The Things I’ve Learnt This Week
This week has just been one of those weeks. We all know the ones where every day is a rollercoaster, and you don't know your head from your... well. But, as much as my week has been like that, I do feel as though I have learnt a lot about myself.
Sometimes, as much as I hate it, it is good to be tested. To be pushed to the near breaking point when angry and emotional tears threaten to break through the dam of your strength. I don’t think it builds character—like parents seem to think, or mine anyway—but more that it teaches me something about myself. Whether that be that I don’t find a particular environment comfortable or I need to work on something in future for it to run smoother if it presented itself again in the future.
Plus, I'm really trying to be more positive, because I'm the only one in charge of my life, and wallowing in misery doesn't seem to do much anyway. So, in no particular order, here are four positive things this week has taught me:
I am not too old to learn a new system and way of working at work
This one sounds simple enough, I am only twenty-six, but in reality, I thought I had learnt all I could within my place of work. Plus, I’ve been around PCs for most of my life, since school and thereafter, so systems aren’t new to me. Except for this one, and it was daunting, and I felt so scared I wouldn’t get the hang of it, and I would risk the bigger picture, which is the public. Everything seemed different, there was a manual, and I felt overwhelmed, suddenly understanding how my dad must feel when he gets a new phone.
As much as I had worried and lost sleep, I didn’t fudge it all up. I wouldn’t say I ’smashed the sh*t’ out of it—by the way, new phrase of the year, I am telling you. But, I did the best I could and found myself picking it up sooner than I expected.
At home, I can self-teach myself anything—or try too, it doesn’t always work out—but at work, there is a more significant disadvantage if it fails. For one, people will be affected, and on top of that, management—who have a high expectation already of me—and, understandably, I don’t want to be disappointed. It's actually a fear of mine to know I've disappointed someone, and only in the last few months have I realised that you can't please everyone or worry about everything someone thinks of you.
But, as expected, all the stress and worry was for nothing, I was fine, I managed, and I’m at the end of my working week—c’mon annual leave—and I feel I couldn‘t have done it any better.
I have a mental health disorder, but I am not my mental health disorder
This one feels like something I should already know—especially when I preach it so often to other fellow suffers, but it didn’t really hit me until this week.
Every single day I’ve woken up to something or another, some failure I’ve not achieved, and every single day I’ve found myself waiting for the ultimate implosion I’ve come to expect. Even people who love me have somewhat expected it, and when it didn’t happen, I assumed something was wrong with me. I’m clearly broken because I’m... not broken? It didn’t seem right, but in a sense, it was the exact awakening I needed.
I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. I have a mental health disorder, but not every part of me is the mental health disorder. Some days, it may not seem like I have one, and others it feels as though it is all I am with skin and bones interwoven into it. But none of that is true; I’m not one or the other, I’m nothing at all. I’m 'Me'—with depression and anxiety. I’m not anxiety and depression.
If I'm upset about something, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm upset because of my anxiety or depression, I'm just upset because I'm upset. My feelings are still my feelings, regardless of what I've been diagnosed with, and it's important for me to remember that, and anyone else who needs to hear it.
Not everyone perceives things the same
Everyone, I am not going to sugar coat it, I got suspended from Twitter.
For a few days, I’ve felt so self-conscious, ashamed, and extremely sad about it, because what person gets suspended from Twitter. But in reality, what I’ve learnt is:
'Not everyone perceives everything the same.'
'You can't control how someone feels about what you've said.'
It was an odd realisation, and only really came to me very late—or very early, depending on how you look at it—when I should have been asleep. Ultimately, a bot could have picked up what I said, but I wasn't worried about a bot, I was worried a person had misunderstood me. That Twitter believed I was this person I wasn't, that my character was under attack.
But it's none of those things, I'm just not in control of that, of other people or how I'm perceived. I can only be in control of being the best version of myself and being authentic.
Admittedly, I didn't think when I replied to a hashtag, never even crossed my mind that it could be taken out of context. And, that isn’t on anyone else. It’s on me.
I didn’t even think what I said, [it was a part of a hashtag for a six-word horror story, for context], could be misconstrued outside of the hashtag. But it was, whether it was due to a bot, an automated system, or even a person. It is on me to be better and do better.
This sounds like it should be a negative, and until I sat down to write this, it was. It’s been a huge grey cloud over me since it occurred, but really, what I’ve learnt from it is to think a little more and slow down. I’m doing so much, trying to be so much, I’m not taking the time to ensure my message is being accurately displayed, I’m just working as hard as I can, like someone biking up a hill in the wrong gear.
I should have thought 'is this appropriate out of context', and I know now it wasn’t, even if it was apart of a hashtag.
I’ve also appealed, hoping for my name back, but... we shall see. The positive is I’ve learnt a lesson now I could have learnt later to a higher cost. So, it has fallen into the positives for this week—I mean, this is still ongoing so, it could move into a negative next week, ha!
Your words matter
By no means last, but this one was the final cherry on the top of a positive cake. Or, banoffee treat a friend made me.
For context, like a lot of people, I struggle with self-doubt. I often worry I’m not good enough, not original enough, or simply just not enough. Especially so when it comes to my writing, and while I know it's because I'm close to it, and will naturally unpick it, it is something I'm always so anxious about.
But, at the end of a terrible day, a lovely, very kind person read something I had written and didn’t just write a paragraph about it, but did a six message review of it that actually made me cry. I don't know who they are officially, but if I could hug them, I'd never let go. They didn’t notice the hesitation I had or the worry I had that I hadn’t portrayed the character well, they saw brilliance and beauty, pain and healing, and it was magical.
Reading their reply was like reading my work through someone else’s eyes, and it was the most awakening moment of my writing years. I was so shell-shocked by it, I read over some pieces I didn't feel so proud of, changing the font and sitting in my comfortable spot on the sofa, and I began to see things I had never noticed before—positive things.
It was exactly what I needed—this person was exactly what I needed.
They were the light through the fog that guided me home, and I'll forever be grateful to them because they gave me the confidence boost to continue when I didn't feel strong enough to do so.