I have missed you!
Let’s start off by acknowledging that it has been far more than a ‘hot minute’ since we caught up on all things mental health. I’d lost the ability to share about the trials and tribulations of feelings we all go through. Perhaps through some negative comments online, or just because my headspace hasn’t been in the right place to grab a mocha, tap at the keys and have a chat with you. But time is nurturing and I’m here for a catch-up. So let’s talk about being 20-something, still figuring out the conundrum that is life and coping with anxiety on a daily basis …
I’m 23 and I still don’t have a salary. Why is there the pressure?
“What salary are you on?” … “How is your salary?” … “Are you happy with your salary?” … salary salary saldhfhgggjg. I don’t think there is one word I have heard more in my early twenties than *wearily whispers* ‘salary’. After graduating, it slowly slipped into sentences here and there. And perhaps down to naivety, I honestly didn’t give it a second thought. But as time has sped along, it has become an accompanying thought to my every breakfast, quiet coffee moment and sleepy read before bed. I am now knee-deep in the period of my life where I can’t help but feel I am starting to be categorised or rated by what my salary is, or if I have one. The thing is, I don’t.
If you are another creative arts lover, you’ll know that self-employment or irregular pay is a more frequent avenue. I have a wonderful job in retail currently that compliments studying my Journalism MA, my EP and gigging left, right and centre. I’m doing ok. Through music and working, I’m saving as many pennies as I can. I’m certainly not comfortable, neither able to whip out a saucy old fifty on a snazzy dinner, or indulge in every coffee being from Ole and Steen. I can’t begin to think about a deposit for somewhere else after university. But in all honesty, I can’t think that far ahead.
So if I’m happy and content, why do young people feel this heavy pressure to immediately become savvy, successful and independent? If there is one thing I’ve learnt over the last six months, it is that you truly have to take every morning, afternoon and eve as it comes. We shouldn’t be defined by our financial position. If you are brand-new into your twenties and loving the salaried life; that is fab and you should be proud! And if you are just making ends meet to fulfil other ambitions first, before steaming ahead into adulthood, then that is also bloomin’ awesome, and you should be just as proud!
Up until very recently, I found myself setting this time restriction. Looking ahead, I’d mapped out when I’d get a salaried writing role. It was like a golden finish line. As if once I’d achieved it, I’d be sorted for life. The most challenging part was over. But that train of thought has been making me extremely discontent and concerned. Instead of relishing in this mistake-forgiving, sparkly and sometimes very tricky part of my adulthood, I was losing myself in thinking ahead.
I don’t know what financial position I’ll end up in. But I do know this; I want to achieve any ambitions as much as I possibly can. And along the way, I certainly won’t be using someone’s job or financial status to assist my opinion of them.
That said, I do hope to save some pounds and pence so I can splash out on a good old European city break … I won’t be that hard on myself!
Coping with Anxiety on the daily means going back to basics …
Anxiety is a persistent old thing. The older I’ve become, and the more I’ve spoken openly about it with friends, family, even strangers, the more obvious it has become that it truly is suffered by almost everyone.
Even in the early dawn of 2019, the painful stigma of not revealing ‘too much’ about your mental health is still rippling through society. If there was a more comforting foundation for us to share any struggles or worries on, then it would probably become apparent that many of us battle with the sometimes excruciating obstacles that anxiety presents, on a daily basis.
And that is ok.
I tried painfully hard to acknowledge when I had clarity-filled days that were vacant of any anxious symptoms. Then when the more difficult days occurred; I felt as though I’d failed, again and again. I had failed to recover from the chokehold of anxiety and be ‘back to normal’. But that isn’t how it works, is it?
It can spark up like a catherine wheel at the oddest and trickiest times. The last thing needed is the added pressure to not have these experiences. To be rid of them. It’s running before you can walk. It’s smiling when you need to cry. I’ve slowly started to accept that for now, anxiety is a daily occurrence. But it isn’t part of who I am. It’s just where my adrenals are tired and I still haven’t quite adjusted to certain changes in my life. For now, in this very second, I haven’t let myself down because I have sweaty palms and I’d rather be driving home than sitting in Cafe Nero. I’m building up the courage and knowledge to understand when my mental health needs a little more of my time than usual. Instead of completing my to-do list like the roadrunner, I’ve watched a few dramas and walked my giant german-shepherd in the low, winter sun (who decided to help me out by doing the biggest poo I’ve ever witnessed in my life, not that I’ve witnessed many of course …).
23 is a bizarre time, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I also want it to be the funniest, best and weirdest yet.
If you struggle with anxiety or low mood, it can help by going back to basics. It is also very important that you try and speak to those closest to you, or a GP!
Strip the day down to what works for you. If you can’t make that phone call to the bank, leave it until tomorrow. If you want to curl up with a giant galaxy bar – not for sharing- grab the blanket and sink deep into the sofa.
We are too hard on ourselves.
Anxiety is real and to be honest it’s a bit sh*t. But if we all talk about it in a way we can support each other, then at least we can work through feeling sh*t together. Even if you’d rather ride it out solo, because that is how you deal with it best, just know that you deserve to take it easy. To give that beautiful mind of yours a rest.
Mental health chit-chats are back …
There isn’t a particular stand-alone theme with this post. But I just wanted to get back to basics. Delve into how Scarlett Notes began. I’ve found great comfort in listening and speaking to others about mental health and it’s been a concern of mine that Scarlett Notes was no longer providing a platform for all sorts of nattering about how your mindset is feeling.
Over this year, I make it my promise to keep regular posts up that discuss all different aspects of mental health.
It helps to talk. That is one thing I do know!
Thank you for reading and until next time, take care cherub!