Technical Issue!

AsperJosh has suffered a heavy impact. Every picture on every post before the Africa one has been lost due to an album online becoming corrupted.
I have almost every picture stored across 2 laptops and will slowly begin to re-upload them to my posts over a long period of time!
I will be starting from latest posts and work backwards to re-upload the pictures.
Thank you for understanding!
Joshua :'(

UPDATE - Fixed Posts

2015 posts fixed so far:
- Tough Mudder 2015 - MCM Expo 2012 + Past Experiences - Telling People, I Have Aspergers - 5CPS - Marvel Phase Three - Attack On Titan - MCM Oct 2015 - Interstellar - Star Wars VII - Star Wars Original Trilogy - Star Wars Prequel Trilogy - Star Wars Battlefront - The Fault In Our Stars - Chronicle - Evans Night Out + Winter Wonderland 2015 -

2014 posts fixed so far:
- A Year's Progression At The Gym - 5CPS - The Land Before Time - X-Men Premier - X-Men DOFP - Halloween 2015 - Online Dating - Macbook Pro -

House MD, 3 Years Driving currently in progress.
More to be mended

Thursday, 17 May 2018

My Battle With Anxiety (Mental Health Awareness 2018)

I've been planning this for months on how to get my message across so, so I came up with this idea for Mental Health Awareness week! I don't know what to gain from this (even my Facebook post on my Timeline) but I guess I just want to vent out some feelings that have affected me most of last year which is why I put the blog on hiatus and have been trying to get back into it slowly whilst also working on Photography editing at the same time as life just being busy.
So here I'm expressing lots of feelings I've had inside for a while but also stating how things are still okay in my life. *Picture taken, edited and comissioned superbly by Jamie Flack (Cat&Crown Artwork)* <3
As you may have guessed that besides living with Aspergers Syndrome and Crohn's Disease, I've developed Social Anxiety over the last couple years which I've been balancing like a see-saw where somedays people and myself don't let it get to me and somedays I feel alone and every single thing gets to me.
I've felt a whirlpool of mixed emotions and I've been pondering again and again if all of this is in my head, or I'm seeing things the wrong way, or are people just being nice to me or am I just tired and over-reacting to everything on that particular day?
I've felt selfish sometimes when it comes to wanting to be relieved of pain even if that meant chasing people on social media to get answers or questioning them the truth on certain matters and in general, just lacking patience to realise that everybody have lives and can't cater to my attention 24/7, you know.

So I began to research Anxiety Photography and saw loads of creative and artistic examples on how people captured and acted out different representations on Anxiety and other forms of Mental Health. It got me thinking that this is a creative, powerful and very different approach to portraying messages across to viewers instead of just writing a Facebook post that will someday be lost on my timeline.
I vowed to try and mimic one of the examples (to a certain extent) because I wanted to see how the reaction would turn out and if I'm honest, I think this medium would be helpful on rare occasions to express my feelings out to everyone. It would also get people thinking and maybe even inspire other photographers to do the same or even ask people to help me help them express themselves too, if you understand what I'm trying to say.
And I hope people won't take offence to what I'm trying to do, if anything I'm trying to explore a Photography field that sounds morbid but I'd like to try and create some artistic and meaningful work within reason as I can't go overboard that it looks horrific. I just want to get my feelings across and to use photography as the medium to do it on a rare occasion as I don't want people to get the wrong ideas on my mood at the time.

So I contacted my man Jamie to comission his help with taking the photograph and editing the words onto my back. I chose these words for reasons:
Anxiety - I'm always feeling nervous and worried about something and how outcomes will unfold.
Impatient - I'm impatient with people's responses on Facebook and my blog events. I dont understand how people can read something and not respond or react there and then.
Gullible - I believe fake promises so easily on people saying we could do this but sometimes it never happens.
Alone - The fact I've been single all my life besides one time makes me feel inferior to others in confidence and experience around women.
Nervous - I'm not able to stop worrying about the things that are inside my head and turn my attention to much better things and remembering how lucky I truly am and how far I've come.
Sensitive - I become easily aggresive / sad over things that really shouldn't be that important and then have to apologise and say sorry that I acted odd.
Doubtful - I doubt that I can stop being this way and learn to see things better since it's so easy to fall back into these feelings instead of countering them so easily.
I'm not exactly setting myself up here as a catch but these are the words I feel when things have become too much for me to handle and I begin to over-analyse everything to the point where I worry about worrying and dunno how to crawl back out of this hole I've dug myself into.
But it's not always like this which is what I will gladly explain later on below.

But on another cool note, I did also get some fitness shots done by Jamie too for me to have as reminders of how strong I really am and how far I've come and secretly look when I don't tense. He really knows how to work his magic and keep me entertained and chill when doing shoots as well as teaching me how to use Photoshop whenever I go round his.
Even as a Photographer, it’s interesting to step in front of the camera for someone else and if I’ve got it, show it!

I think this all started so severely back in July last year. I was stuck in a dark place where I had nightmares every night and struggled to be happy in general. I think it had something to do with annual memories
But thanks to that fantastic day out in Hyde Park in August 2017, my spirits were lifted and restored after enduring July.

And truth be told as much fun as last year was, sometimes I was at war with myself because I kept on letting everything get to me and I'd take things seriously and become impatient with people's effort at communication and honesty on social media.
It felt so silly getting so "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" over waiting on people to respond to mid-conversations or answers to questions I left them with. As much as I enjoy Rock and Metalcore music, I slowly began to relate to the lyrics from songs such as The Amity Affliction - PittsburghTearing Me Apart and some lyric relations to the song Fucked Up (but not the video). I love those songs but when you're in the wrong mood they can make you feel different to how fans would actually enjoy them. And even lyrics from twenty one pilots - Car Radio made me think hard about things and I admired Tyler Joseph for his creative way of getting his thoughts out in the song and his other ones too. I even once felt so relatable to the chorus from the band Favorite Weapon - Hollow and some of their other songs too.
I began to relate to them because I wanted to sort myself out however I was also annoyed that I'd turned out this way despite everything else good in my life that didn't really feel as much to me back then.

And then one day, I discovered Jamie Lawson - Sometimes It's Hard which was like an epiphany for me. This song about struggling with Mental Health helped start me on the path to try and speak to some professional people about my thoughts. I even found Bring Me The Horizon's songs Avalanche and Drown to be songs about Anxiety / Mental Health too.

But let me just explain quickly that this post isn't a follow up from My Autistic Behaviour With Rock/ Metalcore Music, Anger And Anxiety post from 2016, because that was a time when I was struggling to get my message across and things were more complicated back then compared to know when there is hope and better balance in my life. But this does continue and relate to my post about my views about using Facebook, which I wrote up at a time I was a bit more serious than how I sort of see it now.

I'd been questioning many nights if I should give into certain people's encouragement of looking into counselling / therapy because I was always talking to them about the same feelings or showing off one side of me and not being able to be my real self because of the conflicting feelings inside me. But I was also annoyed with some of them and other people because I felt I was only in this whole thing because of their personalities and not being able to see it my way and try to fix it, instead I just bottled my feelings up and stayed in a circle of worrying.
But in the end, after hearing friends stories on counselling and how speaking to people helped them. I finally gave in and gave Time to Talk a go for 6 weeks in January till April. I did learn a bit from it all but honestly I found it too structured and it kinda made me feel worse about myself, ironically. I was asked questions about putting myself in danger which I understood was their policy but it made me feel as if I had come to that low point in life when I didn't want to think that way at all.

So what I've been up to right after that is speaking to a Therapist at my surgery and he's helped me tons! He's opened my eyes to lots of things including learning to see things from different perspectives and been more positive and enthusiastic in helping me believe in myself more. And to also reassure me about the mixed views on people, situations and events to come but most importantly teaching me not to always take things to heart and worrying about them for ages (such as delayed communication on social media).
One thing that I’ve learnt last week was how I come across trying to communicate with people I may have only met once especially from Comic-Con. I try to get conversations going and asking them about themselves and what they have planned and even if they want to do a Photoshoot with me in the future. But what I should do is try and take a step back to realise that these people do like me since we’re Facebook friends but I should be more patient and understand that in time and after meeting up again, then that friendship and trust can grow more instead of trying to rush into things because I’m anxious or fear I won’t be as good / popular as other Photographers.

Do you know what it's like to feel at war with yourself? Because you know you don't feel okay and you want to talk your feelings out to people. But you also fear in pushing them away due to the consistency and context so instead you try and lie to them that you are okay and keep it all bottled up and it makes you feel more worried and worse.
I believe my Social Anxiety is sometimes triggered when communication on Facebook takes more than a day to be responded to. I understand we all have lives and they get in the way, but when I'm left hanging on an answer / response to a conversation we were in the middle of, I can create loads of false answers myself until I'm reassured and realise how wrong I was to get so worked up over nothing. It makes me frustrated and uneasy and makes me behave differently to how I want to be around others.
Another moment when I feel triggered is when people on Facebook but mainly Snapchat, read my comments I post under their stories and it sometimes doesn't get responded to. Now I know this seems selfish in me demanding attention back but actually what I am trying to do is start a conversation or compliment them so that we can start talking. I begin to doubt and question myself if I had said what I meant to say the wrong way or that they aren't intersted in talking to me. When I should really understand that they are either busy at that moment or just not up for talking. But it would still help to be acknowledged instead of ignored.
I can't even feel confident sometimes when out in public without thinking that people are looking at me or I can't look at women without blushing and putting myself down on not even thinking I could ever say Hello to them or even how to. But that's an entire different matter.
I sometimes believe that the root of all of this is tiredness, now as simple as that is, it's not easy to resolve or be able to fix. I have lots of responsibilities and duties in my life that sometimes I can't go to bed at sensible times because life gets in the way. Perhaps it's why when I'm tired from lack of sleep that I'm on the first step in this staircase to these feelings occasionally.
It even makes me feel unbalanced at timekeeping and dedicating my time to either trying to have fun at home or focus on editing Photography or even going to the gym. If I'm doing one thing and not the other, I feel I'm procrastinating and can't seem to equally balance out time for multi-tasking or even acknowledging that it's okay that I didn't do what I had hoped to do because of the way I feeling and thinking. Eventually it gets resolved (sometimes the next day) but it's really annoying that sometimes I can't even go with the flow and just accept how things turn out in the end.

I was so tired of letting everything trigger me like a switch and how seeing that so and so are now in a relationship or everybody went out besides me or even the fact that I can't communicate better to people I randomly add or have only met once. It all made me flip inside and I couldn't get whatever it was out of my head even whilst working, so instead I let it swallow me like a tidal wave and I endured it for a while every time this happened for months.
And sometimes when I spoke to people they asked me how I was still okay after everything and didn't do the thing that nobody should ever do. And the truth is, even I sometimes did question like in my review of 13 Reasons Why as to what would happen if I was gone.
But one of the things that kept me going was besides the fact of knowing friends who are gone now and the devastating scar it leaves behind on everybody you know, it was actually thanks to Rick and Morty. At the end of episode 3 in series 2, a truly dark ending unfolds that gets all the fans talking everytime it's mentioned. Besides the song "Chaos Chaos - Do You Feel It" making me recall the very scene each time it appears on my music, it's the sheer admiration on how despite Rick Sanchez's personality and alcoholism saved his life from the outcome. I think witnessing how it all looked so close for him that somehow he manages to go on, which is just a sign for me too and the fact that I have so much to look forward to - love, travelling, growing up, friendship, family and a legacy of my own someday whilst I pursue my own happiness like every body else on the planet.
And sadly we've lost loads of talented actors and singers over the last year and a half including Avicii and Chester Bennington, who music in the band Linkin Park has been there for me since I entered college and was learning to adapt around people and learn social interactions.

Near the end of last year, I discovered Alan Watts - a philosopher who had made quite compelling speeches and lectures on human existence and how the mind, reality and human nature works.
The Real You was the first video I witnessed to help me understand life a bit better and I began to eagerly listen to more of his words of wisdom when I wanted to hear his voice and discover more. 

"So then, when you're in the way of waking up
and finding out what you really are, what you do is what
the whole universe is doing at the place you call here and now.
You are something that the whole universe is doing in the same way
that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.
The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around.
The real deep down you is the whole universe."

"But since worrying takes away your appetite and your sleep
it's not good for you.
But you can't stop worrying
and therefore you get additionally worried that you are worrying.
And then furthermore because that is quite absurd
and your mad at yourself because you do it,
you are worried because you worry because you worry
That is a vicious circle"
I think you too should take a listen to some of his work when you are feeling down, stressed or confused about life or things because it's an uplifting and meaningful relief and can enlighten you too!
"That doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be a great hero,
that you won’t jump when you hear a bang, that you won’t worry occasionally,
that you won’t lose your temper.
It means though that fundamentally deep, deep, deep down within you,
you will be able to be human... in the pains, difficulties and struggles that naturally go with human existence."
I was really worried about writing and doing all of this because I feared I would taint the persona that everybody inlcuding newfound friends would see me after I vented out my feelings up on here. But sometimes you have to take risks in life and stuff like this can help lift the weight of the world off your shoulders and can bring people together not only to comfort you but it may even encourage others to come forward too.
I've seen and read other Photographers and friends come forward this year about their Mental Health which I would have never guessed comparing to myself on confidence, popularity and talent (not that I doubt them at all). It was really inspiring to see how honest and brave they are for coming forward with their own stories and sadly some even not being able to make May's MCM Comic-Con anymore because of it. It's helped me understand how behind faces that people can be feeling totally different views and feelings all together. It's truly amazing and really something to see how people come together in supporting and understanding others. Which is what I'm hoping to gain from this blog post and my Facebook one especially. And looking at my first Tattoo that I got last December is a little milestone and reminder for me to remember how far I've come an still moving forward.
In the words of Walt Disney from that special film Saving Mr Banks, "I don't tell you this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers. I don't. I love my life, I think it's a miracle" and in that scentence I too emplore you all to understand that the last thing I want is to have my reputation tarnished due to honesty emitting from me. I don't know what to gain from all of this, I just feel that words will cause more action in my life and can help remedy my own head when I struggle.

On a more reassuring note, I wish to point out how things really have gotten better over last and this year. I've managed to shake off these feelings on some days and weeks when things have been going so good. The endorphins within me have taken control after fantastic weekends with true friends, sharing unforgettable memories with others and even just having a chill, fun or meaningful conversation with certain people.
I also try to be like all these funny actors we admire like Ryan Reynolds, I try to mock myself and be able to laugh at myself and about it since it can help counter negativity and make others laugh in the same way that you can sometimes laugh at jokes about them. It's why I use sarcasm and try to do Snapchat stories every day to counter these feelings I feel creeping up on me and to show people as well as prove to myself that I'm not always like this, I am much more.
And I’ve got May’s MCM London Comic-Con next weekend with so many people who are all looking forward to hanging out and doing some pics with me because of who I am and what I can do as I’ve learnt through patience and practise.
It's these facts that help shatter this persona of myself and can prove how different I can be when things are going much better. This can be said for anyone instead of just for me!
All you have to do is endure the hardship and not let it win against you, there is so much in life to look forward to doing and be grateful for even when you fail to see it this way.
One of the morals from this is for me to remember that even if I don't get back the same level of care, attention and support as I try to give, I shouldn't change my whole personality since it's gotten me this far already. But maybe I can tone down a bit on some other things so that I won't get hurt so easily like high hopes until the thing actually begins to happen.

But the thing I try to remember is that not only am I hyper like Robin Williams on a good day and even like Deadpool (can't wait for the second one this week) thanks to my gift of never shutting the F up about quotes and references but I like to see myself as both Tigger and Eeyore because my personality is half of both characters. And if you think about it, look at Eeyore, everybody loves him for the way he is.
And I believe that everybody does for me too in the end. I just need to keep learning to tackle my issues especially patience with social media and loads of things in my life that I'm still waiting for and to happen.
I know for a fact that everybody knows the real true me and they like me for everything I am which is why I know this side of me is just a piece of me when things become too much, it doesn't define me and I am thankful for everybody and everything in my life so far and yet to come!
I may be like this for a long time in my life or it might come and go like an illness, but I think that I am strong for what I do and who I am, I prevail over not letting all these illnesses I have to stop me from leading a life of my own even if I am biologically different to many people I know. And I can only keep moving forward even if sometimes I feel the wrong things. I will do myself and everybody else proud and someday, I will look back on these memories and realise how much further I have come instead of letting everything overwhelm and consume me.

Please if you are reading this to the very end, understand that as easy as it is to just want to give up because all seems hopeless and worthless, never forget how valued and important you are on this planet. In time, you will see how things can only get better in your pursuit for happiness. Always talk to people about your emotions and thoughts because so much good can be gained from just talking to friends, family and the right people. And always be there for others whe they need it as much as you want them to be there for you!

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