Diary Entry #1

I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. – Anne Frank

Friday 8th November 2019

After approximately 9 hours sleep, I wake at 9:30 am. The air is cold and fresh, I’m feeling tired as I usually do and all I’m wanting is a dose of caffeine and some breakfast to wake me up and prepare me for the day ahead.

Admittedly on most occasions, I arise with a sense of anxiety and uncertainty around the day ahead and what’s going to happen. Will I be embarrassed or humiliated? Will anything significant take place? What sort of things will occupy my time? Overall, is my day going to be great, good, bad, terrible or simply mediocre? My days tend to fluctuate between good and bad, however, all I can hope for is that each day is better than the one that precedes it. Improvement, even if gradual, is what I’m striving for.

After finishing for the week at college on Wednesday, my plans for the day are definitely not set in stone. Although the past I relished the opportunity of having such vast amounts of spare time, a privilege that the majority of people do not have, I now often feel like I’m missing a sense of routine and structure in my life. The prospect of having lots of free time may seem very appealing, nevertheless from my point of view the novelty certainly wears off. While I would much prefer to have a balance of work, education, volunteering etc and leisure activities such as seeing friends/family, sports and going to the cinema, the fact I lack a regular routine means I rarely know how to maximise my day and make it productive. Even when I try extra hard to do something, it feels as though another 10 things are on my mind simultaneously and so I get distracted. What starts off a simple task ends up as climbing Everest, then before I know it my stress levels are through the roof and I’m overwhelmed by a load of tasks that need doing urgently. My level of focus previously was a strength, yet now I struggle to concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time. Chaos is an understatement!

Once I muster the motivation to get out of bed and snap out of mindlessly playing games on my phone, I head downstairs and grab my much-desired cup of coffee and a large bowl of cereal. With a spring in my step and an improvement in my energy levels, I set about getting to the gym and doing a workout. Exercise has always been a hugely positive outlet for my mental wellbeing, however, since resuming education in September my gym regime has been somewhat disjointed and inconsistent. For me to make progress as I wish to, I know that exercising in the gym has to be a regular thing. Being sporadic just won’t cut it!

Following a relatively boring 30 minute journey on the tram, I arrived at the gym and was raring to begin my workout. Having been a member at The Imperial Hotel for a while, I now know a good number of the other people there, therefore at every opportunity I make sure I have a little chat with them. Not only is it nice to find out more about people but I also find that chatting to people during a workout reduces the strenuous nature of the exercises, makes them more enjoyable and generally feels as though the time passes faster. Before I know it my whole workout has finished, my endorphins are rushing and a level of stress has been released. Next, it’s time to freshen up in the shower, slip into some clean clothes and head home with the intention of completing some college work. Even if just a small amount!

While my hope for ploughing through some of my studies didn’t become reality, I did at least manage to download my psychology assignment brief, browse through potential uni courses/campuses (exciting I know), not to mention do some of my usual self-care stuff including listening to music, eating some good food and chatting to a friend on the phone. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed around the shortage of work done, however, the positives I can take are that I kept busy and looked after myself well. As anybody suffering with a mental illness will know, sometimes you have to celebrate the small victories as much as the big ones. It’s impossible to be 100% successful but what I’m trying to remember is that my mental health condition doesn’t define me. Nor does it does define you. Bad days are inevitable; tomorrow is a new day!

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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