First of all, I just want to thank those of you who took the time to read/like/comment on my weekend post. I wasn’t in a good place at the time and needed to get a lot of frustration off my chest. Afterwards, I did consider deleting it on more than one occasion – I wasn’t sure if I explained fully how I was feeling, or even why I was feeling the way I did. In hindsight, I thought that it would seem a little trivial to those of you who are depressed for real, authentic reasons. But then I realised – when you suffer from clinical depression, anything can be a trigger, no matter how big or small. Nobody was going to judge me on that.

For me in this case, it is a result of working my heart and soul out for a company that takes me for granted, and will continue taking me for granted until I decide enough is enough. My problem, or my greatest asset, whichever way you want to look at it, is that I pride myself on doing the very best I can, whether I am happy or not. If I have a job to do, I will knuckle down and get it done. And that is where I have gone wrong with this company – they are taking advantage of my work ethic rather than awarding me for it.

So I need to leave and take my loyalty and my integrity elsewhere.

Of course, it isn’t that easy. I can’t wake up one morning and think, “sod it, I’m not going back”, much as I’d like to. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

So my only other option is to find another job. Easier said than done, but I will persevere. They won’t break me.

I just need to be careful that I don’t break me.

Happy Monday! πŸ’™

Not A Normal Monthly Overview

Well, around this time of the month I would usually be posting my monthly overview, covering achievements from the previous month and goals for the month ahead.

This time, I won’t be doing that. I didn’t post at all throughout May, and would like to take this opportunity to explain why.

For those of you who are familiar with my blog and have read my posts, you will know that I am not happy in my current job and haven’t been for some time.

You will also be aware that I suffered from depression in my younger years.

Anyway, let me start at the beginning.

I have been working for a recruitment agency since January 2017, in their accounts department where I process weekly payroll for the contractors. I was employed as a part-time payroll administrator to work alongside a full-time administrator, a full-time payroll queries manager and another payroll manager (yeah, I don’t know why either) who was currently off on maternity leave, to return on part-time hours.

Now, for those of you who have worked in this environment before, you will be aware that payroll is a repetitive, boring task which is well suited to someone who likes routine in their job. This is not me, for a start. I am, however, a very hard worker, and will accomplish any job quickly and efficiently if that is what I’m paid to do.

I have to admit, there were red flags right from the beginning, but the hours suited me so I persevered.

My co-worker Emma*, the full-time payroll administrator, was a friendly girl but infuriatingly chatty, which became a real issue on our busier days. She was also incredibly lazy, and clearly felt that she was above completing payroll tasks now that there was a new member of staff to do them instead.

I found myself working harder to complete tasks on my own rather than raise the issue of her laziness with the management, who spent a lot of their time sat around chatting too.

I began asking for extra tasks to do to break up the mind numbingly dull repetition of timesheets and expense forms, but the managers were totally ignorant to the fact that I was doing the majority of the work and then some.

When Emma confided in me that she had been offered another job, I encouraged her to go for it, pointing out how terrible our current jobs were. In the back of my mind, I was a little gleeful – once she left, there would be no doubt who the real worker was, and I would at last get some recognition.

Yes, in hindsight it does sound ruthless, but that wasn’t the case. I was just sick of doing all the work while somebody else took the credit for it.

Everything went to plan. Emma left and was replaced by Jen*, an older lady and a typical administrator. She wasn’t as fun as Emma but at least she was there to work, and not to gossip. I took on the task of training her up and we quickly became a formidable team. The department improved in leaps and bounds.

During this time, the second payroll manager (why?) Lorna* returned from maternity leave. I had been pre-warned about Lorna by Emma, who claimed that she was terribly lazy and shied away from hard work – pot, kettle and black came to mind but, as Lorna trained Emma up, it wasn’t difficult to detect a pattern.

Everything that I had heard about Lorna was true, and she and the other payroll manager Kirsten* proceeded to spend the majority of the day sat chatting while Jen and I worked our backsides off. We spent a great deal of time complaining amongst ourselves, but there didn’t appear to be anything else we could do. The management team were a clique of women who had worked together for years, and so it was pointless complaining because they were the best of friends.

Eventually, Jen lost all motivation and I found myself again taking on the majority of the tasks, plus extra jobs, while she dawdled and faffed around. After persevering for a few weeks, I appealed to Kirsten in the hope that she would step in as manager. Instead, they fired Jen, leaving me as the only payroll administrator.

This was at the end of March. For two months now, I have been toiling away at a two-person job with barely any help. When Kirsten or Lorna do deign to help out, it is grudgingly and Lorna in particular will do the bare minimum in very bad grace.

A couple of weeks back, I did complain about the lack of support I was getting, but nothing has changed. I am, quite honestly, losing the will to live, so to speak, and something needs to change. I have been on my own now for two months and, as I only work part-time, it is just too much.

The life coaching company I was attempting to start back in April has run aground – I am exhausted, and can’t find the motivation anymore. I haven’t even posted on the Instagram or Facebook page for weeks. How can I promote a happier life when I am just not happy?

This past week, I took annual leave but haven’t had the energy to do anything. Mid-week, I spent a lot of time in such an unhappy state that I cried. This is not right, and I need to do something about it.

Yesterday, I applied for another job.

I decided to write this down today as a therapeutic exercise. I needed to get it all off my chest so I’m not bogged down by negative thoughts all weekend. I also wanted to explain the reason behind my absence. I do apologise if it has put any of you on a downer; that’s assuming you actually read to the end. I’m trying to state facts rather than going off on an emotional rant!

Hopefully I will be back to normal very soon, and I’m sorry for the depressing post.

Coping with Depression at Christmas

Christmas is a time for family, for giving and receiving and celebrating with those closest to you. Christmas can also be an extremely stressful time of the year, when purse strings are stretched to the limit and there is pressure to make things perfect for the people you love.

I can certainly emphasise, especially this year.

I have touched briefly on my struggle with depression in previous posts. I am no stranger to the black dog nipping at my heels. I teetered on the edge of darkness throughout my childhood, with many moments of deep despair. After leaving home at 18, my late teenage years were spent partying and drinking heavily in an attempt to fit in somewhere, anywhere, and for a while I lost myself in a social whirl. Eventually though, my darkness caught up with me, and at 21 I had a breakdown.

I can’t even begin to explain what I went through back then. I was a mess, and not even a beautiful one. I’m not even sure what that is, a beautiful mess. If you are as broken as I was, still am.. you feel anything but beautiful. You’re just a useless mess.

I gave up my job and was prescribed a heavy dosage of anti-depressants. I remember being unhappy all of the time and wishing I didn’t exist. My family didn’t know how to interact with me. I spent much of my time talking about how bad I felt, how I wanted to disappear, blink out like a burnt-out lightbulb. I guess they were scared by how unhinged I was, and how precarious I appeared to be. They didn’t understand. Eventually, I stopped telling them and learnt to keep it bottled up, to save people the embarrassment of having to listen to me.

As I said, I was a mess.

After two and a half years of deep depression, I decided that things couldn’t continue as they were, and I went out and got myself a job as a kitchen porter in a hotel kitchen. Not the most desirable of jobs, but I loved it. It got me out of the flat and provided me with a semblance of normality, a routine I had been missing. It gave me a reason to be somebody other than the sad person I had become. I look back on that job nostalgically, and with a degree of gratitude. I excelled at it, and it gave my self-esteem a massive boost when I eventually moved on to pastures new, and they asked me to stay. At last, I had made a difference, if only washing pots and emptying bins.

Years later, those long days of depression are a memory I like to keep distant, but every now and again the black dog will sneak up and whisper sibilantly in my ear, with a warning of how easy it can be to slip back into those depths of despair.

It is different these days. I guess I’m more aware of my responsibilities. I can’t break all over again, for the sake of my son, my job, my home, my family. I feel more in control these days.

It doesn’t stop those black thoughts though, and the feeling that I’m never really good enough.

Although Christmas is a time for celebration, please remember that for some, it is difficult to see the joy in the festivities when you are surrounded by such darkness. Some days, it is difficult just to get out of bed and face the day. Depression is an illness, not a choice, and those that push you away are generally the ones who need you the most. Let them know that you’re there for them this Christmas.

If you are the one suffering from depression, please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to friends and loved ones. Often, people won’t know there is anything wrong if you don’t tell them. Be honest about money worries. Focus on the positive things about Christmas and try to avoid time alone, ruminating on life and perceived failures. If your depression is more serious, seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. You are never alone, no matter how isolated you may feel. There is always someone who wants to help if you would only give them the chance.

Merry Christmas. πŸ’™

Monthly Overview

It’s been a while since I last posted, and to be perfectly honest I don’t have any real reason. I lost not only my writing mojo, but my motivation for anything that didn’t involve work or hiding at home. I even grew tired of my Facebook pages, and have been seriously thinking of downsizing. But when I have put so much time and effort into certain things, I am often reluctant to give up on them without a fight. Hence my dubious relationship history. But we have yet to discuss that, so let’s move on..

Anyway, I seem to have hit a major slump in my life just recently, and there are a number of factors that have probably contributed to that. Work has been a major hassle these past few months. My health has yo-yo’d, with various trips to the medical centre, and a number of blood tests. My son appears to be edging rapidly towards puberty, and his attitude towards me has plummeted. Oh, and my grandmother passed away, which hit me hard.

It has been a while since I suffered from full-blown depression, and it most certainly is not something I have missed. Yet lately I have found myself down for no apparent reason. Not just down, but teetering on the edge of a major slump. This I don’t need, so I’m going to drag myself to safety before it’s too late. 

So, as we are now well into the latter half of the year and I am increasingly wondering where the hell my life is going, I have decided to make some changes, and to put some plans into action. 

My recent achievements:

  • Work is gradually improving. The job is still pretty boring, but as staff come and go, new opportunities are created, which I’m hopeful about.
  • I completed a Payroll Diploma, which was funded by my current employer, and is a fantastic addition to my resume.
  • I am gradually inching closer to the 100 milestone with my blog; 87 followers and counting, which I’m hugely grateful for. Although I am still a little unsure about the direction to take it in, I am determined to make a go of it.
  • My three Facebook pages are doing fantastically, with a combined following of 350,000.
  • I completed a HR Management Diploma Level 3, another great addition to my resume.
  • I finally got a haircut, which I desperately needed. I have been trying to grow it, but it just isn’t working as it has a tendency to grow faster on one side, and ends up looking ridiculously lopsided. So I got it tidied up and sadly lost the length I had tried so hard to grow (on one side anyway).
  • I enrolled on a proofreading and copy-editing course, and am seriously considering a career move.
  • I acquired new friends in Italy and Greece via I am a lifelong fan of letter-writing and have a select few penpals who I try to regularly correspond with, although it generally falls by the wayside and they receive 3 or 4 letters a year from me. 
  • I finally got the apple tree in my back garden cut back, as it was seriously out of control.

Goals for September:

  1. Get healthy. As I don’t particularly over-eat, the only reasonable explanation for my fuller figure is lack of exercise. I need to get out there, and get fit. Being single for so long has made me seriously lazy, but I don’t need a man to make me feel better about myself. I can do that all by myself.
  2. Start putting the feelers out in the literary work, and offer my services as a proofreader. This will obviously be slow work in the beginning, as I have no real experience in that field and the competition is fierce. So I will need to market myself adequately, and work my backside off to attract clients. Watch this space!
  3. Blog a lot more regularly. Outside of a work environment, I tend to get lazy and need some kind of routine and motivation to get anything achieved. Ideally, I’d like to be blogging at least 2-3 times a week, so that’s what I’m aiming for.
  4. Use my social media more constructively. I’ve read that Twitter is quite helpful to use in conjunction with WordPress, so I’ll be blogging about that in the coming week, and attempting to generate traffic on both platforms.
  5. Book my car in for its MOT. I have my fingers tightly crossed that it will pass first time as I can do without any extra expenditure.
  6. Complete the Memory Walk. On September 3rd, I’ll be taking part in the Memory Walk in Liverpool, and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. My grandmother, who we laid to rest on Monday, was suffering from dementia, and I will be walking in her memory. 

So, there is an overview of what I’ve done this past month, and what I plan to do in September. Writing it down in a blog post may be something I make a habit of doing from now on, at the end of each month. I am hoping it will motivate me! 

And if you fancy sponsoring me for the Memory Walk, all donations go to a very good cause – the Alzheimer’s Society, and a cure for dementia. πŸ’™

Under the Weather

I am so tired today. I mean, like really, really tired. Bone weary.

There is no apparent reason. I’ve been off work this past week, so that can’t be held to blame. I didn’t do much yesterday, apart from shop in Ikea and then watch TV for the rest of the day.

Okay, so the Ikea trip could have done it, as it has a tendency to become very stressful if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. But I had plenty of time to get over that, and then I got a reasonably early night. I woke at my usual day off time of 6.20am. Yes I know, an awful time to wake on your day off, but I like early mornings, especially when I don’t have to go anywhere and can relax with a cup of tea and a book.

Anyway, so I woke at the usual time, and instantly felt exhausted and just generally under the weather. I naturally assumed it was a result of the two glasses of white wine I drank last night, as I’m generally a red girl. But it is quite unusual to feel hungover after just two glasses.

There may actually be a genuine reason why I am so tired. I had a blood test done earlier this week and have received a letter asking me to make an appointment with my GP to discuss the results. I’m pretty sure I know what they will be already. I myself requested the aforementioned tests to be carried out, to find out if there had been any changes since my last blood tests.

For the past eight years, I have been attending my local health centre every 3 months to have a vitamin B12 injection, after a blood test in 2009 showed that levels were extremely low. For those of you who aren’t familiar with vitamin B12 and it’s benefits, as I wasn’t in 2009, a deficiency is actually worse than you would imagine.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, helps to keep red blood cells healthy and aids in the creation of DNA. It also helps to prevent megaloblastic anaemia, which makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is not naturally created by the body, and must be absorbed from the food we eat, or supplements we take. It is found in a wide variety of animal foods, such as dairy, meat, and poultry, which means vegans probably rate highly on the list of people most likely to be B12 deficient! 

Most people in this day and age do get the recommended dosage of B12 from the foods they eat, and supplements they take. However, some people have trouble absorbing it from food. Like me, for example.

So what happens when you don’t get enough vitamin B12? Now this is the scary bit. When I first discovered I had a vitamin B12 deficiency, I went home and googled it to find out exactly what I was dealing with. My GP had told me I should wear a tag to inform other people of the condition, like diabetics do, so I assumed it was going to be bad. The first thing that struck me was so many ailments I have suffered from throughout my life were neatly explained to me within one Wikipedia page. Fatigue, lethargy, listlessness, constipation, headaches, loss of appetite. Tingling in the hands and feet, a pale complexion, depression, confusion, poor memory, dementia. 

Yep, I have suffered from the majority of these at some point in my life. In fact, when I was diagnosed, I was going through a bad period with my depression. I was deeply unhappy, my brain was a muddle; I thought I was going mad. My GP requested a blood test, and when the results came back.. well, it explained everything. I immediately undertook a crash course in vitamin B12 injections to boost my levels, one injection a day for a week, then one a week for a month, and from then on one every 3 months for the rest of my life. 

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and you are struggling to find a reason or a cure, get down to your local health centre and request a blood test. B12 is vital to the correct functioning of the body, and a suspected deficiency should be taken seriously. 

Although I’ve come to detest those injections, they are crucial to my life nowadays. Since I discovered a potential reason for my depression, things have improved so much, and I feel like I have control of myself these days. And all thanks to a prick in my arm every three months. πŸ˜‰

5 Tips for a Happy Existence

I have to admit, I haven't always been the happiest of people, and actually suffered quite badly from depression in my younger years. I had a breakdown in my early twenties and was consequently on strong anti-depressants for the majority of the following decade, which in hindsight I strongly suspect destroyed my ability to feel great happiness. I never experience the highs that people talk about, only lows or 'normal'.

At this moment in time, I am content, which suits my life right now. Saying that, my life is pretty boring, and this is because I have had to cut out a lot of the stuff that affected my emotions negatively, to basically avoid becoming unhappy again.

So I have to admit, many of you may not agree with my tips for a happy life because you aren't as boring as me. 😊

1. Avoiding drama. I hate drama and conflict. It just doesn't agree with me whatsoever, and makes me feel miserable, confused and uncertain. In the past, I have been dragged into unnecessary drama for no reason other than certain people wanted to take the blame off themselves. I must have seemed like an easy target at the time, and in the end I just withdrew from those people.

I find it difficult to understand those who claim to hate drama, yet surround themselves with volatile people or situations and then moan when the shit hits the fan. No thanks. I'll stick to my boring existence.

2. Staying positive. Okay, I admit, sometimes this is very difficult to do, especially when you are at a low point. Everything seems bad when you are in a depressive state, and thinking positively is easier said than done. In this case, please seek help and speak to somebody. You are never alone.

I was very lucky to be able to drag myself out of those murky depths after so many years of being down. It wasn't easy. The worse I felt about myself, the more shit I attracted, and I seemed to be stuck in a vicious circle. My relationships were a joke, and it took living with the most negative person I had ever met for 6 years to realise that it wasn't good for me at all. He dragged me right down into a pit of misery, and after hitting rock bottom, I decided enough was enough. I didn't need anybody to make me feel like rubbish. I could do that all by myself. My self-esteem, or lack of it, has always been to blame for my passiveness and ridiculous life choices, and my emotional fragility back then made it so easy for that one negative person to drag me down and make me believe that second best and heartbreak was all I deserved. These days, I try to stay away from negativity because it just isn't good for me.

3. Believing in yourself. I have to admit, this is something I haven't quite conquered yet, but I'm getting there. As I read somewhere recently "Nothing will work if you don't believe in it", and this is so true. Okay, maybe not when it comes to time travel, or turning water into wine (unfortunately!) But believing in yourself and your abilities can take you far. Intelligence and skill doesn't matter in the slightest if you don't have the confidence to see it through. So many of us allow self-doubt, vulnerability, and uncertainty to plague our thoughts, and this can get in the way of success. We just need a confident outlook, and this can only come from ourselves. Instead of telling yourself why it won't work, tell yourself why it will. I suppose that explains it as succinctly as possible. I'm working on this. 😊

4. Do things that you like. This may sound very obvious, but it's amazing how many people allow themselves to get bogged down by boring chores and hated jobs, and forget to use their spare time constructively. Don't forget the things that make you happy, whether that may be a cherished hobby, spending time with the people you love, or visiting your favourite places. Even stamp collecting, train spotting, or hibernating at home to recharge the batteries, as I so often like to do. If it makes you happy, then do it. Although try to keep it legal. 😊

5. Stay healthy. Now I have to admit, healthy people really irritate me. Dieting and calorie counting bores me to tears, and the gym is most definitely against my religion. However, secretly, I admire the motivation it takes to do any of the above. I'd actually love to be one of those people, but I'm far too laid back about my lifestyle. Since hitting the big 4-0 though, I have begun to see the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle. More exercise, less wine. Going for walks in the countryside, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Getting enough sleep. Laughing more. I've been trying to include more protein into my diet, and less fat. But I'm not completely cutting out on the things I like, because that would defeat the object of number 4. I'm just taking more of an interest in my health, by cutting back on the bad things and doing more of the good things. This makes me feel better about myself, which in turn lifts my spirits.

I may sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I really don't. Everybody has their own idea of what makes them happy, and these are my own. I'm just trying to lead a better life than I have in previous years. 😊