Stressing about Stress or just Pessimistic Stress.

Did you spot @blue_smudge or the meerkat first?
The holidays are over and it is back to the world of work - albeit a simpler version for me. On one hand, media work is my main career but it is not always a reliable one in terms of income. Lollipopping has been my main income and the end of half term brings me back down to earth with a bump.

Life is full of stress but there are many different kinds. For example, did you know an average officer worker is more stressed on a busy commute than a stunt pilot? There are different kinds of stress and while no one can deny a stunt pilot is under pressure, he experiences the stress as a positive adrenalin rush. Where as Mr MiddleManagment's heart is exploding as the traffic again slows to a crawl on the M25.

Some stress is good. It motivates you. The stress of directing the show I mentioned last week (and the press cutting below) can be frustrating and feel like quite a burden but the reward is seeing a magnificent show come together with some really good talent given the chance to shine brightly whilst learning and growing from it. Our final dress rehearsal was not the panicking disaster my pessimistic mind tried to frighten me with. Everything slotting into place left me with a beaming smile. I know they can do it but I needed more faith in myself.

"Always remember to fight for your happiness. #FFYH #SickNotWeak "
Sometimes I push myself. Angrily too. I can do more. As a new friend said to me this week "you cannot let those A Levels and that mind go to waste!"  As I've touched on in past posts here, I am anxious and worried about any real return to the world of employment.

Why risk my health? I guess I have to, so I can pay my way in life. I've gently pushed myself and been happily impressed to where I reach. My girlfriend is moving in with me and slowly, she's helping me attack the flat I call home. Every few days we focus our efforts on something new; for example our hallway neat and cleaner than I think I have ever seen and the kitchen is close behind too. You get used to being alone. Self-isolation becomes a norm.
Having a mental health condition can also impact on how you feel others see you, and even how you see yourself. 
It feels like I'm still on holiday at times to spend so much time with her. I love her, dearly, and I'm really glad she's here. My Dad has told me he's seen a dramatic change.
Flexitime, a quieter desk, longer lunch. What can an employer do to help you at work?

That said I still don't have the faith I need in myself. Yes - I have done some fantastic things and carried some big burdens in my professional and volunteer work. Yet still that pessimistic voice argues it is never going to work again and it self stresses itself. My reliance on my anxiety medication to subside it hasn't lightened - in fact it really helped me at the first group family meal with my partner's parents and sisters. Perhaps a sign of the EUPD, it made me overwork and panic that everyone would hate me and what a fat failure I am. However, by the end of the night I think it went a bit better than OK.

Perhaps my pessimistic stress could let me be proud that I have not self harmed for a couple of weeks now, rather than anxiously worrying I will cut again.
Follow me on Twitter! @MattStreuli

Soon I should start voluntary work in the local school. It could lead to a career using that mind, qualifications and skills with youngsters who are so fantastic you can't help but smile and encourage them. On Saturday, I played Chauffeur to my girlfriend as we visited a University she is looking to study at (as a mature student) to qualify as a teacher. The whole ethos and style was really sold to me but wouldn't I just break? Even in the past few days, I felt OK yet depression has 'pinned me down'. Having my partner there to hold and support me made a real difference.

It is each day at a time. Enjoying and getting the most out of life. Rebuilding it after the suicide attempt around a year ago and the discrimination I suffered in my last career. Not all employers are backward. 2016 could be the year I move forward. Slowly though... Trying to repair the damage of my alcoholic dead mother or the flashbacks is not quick.

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