Hi everyone and welcome to another Project Unicorn post. I’ve been very quiet on this site for the last week or so because I’ve been really poorly! I’ve been hit with the local post-Christmas bug going round and it’s set off a chain reaction of migraines that kept me off work nearly all of last week. SO glad to be feeling better now! Still bunged up and got a cough but my voice has come back just in time for filming Friday’s collaboration video with Blacksummer Colouring! Yay!
It’s been lovely to get back to walking the dogs, as well. I just felt too ill to leave the sofa, let alone the house, for several days last week. But Lilly, Doug and I had a lovely village walk last night, and they were so chilled afterwards, all stretched out in front of the fire… Life was good.
Steve, the evil migraine monkey
Thinking about the migraines though… The problem with having multiple or recurring daily migraines is that a) they hurt, b) you feel too poorly to do anything but sleep or lie on the sofa having a pity-party, and c) they make you feel really depressed. I say you. Me. They make ME really depressed. Does anyone else find this? After a migraine, I get really tearful and down about my whole life, and although my logic brain understands that this is just a chemical reaction in my brain, I end up examining my whole life and everything in it, looking for an external source of the sadness so that I can do something about it.
That leads to problems of its own. For example, it causes tensions in my marriage when I question how ‘okay’ Claire and I are. We’re normally rock solid. We’ve been together since 2005, from on-off teenaged dating to getting engaged in 2009 and married in 2014. After all these years… surely I’d know? I usually look at our relationship and beam with joy because I’ve found somebody emotionally stable to counter my emotional ups and downs, who’s equally peculiar as me (IN A GOOD WAY) and just as creative, so we totally understand each other. And then along comes a migraine and boom. I’m wondering if we settled down too soon, if we really know each other as well as we think we do, if Claire’s actually judging me all the time, if she actually doesn’t love me… All of these nasty little ‘evil monkey’ thoughts in the back of my mind. (I call him Steve.)
It also affects me at work. I start to become a Negative Nelly and risk dragging everyone else down with me. I certainly fall into the trap of moaning about the little gripes at work, instead of seeing the positive in things (such as the way my boss is being brilliant with my migraine management through the sickness absence policy), and this in turn affects my motivation. I then find it really difficult to summon up the energy or enthusiasm to encourage people to embrace change and think differently in order to make process improvements in their teams. It’s really the sort of job where you need to be on your game all the time, because motivating people to change, especially when they’ve not requested that you come and work with them, can be extremely tough. (But rewarding.)
Marvin the Unicorn v Steve the Evil Monkey
Sometimes, Claire and I will be lying in bed, snuggled up all warm and comfy, and we’ll get chatting about really deep, intense things. One day, one of these things was my depression. I was talking about the intrusive thoughts that creep in when I’m feeling depressed or anxious, trying to work them out and make them okay, and Claire called them my ‘evil monkey’.
This was a few years ago. The nickname stuck, and it gave me a way of separating the thoughts from my emotional self so that I could study them more easily and gain some perspective so I don’t get swept away. Very easy to do for someone like me.
One day at work, I ended up doodling ‘Steve the Evil Monkey’ and boom. He was born.
Around this time, Claire started to call me a unicorn. This adjective means that I am creative, funny and proud to my authentic, unique self. I am so completely ME all of the time, in everything that I do, that sometimes I feel like I stand out – like a unicorn in a herd of horses. (I’m a total horse nut so this metaphor worked well for me.)
During a very down time, when Claire was in her crochet phase of crafting, she secretly crocheted Marvin the Unicorn for me as a little mascot to have on my desk at work to keep me happy throughout the day. She did this, hidden under a blanket at her end of the sofa, in two weeks whilst I was sad. And then, one day, she presented me with this absolutely adorable little guy!
I, of course, promptly turned him into a key ring and attached him to my unicorn pencil case so that I could take him with me wherever I went.
From then on, Marvin the Unicorn became my antidote to Steve the Evil Monkey. They’ve battled, Steve with his fangs and claws, and Marvin with his glittery horn of happiness, and eventually, Steve began to lighten from black fur to brown, to blond… He even has some pink and blue stripes in his fringe right now (yes, Steve has a fringe… it’s more of a mow-hawk, but not quite that awesome ‘cos he still has self-doubts). I’m not sure he’ll ever be fully rainbow coloured, but we’re working on him, turning a lot of that negativity to positivity. He comes back with a baseball bat of insults once in a while… and sometimes he knocks Marvin’s horn off or splits it with the power of his hits, but horns grow back. Especially when they’re made of glitter and magical.
Anyway… I digress.
I’ve hit 20 subscribers on YouTube!!! As of today, I think I’m actually up to 23, which is ABSOLUTELY fantastic! I’m so thrilled that people are enjoying my content and finding my unicorn rambles about happiness and positivity useful. Yay for helping people!
I’ve got 4 videos up right now and another one on Friday. I’ll be drawing. On camera! Aaah! It’s going to be so funny.
I have so many more videos planned as well. I’m addicted and it’s FABULOUS. I even have an idea for a new channel, where I can focus on Continuous Improvement and coaching techniques. I don’t feel like these belong together on the same channel, because Project Unicorn is all about happiness and positivity, whereas the CI stuff is… well, specific. So yeah, that’ll be launching soon too!
Busy, busy! Keeps me on my toes!
Toodles for now. I’m off to squeeze in a bit of writing while I can!