Saturday, 21 April 2018

What I've been up to

I haven't visited my blog once in the past six weeks. There's been zero blog posts, few updates on Twitter and, to be honest, no motivation whatsoever to lay any thoughts down in writing. After a January & February full of blogging inspiration, my motivation died a quick and painful death on 1st March.

I haven't had the energy to write. Or the head space to think about writing. No ideas popped into my head. There was no advice or tips I wanted to share. I was just trying to get by, and daily life took over.

And yesterday, while pottering around my desk and doing some tidying up, I decided to write and share what's been going on in my head over the past six weeks.

*Here's the thing about blogging and running your own little part of the Internet. It's fun and therapeutic and you meet incredible like-minded people, but it can also bring stress and a sense of responsibility. My silence over the past six weeks made me feel like a failure at times, and I criticised myself harshly for not being able to write. I felt guilty for running out of meaningful things to say when it comes to mental health. But, I also know that it's MY little part of the Internet. I should be able to write and take breaks, and come back refreshed, when I want, without any sense of guilt. It should be okay to step away if that's what you need at any time. So while I want to fill you in on what's been happening over the past few weeks, I also know that I will no doubt dip in and out of the blog in future. This has never been a full-time gig for me; I've gained nothing from my writing other than clearing my head and gaining your support in response. So thank you, but please be patient with me.*  

So here's an update on what I've been up to for the past six weeks: 

Trapped for four days in intense Storm Emma.
There's a lot to say for fresh air, space and sunshine for your mental health. Being trapped with 25 kids for four days was a new experience, and at times suffocating. During the storm I needed a break away from people to clear my head, and so started my gradual shift away from social media and the blog. It was a much needed time out. But when the storm ended, I found I still needed space.

Avoided Social Media
Lately, social media, but particularly Twitter, has been difficult for me to use. The trolls got to me and I found myself suffocating beneath their vile. Whether it's vulgar discussions about rape trials, or cruel comments about murderous women who want an abortion, I couldn't take it anymore. My mental health was taking a hit.So I took a step back and stopped logging into the app. And it was good for the soul. Instead, I exercised, caught up on TV shows, and read loads of books. I had me time, and I'm so grateful for the space staying off social media gave my head.


Started tracking my mental health
On 1st April, I decided to start keeping track of my moods and feelings on a daily basis. I'd been promising myself for months that I would start doing this, but the time finally felt right. I found this fab template on Pinterest and printed out a couple of copies for the next few months.
At the end of every day I would colour in a segment of the circle with the colour that matched how I'd felt that day. The results surprised me. I'd expected a lot more sadness; partially because that's still how I see myself -- 'Sad Zoe'. The number of days where I was feeling content or happy, and just generally not tired/sick or sad without reason, made me realise that the time is right to start talking to my doctor about coming off my medication.


Talked about abortion a lot
Ireland's upcoming referendum to remove the 8th amendment from our constitution has been the only thing I've been able to talk about since the date was set. The 8th amendment equates the life of the unborn to that of the mother's, restricting access to abortion in Ireland under any circumstance, unless a woman can be proven to be suicidal. As a result, abortion in Ireland has been exported abroad, primarily to England, or imported in the form of illegal abortion pills. This referendum is our chance to finally repeal such a discriminatory law, and its injustice is all I've been able to talk about to friends, family and coworkers. This must obviously make me a bore, but I've decided to put my money and my time where my mouth is. I've donated to the campaign, bought from the shop, and have signed up to start volunteering and canvassing to secure a YES vote on May 25th.

Been on holiday to Malaga 
And amidst all of this, I took a four day holiday to Malaga. It was an incredible city break with sunshine and castles and the beach in a city I didn't know. I spent time exploring and just soaking up the atmosphere, eating tapas and drinking ridiculously cheap wine. Perhaps this is the break I needed to spark my writing?

Until next time, and hopefully it won't be so long,


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