0

excessive daytime sleepiness is a pain but I need to work better with it

So this post is hopefully going to come across a lot more personal and open than any other posts I’ve done in the past where I’ve tried to put on a professional ‘blogger’ persona and give out advice and tips. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of bloggers and that kind of online persona is definitely what get’s people into the professional blogging industry. But lately, for the most part of the past year, I’ve been really bad with my blog and unfortunately good at neglecting it which I am mad at myself for.

Now I could write a list of 100 reasons why I’ve been terrible at writing over the past year but nobody wants to read a list of excuses for not doing something because it doesn’t pass on any inspiration or reason to relate, which is the kind of vibes I wanted to give out when I started this blog. I’m only human and I’m not perfect or good at keeping to a schedule or plan, but I’ve always wanted to be an approachable person, I want to start conversations and make people think outside the box or look deeper into themselves. Which is one of the many reasons I started this blog and is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it.

As you know, I started my first year of University in September last year, and I have pretty much finished my first year at this point! I’ve received all my marks from my coursework and classes ended a while back. It was a roller coaster of a first year for me personally because it was such a change to my life that I thought I could handle, but had no idea how it would work with my mental health or my social comfort zone. I struggled with many things over the year personally and tried to keep it mostly to myself so that I could try to learn how to overcome things and survive the next two years of University. But one thing that really came to my attention in University, because it affected it in a way, was my body’s capability and strength. Or to put it in a more blunt, laughable way – I am so easily fatigued, it is hilarious and scary.

I have missed a lot of University this year due to sleeping in or feeling so tired and weak that I actually feel physically unwell. I have fallen asleep in lectures and in the library. Embarrassingly enough, I actually had a little corner in my University’s library for a while that I used to go and nap if I felt too tired. I was pretty sad when exam time came and people actually used that area of the library. If I didn’t get enough sleep at night I would feel sick the next day. My eyes would drop without warning and my legs would ache as if I had attached extremely heavy weights to them. Sometimes I’d get nauseous, other times I’d get headaches. I was feeling a lot weaker this year, and it definitely took a toll on my mental health and stress too. I am so lucky and amazed that I managed to pass this year. But what does this have to do with my blog writing and me now?

Well I think the fatigue or excessive daytime tiredness isn’t something that was just sitting dormant until class-time was around because, boy am I still tired. I have a lot of free time now aside my jobs, to do something with myself and yet I put off writing so much. I’ve actually forgotten to write a concluding post about my JustGiving donations (which are all fully donated by the by! Thank you so much if you did donate!) because I’ve been spending so much free time feeling too tired and putting off opening WordPress and writing! But I don’t want this to be an excuse post or a post trying to give me a reason to not feel bad about neglecting my blog, I want it to be a confession post almost – a post where I’m putting down my main problem on the table so I can think about it, and try to figure out a way to work round it.

Trying to find stuff to write about can be hard, especially trying to find things that people may enjoy reading. But I believe, like most creative processes, doing it again and again is good practice and helps you improve and that’s why I don’t want to neglect writing for too long. If anybody has any advice or ideas on what I could write about that would be great!

But as well as that, if anybody has any ideas of working/writing whilst struggling with fatigue that would be amazing. Feel free to comment or message me.

Thanks for reading my little ramble, have a glorious week –

signaturejuly16

Advertisements
3

Bee Talks About Anxiety: Part 1 (?)

anxietytalkheaderpart1

Invisible illnesses and disorders are very hard to notice and can be really well concealed. A lot of which are spoken about more now but they’re not things you can tell when first meeting someone. To some people with invisible illnesses, it doesn’t feel well hidden. You don’t trust yourself to hide your anxiety and it feels like your body has been painted with sweat and blush that truly expose the anxiety; when really that’s not how it seems to the person you’ve just met. It’s really bizarre but even when you know truly that it works like that, it’s still the same nervousness and adrenaline that peaks inside you when meeting a stranger.

Anxiety is a broad term as well. People will describe their emotions as anxious, generally when something goes wrong or might go wrong, when they feel scared or unsure of what could happen. It’s the emotion you tend to feel before an exam or before telling someone a big secret or before going on stage. However this is normally quite a human emotion that people only feel for a small amount of time. An anxiety disorder however is much different. Psychologists normally separate anxiety-based disorders into 6 common types – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety/Phobia, Specific Anxiety/Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD and Panic Disorder. I also believe that a lot of other anxiety, panic and stress related disorders can fall onto the spectrum or that symptoms in other ‘mental health disorders’ can be anxiety-related. For example, it’s extremely common for people to suffer from both generalized anxiety disorder and moderate-severe depression. It is the most common mental disorder in Great Britain with 9% of people meeting symptoms and criteria.

I cannot talk for all of these disorders, all of the symptoms or all of the emotions that are involved with all of these. I have never had PTSD as far as I am aware, much like some people can have OCD or panic disorder but never really feel the effects of a social anxiety disorder. But I can share the perceptions of generalized anxiety disorder. Most websites, including the NHS, will list generalized anxiety disorder symptoms as:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling ‘On Edge’
  • A Constant Sense of Dread
  • Concentration Problems
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feeling Like Everyone’s ‘Against You’
  • Trouble Sleeping/Insomnia
  • Easily Fatigued/Feeling ‘Drained’ After Big Tasks
  • Muscle Tension

All of these can be very overwhelming and almost emotionally painful to someone who deals with generalized anxiety on a day to day basis. Of course there are some people diagnosed who will only have some of these symptoms in certain scenarios or once in a blue moon. But a lot of these symptoms can be stressful and since anxiety is hardly an obvious illness; I’d like to shed a light on what it can be like. Like most mental disorders, you don’t get the obvious, ‘oh-no-something-is-wrong!’ symptoms like a physical disorder or illness. It can be aggravating when your anxiety is giving you a rough time and people respond to your symptoms like you do them on purpose.

“You only got 2 hours sleep?! That’s your own fault.”

“I’m not mad at you!! Stop apologizing, you’re getting on my nerves!”

“Your head hurts? Just take a paracetamol, you’re overreacting”

It can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders throughout the day because sometimes the anxiety becomes more and more prominent as you do stuff throughout your day. My main example is when I have anxiety at work. I can go to work feeling like a Disney princess ready to sing with nature and smile at everyone, and come home feeling like everyone hates me, that I’m going to get fired because I missed a spot cleaning up, feeling on the verge of tears and feeling like I haven’t slept for at least a day. Sometimes you don’t even see it coming, sometimes it’s there when you wake up. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s like a little monster that follows you around. I am definitely trying to learn to love my little anxiety monster because it’s a part of me, and I am happy when I go through days with it being calm and content. I am proud of myself on those days. I feel in control and feel like I have made progress.

I try to avoid calling myself strong when my anxiety doesn’t hit me, because lately I have learnt that it’s not a switch I can turn off at my demand. When I wake up on a random day with the dizziness and shakey hands and the feeling that everybody’s staring at me. I definitely can’t just switch it off, although I’d like to. But that shouldn’t make me weak.

I hope this sheds some ideas and light onto emotions you may be feeling, if you haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety, you think you may have it or you’ve just been diagnosed. I remember when I first got diagnosed I thought it was me being a massive baby, but it was very heart-warming to realise it was a thing other people my age deal with. My anxiety monster doesn’t make me weak, if anything I am strong for carrying my anxiety monster around with me everywhere, trying to get it used to life. Those times I’ve taken it with me into shops I’ve never been in before, or the first time I went to a gym alone, or the first time I phoned someone important/of authority before instead of getting my mum to do it, my first tattoo, applying for university etc., I’ve had to literally drag the monster as it grips to the floor screaming to go back to my comfort zone and I’m glad I did it. It’s calmed the monster down little by little and I think even the smallest achievements with anxiety monsters are things to be proud of.

How do you picture your anxiety? Do you have any memories of being proud of something you’ve done that you wouldn’t expect your anxiety monster to let you do?

Let’s start a conversation

signaturejuly16

0

When you want to change your personality

personalityheader.png

Mental wise, I’m honestly probably not quite stable or healthy. As mentioned in other posts before I do have depression and anxiety and although I do not like to dwell on them or get too open with them on my blog, this post is slightly sinking onto that topic and mostly personal to me and looking for advice on my feelings and thoughts.

Everybody I know has unique and interesting personalities, I feel all of my friends and loved ones have twinkles of loveliness in each of them that’s unique to them. On and off for a couple of years I’ve never really been happy with my personality and I think it has a lot of traits in it that I wish I could improve on or get rid of. Therefore, I’m writing this to try and make myself aware of my clingy flaws so I can work on them and change that part of my personality into a trait that’s more healthy and helps me be more secure and safe with myself.

I’ve always struggled with friendships and relationships since starting high school and I know a lot of other young people struggle with stuff like this but sometimes when I’m in my own head I feel terribly alone on it. Everyone seems set in stone with childhood friends or friendship groups or regular outings with friends, however I feel alone. Like if there was a tree where all the connecting branches were friendship groups, I’d be a single branch that’s broken off the tree somewhere along the way. But because of social media and having friends who have their own seperate groups, I’ve still got to watch from afar and I can never reattach myself into it because, hey, nature doesn’t work that way. You can’t tape a dead branch to a growing tree and expect it to bloom and grow again. Am I making sense? Probably not.

When I get the hope up that I’m going to finally be included in outings or groups I do get extremely clingy and I am honestly embarassed by myself. It’s like an out of body experience where I’m watching me double text all my friends and try and call them and plan stuff, and I watch her get ignored or rejected and I feel like I can’t do anything to initiate the self-control to stop her from bugging people more. It seems like natural human knowledge if someone doesn’t seem interested to leave them alone but I feel like along the way my brain’s gotten foggy in this area. Sometimes people will be like ‘I rarely message first out of feeling clingy so please message me first’ so that’s why I seem to have no shame in bugging people cause I feel like unless I put some effort in; nobody will ever message me. I wish my anxiety and shame would pop up in these situations to help me calm down and get on with something else. But instead it pops up in the worse times – thanks mental illness!

So I think regarding this flaw that I pump all my self-hatred into, I’m going to try and attempt the ‘Quid Pro Quo’ phrase or ‘This for that’. I’m not gonna do a 180 and be like ‘I won’t message people first if they need me, they’ll message me’, because I already know deep down that means I’ll feel more alone. If I need someone or want to hang or talk I’ll message them, but after that message I will refrain from sending anything else(unless it’s necessary/an emergency) until I get something back. I will also try to stop initiating conversations whilst I’m at work or before bed; when I also go off to York for University, I will try my hardest to put my studies as main priority. At home it’s a bit harder because I’m always dwelling on what social media shows me so I never act productive unless something else makes me feel involved in the world. It’s like my room is a little bubble of disassociation, unless I’m talking to another human being via online or in person; I feel alone and that time is stood still so I normally just laze around. I honestly regret it every evening or even days that I do that. I want to be productive, I know I need something to keep my mind occupied to help my mental health yet it’s been so hard lately. I feel like I need to finally accept the period of my life of friendship stuff or making friends is over or at least on hiatus until University. I need to put my heart and time into other things such as my family, my love life, my work, my health and hobbies instead of repeatively scratching open the wound that is, my whole teenage life and the world convincing me if I am not constantly with friends or have stuff to do on a weekend etc., I am lonely and not worth people’s time.

I’m sorry if this post is depressing or even dark. It is a very personal post and will probably not be shared much via social media. Has anyone else ever gone through this kind of phase or hardship? Has anyone got any advice for putting your time into other things after a long period of unstable mental health? Or even just easier advice for being more productive?

Thanks for reading!

signaturemarch16

1

Birthday Blues

I’m not sure if I ever enjoy my birthdays. I stopped having birthday ‘parties’ at quite an early age due to not having much friends in primary school and as I grew up I’d stick to having small sleepovers with one or two friends and then finally in recent years either doing nothing or having meals with families. I feel blessed that last year I got to see two very close friends that are long distance and go and see a band live because I feel not much would have happened otherwise. Despite my small celebrations, I get really envious of other people who have big bashes or go out on big outings with lots of people because I do really like partying. I love dancing and drinking and celebrating with fun people but at the same time, as someone who is naturally quiet and introverted without alcohol, asking people and talking to friends is really anxiety building. I almost feel like I’m burdening people I care about by asking them to come out and have a good time, cause I mean that means they have to use their free time and money and I feel rather rude asking it. Is this strange of me? I feel like it is.

It also doesn’t help how far I live from a lot of my friends. The cheap alternative to these worries would to just be like ‘hey come to my house – small party!’, because there’s no worry of walking through the cold city tipsy and trying to save money. But alas, I can’t invite people all the way to my house if they have to get an hour train. It’s a ridiculous first world problem almost.

Does anybody else have this struggle when it comes to arranging outings? Or is it just me? I’d love to hear if anybody else has this kind of worry.

Thanks for reading!

signaturemarch16

0

Positivity after a bad experience

If you regularly read my blog posts you may have seen my bad apprenticeship experience post a while back, when I first got dismissed from the job under poor reasoning. I have thankfully gone through a lot of good stuff and job experiences since then and it is not having a negative effect on me anymore however it was upsetting to find out that same company unfortunately, really screwed over, the last of my group of apprentices who were told again and again they were ‘guaranteed’ a start this February. They got told a couple of days, via an email, before their start date there was ‘not enough interest’ to start up a second year and I think that’s really cowardly and sad. I feel extremely bitter towards the company again for my colleagues because some of us were a good group of friends who had been through all of this mess together.

So I thought I’d make this blog post dedicated to the group of friends I made at this apprenticeship. They are definitely people who have changed me for the better because, despite the car crash ending this apprenticeship experience had, during the time I saw them every weekday 9-5 my confidence definitely went off the charts and I started to grow as person. I made friends with personalities I would have been too shy to have even tried speaking to during say, college or high school and had lovely memories of creating games and working with them.

There will definitely be tons of times I will miss with these lot, but I am especially thankful for, all the inside jokes, the outings, the pranks people played on each other, the teamwork and even how some of us could uplift and cheer up others when that person had to work with a colleague who was maybe selfish and hurtful. There was stuff I’m sure none of us would miss and can laugh about not having to deal with it ever again such as unfair colleagues, the vending machines stealing change or the mess that was the Metrolink that most of us had to use to get to work. God forbid also bringing up the hell that was the toilets in our work place. Our offices were shared in a big building with a lot of other companies and god knows what monsters who weren’t toilet trained were in these companies but jesus! It’s like some people have never seen a flush before.

So yeah, I think I need to thank these people for giving me one of the best years of my life that I’d never change. I’d happily live through it again even if it had the same outcome (obviously warning my group that we shouldn’t expect a second year). I am so greatful that I met some of the most hilarious, awesome friends there and even my boyfriend who I’m so thankful I met because I don’t know what life would be like without him there as both a partner and a friend.

Thank you Will, Alex, Matt (both of them!), Jake, Danny, Marco, Lewis, Jack (again both of them – you need original names guys) and all the others for making that year awesome and I know all of you have great futures ahead of you!

Sorry this is so cheesy

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

 

2

Bad apprenticeship experience..

The apprenticeship I started last July was probably one of my luckier opportunities in life, it let me train in a career path I was interested in and I got to meet lots of new friends who are probably going to be lifetime friends as they have changed my life for the better. I am eternally thankful for some aspects of this apprenticeship year however it’s a shame that unfortunately they have let me down with miscommunication, lack of organisation and lack of professionalism. I am not going to be naming anyone for privacy in this blog post as it is purely to talk about my experience and get it off my chest how me and others were treated.

A red flag I didn’t really catch on to at first was definitely how the group of apprenticeships that started before my group did not get a second year. When their contracts ended in March they all suddenly stopped coming back in and have not returned since then. Some did return but to do unpaid volunteer work and did not get any attention from the supervisor/studio manager I believe. Admittedly I look up to them with great respect as I was in their scenario for 3 months and I could not afford to go in and practice skills in the field for free. My monthly travel to the office is £87 alas I couldn’t. Nobody was told exactly why the ‘lot before us’ left, some rumours went around saying how they were rubbish at their jobs or the company didn’t want them on anymore. I finally found out that it was the case of the company could not fund their second year yet so that’s why they weren’t returning yet.

My group, a lovely group and I will never forget them, finished our one year contracts in July this year. For around 6 weeks before our contract finishing about 12 of us, including myself, got to participate in a disclosed project which took up a lot of our time as there was deadlines. As well as that we did have to complete college work that would grant us our year qualifications and in the last two weeks before the contract finished our studio manager gave my sub-group (this apprenticeship has three sub-groups that centered around what training we got), was given a task that apparently ‘decided who got a second year’ and was required even by people who were consumed by college work and projects. I was admittedly annoyed by the last-minute task considering we had a whole year to ensure we did the task to get second years. This task was never really brought up to our faces either, it was plonked on the company intranet and some people didn’t even see it until days nearing the deadline because of discussion of “oh have you finished the task?” “what task?!”. I did see the task early enough and tried my best to finish it, even working at home in my spare time and I remember on the last day pestering my boss what time of day it had to be finished by – to which he’d shrug and smirk “today”. Thanks boss.

So this was back in July, we all left with happy memories on that final day and excited to hear about the second year. We did get told there is no definite start date for our second year due to ‘funding issues’ but was not given any advice about going for job seekers allowance or looking for new jobs, we was just told to have patience and that we should hopefully be starting in September time. During August up until now we have all been receiving different certificates and proof of what framework we have completed. However none of us have started our second years yet. This is why I’ve finally decided to vent my feelings, why you ask? Well I’ve only just been told I won’t be having a second year.

Since end of August I have been emailing my boss for information. My first one dates back at the 26th of August asking about start dates, to which I was told “Information regarding the second year will be sent out in a weeks time”, ah I was naive. I didn’t hear the following information until 17th September. Let that time span set in.

“..when we have received all of the certificates we will send you an e-mail regarding whether or not you will be offered a place on the second year. The second year will start in October and we will be in touch with further information the first week of October at the latest”

My first feeling was stress. It was two months almost and I didn’t actually know if I was confirmed a second year or not. I had completed my college work and completed the apparent ‘task to get me on the second year’ yet I still had no idea about the future of my career with these people. Communicating with my other colleagues we found out this email was pretty much copied and pasted to everyone so we were all aware that nobody had definite second years. So it’s November when I’m writing this and there is still no second year, so you can see that email definitely didn’t work in the companies favour. The next email I sent out was on the 7th October since we had received no emails since the last one in September. “Are we hearing anything this week? Who is getting a second year?”, not only me but other colleagues were sending emails and not getting any response. Finally the next reply was dated 9th October. This is where we found out who had second year places or not. Surprise, surprise – I did not have a second year definite place. Instead this is the news I was given (along with some of my other colleagues, others got an email saying they were offered a definite place)

…Before we will be able to give you a letter of admission for the second year we would like to meet you for a short interview to discuss your previous and possible future work at (company name)..

You can guess that this stressed us out even more, all of us had completed college work and the requirements. In all honesty, that ‘task’ we were given to help our boss choose who had a second year has not been brought up since July. The week of the interview as well was when we were finally sent P45s. These are legal documents that basically tell us we are no longer employed by the company. Everyone in our group was given them so it was clear that it’d be when we go back to work, we’d sign a new contract. I wasn’t worried but what stood out to me is that the date on this legal document was dated in August, but all of us did not receive this until October. Something seems dodgy about that, right?

We all went in for our interviews, the questions were related to ‘why do you think you should have a second year?’ and ‘what have you been doing in the time off?’. At the end of the interview I was told I’d hear next week about the outcome. So, three weeks later..

We’d like to thank you for your interest in a second year at (company name) and for attending the interview a few weeks back. For the apprenticeship we have a limited amount of vacancies and after careful consideration we regret to inform you that you will not be offered a place on the second year at this stage…

…This decision has been made based on your previous work at (company name) as well as the interview you attended and we apologize for the delay in getting back to you with this information.”

This email was sent to me on the 4th November. When I found out the news I was in tears on the phone to my mum crying out “I really thought I’d get a place”, “I can’t go to University now”, “why didn’t they tell us this in August” etc., and I am still livid with the question, why did we have to wait this long to be told we weren’t wanted? A lot of my colleagues who also did interviews did not receive a place either. Were the interviews completely pointless? I felt really bad for my colleagues who had turned down University offers and job offers because of the false hope this company gave them. I had heard from word of mouth my boss knew who he wanted for a second year back in July. If this is true, I think it is utterly despicable how long he has had us all hanging like puppets just to be told we aren’t wanted. Me and other colleagues immediately responded to his email letting us know the outcomes asking for copies of our contract (because surprise, surprise – we never got given copies) and the complaints procedure and since then my boss has ignored the emails and not responded. Much like he has ignored other emails from me during this 3 month period of waiting. I feel completely let down by the company because I have lost my opportunity to start University this year. I feel lied too. I feel ignored. Most of all I worry for my colleagues who have been told they have a second year as they might end up like the first lot, waiting 8 months jobless for the false hope that they might get a second year.

At some points in my apprenticeship I was concerned of the professionalism of my boss and his lack of communication and refusal to give me appropriate feedback has definitely defined this. When you are given the career of a studio manager I think it is important that you respond and communicate with your employees however my boss has been known for ignoring emails and apparently, again from word of mouth, I have been told someone phoned in and he admitted that he was ‘too busy to answer emails so was ignoring them at the moment’. When we were in our apprenticeship during projects a lot of my colleagues told me they felt ignored by my boss. He would come into our office, walk around and look over people’s shoulders then leave again. I remember once going into my boss’s office at lunchtime because I needed help on that same task, that apparently decided if I got a second year or not, and found him playing games on Steam. Considering how many times we were told he was ‘busy with paperwork’, I wonder how many times he’s put off paperwork concerning our second year to ‘unwind’ on Steam or other games. There was also the concern of inappropriate behaviour with employees. In my group, unfortunately there was a big division of sexes. There was only about 3/4 females and 20 males. Sometimes my boss was found playing ‘chase’ games with one of the females around the office or he’d dangle his keys over their head and they would try to catch them. It was uncomfortable behaviour and definitely effected everybody’s training as other employees would be neglected whilst my boss and this employee had casual chats in his office and joked around.

I am so upset and disappointed by the final outcome of my year with this company. I had high hopes it would get me into an industry I enjoyed but I was not given the second year I was promised and can not even refer to my contract as I was never given one. I suggest anyone who is interested in going into an apprenticeship with a company that has not got a positive past or they cannot find much information about them, to talk to the company’s boss and the education provider associated with this apprenticeship.

Double check they give you a copy of your contract. Ask about past graduates. Ask about people who have graduated from their apprenticeship. What jobs have these people gone on to? Talk to their current employees, are they enjoying it? Is the manager appropriate and attentive to every employee? Do not let yourself be let down or lose opportunities with universities or better paying jobs because of a company.

In this day and age it is very easy for companies to use the apprenticeship scheme in the wrong way and this is my story and experience and I hope it helps people think. Make sure you know your employer.

Thanks for reading

x x