Categories
Life

How I Deal With My Mental Struggles

In my last blog post, I detailed the mental health struggles I face and how they affect me in daily life. In this post, I will describe some ways I help myself, and you can help me, deal with these struggles.

Won’t you hold my hand?

We all need a hand to hold once in a while. I am no exception. My typical positions are:

  • I place my thumb on the back of your hand and my figures on the palms, or the other way round
  • I rest my hand on the back of yours. Use this if you’re uncomfortable with position 1.

This provides a sense of peace and relief in periods of depression, stress or anxiety.

Take a walk, just a little walk

I’m sure we all agree that a bit of fresh air now and then allows us to escape from what’s going on around us and breathe freeand easy. The sensory overload of too much loud noise, the stress of a fast-paced work environment, the anxiety of overcrowded places, they can all be fixed with a breath of fresh air.

The sound of music

It is scientifically proven that the music we listen to influences our mood. Upbeat music makes us feel happy, slow violin music makes us feel sad. Music is a great way for me to escape from my feelings and enter another world. I like many different types of music from rock to hiphop to rap. Music can also sometimes defeat a misophonia attack.

Conclusion

These are just some of the ways in which I deal with my daily mental health struggles. We all have different ways of dealing with things. Let me know down in the comments how you deal with issues in your daily life, be it emotional or physical. Let’s start a community!

Categories
Life

Inside an Ill Mind: My Mental Struggles and How They Affect Me

For years now, I have been struggling with my mental health. I have trates of depression, anxiety, misophonia and PTSD. In this post, I will try to describe what is going on inside my mind and how it affects my day to day life.

What goes up must come down

One minute, I can be calm, happy and generally in a good mood. Then… the depression starts. This presents itself in many ways, from a low mood to a full blown fit of crying, tiredness, lack of mental and physical energy and even a loss of apatite in some cases. These episodes can last from a couple of minutes to a few hours.

Anxiety, sane and insane rivalry

This affected me massively during the summer of this year… or let’s call it Family Feud Season. I would often have it for days on end. I’d b feeling restless, constantly shaking and moving around, my heart rate would be through the ceiling and sweat would pore out of my body like a very high powered tap. Both my mind and body goes into hyperdrive. I feel there is no way out. I feel isolated and lonely, like I have nobody to turn to, no shielding or protection. In the best case scenario, this will only last for a few minutes.

What’s that sound?

Misophonia is where certain sounds can trigger emotional responses such as sadness, fear, anxiety, anger or frustration. I can’t deal with sounds that rise and fall an octave, or sounds with certain echo or reverb effects. I get very freaked out and it can be an anxiety trigger. I once had to miss 5 minutes of a college lesson because of it. Even after those 5 minutes had passed, however the attack continued. It was well after an hour when the episode finally ended and the symptoms receded.

The voices! The voices!

I’ve had this one for as long as I can remember. Sometimes, I hear weird voices and sounds in my head. So weird that they are hard to describe. This ties in nicely with my misophonia as the voices and sounds can often be triggered by it. In recent years, however, this has increased to the point where I feel a presence as if someone , is in the area with me. Sometimes they can be floating around and sometimes they remain in one position, suspended and frozen in mid air. I also can’t touch anything during these attacks as I’m simply too freaked out to do so. Other triggers for these attacks include prolonged silences, sudden sounds such as PA system announcements, certain types of music and nature itself. Listening to something quiet or on low volume can sometimes stop these episodes, but sometimes, I just have to ride them out as nothing I do will stop them.

Oh god, it’s happening again!

I once witnessed my mother have 2 Grand Mal seizures, one in her bedroom and another right beside me in a hotel bathroom. I now have PTSD trates. I often get flashbacks and repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating scenes of the events of those horrifying nights. The banging sound of her body crashing to the ground, the moaning and crying sounds she made while seizing, they’re all there. This isn’t PTSD related, but I also sometimes get an overwhelming fear that I may seize one day.

shutdowns

Sometimes, if I feel high stress or anxiety, I will go into shutdown mode. Mind and body simply stop working. I am perfectly awake and aware of what is happening around me, I just can’t speak, move or do anything. It’s kind of like when too many people visit a website at once and the server becomes unresponsive for a while because it has too many requests to process and can’t handle them all, or when there is a surge of electricity and the trip switch flips, temporarily knocking out the power. These shutdowns are a protection mechanism. If I didn’t shut down, I’d most likely have an anxiety attack, much like if there was no trip switch to go off in a power surge, there’d most likely be a fire. Shutdowns vary in length; the longest shutdown I had was about 11 minutes long. Also, one or more of the above can be happening during a shutdown. I may or may not feel tired or develop a headache after a shutdown; tiredness is more common. Take this into account if you ever see me still and quiet for a long time or I seem out of it.

Conclusion

I hope I have explained myself clearly and that you can understand the things I have to battle with on a day to day basis. Mental health is something I feel very passionate about. I feel we should all be able to talk about it. It’s OK not to be OK.

Categories
Technology

My Cyber Life Story: Why I Love The Hell Out of Computers

Those who know me well will know I am an expert when it comes to computers. Whenever someone in my family has an IT problem, I’m always the first to know about it. The question is, just why do I love computers so much? In this post, I will try to answer that question in the best way I can. Also think of this as my computing life story.

I’ve always been very much into how stuff works since I was a really small child. I did everything from messing around with light switches to randomly pushing buttons on TV remotes to taking the batteries out of stuff and trying to figure out which way they went back in.

It was the early 2000s; I wanna say around 2002/2003. My dad, who was in the army at the time, had a friend who worked for Microsoft. This was when my cyber life started. I was given a house-built desktop PC made by this friend of my dad’s and I loved it to death. I can’t quite remember the exact hardware specs, but it ran Windows 95 and came with a CD-ROM drive and a 3.5in floppy drive. I never got to use the floppy drive though as we had no floppy disks. I loved Windows 95 back then and still love it to this very day. I played many games on that PC. One of them was Tonka Workshop, a game where you build and mend things such as houses, cars, computers etc and take part in fun games and contests. Another was a casheer simulator type game where you had to price up items that customers wanted to buy, scan items and so on. You got gold stars for every successful transaction. If you got 15 gold stars, you got a virtual paycheck that you could print out. I can’t remember for the life of me what that game was called. If anyone remembers it, please let me know.

The first time I used a computer in an educational environment was in my first years of primary school. It was a Packard Bell laptop that ran what would become my second favourite and still used operating system, Windows 98. This was also the time when I was learning how to touch type and how to use a screen reader. The reader I used at the time was the much loved and despised JAWS screen reader. I also had a laptop of my own around that time. It ran Windows 2000 and had the 40 minute trial version of JAWS because no way were my parents gunna pay a thousand quid for the thing! Unfortunately that glory was short-lived as my computer illiterate mother loaded the laptop with malware and it never saw the light of day again!

2007 was the year I got introduced to audio games. My school laptop, which ran Windows XP, had a selection of audio games including Crazy Darts, Sonic Match and Savage Gamut. Sonic match is a game where you have to press the arrow key(left, right, up or down) that corresponds to a specific sound. Savage Gamut is a hard-as-hell boxing game I still have yet to master.

Fast forward to 2009. I’m in a new house and a new school. My old custom-built desktop is still alive and well, now running my most favourite OS, Windows XP. I got myself introduced to one of the worst laptops I ever used. Well, the laptop wasn’t bad, but the screen reader was. Enter Supernova, one of theeeeee worst readers I’ve ever encountered! Seriously, why is that thing still around? It ran Windows XP and had Microsoft Office 2007 installed, so that was an upside I guess. More downsides were to come though, as 2011 was the year I said goodbye to my house-built desktop beast. I still miss the thing now. I hope to find it one day and see that it still works.

The period from 2012 to 2017 was when my love for technology would start to turn into frustration. Enter the crappy Windows 7 HP laptops from my secondary/high school days. That thing was the slowest slow thing to ever exist in the very slow world of slow things. It should take a few seconds to log into Windows, not 5 minutes! I also had to use Microsoft Narrator… I’ll leave you to figure out how that went. 2013 was the year I entered the world of note takers. My school’s sensory support team decided to purchase the Braillenote Apex… big mistake! Seriously, Uranium-235 is more stable than that thing! It froze, crashed, died and errored out like there was no tomorrow. In early 2014 I started to teach myself HTML because I wanted to create a website. At the time, I was confined to an iPhone and had no idea what a web host was. I launched many different websites on many different hosting platforms throughout 2014, all of which have since died out. 2015/2016 was the Python/MySQL period. Let me tell you, if I ever have to use MySQL ever again, I’ll rip my hair out!

This takes us up to right now. I’m currently studying Media at college after just finishing an IT course. The last year or 2 has seen me dig deeper into different operating systems such as GNU/Linux and MacOS. I now have an iPhone, an iPad, a Windows 7 laptop which I’m using to write this blog post and 2 Xbox consoles, an Xbox One and an Xbox 360. Also, my obsession with computers and technology is now stronger than ever. Who knows where the next 17 years will take me. We’ll just have to wait and C++