Patience is the path

Happy Tuesday! Well. Sort of. It’s been a challenging day for me.

I found it extremely hard to concentrate.

I spent most of the day at work writing my PDR. I know that PDRs are supposed to be useful and necessary (although I believe that a large part of it is not of any use depending on your role and responsibilities, it should be shorter and more concise) but surely I’m not the only one that’s dreading it?

So I had to exercise my patience and perseverance skills. Every time I got distracted (and that happened A LOT throughout the day) I put my music back on and wrote a little bit more, and then a little bit more.

And I’m almost done. I should be done by tomorrow. But oh my Lord it was hard to keep going.

The selection of delicious homemade cakes freshly prepared by a colleague (thank you Craig!) brightened my day and lunchtime was a pleasant break. Sunshine makes any day better (although it’s harder to concentrate and be motivated to keep working when the sun is shining outside and you are stuck behind a desk) and spending lunch with my best friend in the sun is one of my favourite things to do.

Sheba and I went to where most Solent people go if they fancy quick lunch, Mettricks. I do love this place. Not only because it has delicious food, great coffee and tea, good vibe (love the leather armchairs!) but also because it is local and independent.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0JsBBhrP6/?taken-by=eleni_zenonos

That’s what I think Southampton needs more of. Character, uniqueness, individuality (no more chain restaurants and shops!). And Mettricks is one of the very few independent cafes in the city centre, with Halladays being my all time favourite! If you haven’t been, you should!

We spent our lunch chatting, whinging, laughing, dreaming of sunny holidays and travelling, craving new beginnings, whilst having a nice cup of tea.

Not sure what to make of the tea I had-trying new things is always exciting- it was one of the weirdest tastes I’ve ever experienced (it’s called Lapsong and it’s very smokey, it tastes how I’d imagine boiling a tree brunch or a stick in water would taste, if that makes any sense!). But I loved sitting in the sun chatting away with one of my favourite people, and occasionally waving at Solent Colleagues passing by.

Although there was this baby, he must have been around 10 months old, maybe a bit younger, sitting just opposite us, who wouldn’t stop giving us death stares the whole time we were there, not smiling at all, not even once. It was the first time I was ever scared of a baby!

death stare

And then I came home to do my Yoga practice. Day 24 woohoo.

And today’s theme was patience! Either irony, coincidence or an opportunity to continue practising patience!

It was a 47 minute long session, that I just finished doing. And it has completely and utterly relaxed me.

So I guess my message for today is patience is a virtue. Is not in any way or sense easy. But the more you practise it, the better you get at it.

And remember to enjoy every little moment, even when you are patiently working towards your goals, dreams or aspirations, whatever they might be. You do not want to miss the present because you are only looking forward to the future.

I’m not sure that everything it is as it should be, as often Adriene says, but I’m now super ready to face tomorrow.

Namaste

Eleni

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I relapsed, now what?

Happy sunny Sunday!

I just came back from a run and I feel great. I love the high, my body flooding with adrenaline and endorphin.

I sometimes exercise at home and as you might know, I’ve been doing Yoga every day for the last 20 days and I love it. I’ve recently posted about it if you want to know more. You can have a read here.

Yoga relaxes me, I feel more confident and has already taught me a lot on how to love and take care of myself. But I need cardio in my life. I need the high and I desperate want to improve my stamina and strength.

I love Zumba and dancing. I can’t afford either right now, and when it comes to dancing, there are not many options in town (if you know of any do let me know!).

I love running. I know it’s not for everyone. For me, putting on music (I highly recommend the personal running mix on Spotify, it picks up your tempo first and selects songs based on your pace and the music you love), looking around, enjoying the moment (and often stopping to take a photo to remember that moment) the air on my face, my heart beating fast, is one of the best feelings in the world.

But I don’t go running that often. I often come back from work tired, hungry and I struggle to find the motivation to get out and go running or do any form of exercise.

So I often relapse. As I do with most things.

I eat healthy most of the time but I can’t resist a treat and LOVE a pizza on a Friday.

Some days I struggle to stay positive and I let myself become sad and depressed. And some days I feel like doing nothing at all.

But I promised myself that every time I relapse, I need to get back on it. And since then I feel much better. Because I know a moment or a day of weakness doesn’t mean I should let myself go, I should not give up.

Coincidentally, I recently came across relapse management in a book I’ve been reading on CBT, An introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Skills and Applications (Westbrook D. et al, 2007). It’s a heavy read at times but very educational.

Relapse management is such a vital skill for everyone to develop. Not only in therapy but in daily life. The book suggests to ask yourself the following every time you relapse:

  • How can I make sense of this?
  • What have I learnt from it?
  • With hindsight, what would I do differently?

In this way, you learn more about your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, yourself and also gives you a plan, so after each set-back you can still get back on it and reduce the chances of relapsing again.

So that’s my message for today!

Relapsing of any form does not mean giving up or starting from scratch.

Relapsing means you are a human being and if you look at it as a chance to learn more about yourself and improve your mental and physical wellbeing, you’ll feel much happier and confident.

Amen ūüôā

Eleni

 

 

 

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

I won’t write much about my own experiences, I’ve already have on several occasions.

(I added the links to older posts at the end of this one).

What I’d like to say is that it should be mental health awareness week every week.¬†

According to WHO (the World Health Organisation),¬†“depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease”.

I don’t think everyone understands how debilitating a mental illness can be and how¬†it doesn’t matter how intelligent or well-rounded individual you might be. It can still get you. It’s irrational and it can affect anyone.

And even if they do understand, not everyone knows how to react or support those who suffer.

Unfortunately, there is still stigma around mental health. Although most people can be understanding and compassionate, they don’t know how to act around you. They treat you as if you suffer from a contagious disease they might catch so they “support” you from a safe distance.

Others just completely avoid you. They stop treating you as a friend for whatever reason. Maybe they are scared, maybe they suffer themselves, maybe they don’t want to be friends with someone who struggles.

Other just pity you. And you can see the pity in their eyes. And pity is probably one of the worst responses to someone who is struggling.

If we all knew how to really support each other, then it might make it easier for someone to admit they have a problem and seek for help, without being terrified about what others would think, without feeling that asking for help is seen as weakness, it’s actually one of the toughest, bravest things to do.

There is a desperate need for awareness.

Suffering from mental illness doesn’t mean you are depressed or anxious or worried or psychotic or neurotic all of the time. You can still communicate, have a laugh, have a chat, do things. It’s still you. Even at your darkest times, when you do not recognise yourself, deep deep down it’s still you.

I hope that one day, mental illness can be treated as any other illness- because it is- and there is enough support available.

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Love you all

Eleni x

The most honest post I’ve ever written…

I’m going home tomorrow. It’s not a holiday. No I didn’t get the chance to have a holiday in many other countries other than Berlin and Edinburgh last year, those were holidays. This is not. It’s home. It’s home for a thousand different reasons. I grew up there, I lived most of my life there, my best friends and family are there. The people I probably need the most right now, but I can’t be around ¬†because of distance live there. Because I refuse to give up, I refuse to do the easy thing, move back home to have my support network, so I can stop trying and free fall into this black hole. Which is the easiest solution when you are struggling.

I need to go home every now and then to stay sane. I need to remind myself that there are people who love me for who I am, people I don’t have to pretend I’m happy in front of them, because they know me too well. People who’ll give me a hug when I need it, because they know when I need it. People who will re-assure me and make me feel good about myself. As much as you can try and re-assure yourself, you still need that from other human beings, no matter what.

For a while now I’m not feeling well. I can’t put my finger on it (it’s not because my best friend went away, although of course I miss her), but I know I’m not happy. I’m not unhappy, but I’m not happy, not most of the time. I feel stuck. I feel trapped. Trapped in this vicious circle. The less I do, the worse I feel and the worse I feel the less I do. And I don’t know how to get unstuck. ¬†And sometimes however hard I try by making jokes, making people laugh, making a fool of myself (if only people knew that some of the things they say to me in jest actually hit home), I can’t hide it. It’s getting harder and harder to hide. I know some of you noticed and you often ask me if I’m OK. Which I find very sweet and touching. Thank you for caring.

And is getting worse. Some of my friends, I haven’t seen for months (I love you and miss you all, I really do) because I find it easier not to get out and not try. I know people give up on you after a while but I find it easier to just be by myself. Things I used to enjoy I find hard to do, like singing with my colleagues and friends or driving.

I feel I lost my magic marbles and I’m not even sure where to look for them.

I still manage to go to work, although I struggle some days. But at least I haven’t given up completely. Work is one of the very few things that actually keep me sane (most of the time). And that’s why when I worried about my job a while ago, I knew I had to be re-assured that I’m not going to lose it, that I’m not going to lose one of my last life jackets. I’m so lucky I work with some amazing people who keep me going.

It’s so difficult, I don’t think people realise how difficult it is to pretend you are OK when you are not. I don’t think people realise how hard it is for me to make any decision, even simple ones like what to have for dinner, how hard it is to get out of the house, to interact with other human beings, how even the smallest thing like losing a tooth can affect me hugely. I don’t think they realise how my confidence has hit rock bottom, because I manage to hide it well most of the time by overcompensating.

But then what to do? I do not want people to worry and feel sorry for me. So I put my fake smile on and get on with it as best as I can.

I can’t self diagnose but I know where all the signs lead to. They all lead to the big black dog. ¬†I know I need to do something about it before is too late. But is bloody hard. Is even harder when you live on your own, and the people who know you the best and can really help you without asking, because asking for help is not easy, are a thousand miles away. And I don’t want to worry them. And I don’t want to move back either.

I’m not giving up, not just yet. ¬†I learned a lot, especially the last couple of years.I’m scared and I worry about myself and about my family, no matter how much I try not to. But when you struggle, you struggle, no matter how aware you are of the irrationality of it all. Acknowledging your thoughts are wrong doesn’t necessarily mean you can fix them in an instant.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. But I know not many will admit they do. Sending you all my love and I hope we all make it to the other side.

So there, is all out in the open now. And I already feel better for sharing.

I’m saddened and a bit scared with the terrorist attack in London, but ¬†I’m happy ¬†I’m going home tomorrow to see my loved ones, be surrounded by my favourite people, enjoy the sunshine and be happy for a week, until reality hits me in the face. I hope this break will give me the push I need. Or not. Only time will show.

I love you all x

Eleni

PS I want to thank Donna, Suzanne, Sarah, Helen, Louise, Jamie, Chris and Andy, thank you, you know why.

Love, not hate. And take mental health seriously! When will this stop???

I made some time to write this post, because I felt the need to express my thoughts in more than 140 characters or a long Facebook post…

In the last week, two events deeply upset me and saddened me.

Three days ago a man decided to load 2 guns and kill 50 innocent people and injure many more who were having fun at a nightclub in Orlando… I’ve read a lot about this man. He was mentally unstable, used to beat his ex-wife, he was interviewed by the police in the past… but nothing was able to stop him from murdering innocent people…

Why? To prove what? What did he achieve? We live in 2016… how long will it take to finally extinguish homophobia/islamophobia/phobia of anything??? What does it matter what race/sexual orientation/religion/(add anything else you can think of) you are?

Nobody is better than anyone. We all come from the same place, share similar DNA, we are all in a sense cousins. But we are different too, and that’s what makes us special and unique! But it doesn’t make us better or worse than each other. And this madness needs to stop.

Yesterday, MP Jo Cox was stubbed and shot to death… I don’t know much about her but from the little I read, she was an amazing person. Although it doesn’t matter even if she wasn’t. Nobody deserves to be stubbed and shot to death, not even the worst of the worst of people, let alone a talented, powerful woman, mother and wife doing the job she loved. At the time I am writing this it’s still not clear why her attacker did this… but it seemed he was mentally unstable and disagreed with her political views…

Her husband posted one of the most heartbreaking and inspiring messages I’ve ever read, it’s worth reading… (https://twitter.com/guardiannews/status/743488399651250176).

My deep and sincere condolences to Brendan Cox, their family and everyone who lost a family member, a friend, a lover, a soulmate, a mate, a wife, a husband, a colleague in Orlando…

I can understand how hatred can blur someone’s sanity. To a degree…¬†I don’t hate anyone, but I overreacted to situations and was upset with people as we all do. But I NEVER ever wished for anyone to get hurt, let alone die.

Nothing good comes out of hate. NOTHING! I feel sad every time I hear about a shooting or innocent people getting killed for whatever reason. And don’t forget all the innocent souls who die in countries such as Syria every single day…

There is another IMPORTANT issue that needs addressing… When will mental health be finally given the importance it deserves??? There must be a way to help people who struggle with mental issues before they reach the point of killing another human being!!!!

I hope that humanity and love will prevail. I’ll never stop believing in forgiveness and love. Because that’s what makes us humans. That’s what discriminates us from other animals. We have a brain for thinking and a heart (well brain again, but let’s not get into science) for feeling! And I hope that WE¬†(society/government/world) will one day be able to give mental and emotional support to everyone¬†who needs it!

I sincerely hope one day all this will stop. So my message/advice of the day: forgive, love and don’t judge, don’t hate anyone or anything you don’t agree with or don’t understand!!! Holding grudges or hating anything or anyone will only poison your mind…

And take mental health seriously!

I’ll finish this post with a powerful sentence from Jo Cox’s husband’s message…

“Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous…”

A special hug to everyone today…

Love you all xx