The Problem With Looking for a Saviour

So, today’s post is a little different…

This is the first writing of mine that I have shared on Elephant Journal 🐘 But it is something that I have wanted to do for years! I’d really appreciate it if you could click through and have a read, I’d really love this one to do well 🧡

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/05/the-problem-with-looking-for-a-saviour/

Thank you for reading 🙂 If you have enjoyed this writing, please feel free to come and join me on my following social network pages to see my new posts and daily musings:

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Caterpillar


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sometimes I feel like I want to fold in on myself

Curl myself up in a cocoon and store myself away for use on brighter days

Its not a horribly morose feeling, there is no emotion to it – good or bad –  it’s just a feeling of not wanting to exist, in this form, on this day

It’s not suicidal, it’s not wanting to die or for this life to end in its entirety – for tomorrow, I know I will want to be alive

It’s just for today

A wish to be quiet and small and not have any influence on anything

To not speak, to not spend money, to not think or eat

Just to fold myself away

And unfurl on a brighter day

Recognition

Image credit:Kawin Harasai @ Unsplash

This morning on social media, I saw a post by a woman who achieved something wonderful yesterday; she ate lunch.

She didn’t feel that it was something wonderful, or that she achieved because, well, every one eats lunch, right? So why should we celebrate this as an accomplishment?

Around the same time I was also having a chat with a friend who suffers from fibromyalgia. He was asking me how I managed the transition between work and home, how I knew what I needed when and also, how I coped? He told me of a time when he worked and the exhaustion would be so great that he would fall asleep as soon as he got in through the door and wake up in the morning in the same clothes, even with his shoes still on, and having to do it all again…

It brought me to mind of a period of time last year when I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I was depressed, quite severely so, but I didn’t think that was the sole cause of just how exhausted I was. However, I did that thing we all do, I compared myself to others and ultimately ended up feeling worse. How could I warrant being this tired? My friend worked and studied, and had 2 children and she wasn’t this tired!

My husband worked 6 days a week and I only worked 5, how selfish of me to be too tired in the evenings or weekends to not be able to do anything fun.

My parents, both past retirement age had days fuller than mine and still had energy to spare!

You can see how these thoughts spiralled…

I now know that yes, I was severely depressed. I also had undiagnosed fibromyalgia and I was taking an anti-depressant that was a) no longer working and b) a sedative, it was no wonder I was so exhausted all of the time!

We do this though, we all do. We minimise our own feelings by comparing them to others and we don’t just do it with exhaustion, we do it with pain and we do it with experiences of trauma – on the flip side of that, we do it with how much we manage to achieve during the day and we do it with what we achieve throughout recovery.

I understood how the woman on twitter felt this morning, because I have had those exact same thoughts. I have felt embarrassment and even shame when I have been congratulated for walking my dog, or for enduring a whole day at work. How ridiculous that I should be congratulated for doing something that millions of people – including those supporting me – do every day! And so I didn’t hear it; I didn’t hear how proud they were of me or how this was another step forward in my recovery, because I was too busy beating myself up for it.

I know now, that I should have felt proud of myself for achieving those things. Yes, my husband may not think twice about getting our dogs lead on and marching him around our local playing field every evening – but I did, I still do. I had a period of about eleven months where I couldn’t leave my house alone because my anxiety was so bad. All sorts of scenarios would play out in my head, and that was just me, alone. Add a dog into the mix and those scenarios doubled!

It’s not easy to change the way we talk to ourselves, I certainly haven’t mastered it yet, but I think I am beginning to learn just how important that inner voice is. Last week in therapy we discussed how my inner voice is very critical and also how it has almost replaced the voice of those girls that bullied me all those years ago. I wouldn’t dream of ever talking to anyone the way that I talk to myself.

But I think I do need to hear when others talk to me kindly and to learn from them that I am a woman worthy of praise. When my parents, or my husband or my friends say they are proud of me, they aren’t lying; they aren’t saying it just for something to say. These are people who I know, and trust and choose to surround myself with – I seek their counsel and value their opinions on everything else, so why would that suddenly change when it comes to their opinions regarding me?

I also know, all too well how I relate to others. If someone who struggles with anxiety tells me that they have managed to achieve a task that was difficult because of their struggles then I am proud of them – that could be from walking their dog to talking in front of thousands of people, if you have anxiety there could be very little between the two in terms of terror. I don’t roll my eyes and go ‘well, duh, 9 million* other people also walked their dog today’ because, y’know, that would be kinda ridiculous and also it would be ignoring the fact that we are all different and we all face our own struggles every, single day.

That person that talks confidently in front of thousands of people, they may have a deep rooted and overwhelming fear of gaining weight. It may be an achievement for them to sit down and eat a meal without feeling panic or terror.

That really bubbly person in your friendship group, they may absolutely hate being alone. They may achieve something just be spending some time with their own thoughts.

That polite receptionist, she may be battling depression and fibromyalgia and it could be the hardest thing in her world to work for nine hours straight *ahem*

There are literally billions of examples. On my good days I know I should be proud of myself because I am working, because I am in a good routine and I managed to eat/socialise/ sleep well etc – and it is the little things amongst that that I have had difficulties with in the past. Those little things, when I achieve them should be celebrated and acknowledged, because they are the things that keep life ticking over. The getting up, taking care of myself, taking responsibility, setting boundaries, doing the therapy, saying when something is wrong, addressing my emotions as they come up and learning how to manage them – these are all important things that are part of my recovery and if anybody else was doing them then I would be there in the side-lines cheering them on all the way.

But I need to learn how to do that on the bad days as well as the good. I need to find out how to silence that little inner voice that hisses ‘So what, you got out of bed when you were feeling crap? Let’s look at the list of things you didn’t do!” – Because that voice isn’t helpful, and it is also how no-one else thinks of me.

I am definitely still a work in progress, but I think the more I encourage  and praise others for their achievements and stop looking at them as ‘big or small’, the more that little inner voice will get the message that actually, on some days, having a shower is tantamount to climbing a mountain.

And that is ok.

{* I fact checked this}

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Turn Around

Image by Yogendra Singh @ Pexels

You tried to outrun it, didn’t you?

You tried to speed ever onwards, not looking back. Through relationships, and jobs and sweet amber liquid that tasted like how you imagine silence might sound.

The bridges that you built in haste with shaking, trembling hands stood firm, they didn’t crumble, they didn’t fall. They held your heavy, fast footsteps as you cleared each one.

It was working.

It was messy and it was band aids and it was hard. But it was working, wasn’t it?

Until it wasn’t.

Until it gained speed behind you. Did it pick up it’s pace, or did you slacken yours?

I suppose it doesn’t really matter, it was going to catch up with you eventually.

Because you can’t outrun fear my love. You can’t outrun that little knot of fear and loneliness and emptiness that a small child once grasped with both hands and couldn’t let go of.

You need to take a deep breath, turn around and take it from him now. It’s heavy, so be careful.

Be brave.

And then you can walk the rest of the way, with a small hand in yours and the loneliness, at least, will subside.

Thank you for reading 🙂 If you have enjoyed this writing, please feel free to come and join me on my following social network pages to see my new posts and daily musings:

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Enough

Image credit: Ales Me @ Unsplash

How many times do you excuse a behaviour before saying… enough?

How many nights of worrying do you endure before you realise that you are not responsible for the actions of of someone else?

How many times do you allow yourself to be hurt or confused by someone before you realise that you are not the one at fault?

How many times can someone accuse you of being too sensitive before you realise that sensitivity isn’t a negative character trait?

How many reasons can you find to justify someone else’s faults?

How many snippets of advice do you give before you realise that they are falling on deaf ears?

How many circles do you want to travel around?

I have found my number.

Thank you for reading 🙂 If you have enjoyed this writing, please feel free to come and join me on my following social network pages to see my new posts and daily musings:

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