Monthly Archives: December 2014

Being known

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Christmas is for all intent and purposes virtually over. The holidays are not 🙂
One of the lovely things for me this Christmas was that I felt really ‘known’. In the presents I got, I knew that people knew me. It was lovely.

In particular I had an abundance of onesies (a girl can never have too many!). Luxury ones, fluffy ones and possibly my most outrageous one to date! (Actually this is a close call between this one and the giraffe one that nearly got me arrested in Poland! )

I’m looking forward to wearing it to school for World Book Day!

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I also got beautiful furniture for my dolls house. Last January I had planned to work on my dolls house but my eyes were poorly and I couldn’t. I was already thinking that I would set aside January this year to have my dolls house as my creative project. My friend beat me too it. Such a beautiful gift.

It is really nice being able to receive love. Being horrible to oneself is really more highly rated than it should be!

Thanks for listening.

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Wow!

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Today at the age of 43, I received my first ever Christmas stocking. It arrived in the post with instructions to be opened on Christmas morning. It was quite heavy and I thought it might be a bottle of Buck’s Fizz for breakfast (which I have never had but the sender of the stocking knew I was trying to do things differently!)

Anyway, I saw it this morning and opened it and lo and behold it was a Christmas stocking filled with things for me. I had been talking to Florence about wanting to make stockings for my siblings- as it was something we never had, and she was sharing her experience and advice on Christmas stockings! It didn’t dawn on me that I would receive one. Such a special gift.

Thank you Florence.

Another consequence is that I felt a little sad that I hadn’t decorated my house and tried to be a bit more Christmassy, so that’s good- I need to remember this for next year!

I hope that to everyone who reads this, whether it is the happiest day of the year or one of the worse for you- I hope we can all treat ourselves with a little kindness in honour of the One who loves us so much He gave us the gift of His Son.

Thanks for listening.

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Growing in knowing

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My quest for change continues…

Since Sunday in particular I have been musing on the question- ‘what do I want things to look like?’ I’ve been blogging about wanting to do things differently, but I need meat on the bones- what does that look like?

Currently, I’m not entirely sure. But I am now able to observe that I have a clearer sense of what I don’t want. My sense of self is slowly but surely developing… I can now articulate foods I like and dislike… Textures of materials… Colours… Smells…

But I realise I find it is a lot easier to articulate what I don’t like, it is more tricky for me to express what I do like or want. I think some of that comes down to fear of rejection- if I say I like something or want something- what if I can’t have it??? Occasionally and very recently I have been able to say to friends with whom I feel safe enough if I don’t want something – I find that hard enough let alone saying what I would like !!!

This morning I realised again, that for so many years I have accepted what I don’t want in life because either
A) something was better than nothing
B) fear of being hurt and punished for articulating my own preferences or
C) fear of having nothing if I choose not to accept what is in offer.

The challenge for me is to grow enough in my personhood to work out what I do want. If I don’t want Christmas/ New year / school holidays to be like this… What do I want them to be like …

And that my friends is part of my mission… I realise just because I want something doesn’t necessarily mean I can have it… But I’ve got to at least start with getting in touch with some of my desires and give myself a chance of living the life I want…

I feel this at such a deep level that this blog really doesn’t do it justice- but maybe that in itself is a bit of a clue – maybe I need to strip back again to the basics…

All is good

Thanks for listening

What does it look like?

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Florence left me with the question, what does doing life differently look like?

At the risk of overwhelming us all with the thoughts of life and the universe- my current challenge is how can this Christmas holiday be different for me? I have 3 weeks a head of me, that can either be like previous years- pretty miserable- or perhaps they can be a bit different.

So, if in the sentiment of the last post, it is me that has to change what does that look like?

Well of course- I don’t entirely know! I only know what I’ve done previously!!!! So I have to think/ act/ be in a different way.

The first thing I reflected with Florence was the need for me to connect with others. Christmas in particular, I can easily isolate myself because of the fantasy that ‘everyone is busy with their family’. Well, some people will be. But not all. I have to be brave enough to contemplate that even if they are, that doesn’t mean I am therefore excluded.

I remembered 2 Christmases ago saying to friend how lonely I had felt over the holidays. It was good to be able to say it- but what is the point of reflecting on it afterwards- why not try and do something about it while I’m in it! I know some of friends find it frustrating when they learn after the event that I have been physically unwell- if they know at the time, they can support me.

I agreed with Florence that I would text her/ someone while in the middle of a crisis- not just afterwards. I happily agreed to this, as I was feeling absolutely fine!!!! I was buoyed by my eyes being ok, I had a lovely morning pottering in my home, tidying up- I was not going to feel bad at all therefore I wouldn’t have to admit to anyone I was struggling!!!!!

Unfortunately a few short hours later, this was not the case! I found myself sitting in a cafe by myself with tears rolling down my cheeks. Time to take the risk and do it differently. I text. I wasn’t able to speak. But I communicated to someone else in that moment that I was not ok. And strangely, my reality being known at that point was very helpful. My friend couldn’t do anything about it, I didn’t need her to either- but I was known.

I then also needed to get proactive. In DBT speak- was this a situation that I needed to change or radically accept? I felt I could change the circumstances- or at least try to. I text two friends and asked whether I could see them later. I knew I was risking that maybe they would say no- but I at least had to try. Fortunately for me, they said yes! But if it had been no, I would needed to have dug deeper and done it even more differently. Thankfully I was spared that challenge at that moment.

Strategy 1: text someone in the moment- not after the situation has eased.

If anyone wants to share any of their strategies for whatever situation they are in, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for listening.

Doing it differently

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‘Don’t expect a different outcome if you carry on doing things the same way’.
This is a poor paraphrase of a quote by Joyce Meyer, but I know what I mean!!!

Someone else also said that a sign madness was to carry on doing the same thing and expecting the result to be different.

I remember this quote was the basis of one of my first ever blogs on this site. I was so challenged by the concept that if I wanted things to be different , either I had to be different, or act differently… Doing the same old thing was going to produce the same old results.

Obvious? …Well, yes…
Easy? … Well, no…
Possible?… Definitely…
Challenging?… Yes…
Worth it… YES, YES, YES…

I spent a long time yesterday chatting to a precious friend- and I could hear myself saying often, I need to do this holiday differently. I need to respond differently, I need to be prepared for it to be different… Florence asked me what this looked like… Exactly the question I needed. More of that in a future post!

Historically, school holidays have been difficult for me. This started when I was at school myself and as a teacher, the pattern has continued. I always think I must be one of the few teachers who don’t like the long holidays! I now work in an independent school and they are even longer!!!!

Previously, I have often been physically poorly in the holidays. My body holds on until the first day of the holiday and then wham bam my body protests violently at the stress I’ve put it under. Last Christmas was particularly difficult with my eye sight. It wasn’t great.

I broke up from work on Friday. I was out in the evening and went to bed relatively late for me. I then did something I haven’t done for a while. I was too frightened to go to sleep. I kept myself awake. I know, a bit bizarre- but I used to do that when I was very depressed. I used to find waking up to the black cloud suffocating me so awful, I preferred to keep awake so I didn’t have to wake up.

I knew if I was going to have eye problems, Saturday morning was likely. Of course, I eventually fell asleep with lights and tele on! And amazingly, my eyes are ok. I have got a fair chance of trying to do this holiday differently. And I am. End of. I am changing. Full stop.

I hope to blog a lot this holiday, I hope we can encourage each other to do it differently.

Thanks for listening.

Back on track…

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I have felt ‘stuck’ in my therapy sessions over the past few weeks. I’ve hit a wall and felt like I was at stale-mate with both myself, my process and Penelope. Of course I have kept at it. Going to sessions, trying to engage and trying to remain open to the process, but it has been really tough. I haven’t wanted to face the issues. I certainly haven’t wanted to engage in the homework. And I was beginning to feel there wasn’t a way through this. For the first time in over 2 years, I didn’t quite know what to do, how to do it or even if I really wanted to do it.

Yesterday, I had a really helpful session. I said all of the above (not for the first time) but Penelope seemed to be able to sum it up in a way for me that helped things click in to place. I am a visual learner. We both got pens and paper out and made diagrams and flow charts… we changed wording, (I was getting hung up on certain words). We re-framed the issues and context. I could ‘see’ the issues and my behaviour… all in front of me. And I am grateful. I feel back on track. Nothing has changed in the sense that the issues are the same and the homework is the same. But I have changed. An insurmountable problem seems a little more in perspective today.

Throughout my DBT process, I have often just needed the next little step… to know where to focus… to have something I can reach out to… I think I found that again yesterday, which is a huge relief!

Thanks for listening.