Hard Times

Sorry for going AWOL the last month. It’s been a little bit of a stressful time!

In the last month or so I’ve been hit with two pretty tough pieces of news. The first was that a friend of mine passed away. He was the friendliest, most caring guy you could meet and although we hadn’t spoken in quite a while, I was absolutely devastated to hear about it all. He was from a volunteering programme I took part in a few years ago and he made such a huge impact on so many people. He was volunteering for my best friends project and was regularly reassuring her, supporting her and delivering care packages to parents who had children in hospitals.

Then last week, I found out that my gran has cancer. My gran is 83(ish) years old and has lived 5 doors away from me for as long as I remember. She would always look after me, my brother and my cousins when our parents were out working one of their many jobs when we were young and she has always been kind, loving and cheerful (unless she had to miss out on playing mahjong). Hearing her news and hearing that she’s ready to give up is really tough.

As a result, my social life has suffered, my work life is a little bit mad and my mental health has plummeted pretty drastically. My usual techniques of music, video games, video making and comic books just aren’t cutting it and I’m finding that I’m beginning to struggle to do basic tasks. Sleep has been eluding me for the last few weeks and I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I’m constantly feeling guilty for not being able to do everything I usually do to the quality that I usually do it to.

I’m trying constantly to remind myself that I shouldn’t feel guilty and why should I? Okay so these things aren’t happening to me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect me greatly. People that I love and respect are going through some really hard times and that’s going to have an impact on me. Right now, it feels like life is a little bit shit and for me right now, it is. I’m going to try to not feel guilty about depression hitting hard at this point in my life because even someone without depression would feel like shit with all of this.

Bad news affects most people with depression more than it would healthy people. That’s just a given. And getting out of a depression slump is one of the hardest things to do but it is doable. With the help of my friends, my family I will get through this as I have done every single other breakdown and panic attack.

In the meantime though, I’m going to feel like shit and that’s okay.

A

Introducing The Invisible Illness Human Library!

So the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I didn’t post anything for my usual Thursday post but there was good a reason for that! Well actually there wasn’t. I could totally have written a post but I wanted to get this all done and dusted first. 🙂

I’m launching a brand new project! It’s (as I’m sure you’ve guessed) The Invisible Illness Human Library and I’m super excited to see how it all goes. I’ll let my video below do a little more explaining. Take it away, me!

If you’d like to get involved, get in touch via the contact page or tweet me @albysaurus! 🙂

A Successfully Selfless Sunday

So as many of you may have read, it was my birthday at the weekend and my friends and I thought we’d do something different this year. Every year I end up going to a bar, drinking more than is usually responsible and regretting life choices for a long time.

This year we planned something a little different. You can read about the plans here.

Due to some questionable planning on my part, we didn’t make it through the whole list, but what we did achieve made me really proud. Proud of myself for making such wonderful selfless friends. Proud of my friends and my family for being so willing to get stuck in and for giving up their Sundays to make other people smile. Proud of the public for not only taking part but paying it forward.

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Some of Carl’s best cards!

The main thing that we did for the day was writing out lots of positive, motivational and inspirational messages and hand them out to people along with a flower and a few chocolates.

I knew from the get-go that we weren’t going to change the world with this small act of kindness, but it brightened an otherwise very grey London day, for us and the people we were handing gifts out to.

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My beautiful team of volunteers for the day

One of the most exciting things that I’ve seen is that friends who live too far to join in in person carried out their own acts of kindness wherever they were as well. I’ve been getting letters, texts, messages from people all over the place telling me about their random acts of kindness for other people. You can see some of the examples below! One thing, that I know is the case for lots of my friends, is that these random acts of kindness aren’t unusual for them.

So many of my friends spend all their time and energy trying to make other people’s lives better but it’s really rare that a truly selfless person will list out all the things that they’ve done other people.

They rarely  get to see the impact that they have on the world and that breaks my heart a little bit. So my final birthday wish is for you to be a little bit selfish so that you can make sure to spread more selflessness. I wrote a whole post about it ages ago and it’s important to me that you recognise the amazing things and impact that you have on the people around you and the world.

Good deeds don’t always get recognised, but they deserve to be. Often they do, of course and that’s great. But sometimes people won’t notice that you’ve held a door open, or paid them a really nice compliment or helped them in any way.

So to all of my friends and family, the worlds teachers, campaigners, activists, doctors, engineers, youth workers, fast food servers, bus drivers and everyone in between, celebrate your contribution to the world, give yourself a pat on the back sometimes. If you’ve helped someone smile today, you deserve it. Kindness deserves recognition, even if it’s from yourself.

Recognition today goes out to all of my friends and family who helped me to spread some cheer. Those who came on the day, those who donated items for us to use, those who carried out their own acts of kindness in response to this all deserve my gratitude and appreciation, as well as all my birthday well wishers. You helped give me the perfect birthday!

Every act of kindness will be appreciated. I appreciate kindness wherever it’s come from. I want to celebrate kind acts that you’ve carried out. Comment them on here, or tweet me. Have yourselves a wonderful, kind week.

A

 

Countdown to Selfless Sunday

So it’s Thursday right now and in a few days time, it’ll be my birthday! This year has flown by. Lots of amazing things have happened. Lots of awful things have happened too. As mentioned in a previous post for my birthday, rather than doing the usual night in a bar getting off my face drunk, hating life and regretting my life choices, I’ve decided to spend a day doing random acts of kindness.

Now I fully expect this to be significantly less popular than a bar and getting slaughtered. However, lots of people have been really kind, sent things that I can use to make everyone’s day a little nicer. So I’ll be joined by a few people on Sunday to do some goodness. #SelflessSunday

I’ll be tweeting on #SelflessSunday and@Albysaurus so if you’d like to follow the action, please get stuck in! For those of you who read this who are SUPER KEEN please feel free to join me. 🙂 I’ll be meeting most people at Victoria Station, London at 2pm. We’ll be starting from there. I’ll be buying as many flowers as possible in the station so that we can hand them out. I’ll be bringing books, pens, postcards, post-it’s everything we can get our hands on so that we can write out as manynice messages as possible. This was the original list:

  1. A meal for a homeless person
  2. Help an old person/person less physically able with their shopping or cross the road
  3. Sing for the sick
  4. Sing for random people to put a smile on their face.
  5. Write and distribute positive notes to strangers
  6. Tape some coins to a vending machine for the next person
  7. Give strangers a flower
  8. Pay for a coffee for the next person in the queue
  9. Community clean up
  10. Pop up yoga session for people
  11. Give Blood
  12. Give random people a compliment

We might not be able to do them all on the day but we’re going to do as many as we can and make it as fun as possible for everyone involved. 🙂

If you’re not able to make it please make sure that you just do a little good deed for the day. Tell your loved ones you love them. Help someone cross the road. Hold the door open for someone. Smile at someone!

A

 

 

The Recovery Part 8: Success In Selflessness

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why the f*** is this guy sauntering back onto the web to tell us things when he ditched us for so long. Well that’s totally fair. I’ve been pretty shitty when it comes to blogging the last few months (not that I was particularly consistent before).

Well the short version is that I was taking a break from blogging as I’d run out of things to talk about. I’m sure everyone was getting rid of hearing about my recovery (though I’m clearly writing about it still) which is still ongoing, though I am doing better. Panic attacks are limited now to bed time when I have too much time to think (so I’ve been playing retro Pokémon games to fall asleep faster with less panics). Social anxiety is lessening, though please don’t put me in a room with a whole load of people I don’t know and tell me to socialise. I will cower in fear, hide in a corner and most likely hyperventilate.

My reason for writing this post is that I feel as though I’d lost my way with this blog recently. It started as a blog about volunteering and has become more about my mental health than anything else. I am certainly looking at diversifying the content that I put up here to include things that I find interesting (I hope you’re all ready for Nerdpocalypse) but again, lots of it won’t have anything to do with volunteering.

However I have a few projects in the pipeline which will be happening in the next few months and I’m super keen to share the first one with you. I’ll soon be turning 25 years old. A quarter of a century. I’m really lucky that, at this milestone, we generally don’t start to have gammy legs and broken backs. I’m reasonably healthy and able. So for my 25th birthday, my friends and I are coming up with a list of 25 random acts of kindness which we’ll carry out on my actual birthday. 25 is quite a lot and there are only so many hours in the day so we’re looking at doing small, thoughtful gestures. Here’s the list so far:Diem.jpg

  1. A meal for a homeless person
  2. Help an old person/person less physically able with their shopping or cross the road
  3. Sing for the sick
  4. Sing for random people to put a smile on their face. 
  5. Write and distribute positive notes to strangers
  6. Tape some coins to a vending machine for the next person
  7. Give strangers a flower
  8. Pay for a coffee for the next person in the queue
  9. Community clean up
  10. Pop up yoga session for people
  11. Give Blood
  12. Give random people a compliment

We only have 12 things so far so we’re needing lots more! I’m hoping for a huge group of people who can help me tick off every item throughout the day and I’m reaching out to everyone on the internet to help out. It’ll be taking place in London on Sunday September 4th, likely starting from Croydon first thing in the morning. I’ll surely need help carrying things from my  house through Croydon and into London.
If you’re interested at all, just pop a comment down and/or email me. 🙂 I would love to get someone along to help to document the day via video and social media as well.

I’ll be tweeting out using the hashtag #SelflessSunday.

It’s sure to be a Spectacular September Sunday of Successful Selflessness so please join me for part of or all of the day and help me celebrate my birthday in the best flipping way possible!

I hope you’re all feeling happy, healthy and loved.

A