Yesterday I did something different…

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Yesterday, I did something different… in a time of acute pain and despair- I tried to self-soothe.

I’m finding this self-soothing business, a bit tricky! On twitter yesterday someone wrote “My therapist said that skills are what everybody else uses but we have never had modeled for us.” I’m not sure if I entirely agree, but all I do know is that I find it very hard to manage my distress in healthy ways.

I was rehearsing ALL day for the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I was completely exhausted- physically, mentally and particularly emotionally. I found myself crying in the toilets at break time to try and muster the strength to carry on- this is something I did for months at work before I went off sick, and I didn’t like being reminded of that experience. However, I have decided that I will continue… the opening ceremony will be over in 2 weeks… the closing over in 4. I am choosing to persevere as I think the disappointment of pulling out will be more detrimental to my healing. (I think I believe this, jury still out- but I am going again today.)

No matter how difficult the day was, I still had to endure an evening- which was far worse. I knew things were not right as I was anxious about the evening when I woke up. I had nothing to do. But worse, I would normally be very happy on a Saturday night- but this is no longer happening. So I had two issues- one the reality, of a Saturday night in, alone. But also the intense feelings of grief and sadness of the loss of what I used to have. I was also trying to manage the fear and panic that was trying to tell me that this was how I was going to spend every Saturday night for the rest of my life. All afternoon I was trying to use ‘wise mind’ to  make a plan.

In reality, I had a number of options. While travelling home, I was able to identify 3 different sets of friends who live on the journey home route- I could have potentially had a cup of tea with any of those (if they were in!) I decided not to do that. I was feeling so tired, and in reality only 1 of those people would have just let me come in and ‘flop’. The others would have needed a bit more energy which I just didn’t have.

Looking back I should have stayed at the stadium and watched the next group rehearse- but I was anxious about picking up a t-shirt, and by the time I walked there, I didn’t quite have it in me, to walk back to the seats. This is a regret- but also a learning point, that I will need to assess the full consequences of my actions as opposed to knee-jerk concerns at the time.

I picked up a take-away on the way back. A treat for me. A fattening treat,  but a treat.

At home, I willed the text to ping, the phone to ring, the email to come. It didn’t. And on the whole at weekends, they don’t.I could feel the despair level rising.

So I made a plan. A different plan- an unusual plan. I decided to self-soothe by having a bath. I have not had a bath in my home for 5 years. In fact, I have never had a bath in this house. I remembered this when I tried to put the plug in and could see that it didn’t fit! However, I heated the water… (45 mins), put some of my new raspberry bubble bath (gifted to me the previous day). Moved the radio into the bathroom, turned it to Radio 3, lit some candles. Cried that my dog wasn’t around. But I tried to relax in a hot bubble bath while listening to My Fair Lady. I stayed in there for just over an hour- and felt positively sleepy by the end. The pain didn’t necessarily decrease, but I managed it.

I am very proud of myself.

Thanks for listening.

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