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.

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