soon. Back on track: God, that first half of the race was tough, but I’m well over half way there now, so I’m sure I can make it after all. Really pleased I kept going, well done me! The Wall: For me, this came after the plan/race had been 95% completed, apart from the the tiny detail of actually getting other people’s support in the form of donations. I’ll explain what happened when I hit The Wall and how I got over it below… but it was almost complete carnage. Crossing the Finish Line: This afternoon, I crossed the finish line as far as my involvement with the fundraiser is concerned, and am really proud of myself for the achievement. I’m also completely exhausted, and wondering ever so slightly whether it was all worth it. I think it probably was. I fulfilled my initial goals, as far as was within my control, and it’s been a fantastic journey, and interesting experience.
It’s got me thinking about ‘what makes people support a fundraising attempt?’. I have always known raising money for charity is not easy. I prefer to be a supporter then a fundraiser usually, as you get to share a little bit of the ‘halo’ and the satisfaction that comes with giving, with very little strenuous work.
I have narrowed it down to a few things that make people successful fundraisers:
Immense Physical Challenge by an ordinary adult.
Moderate Physical Challenge by an older, younger or physically/mentally disabled or ill person.
A challenge undertaken by a well-liked individual or celebrity.
A challenge undertaken by a (preferably large) group of people working together.
A challenge undertaken by someone experiencing hardship, such as life-threatening illness or bereavement.
Something very funny, cute, lovable, or ludicrous that is unexpected.
Extraordinary acts of kindness, particularly in difficult times, or by people who themselves are also in need of support.
There might be some I’ve missed. I’ve decided that I don’t really fit any of the criteria for being a fundraiser whom people feel very motivated to support, which makes things a bit more difficult in some ways. I certainly don’t fit the first column of fundraisers. My mental illness IS life-threatening in it’s very worst form, but not many people would know that or truly understand why it should be. The fundraiser wasn’t funny or cute – it was simply an attempt to share, as widely as possible, a bit of joy in nature – beautiful gardens, woodlands and animals, by organising the production of a video-experience… to compensate for a normally ‘in person’ experience that would have helped raise quite a lot of money for charity, were people able to leave their homes at present.
Donations are trickling in now, slower then I would’ve hoped – but I am very impatient. I am also having to constantly remind myself that my entire self-worth is not dependant on whether or not people donate. I have done what I set out to do.
The Wall I promised an explanation of this. Well, I have an unfortunate tendency to sometimes put myself under extraordinary pressure to perform to exaggerated levels, without regard to my present state of health or capability. This is bad enough. What’s worse is that I often unconciously transfer those high expectations to others that are close to me, at exactly the same time that I am getting extremely overwrought myself. The person that bore the brunt of my inevitable fury when these unreasonable expectations were not instantly fulfilled was my sister, who did very little wrong, but received a tsunami of emotional outpouring from me, as well as some pretty harsh criticism for what was only a very minor slip up on her part. It could’ve been a lot worse and we are back on good terms again after a bit of reflection and discussion on both sides. I am more able then I used to be to see my unreasonable behaviour for what it is, partly controllable and partly a mental disorder. This means I can try and warn a few key people, or stop myself before it gets too late. There’s still work to be done on this though, and still time. Not drinking alcohol whilst dealing with my problems helps a lot though.
To sum up: I won’t know for a while whether the fundraising effort was financially successful. It has been a great achievement though, especially after a long period of ill health. Its also been a learning experience, and it’s given me something to get involved with – even if at points the involvement has been too intense. I am awarding myself a metaphorical medal for my work, and a very big thumbs for giving it a go, and dragging myself over the finish line.
Thanks for reading, I guess this is a gratitude post in some ways – but am not really sure where to file it!