Mental Wellbeing vs Paying Bills

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One of the main themes of Freedom, Birdie! has always been the relationship between mental health and work: which, for so many of us, means surviving in a job we don’t enjoy, for whatever reason.

Everything I write (well, except the vegan burger recipes 😋) relates somehow to my own goal to escape the career path I am in;  and to instead work independently doing something which allows me to live the fullest authentic expression of who I am, and be happy and healthy. As an INFP if I have to take a job just for the money, a job in which I have no interest, emotional engagement or spiritual reward, if I have to assume a ‘character’ and repress elements of myself to ‘get the job done’ and be ‘the face that fits’, it is to my mental and physical detriment.

Yet that is the situation I have been in for many years as a professional ‘temp’. You can be sure I’ve spent those years exploring for a better-suited career path, starting up a number of entrepreneurial ventures, and working through my emotional and spiritual blocks – but out of necessity I’ve had to keep taking the ‘soul-destroying’ jobs and in doing so I’ve continued to push my mental wellbeing and the greater my emotional and physical health has suffered as a result.

So I’m currently in another temp job, which started in January and finishes in April.

Three weeks in I was given the workload of 3 people and it was this which alerted me to the toll these many years have taken on my body and spirit. I just can’t tolerate it the way I used to – I used to be able to get through 3 months in a job before I started to feel depressed, trapped and panicky. Now it’s only a matter of a few weeks.

I feel weaker now. In body and mind. It’s not just the usual repercussions: the insomnia, panic attacks, chest aches, sadness that leads to depression, feeling frustrated, drained and defeated. This time I feel tearful all the time, in and out of work. And I’m extremely anxious about work, in and out of work. I ache all over, more than ever. And my hands are noticeably shaking.

People who don’t know how this feels, they don’t get it. My doctor doesn’t get it. My government doesn’t get it. It’s constant and it’s exhausting. I can FEEL there will be great and more serious repercussions on my health, sooner or later. But you are expected to carry on until you crash and burn; only then, once there is visible ‘proof’ that you aren’t well, can you be helped and really taken seriously.

In the meantime you feel alone, scared, trapped, and under the assumption that you must just be so WEAK to feel like this.

As you can see I don’t have a definitive answer but I share everything I share simply to show all those who are experiencing the same that you are not alone. Connection can make a massive difference. And so can speaking out.

Please, do not accept this as ‘the way things are’. You deserve better.

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Reframing Mondays

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Scratch. Cling. Scream. Desperate. Sad.

These are all words I just typed into a search engine, looking for an appropriate image for this blog post that would accurately portray my feelings right now (p.s. that’d be the one above).

It’s Sunday evening. And I am clawing at the remnants of the day – no actually I am clinging onto it for dear life. My fingers are bloodied and torn. I am screaming these awful, gutteral, painful howls as panic rips through my insides. I am pleading hysterically “please, please, please don’t leave me!”.

I don’t want today to end, because I don’t want Monday to come.

It’s not like I have an awful Monday planned: I’m not going to a funeral, or into hospital. It’s just another day in a temp job. But for someone who’s been trying to transition OUT of that lifestyle and into a life and a career I love, for many years, it’s the same. old. shit.  and it can frequently feel maddeningly frustrating.

I know some will tell me to be grateful, to get real, to suck it up. All I can say is, I’m an INFJ (or an INFP depending on the day): I need engagement and fulfilment in my work. I am trying my hardest to make that a reality,but in the meantime the days spent doing monotonous and menial tasks feel like my life is going down the toilet.

I’ve realised that, actually, what makes an impending Monday worse is that on Sunday night I start to get REALLY mean with myself about how I’ve spent my weekend.

“You haven’t worked hard enough this weekend to change things. You took a break to have that nap / take that bath / watch that show. You sit here immobilised by your fears and your obstacles and your laziness and then you get upset that things aren’t changing. Your efforts are crap. Your energy levels are pitiful. You think you’re brave and ambitious and determined, you’re delusional love!!”.

So tonight I thought I’d try and reframe my thoughts. It worked and I’d like to share it with you.

*I have done the best that I could*
*I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now*
*A new day, and a new week, is a new opportunity*
*Monday HAS to come so I can take one step closer to my dreams*
*Monday will be GREAT because I will be one step closer to my dreams*

Just give this a try and see how you feel afterwards. I can’t say I feel amazingly joyous, but I feel less rooted-in-misery-and-fear than I did 10 minutes ago. I was lying on my bed face down half-heartedly clutching a crystal, feeling paralysed in sadness and hopelessness. And now I feel…accepting of what is. And even, dare I say it, almost ok with it? I mean, if it’s going to bring me a step closer to my dreams, then that’s ok isn’t it?

After all, there’s no point wishing Monday isn’t going to come. But we’ve survived this many of them, we can survive another one.

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from Sunny DE Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to have a ‘Me Hour’

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I decided today that I urgently needed a ‘Me Hour’ (which is something I made up on the spot).

The rules for ‘Me Hour’ were threefold:

  1. Don’t think about any worries, problems, responsibilities, decisions, people, injustices, frustrations.
  2. Don’t compare myself to anybody else.
  3. Don’t continue any thought which begins with the phase “I should be…”

I set a timer, and then I put my computer and phone to one side.

I ran a bath telling myself not to feel guilt for using my last limited edition bath bomb instead of saving it for a ‘special occasion’.

I didn’t pressure myself to use the time to visualise, dream, pray, manifest, plan, connect to my Higher Self/guardian angels, analyse, strategise or decide.

Every time a thought floated in which breached these rules, I floated it out again. I acknowledged the aches and pains in my body but without analysis. If I received any intuitive guidance, without any ‘trying’ on my part, I allowed it.

I bathed in silence.

When the hour was up, I took Baxter for a walk. I strode around our usual route and felt so different to usual. I felt grateful and strong and powerful. I felt more connected, more energy and more faith.

I know alone time is an elusive luxury for many. But I hope you may find time, and schedule it into your weekly planner if possible, to gift yourself this opportunity to come back to yourself.

After all….

 

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What am I doing? Mid-January edition!

 

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Let’s dive straight in 😀

I AM… getting my Leonie Dawson on.

I got the Leonie Dawson 2016 Life Workbook and Weekly Planner for Christmas, and I am committing a bit of time every weekend to filling the Workbook out and making plans in the Planner.

I haven’t been strict enough with myself to make specific goals that actually push me forwards. I am feeling the call to do so, but I’m hiding in my cocoon. I need to be brave, strong, and more determined about my dreams!

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Here I am in the bath!

I AM… keeping a daily diary.

I’ve tried to do this before and it never lasts, but so far I only have 4 unfilled pages!

I am trying it out so I can get my feelings down on paper as all too often I hold them in. And also so that I can record any spiritual happenings or guidance, dreams and signs that happen.

I AM… seeing a lot of unicorns!

Speaking of signs… So, elementals. I’ve not been that interested in the past; they’re a bit too ‘woo woo’ for me.

But the past 1.5-2 weeks I’ve seen unicorns everywhere! Yes I know if you follow anything spiritual on social media you’re bound to see unicorns, but it all actually started with a unicorn appearing in my meditation one day and since then I’ve seen them literally all over the place.

Apparently, unicorns assist with self-belief and faith, hope, the imagination and healing. All of which I would say are themes for me ☺️

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I AM… reading ‘Soul Shifts’ by Barbara de Angelis.

And it is wonderful. Barbara creates the image that your Higher Self is a temple and I LOVE that. It resonates.

You are a Seer rather than a Seeker of your own wisdom. You merely need to understand that everything you’re searching for – which in my case is my life purpose and satisfying that horrible feeling that I’m here to DO something but I don’t remember what – is within you already. You just need to open yourself to it.

Since reading this I’ve had some vivid dreams and felt shifts to my thoughts and my energy, so I know it is penetrating at a deep soul level and I can’t wait to see what happens as I continue into the book.

I AM… rewatching Ab Fab.

Lately I seem to enjoy rewatching old classics over discovering new shows. So I found Ab Fab on Netflix Australia and have had a good binge.

Watching it now I’m older I can better appreciate the fantastic writing by Jennifer Saunders and the acting of all the cast but particularly Joanna Lumley as Patsy; I’ve since seen her out of character in numerous documentaries and she’s so poised and classy in real life, this just makes her performance more fascinating and her comedic skills more impressive!

I also sit here gobsmacked at how incredibly abusive Eddy is towards her daughter Saffy, I take it for what it is of course (i.e. not real!) but my HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) side feels too deeply for the Saffy character. Ah the trials of being so sensitive!

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That’s all for now! I’ll be back next week, it’s in the weekly planner 😄🙏

Frenemies on Social Media

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This has been on my mind for a while but more as a little gripe than anything worth talking about. It should be something I can brush off without further thought because it’s so tiny and so stupid really, and 99% of the time I do simply brush it off. But now feels right to discuss that silly little 1% that bothers me.

Frenemies, or Fake Friends, on Social Media.

I’ve had to step back from a few Frenemy friendships over the years but I remain ‘friends’ with them on social media because,  although it didn’t feel healthy for me to be in their company on a regular basis anymore, I still cared for them and I wanted to keep in touch (conveniently I moved away, which gave me the perfect excuse to distance myself literally without hurting anybody).

Even though time and distance has separated us and mutually our interactions have reduced down to the odd ‘like’, ‘comment’ and annual ‘Happy Birthday!’ post, every so often their indirect actions still manage to sting a little, and remind me why I had to step back.

You see, I’ve been promoting my Etsy store a lot in the run-up to Christmas and as I’ve done so I’ve noticed who is supporting me and who is silent. And these particular Frenemies have ignored every post I’ve written about it.

Without going into the finer details of how the Facebook News Feed works, which I know all about, just trust me when I say this: I know them well enough to know that they are ignoring me anytime I have anything positive and personal to share, and I know why they do this. It was evident back when we were friends, and it is still evident now, that they were and are threatened that I at least give my dreams a go.

They were never interested or supportive. Whenever I accomplished anything good it was either met with disdain or skimmed over completely, never to be acknowledged again. I learnt to keep quiet: it just made for a more pleasant evening with them if I remained small.

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So when I write something, and within minutes I see them online, ‘like’ing or ‘comment’ing on mutual friends’ – or worse other artists’ or entrepreneur’s – status updates, I cannot help but feel that a decision has been made on their part – be it conscious or subconscious – not to support ME for some reason.

I can tell from their online behaviour towards me over the years that they have a very specific set of criteria that merit a positive, or in fact ANY, acknowledgement of me and I’m sure there will be many of you out there who will have similar Frenemies doing this too. I will only get a acknowledgement if I say something inane, bland, neutral. “I’ve had 3 glasses of wine tonight” for example. Nothing that denotes going anywhere nice, doing anything fun, or achieving anything good.

I admit I am a very sensitive person! 😉 Duh I write about depression and anxiety! But whether I am in fact being paranoid, or whether I have got it spot on, it brings back memories of times when any good news I had – even something as small as going on a 2nd date – became too uncomfortable to be aired.

It reflects the dynamic of our original friendship only too well. I would support anything good that happened to them and support them through anything bad, and they could not hear anything good that happened to me and only had an interest in the neutral or the bad times (as long as they weren’t too bad to warrant any special attention).

I dunno. Can anyone else relate to this?? xx

Don’t You Want to be Big and Shiny?

Do you ever feel like you are not shining as brightly as you should or could be?

Do you ever feel like you are keeping yourself small in order to fit in with the place you live in or the people or colleagues in your life?

I do and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Most of the time I choose to ignore it.

  • Because it’s horrible to think you may be doing yourself a disservice, or failing yourself.
  • It’s disconcerting to feel that the choices you’ve made in life are wrong.
  • And it’s terrifying to think about the changes that may be required to make the feeling go away.

And for special bonus points – it’s also terrifying to imagine change taking place and then THAT’s not right either, and you’ve just ballsed your life up for nothing.

Did I mention it feels yucky, and shitty, and frightening??

What I struggle with is this:

  • Is it a feeling that can be trusted? Is it real?
  • Is feeling this way a guarantee that IF you were to make the changes and aim for something more authentic, that you will succeed and be happy at it?

I’m guessing there isn’t a guarantee and without one making big changes is not a particularly inviting prospect.

If you’re anything like me you will google for success stories (and if I find any I will share them over on Twitter!). But while it’s mildly encouraging, reading about someone else’s successful transition to authenticity is really just a diversion tactic. It’s no guarantee that you will have the same experience and, if I am honest, is reading anybody else’s story ever going to motivate me to actually DO anything?

No!

We need to find the answer, the strength and the confidence within ourselves.

We need to decide that feeling dulled, feeling repressed, feeling small, toned down, boxed in, is unacceptable for us.

It IS terrifying and uncomfortable to think about, but imagine yourself 10, 20, 30 years down the line if you don’t address this feeling properly now. Will you feel fulfilled or regretful?

Would it not be worth at least TRYING things out that MIGHT allow you to fully shine?

I would love to hear from anybody who has had, or does have, this feeling. What did / are you going through and what helped / what do you think would help you?

The Truth about Soul Purpose


This post came to me while I was out with my Baxter 💕 Now, Baxter is the sort of pooch who walks very slowly, stopping to sniff each and every pebble and blade of grass. So needless to say, I often use the time to daydream or meditate on the move.

On this afternoon’s amble to the park I was thinking about a video I saw on Instagram earlier. It was Kyle Gray the renowned angel expert performing an extremely impressive yoga sequence (p.s. I’ve posted it at the end of this post, you should check it out!).

Just playing with the ‘what if’ for a moment, I wondered – because he seems so good at yoga (to my untrained eye anyway) – what if he were to shift his focus from angels to yoga, and yoga becomes his thing?

Lets imagine this scenario: Kyle Gray decides to focus on yoga from now on and will be doing no more angel stuff. Yoga is IT for him now. Does that make his angel work less valid because he decided to prioritise yoga? Does it make his yoga less valid because he used to prioritise his work with angels? Will people criticise him, or think him foolish for ‘getting it wrong the first time’, or make fun of him for being ‘indecisive’ or ‘flighty’?

Of course not! We would still be thankful that he shone the spotlight on angels and gave us so much useful information. There would be many more thousands of people in the world who would come to discover his angel work and benefit and be inspired by it, even though he would not be producing new work on the subject. Fans of his work on angels would have their eyes opened to yoga through his example, and vice versa for the people who meet him first through his yoga.

We would just accept that his soul purpose is calling him to travel down a fork in the road which, to the average observer, looks very different to the path he’s walked so far.

OK so that’s a hypothetical scenario featuring Kyle Gray. But why is it any different for the rest of us?

It’s not, is it.

And yet, so many people are afraid to follow their hearts, for a myriad of reasons revolving around how others may judge them.

Here is something I think I know, after many years of soul searching:

Our soul purpose is not our career: it is living and breathing and loving as our authentic self.

It is allowing ourselves to experience the lessons we are here for, and to follow our passions, no matter what others think.

And this applies both to the people who haven’t yet found their passion, or those that have found their passions but are scared about putting themselves out there.

Let me tell you this:

There is no shame in putting your heart and soul into something and then realising it is not right for you.

There is nothing wrong with starting a career in one thing that inspires you and then shifting into something even more inspiring.

Because it is your authentic self which is the inspiration. Every time you have a change of heart, learn something new, discard something old, “make a mistake” – THAT is you living authentically, and THAT is your soul purpose, and THAT is true inspiration that you are gifting the world.

People think they must get it right the first time, and MAKE IT WORK, otherwise they are a failure. But that is simply not true.

I finally learnt this lesson in my early 30s. Having wanted to act all my life, I was distraught and lost and prideful at the very notion that living an actor’s life – the rejection, the frustration, the jealousy – was something I should put a pin in for the sake of my mental health, and try something else. It wasn’t until someone very wise pointed out to me that anybody of any profession – from actors to doctors – can study or train or practice for years and then realise it isn’t right for them. It DOESN’T make them stupid or a failure. It just happens.

It has taken many more years and the discovery of people like Marianne Cantwell of Free Range Humans and Emily Wapnick of Puttylike to discover that my ideals and values, my dreams, my desire for variety and purpose, and my inability to handle a job I hate “like normal people do”, were actually valid qualities that I should be proud of. Not be ashamed of and bury them as deeply as I could manage.

That, my friends, is how you can end up really ill and unhappy (as detailed by many previous posts on this blog).

So I’m hoping that anybody who is where I was, when I was looking into the gaping hole where my acting dreams used to be and I was frozen solid with fear of failing again, will hear me when I say: you are already living your purpose and no matter what you do next it is your purpose to do it. That knowledge should free you from the crushing burden of needing to know the Exact. Right. Next. Move.

But to be really inspiring to the world, show us your authentic self. Live by your passions and shine your light.

xx

And now for the video that kicked this all off!

All is coming! ❤️

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