Mental health wobbles again – Imposter Syndrome?

Mon 25 Nov – Sun 1 Dec 2019

It’s getting colder as winter sets in. And the General Election campaign rolls on though interrupted at the end of the week by the senseless terrorist killings at London Bridge. So sad those two brilliant young people murdered. And the bullshit that is Black Friday as well as the Hillsborough verdict which means nobody will ever be held guilty for the death of 96 people. It will be the same with Grenfell. πŸ™

It’s Election Time!

I did do a couple of things to help with the election as committed in last week’s blog: delivering letters on Mon morning and telephone canvassing on Tues evening.

The latter I found a bit dispiriting with only about 1 in 5 people being reachable by phone. I expected it to be a lot higher. Perhaps better just to stick to door-to-door canvassing. Though that can be hit and miss especially trying to get into blocks of flats. There’s definitely a wider problem in modern society of how to engage people’s attention and have meaningful conversations. So much comms noise yet so hard to reach individuals.

Health and Efficiency

Mental Health

Tired man asleep

Gone a bit wobbly again. Several reasons including instability in everyday life and not knowing what I want to do next with my career and life. That thing I keep on about regarding time ticking away. Where am I heading?

My poor mental health is reinforced by the shit political situation and darker, shorter days. I’m having a big problem with not sleeping well. I’m waking in the middle of the night then not able to get back to sleep. My mind churns (it always does), sometimes I even think about getting up and making a cup of tea. But despite being so awake, I then crash and am really drowsy so it’s a problem getting up in the morning. πŸ™

Imposter Syndrome

I am wondering if part of my problem is related to Imposter Syndrome? I came across this beautiful quotation from Agatha Christie during the week. Of all people, she suffered from Imposter Syndrome, the idea that we are not skilled nor experienced for something and will be found out and humiliated.

My depression and mental health problems are partly based on that – the worry that I am not good enough and there are better people than me. And so I limit myself, catastrophize (create nightmare scenarios in my head), and feel frustrated. But why should I care – time is so short? And there are so many people out there with power who really shouldn’t have it. They don’t doubt themselves. They just go for it and bugger the consequences. Just look at some of the people standing in the election.

HIV

Decided to come out at work as HIV+ to promote World AIDS Day. I’ve been there over 10 years and decided the time is right. Thought long and hard about it but ultimately the question is ‘why not’? Especially as we need to do more to raise the profile of HIV and AIDS; it is becoming a bit of a forgotten illness. And complacency is the way it spreads. By coming out, I might challenge some stereotypes about what a person with HIV looks like. And I might encourage others to get tested or start using PREP.

I am very aware that I had just come out at work regarding my mental health problems in ‘Mental Health at Work’ training. Perhaps the easiest thing would simply be to explain the cocktail of 7 meds that I take each day which, ultimately, keeps me alive.

Pic of my meds case

I’m pretty confident coming out as HIV+ will be taken well. I suppose there is the possibility of something akin to Imposter Syndrome going on in my thinking. That people will not see me as a good representative of people with health issues (of course there are people more unwell than me) and that I might just be seen as an attention seeker. Still, important for people to know what others carry and to encourage empathy wherever we can.

Weight

lose weight now

Things are holding up well. I am still managing minor fasting periods i.e. skipping breakfast on exercise mornings. And not eating excessively in general. Around 13 stone 4 pounds. I really do need to decide whether I should purposefully try to lose more or seek happiness where I am.

Jog-run

Really good one first thing on Sat morning. Cold but just felt right. Worked on a generally consistent pace with some bursts of speed when felt flagging coming on. 1 hour, 1 minute, 42 seconds. Pace of 6.10 mins per km and no single km stretch over 6 and a half minutes with a couple under 6 mins. πŸ™‚

Thankfully my knees held up well in the run. They are still causing me some problems (I wrote about this in last week’s blog here). The main problem seems to be when I am laying flat in bed at night. It feels like something to do with the muscles around and behind them.

Gym

One of the big things that helps with my mental health is going to the gym. I just love it and don’t want to leave when I am there. How did I ever last through the 8 months it was closed for redevelopment (Aug 2018-April 2019)?

There 3 times last week: mornings of Tues, Thurs, and Sun. Thurs and Sun were both long ones, over 90 mins each. Just me and one other guy there. Love trying out new exercises and machines.

Yoga

Cat stretching and relaxing

My fun community yoga group on Fri morning in KX, the one for people with HIV though I don’t think it is exclusively so. The teacher is wonderfully friendly but also very much into the spiritual as well physical side of yoga. Theme was about tackling ego as well as lots of good stretching especially for my legs.

Massage

man being pummelled

This definitely helps my mental health. My monthly massage at THT with the masseur who knows my problem parts. Interestingly my sensitive body parts that are massaged (i.e. knees and lower back) feel worst after the massage. But I think that is how it should be once they are worked on.

Books and Reading

Only one book completed this week, I am slacking. πŸ™ But a good one. πŸ™‚

‘Stories of your life and others’ by Ted Chiang

A brilliant collection of long short stories by this strong sci-fi writer. All very sophisticated and often routed in science (though with a bit of religion thrown in sometimes). Think it worth going through each story:

  • Tower of Babylon – An ancient civilisation learns more about how the scientific world (and God?) works
  • Understand – What happens when humans become super-intelligent
  • Division by Zero – A person’s mental health breakdown related to mathematics
  • Story of your Life – The problems in communicating with aliens who are very different to us. And who treat time differently. The basis for the sci-fi film ‘Arrival’.
  • Seventy-two Letters – A steam punk story set in a more advanced Victorian age with golems, animated beings created from inanimate matter such as clay.
  • The Evolution of Science – When computers start writing scientific essays that humans can’t understand
  • Hell is the Absence of God – Angels cause havoc and God treats people arbitrarily no matter whether they are good or bad
  • Liking What You See: A Documentary – What happens when a tool becomes available to stop people judging other based on their facial beauty (or lack of it)

Family

Dave

My missing boyfriend arrived back safely from Berlin on Mon. But then developed a bad back (blaming the plane seats) and a cold with a very annoying cough. His week got worse when he had to travel up North to spend time with his mum at the weekend. Looks like she was hit by a vomiting bug. Thankfully transient and not serious.

Mum

My mum’s leg still isn’t improving. πŸ™ I’m doing shopping for her. And just spending time with her. But I’m really not sure where this is heading. The doctor doesn’t seem to know what is the problem (something to do with her nerves?) and just seem to be hoping it will cure itself.

Ageing parents is a problem so many of us have. And this is not helping with my own mental health. But how bad is it going to be as we get older? Especially for those of us with no children although you can’t have children just to ensure you are looked after in your old age.

The Week Ahead

  • Deliver some more election stuff on Mon in Chelsea and Fulham for the Lib Dem candidate Nicola Horlick. She’s giving the Tories a run for their money. πŸ™‚
  • Slightly re-arranged days at work means I am off on Friday. Might do some election stuff in the afternoon though meeting my mate Jamie the play writer at lunchtime.
  • Probably only 2 gym sessions, yoga session and the weekend jog-run
  • Currently reading a John Scalzi book (classic sci-fi author) which is a bit trashy
  • Velvet Page book club on Thurs night, the Xmas one where we talk about whatever books we want to and get pissed πŸ™‚
  • Carry on with Personal Development especially language learning via the apps

And Finally…

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