Digging Up The Archives

I’m focusing on being positive this week, what with the anniversary and my brain’s attempts to continue to sabotage me. For the most part this has manifested in new writing, new items going up in the shop (180 odd designs and rising as of time of writing), and going through old backups to find the graphics that time forgot.

Oh, there are so, so, many. I forgot how prolific I was when I was ill back in the early to mid 2000s. Some of the archives have aged very badly, others look amazing, and others are currently inspiring new works as a revisit.

Its interesting to see how I’ve progressed in some areas, and what looks familiar even now. More than anything else it has got me wanting to spend more time pushing to rediscover digital art techniques.

So there’s a positive thing.

Mental Health Awareness

My workplace is taking the general mental health of its employees seriously enough to be rolling out information and training in resiliency and self awareness, and making sure people know that support is available. I’m glad to see it, and even more so to have my staff acknowledge that they’ve found some of it useful, or at least thought-provoking.

My own use of the tools is somewhat undercut by the experience of being in long-term counselling for some nineteen years or so, and doing many of the practices already as part of my self-care discipline. It would be easy therefore to allow a degree of jaded thought if not for remembering that many people are encountering these concepts for the first time and that my journey does not invalidate the courses, the assessments, or the information in any way.

It would be easy to scoff and roll my eyes at the results telling me that I have negative thoughts and high levels of stress – because it’s not telling me anything that I’m not already aware of – but the tools and challenges suggested are ones that colleagues are finding useful.

I know I have negative thoughts and impulses because I challenge and fight them every morning, afternoon, and evening and do my best to not be defined or controlled by them. The thing is, I don’t really know how many others around me fight them too: Not unless they tell me by word or deed. So that’s why I’m so glad for the new focus at work. It’s more chipping away at the stigma.

Health Update

I had a diabetic checkup today and I’m pleased to announce it went well. Earlier this year I had one that showed elevated blood sugar levels and a further increase in blood pressure, and thus promoted an increase in dosages and frequency of checks from six months to three months.

Determined to get on top of it I made some dietary and habit changes, and did my best to stay on my new pills and potions regime. Today saw the payoff to that with a decent drop in both markers back to more reasonable levels, and tests for eyes and circulation in my feet both coming back well. My weight has even remained consistent – which is a bag of mixed blessings as I’d ideally like to lose another 10kg to be comfortable.

So all in all that was a huge relief, even if my resting heart rate still makes people wince. I’m hoping that losing some more weight as I take up walking longer distances again will help; but am mindful that another component may well be my generalised anxiety/PTSD twining round my depression and back again to feed on itself.

It sometimes feels a bit chicken and egg, so I’m trying not to focus too much on it, and hoping instead that the ongoing therapy and general physical health work help loosen both sides of it. In other words, stop worrying if the blood pressure and heart rate are exacerbating the anxiety, or if the anxiety is affecting the blood breasure and heart rate, and just work on both elements because it can’t hurt right?

The upshot of all this is that my sanity is still debatable, but I’m not a total physical wreck this month. After a month of aches, pains, and colds this is almost reassuring. I’m also back on the six month checkup routine again.

Choosing the Opportunity

I was inspired recently by a quote somebody posted on social media. I know, it’s practically unheard of, but it does occasionally happen. I don’t know the ultimate origin of the text, but it essentially said this:

Instead of saying to yourself “oh no, I’ve got to do this” or “I wish I didn’t have to do that” try turning it round. When you wake up in the morning say to yourself “oh, I get to do this today” or “what do I get to do next

Its not a million miles away from my general habit of looking for a silver lining when things go awry – even, or especially, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek as people react with dismay.

I’ve been actively trying it this week as I approach work, or deal with difficult situations. So far it’s got me to say: “oh I get to sort this situation at work out, and hopefully make things better”

It’s a form of positivity that seems to have a use for me right now – so that’s no bad thing.

Bi the Bi Positivity

A couple of weeks ago you might have noticed an uptick in bisexual awareness and visibility as we had a month of throwing off invisibility cloaks and generally politely reminding people that we exist.

If you didn’t that’s okay, we’re used to being erased and ignored in general conversation and pop culture from both sides of the Kinsey Scale. For my part I began a small experiment, and I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far.

I’ve only recently started adding pins to my work lanyard, just to brighten things up, so thought I’d take the plunge and add a bisexuality badge to the mix – just to see what the reaction would be. Yes, there was a degree of mischievousness to it, but it was more prompted by sights and sounds of others standing up.

There was, of course, no grand reaction and certainly no negativity from any of the staff or customers. If anything I had the opposite.

The amount of smiles and softened expressions on a daily basis, from people from all walks and gender identities has been truly heartening. It’s been a great boost at a time when I’m struggling with moods and anxieties.

I’ve had big burly angry customers chill out, stressed mothers and surly teenagers slow down and hear me out, and generally felt my workplace environment feel happier than I’ve noted in a while.

Now, I’m not naive enough to put this down to a button and other people’s attitudes to the exclusion of all else. As I’ve felt more relaxed and certain I’ve no doubt presented a calmer and more, dare I say managerial, face to the world. My physical presence is somewhat solid and liable to block out the sun too – which combines with a close shaved head and calloused knuckles to reportedly be quite intimidating on occasion.

Whether it’s the button helping to soften that image, my own changed demeanor, general amusement by onlookers, or some other combination, my experience of being Out at work has been more positive than I expected – and that’s worth celebrating even now Bisexuality Awareness Month is over.