Monday, 19 January 2015

Funk Off (The Self-indulgent One)

I'm finally writing my new year post, two weeks later than planned. I usually start a new year by reflecting on the previous, rather than making resolutions I know I'll end up breaking. For me, it's better to look at what went well and what didn't, and to use those experiences to shape the year ahead.

However, since late 2014, I've been in a funk. Generally ill at ease. Feeling blue. Anxious. And, if I'm honest, a bit depressed. I've found doing even the things I really enjoy a struggle. I haven't felt like writing or blogging. About the only thing I have done is to read.


Yesterday I decided I needed to give myself a virtual kick up the backside to break the funk. 

I could probably write an essay on the subject of why I've been so down, but that would be self-indulgent to the extreme. In brief, I've been struggling with my head and migraines since the summer of last year, and it's not getting any easier. I'm single, living on my own, and I do find that a struggle at times, especially when I'm not feeling well. There is nothing more depressing than being ill and on your own for a few days. And it's stressful running a house on one wage; knowing that you're the only one who can pay the bills and buy the groceries. I could go on.

I guess, like most people, I viewed 2015 as a fresh start. A new year that would be different and full of possibilities. Of course the truth is that January 1st is just the day after December 31st. Nothing magical happens other than celebrating with our families and loved-ones. My head wasn't going to miraculously cure itself. My knight in shining armour was not going to rescue me. So, I wallowed in self-pity instead.

If you know me well, you will already know this is out of character for me. While I may be a pro at procrastination, and often make life more complicated than it needs to be, I don't do negativity or self-pity. But I'm not going to berate myself for slipping up. I'm simply going to allow myself to feel better. To read as much as I want. To write when my head allows it, and not force it when it does not. Maybe I'll be slower at doing things than other writers, but that's okay. The only person I have to prove myself to is me. And being on my own? Well, that's just temporary. I hope.

What about you? How has 2015 been for you so far? Do you have any tips or advice for someone who is experiencing a funk? 

41 comments:

  1. I'm sorry! I hope you have some good friends that could check on you when you're sick.
    Make today your fresh start.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I do have some good friends (they know who they are) who check on me and offer to get me anything I need, but it's not the same as having someone there all the time. BUT, as you said, today is a fresh start. No more self-pity or wallowing!

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  2. Hi Ellie,

    I am sorry that you aren't feeling your usual chipper self however knowing what you have been through since 2013 I am not surprised it has taken its toll. No one can be brave forever.

    Allow yourself the time to put the pieces back together and do things that make YOU happy not what anyone else expects to make you happy.

    I don't think this time of year helps. I am certainly having more blue days than usual. The main thing is as long as you identify what is going on you can take charge and change things. Its when you can't it starts getting serious.

    Lots of love
    Rach xx

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. I know I can always rely on my best friend to say the right things. You're right about the time of year not helping. Post-Christmas can be hard, especially when you don't feel like you had much of a Christmas break. I shall listen to your advice about allowing myself time to become stronger again and will see you tomorrow!

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  3. I hope 2015 brings good things to you and especially that you feel better. Headaches really hinder creativity or any activity.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Your kind words mean a lot. Unfortunately, you're right about headaches hindering creativity.

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  4. I'm so sorry you've been struggling so much. It really stinks when life keeps piling it on with no relief to breathe. Thank you for sharing this. I think this past year was hard on many. For what reason, I'm not sure. I'm like you. I haven't wanted to share my battles of last year because I feel giving them the spotlight does nothing positive. But maybe it would help, help someone else. I know your honesty has helped me.

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    1. I'm sorry you've also been struggling, Sheri. I've always been reluctant to share because, like you, I fear doing so gives them credence in some way. Also, people don't like a moaner or complainer. But sometimes sharing how we feel helps not just ourselves but others who have remained silent for too long.

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  5. Keep smiling, even if you force a smile, it relases chemicals that makes you feel better. If you can't force a smile get a great comedy to make you laugh. Silly but it worked for me. Mind you the one thing that I really craved was chocolate but that triggers migraines for me.So I just had to keep on smiling.

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    1. Thank you, Peter. Like you, I have to limit chocolate. Coffee as well. I love coffee! I shall take your advice and watch some comedy programmes and films. Smile and the world smiles with you, as they say.

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  6. I know how it feels to be low. I find being indulgent with myself can help too - my favourite films, my favourite desserts etc. It doesn't solve the problem, but it gives me a distraction. I hope 2015 is a better year for you.

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    1. Thank you for your kind wishes, Annalisa. You're not the only one who has recommended some indulgence time. If it helps to distract or make me feel better, I will definitely give it a try.

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  7. I hope things turn around for you! I know how tough it can be to dig yourself out of the mire.

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    1. Thank you for your positive thoughts. It does feel like I'm digging myself out of a pit.

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  8. I'm sorry you're feeling so lousy. I've been in a funk for quite some time, too, so I don't think I can offer any good advice. But if you feel the urge to write, then write as much as you can! You don't know when that urge will come again.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. Wise advice about writing when you have the urge!

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  9. I have suffered from migraines and I know how incompatibility they are and when they over the strange feeling left behind. "They" say it is often caused by a reaction to some food. Maybe switch up your diet.Or it they might be 'cause by some evil pollen.

    As for the funk, for me. I change everything up. My schedule/routine, foods, etc - even my creative projects. It helps (sometimes).

    I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. I also have chronic migraines which keep me inside a lot. Writing and sewing keep me from taking nose dives.

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    2. I'm sorry you both suffer from migraines, Southpaw and Susan. I don't think anyone can truly appreciate just how debilitating they can be unless they suffer themselves. The brain fog or 'hangover' stage is the worst part for me. It can go on for days and leaves me feeling totally wiped out.

      I'm really careful with my diet and how long I use the computer etc. The frustrating part is that I'd got so good at managing them, I was hardly getting them any more. That all changed last summer when the weather turned hot. I've not been right since. Hopefully my doctor will refer me back to neurology.

      Thank you both for taking the time to comment and share your experiences.

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  10. Hope things pick up for you soon and you get some relief from the pain. Going at your own pace is good advice in any situation. And I think we should treat each day as a fresh start, not just when the new year rolls around!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and advice, Nick. You're spot on about treating each new day as a fresh start. I will also try to stop beating myself up for not getting everything done.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. Sending you a hug back!

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  12. Sorry you're feeling down, Ellie. I hope the year brightens up for you soon...

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  13. Hugs for you. 2014 was a rough year, and I found myself really hoping things would get better right off in 2015. Sweet treats and a good book always help me when I'm in a funk.

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    1. Thank you, Christine. I hate hearing any of my friends have had a rough year o are having a tough time. We should take Nick's advice, and treat each new day as a fresh start. Plus, look after ourselves.

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  14. 2014 was filled with it's ups and downs for me. I can only imagine how you're dealing with your migraines. The occasional flare up knocks me down. Chipmunk, my girl, she steps up as best she can to make sure I don't feel like a donkey's rear for not being able to care for her when I'm in those broken times. So I can certainly understand why you feel the way you feel.

    But even though there was nothing magical on the clock from 2014 changing over to 2015, there is something magical about the perception of change, the perception of a new beginning. The migraines will still come, but it seems you've already begun work on your perception of how to deal with things. Moments of pain can be used as moments of rest and meditation. Enjoy your reading and writing in your own time. You are 100% right that the only person you should truly be pleasing is YOU.

    As for myself, I finally stopped trying to push myself on a manuscript I've been sort of not working on. I kept trying to make myself do the work with the wrong motivation and now that the correct inspiration is in place, I'm going slower in completing it, but I like what I'm putting in the MS.

    So, let's own 2015, Ellie, and not let the year own us :-)

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    1. Such wise words, my friend. I love reading your inspirational thoughts and quotes on Twitter.

      I didn't know you also suffer from migraines. It seems to be a writer's curse. Chipmunk is wonderful looking after you when you're not well. You two have such an amazing bond. I'm pleased your writing is now going well. There is nothing worse than forcing it.

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  15. Remember: you control the writing...it does not control you.

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    1. I should remind myself of that more often, Susan. My biggest problem at the moment is tiredness. I'm too exhausted to write. So, frustrating.

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  16. I completely understand migraines. They get in the way of everything. Feel better.

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  17. While I don't suffer from migraines, I have struggled with severe anemia, which leaves your entire body oxygen starved and crushingly fatigued. It can be so hard to slow down because your body tells you to--it can feel like you're "losing at life" as healthy people seem to sprint ahead. But the fact is everyone is frail and will hit slow moments like this at some point. Being hard on ourselves in these times can make the suffering even more acute.

    So just be kind to yourself. Do whatever is comforting and reassuring. Whatever brings a small measure of joy. We're all rooting for you!

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    1. Thank you for your wise words, Laurel. You are right - we need to listen to our bodies and be kind to ourselves. There is a danger of looking at life as a competition, when it's not.

      I've never suffered from anemia, but I have friends who are B12 deficient and I know how crippling that can be.

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  18. Hi Ellie! So sorry you feel down. As you know, I also experience these feelings myself. But like you, I don't do negativity or self-pity...not for long. It's only being human when we do feel sorry for ourselves, when we get irrational but we get up and cheer ourselves up.

    I do wish we live next to each other so I could visit you when you are poorly. Like Alex, I do hope that you have friends and family who can visit you when you feel unwell. Lots of big hugs!

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    1. Thank you, Len. You're a wonderful friend. Your kind words and understanding always make me feel better. I also wish we lived closer!

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  19. Ellie, my heart goes out to you. We all feel down at times, but I think you should talk to your doctor as there is medication available now for migraines. I'd also be upfront about how you're feeling as a mild antidepressant could be helpful. Since my background is actually in science, I'm not one for holistic approaches without checking out what medicines can do. Good luck, Ellie! (My mother was a single parent, suffered from migraines and fought with balancing the budget, all of which spun her into a spiral that an antidepressant could have prevented.)

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    1. Thank you, Kittie. I've seen my doctor and he's referring me back to see the neurologist. I'm already on medication for migraines, which, coincidentally, is also an anti-depressant (it's used for migraines because it blocks nerve pain). Usually it works well, but recently it hasn't. Maybe I need a different kind of medication?

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  20. Really hope 2015 is working out well for you so far. As a fellow migraine and funk sufferer I can sympathise. Tips? Talk. Take comfort in your friends. And, yes, medical science can work wonders!

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    1. Thank you, Simon. I've managed to lift myself out of the funk, even if my head still isn't behaving. So, that's a step in the right direction. You're so right about talking. I have a tendency to keep everything in and I'm sure that doesn't help.

      Wishing a great 2015!

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