Friday, 26 June 2015

What I Want What You Want it Kills Us

This morning, awake at 5am I read two pieces on touring as a musician and it's implications on mental and emotional wellbeing. The first, written in The Guardian  includes standpoints from many well known names, the second is an articulate piece by an creative and intelligent woman who experienced the touring lifestyle from the sidelines and had a full psychotic breakdown. It affected me personally.

Both pieces talk about the highs and lows of touring, the wins - travel and the exhilaration of performance and the lows - erratic schedules and a distorted sense of reality amongst them. I've never been on tour, never played an instrument competently in my life so that isn't my point here. What I can relate to it is my former career, working in PR. I wanted so badly to be part of the media, to work in the music industry, to write and create and learn. I did all of those things. I had big moments. I wrote press releases knowing my words would be replicated in the paper the next day. I supervised interviews. I stood at the side of the stage while bands I loved performed. I scheduled journalist meetings. And, although not to the extent that I craved, I travelled. 

I worked in the industry always thinking the next big thing was around the corner. What had begun to take it's toll with me was the insecurity of it all - working for days or weeks on a project, planning the release, hounding the media only to open the papers the next days with a heart sinking feeling as you found nothing. Some accounts were of course more reliable than others. Some I was even really good at: setting up media partnerships, running successful campaigns. After each win I'd coming crashing down - realising that clients and journalists would always want more. In a day I could be shining from getting coverage to Tatler then crying in the toilets because I knew it was not enough - and not enough was never ending. In our tiny office I'd feel like I was coming out of my skin, restless to not be sitting at desk anymore. 

When I landed a dream account working on a film festival I thought I was made.  That account broke me in so many ways - shitty press calls, demanding distributors, clients who dropped bombshells like sweeties.  What it made me realise more than anything was that it wasn't worth it. It felt like you could flog yourself to death and no-one would blink. Hyperbole of course. It wasn't what I wanted anymore. It wasn't what I needed. 

Fast forward to now. I teach English to teenagers and I love it. I laugh so many times in a day. I come home and cook watch TV and movies. I love my friends and family and spend time with them as a much happier person. I write stories. I do yoga. I want a puppy more than anything. I'm still on my medication. I actually realised that I needed medication, that I wasn't just fighting in my own head. I was only able to do that when I became more grounded and I was only able to become more grounded when I left the industry. 

When I think about my depression and how long it went undiagnosed for I used to wonder how I stuck at it PR as long as I did. It was for the highs. I'll always remember them. That's why I can understand the touring lifestyle, it makes sense to me. Just like PR people are eager to see the glamour, the privileges, the big moments. And just like PR those come at a price. 

Personally I have another investment - I am completely in love with a wonderfully talented musician who is going to spend a lot of the next year on tour. Unlike my own experience of misguidedly working in an industry that wasn't right for me I know that music is right for him. Love makes me feel like I want to hug someone all the time to make sure that they are ok. I want him to have the things that work for me. I want to cook him nice food, have a nice place to live, get proper sleep and fresh air. I also want him to play music and be happy, I just worry that those two things pull each other apart. 

I know one thing though - I'll be here. I hope that my own experiences can keep him grounded in reality. 

I also hope that some of that at least makes sense. 

Miss D xx 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Everyday Yay!

Hello friends. We all need cheering on a daily basis - that's not something I just attribute to anxiety or depression or another mental illness. It's how we are. We need to support each other.

Here, everyday, you can find something to be happy about. This is not trivialising the anguish you might be in - simply taking a moment to reflect and relieve it. 

Today's daily YAY! 

Replace this: 

With this: 

It's ok to not be ok.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Write Now

I have a complicated relationship with writing.

Right now I'm trying to write a new short story and the trouble is, the trouble has always been, that it has to be bad before it comes good. This is why, for many years in the throes of depression I wrote diaries by the ton load, but I hated my own words. Sometimes I would scribble them out just so I wouldn't have to see them. Now it's the most useful thing, because I can look back and understand how I was feeling given my mental state. I don't feel angry at how poorly expressed my thoughts are, I feel sympathy for my younger self and sad that it took so long for me to get the help I needed.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, writing helps.

As for my story? Never confuse a single failure with a final defeat.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Coping: Joy Lists

Hello my friends,

The sun is shining here and it's a beautiful day. I wanted to share with you something that I find helps me when I'm not as smiley and when things are more difficult. I make lists of all the things that make me happy. Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I don't. What I have learnt through yoga is to think about the mind/body connection - how doing something with your body can have a positive impact on your brain. So now, when I'm down - and if I remember, I am only human - I try and do one of the things from my lists.

Currently, here are some of my joyous things:

  • Feeling the sunshine on your back as summer begins 
  • Laughing
  • Singing to Banarama with my friend as we drive around 
  • Drinking Tea 
  • Falling out of yoga poses and getting back into them 
  • NPR All Songs Considered Podcasts 
  • Beer 
  • Reading (specifically 'The Bean Trees' by Barbara Kingsolver) 
  • Looking at pictures  
Make your own list. Little things help.

Peace, happiness and smiles

Miss D 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Why Yoga is it's Own Little Miracle

A year and a half ago, when I was going through what turned out to be the point in my life where I was finally diagnosed with depression, I started doing bikram yoga. I had tried another type of yoga before but I thought this one, undertaken in a forty degree heat would be more worth my while.
For a long time exercise was my way of coping, and at times became an obsession. I'd gotten tired of the cycle - going for a run, going to the gym, going to a class - it had all begun to bore me. Bikram was different.

Firstly there are mirrors. So you have to look at yourself, for 90 minutes of intense poses, working external and internal organs. You see every slouch of your shoulders, every slump of your thighs. Sounds awful? Probably, but it's not I promise you. You see what you are doing wrong and then you correct it. You go as far as you can then you breath. You don't push into pain. All of that helps. Just think about it - shouldn't we all be doing that with our minds too?

Now I do a lot more yoga at home, although I still do Bikram every week. I sleep better and I always feel better after I have given myself time for yoga. The video below is by awesome Adriene, who does wonderful, supportive sequences.

This is one I found particularly up-lifting. Namaste my friends x