Geeks Vs Loneliness: Looking ahead and keeping busy

In which we think about setting goals to keep us going.

Hello and welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness. This week, our guest writer would like to talk about how looking to the future can help bring a shine a little brightness to lead us on when life becomes a bit bleak. As we approach the New Year they’d like to encourage us to think about three things that we can plan to help us break into 2019 with some positive ticks in our diaries.

With huge thanks to our guest for such a moving and thoughtful post. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy Festive Season.

I had noticed that something was wrong.

After the birth of my second child, something was wrong with me. I was determined to cover it up, and to put on an “I’m fine!” mask, deflecting any concern the trained midwives showed toward me. They were mainly focused on the new baby, but they had a checklist of questions about post-natal depression symptoms, which I replied to with lies.

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I had noticed something was wrong.

I felt like I was watching my life from outside my body. I practiced smiling in the mirror, so I could convince people it was real. I was unable to watch films, read or play video games – I no longer had any interest in them. I started to think that my family would be better off without this empty shell of a person, and that reached a very grim climax.

I had noticed something was wrong.

I told the doctor that, when my family finally cracked through my armour and made me go to my local GP. “I don’t feel like me. I don’t feel like anyone. I feel nothing.” I loved everyone so much, but I couldn’t keep hold of it. It kept floating out of my grasp.

The doctor sent me to a counsellor, to finally talk about these wrong things, these things I was so afraid of, these ghouls that whispered in my ears all day and night. The GP also put me on some low-level medication to help.

It did help. Pills aren’t right for everyone, but they were right for me. There is no shame in correcting a clinical problem with medication, and the stigma around doing so needs to end.

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I had noticed something was right.

After some weeks passed, I began to feel like myself again. I began to smile. I laughed at silly cartoons. I held my new baby and felt that rush of pure love. Something was right – I was coming back. I went to see Guardians Of The Galaxy at the cinema. I wanted to leave the house and be around people.

I had noticed something was right.

After a year on the medication, and in my last session with my counsellor (god bless the NHS), I told her I was going to stop taking it (slowly). I wanted to see if I could now keep being myself. It was hard, but it happened. We talked about looking ahead, and keeping busy.

Keeping busy is easy when you have a hectic work schedule and a family to look after, but over Christmas it was a struggle. “Relax!” people told me, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be stuck with my thoughts for too long, just in case. I found that keeping busy was helpful, but it was looking ahead that become absolutely key.

Picking things to look forward to was deeply rooted in my geekery. If there was a big Marvel film set to be released in a few months, I used it as a marker. When things got on top of me, and I felt myself falling back into the darkness a bit, I reminded myself that there was a new season of my favourite show on the way. “Twin Peaks is coming back after 25 odd years! I can’t miss that.”

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Eventually, even when I wasn’t busy, I found I had a mental calendar of geeky stuff to get excited about that kept me going on gloomier days.

I still have my calendar. Here are 3 things on it for 2019:

– Avengers 4

– A book about the history of organised crime in America, illustrated by Drew Struzan, that’s coming out in April

– New rail links in my county. I can go and see more geeky things happening in London next year!

In the spirit of looking ahead, even when you can’t keep busy, are there three geeky things you’re looking forward to in 2019?

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