Category Archives: Think
Paul S Allen 21 July 2021
Trigger warning: This post talks about anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
How can I describe what is going on inside my brain at the moment?
(I am not going into details of what caused my mental health issues here)
I feel numb, empty and alone (lonely), at the same time my heart races, my breathing is shallow as I overthink absolutely everything, and if I can’t control it I will go into a full on anxiety attack, with full on self criticism and abuse.
I feel everything and nothing simultaneously and can fluctuate between them instantaneously.
I am both highly productive as a songwriter at the moment while having no motivation to even pick up a guitar.
I want to run, I want to hide, I want to close my eyes, hide my face, seek reassurance from others and run away from them at the same time.
I want to sleep, I am so tired, my brain is weary, but mind mind races as soon as it hits the pillow and I wake up often through the night, then early in the morning my brain starts all over again firing on all cylinders.
Now I am starting to recognise some of my anxiety triggers, but I still get caught off guard by them and other out-of-the-blue events which can leave me in a state of blinding anxiety where I can start to yell at myself with all the expletives I can muster to say how utterly worthless and foolish I am. (Please know that I know these thought are a lie but at the time they “feel” very real.)
From this I can go to a place of nothingness, not just empty or lacking in activity, but just a void or a vacuum where there is nothing to give, nothing to see. It is not just a void of positive thoughts, it is a void of any thoughts or emotion. Complete and utter emptiness.
My brain seems to switch from screaming to silence and back.
To the outside world it might seem that I smile and joke, sing and laugh, make conversation, and can even talk about anxiety and depression (as I am doing right now).
Recently I launched a new album at a gig, I had a great crowd, supported by friends and other fantastic musicians. Many lovely and supportive things were said about me and I am blessed and honoured by them. Logically I know that everything they said was good and genuine, but I feel that were talking about someone else. (Sorry friends, I do love you and really appreciate you love and support)
The positive is just not getting through, very little is getting through be it happy or sad.
What does cut deep is the negative thoughts and self-criticism, where I am my own worst enemy.
The overthinking and deep sense of loneliness, does cause problems where I tend to obsess about things or situations. I know this is not good or healthy but I am working on strategies to overcome this.
Now to the subject of the “S” word.
Suicide, have I thought of it? Yes, and that terrifies me!
Before I continue here are some things you must know…
I want to live!
I want to be well!
I recognise that I am unwell and not my usual self.
I am getting help.
If I am totally honest through my life there have been a number of times when these thoughts have been in my mind. I have fortunately never acted on them. Only recently have I opened up to others about this (including my Doctor, counsellor and close trusted friends).
I am now on medication and have a good support system including friends that are keeping an eye out for me.
So what am I doing to get through?
I reached out for help… first to a trusted friend, then to my wonderful and supportive wife, then to my Doctor then a counsellor
Yoga – I have started yoga for grounding, breathing, and getting to know my own body. Also physical fitness is good and so is meeting new people through the classes.
Friends – My friends are so dear to me and I love them so much for who they are and especially for there support through this rough patch. I have one friend in another town who has been checking in on me daily online calling himself my “Wellness Stalker”.
To my friends – THANK YOU SO MUCH.
Music – music and creativity is my life, I have gone to gigs, performed, written new songs, collaborated with others, it all has been helping.
Time – I am trying to take back control of my life through good time management, my workplace is encouraging in this regard too with a good strategy in my return to work.
Medication and counselling – I strongly recommend seeking professional help!
Focusing on me – now this is hard I feel completely selfish doing this as I am usually so other focused
Why am I sharing this?
It is because I want you to know you are not alone with your battles.
We all may battle in our own way, we will be triggered by different things, we will react and respond differently, but you are not alone.
There is support out there so please reach out.
I want you to live also!
I want you to be well.
I want you to get the support you need.
New Zealand Support Contacts
- 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number
- Healthline: 0800 611-116
- Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865
- Samaritans: 0800 726-666
- General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366
- The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757
for NZ music industry people
Check out MusicHelps
Think about this before you start condemning others due to their religious (or non religious) belief systems.
Is there a single religion anywhere in the world that has not been tainted by extremism, violence and other abuses? I am struggling to think of any at all. (I am including atheism in this also)
The answer to peace lies within acceptance and tolerance of the differences we have. To embrace that we can each have a belief system (or not) that is different from others.
By alienating, hating and dehumanising anyone because of their belief system is itself a path to destruction and provides the necessary environment for extremism to exist.
Get to know the people around you, accept them for who they are, do not try to forcibly convert them to your ideologies or belief system. Let there be a meeting of minds and hearts.
Have a good open conversation not just about what someone believes, but why they believe. It is a fantastic thing and sometimes you find you have similar experiences even though the outward expression may be different.
Perhaps you will find out more about other people and even more about yourself.
Think about it.
I am deeply saddened by the news that 49 people in Orlando Florida in the USA, have been murdered in cold blood and that 53 others have been wounded in this latest horrific incident.
These murderous attacks are happening across the planet killing many, many people. More often than not, the targets are innocent people going about normal everyday activities.
The hate and the killing must stop!
No one should die because they have different belief structures, or are different in any way from another person.
Let us forget forever the name of the Orlando murderer, banish it to the loneliest unmarked grave, without honour or epitaph. Do not show his picture and do not give coverage to his extreme and twisted personal misinterprtations of a particular religion.
But more than that…
Let us all learn to truly accept people and respect them as they are regardless of their faith or non-faith, gender association, sexual orientation, skin colour, ethnic origin etc.
Although not an excuse, our problem is that we can only see through the eyes we have, and they are biased, due to our personal experiences and what we have been taught or modelled. However change is possible for all of us, but only if we are willing to start.
We must always search for better ways, always question entrenched ideologies, always ask for help if you need it, and offer it where you are able.
- We need to start to see the person, the humanity, within each individual and respect them as they are;
- We need to stop labelling and putting people in boxes that make it easier for us to dismiss others as different or inferior;
- We need to remember that the blood in all our veins runs red, that we breathe the same air, and that this tiny little rock floating in space that we share is our only home.
It is a bold, courageous and glorious goal to love everybody and it is not easy, but even a small step in the direction of love is a good start. The trick is, when you start the journey, keep moving.
We must remember that this is a journey and
- We are all at varying stages along the way,
- We are not perfect,
- We are broken,
- We can’t do it alone,
- We need help,
- We need patience with others on the journey.
May be, just may be, if we all take a small step towards love and peace the world will be a better place.
Paul S Allen