mental health

Allowing Yourself To Rest

 

Going back about as far as I can remember I’ve struggled with sleep. I’ve never given it much thought because I always just kind of got on with things regardless of how much (or how little) sleep I was getting.

Through therapy I discovered I might have a phobia of sleep. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will regularly see me awake and posting until I basically can’t stay awake any longer. I fight it for as long as I can and I find my anxiety levels massively increase if I reflect on how long I was asleep when I wake up. This is exacerbated pretty intensely by my medication making me drowsy and needing to nap quite regularly. It resulted in a small crisis the other night when I felt like I was letting myself down by not being awake at the most opportune times for me to advertise work to people (I’m yet to find a free Twitter and Instagram scheduling app that I like using).

For months, maybe even a couple of years now, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of not needing sleep because it somehow means I’ll be less successful if I sleep as much as I need to. Reinforced by the amount of people on social media who talk about how they’re always grinding/hustling/working, I find myself comparing my perceived work rate with how those people present themselves, which is very understandably detrimental in both how it impacts my mental health and my overall motivation levels.

Shortly after my crisis, I was awake and writing the blogs I posted on Thursday and Friday until around 4am. I tweeted after finishing those that I’m starting to realising it’s more to do with how we use our time when we’re awake. The next day Gary Vee posted the image below.

gary-vee-motivational-sleep-quote

This made me realise that, at times, sleep isn’t “avoiding The Hustle” but is instead part of it. How useful am I to myself, to my creative process, to my marketing approach, if I’m depriving myself of sleep? Constantly being awake doesn’t somehow result in success. If you’re awake for 20 hours a day and can only manage to concentrate well enough to complete four high-quality hours of work, then by many people’s definition of The Hustle you’ve not utilised those remaining 16 hours.

At present I’m sleeping around 8-12 hours a day but still managing to fit in 5-8 very high quality hours of work-related output. Right now it isn’t always things my customers or followers will see, I’ll be making lists, researching new distribution channels, new suppliers, new product/packaging ideas. I’ll sometimes spend a whole day just thinking about how to act next. To me, that’s adding value to my brand. The changes I made, which I detailed the other day, came from social media engagement and a whole day of thinking of ways to act on the responses I received and conversations I had.

It’s taken me a while to reach this point, but I’m trying to remind myself not to shoehorn myself into a routine that doesn’t suit me just because it works for somebody else.

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MrCryptSwingTicket

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The boring mental health one

I always find talking about my mental health weird and difficult, particularly in this kind of capacity. I’ve been meaning to do this forever though, and I guess some form of insight into what I’m like in my head wouldn’t go amiss. It’s often pointed out to me that I’m quite a closed off person so it’s going to be a bit of a push for me to open up.
I think one of the most difficult things is to say what exactly is “wrong” with me. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety but the longer I’ve gone, the more I’ve researched and the more treatments I’ve tried I’ve begun to realise they’re probably part of a wider spectrum of things. Before I was discharged from therapy I asked my therapist if they thought I had OCD as, from reading into it (the invasive thoughts among various other behaviours), it seemed almost certain to me that it was the case. We did a brief assessment, agreed it’s more than likely the case but I manage to control it to a decent level the majority of the time. The little things I do to control it go largely unnoticed now.
So to reiterate, I know some of the symptoms but I’m not totally sure of the exact illness. I’m ok with that, I don’t think it needs a label aside from if anything goes horrible again and I end up back in therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I benefitted a lot from therapy, I’d just really rather not go through it again. And that isn’t even really for the actual therapy element. My main issues were based in having to deal with my GP. They weren’t mental health specialists, which I understand. But my initial meeting was about anxiety attacks, feeling suicidal etc. You know, that old chestnut. They nodded along and wrote a prescription for Citalopram. I didn’t react well with Citalopram. It made my invasive thoughts a lot worse and I had uncontrollable urges to harm myself in a variety of unorthodox ways. After a couple of weeks of freaking out, hoping I’d settle into it, and doing my own research I discovered that with OCD and other “control based” mental illnesses, Citalopram is generally quite a bad fit. So I went back to change my medication and had to tell the GP what I needed, which was Fluoxetin/Prozac. I still didn’t get along with Prozac, it basically turned me into a zombie for about a year and I have very little memory of my time on it, but I wasn’t having panic attacks or freaking out every day so I stuck with it. In that time I was on a waiting list for therapy.
Therapy was good for me, even though I’ll admit I get really paranoid of people knowing things about me so I held back a fair bit of information. It’s odd but even though my therapist was there to help I still didn’t want them to know how violent my invasive thoughts can sometimes get. That’s the other thing, I’m not a violent person so to have thoughts like that really scared me. The line between what is just an invasive thought and what is an urge is sometimes very blurred and it’s distressing to think I was/am capable of such creative and aggressive thoughts. Right now those thoughts are very much under control because I’m generally in an ok place in my head. At the moment I’m just the kind of standard depressed person who doesn’t have the energy to do things I need to do (I write a to do list almost every day, with little things like household chores and even reminders to shower and eat included in it) but also never wants to sleep. I’ll literally stay awake until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. I’ve found Pokémon Go helpful with that, it means I’m out walking a lot so I end up more easily worn out and sleep better/more.
But yeah, I don’t really want to waffle on too much but I guess if you have any questions just ask? I’m usually quite open about it but I don’t like it being all over social media, so where possible I prefer to do it in private.