Nuts: A mental health update..

You can ignore this if you want to see pretty pictures! There will be some along shortly!

I’m doing OK at the moment. As some of you know, circumstances have been difficult since late November / early December; my gym routine fell apart due to lots of time away with work, my workload at work is mentally exhausting with a great deal of responsibility having fallen on my shoulders, and to cap it all my wife had a health scare at Christmas. I have also had a physical health issue myself – a bad infection on my left leg which is now, thankfully, responding to antibiotics – but I was worried for a time. Yet, despite all this I have kept my head above water and largely stayed positive, with help from friends both at work and on WP.

I have had two spells of feeling very dissociated in the last couple of weeks. This I feel is entirely related to work stress and my mind is trying to protect itself by putting a shield up. Next week looks rather difficult at work too.

This weekend coming I will be alone as Susan is away. I think I need to plan some self-care activities as otherwise I fear a downward spiral ahead. A weekend alone, if done right, could be just what I need right now.

Citalopram has also kept my mood elevated or I very much doubt that I would have coped with the stresses of my day job over the last two months. My current prescription runs until Easter then I think it will be reviewed.

I got a letter on friday from the UK National Health Service. They apologised that I am still on the waiting list for counselling 7 months after being referred and wanted to know if I was ‘still interested’. The cynic in me thinks this is how they deal with poor funding for mental health services and they were kind of hoping after all this time that I was either better or had jumped under a train – either way it shortens the waiting list so everyone is happy….

One thing resulting from all this turmoil is that my energy (and time) for making plans has taken a knock. I do have a few things in mind (travel, selling art etc) but am shying away from committing myself, and am now getting angry with myself for not just pushing through it. I did say in a previous post that I was good at procrastination….

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Meanwhile:

It is a few weeks since I posted anything remotely philosophical but I need to write my thoughts on something.

I think I compartmentalise things a lot. Colleagues, friends, wife; all see different facets of me. Even within those groups I will talk about my art with some and not others. Maybe we all do this? We find areas of common ground I guess?

For me it has always been a defence mechanism. I learned early in my life not to show anyone the whole picture – or even much at all. The less ammunition you give someone the less they can hurt you. And it meant I always had a mental safe space to retreat to. This has carried through to my adult self and it is exhausting trying to remember who knows what about me. The only place I feel able to relax and be myself is here or, surprisingly, at the gym. I am very grateful for that and am touched that people seem to like what they see.

Which leads me to my problem: The lines are starting to blur – and it worries me and contributes to my feeling stressed.

Some of my colleagues and work friends have become aware of my artwork. They like it and have asked to see more. The logical thing to do is send them here. But that makes me feel very vulnerable. Similarly, a couple of work friends who I am very fond of have found me on Instagram – which I originally joined a few weeks ago to act as publicity for my art when I start hopefully selling work. It is easy to follow my IG profile to here. As you can see above – my new cards send people here too.

I do not want to feel like I have to become more guarded here because of my fears about letting people from other parts of my life have a new insight into me as a person. I am proud to have been so open on here, even sharing details of my mental health issues, but do I want my colleagues to see this? I’m not even especially happy that my wife (I think) sometimes reads my posts.

It is a problem of my own making I know. Maybe I should have kept the art totally separate from my personal blog? But why should I? Just like the depression and my sense of humour my art reflects a fundamental part of who I am.

I have talked about this with one of you already and we both felt that I should just be me and not worry so much about letting people in. It will still take quite a leap of faith to allow those walls to fall.

I know some of you maintain anonymity for good personal reasons but I have no real reason except my own fear. What do you think? Do you feel self-conscious about people you see in person reading your thoughts on your blog?

65 Comments

  1. Thank you for this Roda, I was horrified to discover this was in my spam folder along with other comments from friends. I must be more diligent about looking in there! So apologies I had responded earlier. I would dearly love to meet up for tea one day my friend. Dx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Darren – you’ve been going through a tough time it seems. That leg infection didn’t help that and I’m glad the antibiotics finally helped.
    Having gone through depression myself (using the past tense doesn’t really make sense because it never lets you go though it does get better) I feel with you.
    And I understand the need to compartmentalize. We all show different faces to different people, it’s perfectly normal, and sometimes I think, it’s even necessary. There are people who don’t deserve knowing all about you, it would only give them ammunition – hope you know what mean.
    And you can be proud that people you actually know are interested in your art – which btw I totally love! Except from my mum none of my friends and colleagues is interested in mine – and I told them about it, gave them my blog address and even showed them my paintings. That hurt, you know. I’m not talking about my art anymore with any of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you understand really well Sarah. Things are much better this week. In fact it has been a good week so far and I may post about it in a day or two.
    I loved the sculpture in your recent post and I must admit it reminded me of a certain Terry Pratchett character too 😉😊💕
    Thank you so much for your compliment on my own artwork. I am currently working on something new which is going really well.

    So nice you popped in today Sarah 😀💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I´m so glad you´re feeling better this week, Darren, and I look forward to read your post!
    Thanks so much for your compliment – and you´re spot on with that Terry Pratchett character! 😉 Funnily enough he´s one of my favorites, love that bone-dry humor. 😀
    So lovely to hear that you’re working on something new – I can´t wait to see it!!
    Have a wonderful day! 🙂 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo Darren – what a great post :O) It’s not just you at all – there are certain posts that I don’t make public on social media for instance just in case someone close to me reads them and they worry or judge or blah blah blah; it’s not just you :O) x

    Liked by 1 person

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