I wish my brain would shut up sometimes…

Urgh, what a week. My brain has been tripping me up over the last few days, leaving me in a depressed state and on occasion, close to tears.

Yes, I know it’s not my brain directly, as it is an organ which carries and processes chemical and electrical signals throughout the body, amongst other things. It’s how you choose to act on these impulses that causes the problem and issues. Of course, if you haven’t taken prescribed medication, supported a partner with serious mental health issues, written assignments, made music, drawn, written…

As I got so physically tired out by the end of Monday, after studying counselling all day, I was shattered and the week loomed ahead of me, full of meetings, conferences, projects and assignments. Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be me. Been there, done that. I got my fresh supply of meds, turned off my alarm and cancelled what I could. I know that getting so exhausted was an alarm call warning me to back off and slow down. I took heed and stopped. The last time this happened, I didn’t heed the warning, and ended up being signed off work for three months. Mind you, this was one of the best things to happen to me, as it gave me time to take stock, focus on my needs and decide what I wanted from the future.

The first thing to go was my job. Working in education has been amazing, but it was costing me my mental health. That last spell was my third serious ‘episode’ of depression in 10 years working in education as a teacher, library assistant and media technician, not all at the same time, however!

So, I decided to really focus on being self-employed as an artist and designer, educating myself about mental health, restarting my counselling studies, making comics and music, and looking after me. Yes, there’s my trait of taking on too much, but I was self-aware, ready for the fallout and had support in place. Since January 2014, I have rebuilt our art and design business from the ground up; written, drawn and published three comics; released loads of music and played it live (performing live was a big scary thing to tackle); passed my Level 3 Counselling course; started networking for business and pleasure; started my Level 4 Counselling course and a ton more besides.  Yes, I still try and do too much, but I’m happy and in charge of my life now. I’m closer to my wife, our children and my family; I walk our dog most days and play fetch with her; cycle when possible; enjoy reading more often; listen to way more music and podcasts and generally look after myself and the world I inhabit.

I’m proud of where I am now, and as I can read the warnings now and know what to do. Life might catch me out sometimes, but I can stop it from completely pulling the rug from under me.

Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “I wish my brain would shut up sometimes…

  1. Self-maintenance is crucial to any caregiver, and anyone else who hopes to succeed in life. If your self-care is inadequate, you will soon enough become less effective, less healthy, less creative, less motivated: like a neglected saw blade, dull and rusty, you’ll no longer cut well, just create heat and friction, frustration, mistakes, wasted time and energy, failure. Long-term success doesn’t happen with such short-sighted practices: how could it? I’m glad to hear that you’ve already learned this lesson, as maintenance of the self requires multiple learned skills: self-awareness, coping, prioritizing, focus, discipline. All improve over time, or not, depending on our willingness and ability to learn, practice, and grow with experience. Too many poor folks ignore valuable lessons that they don’t enjoy at the time. They get left behind in misery, their choice and their fate. We can all start anew, though, starting the only time we ever do anything: now. Good luck, and thanks for this fine piece – Greg

    • Thank you Greg! I’m glad I have this space to talk about and share my experiences with mental health, counselling and care. The support network across the web is incredible, and has the added bonus of raising awareness of mental health issues, which is so important. Thank you also for sharing Offline Experiment… As I said, it’s my space to dialogue about my issues, but if it helps others too, bonus! – Morgan

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