Category Archives: In the moment

Old and new views

Standard

last week this was my view from the bar where I was drinking hot chocolate… Beautiful  

 

On Tuesday this was my view of the local daffodils… Amazing…

   

     

Very different- equally beautiful. 

Thanks for listening

Advertisements

What does it look like?

Standard

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.

MoE ii

Standard

My practice of mindfulness of emotions continues! I did not sleep very well, my sleep was disturbed by dreams of stabbings and murder (unsurprisingly based on my news yesterday). Sleep (an integral part of DBT) plays a significant factor in my resilience and emotional health. Lack of sleep is definitely one of my biggest triggers and weak points. (Good to know)

Last week I had been dog sitting for the most gorgeous schnoodle dog called Dezzie. I have loved having Dezzie. He has been cuddly, friendly, affectionate and generally fairly low maintenance. Because he is so small he has been transportable and because he is so well behaved I have not been stressed by his potentials actions with other dogs and people.

20140802-213624.jpg

My own previous dog was quite a challenge to me and to be honest in many ways he didn’t actually do me a lot of good. Dezzie has brought me joy and companionship this week. I did find leaving him very difficult- my own issues with separation anxiety were definitely triggered but being with him has been really lovely.

Tonight he went home 😦

I miss him and I feel sad. I knew I had an opportunity to practice being mindful of these emotions and one of the things I had been reading about last night was very helpful. When I feel an emotion (usually a negative one) I allow the emotion to ‘mean something’ or i attach a judgement to the emotion. For example, I am sad because I am alone. I am alone because I am not loved… It is not ok to be alone on a Saturday evening, it symbolises that no one wants to be with me etc… Andrea Fell talks about not rehearsing an emotion or allowing yourself to retell the story behind the emotion.

Mindfulness of emotion means experiencing the emotion in the present moment. Focus on the physical sensation of the emotion. Recognise and acknowledge it’s presence but let it go in its own time. Don’t hang on to it. Don’t keep rehearsing the reason for it.

I miss Dezzie. Nothing more, nothing less. I have had his company for the last week and I have enjoyed his company. He is not with me any longer. I experience that loss and work hard to not let that emotion mean something it doesn’t mean.

I realise that my understanding of this is quite shaky at the moment and it is a new way of me experiencing emotions but I like the potential of easing my suffering! So I will definitely need to continue practicing it!

Thanks for listening.

Side by side

Standard

This week has been a new experience for me. I have been trying to marry my sadness at the loss of my brother’s dog- both the dog itself but more painfully the impact on my brother, while at the same time also trying to accept and live in the moment of all the great things that I am doing and getting on with.

The balance of both sadness and lots of joy has been a new and tricky situation for me. In times past, on the whole things would either be absolutely awful or absolutely amazing. This week I find that both are occurring simultaneously for me- and I have found it difficult to manage- mainly because I manage my life by compartmentalising everything, everyone and myself!

I have not seen Penelope for 3 weeks. And I have been thinking about my upcoming session on Friday. What do I tell her… Where do I start? Do I let my grief be the focus of the session or do I spend some time telling her all the massive strides I have taken forward? Well, in line with dialectics I will obviously do both. Because both are equally valid and equally true.

I remember a previous therapist saying to me once, that one of the hardest things can be to accept that someone has been both horrible to you and at times nice. That confusion throws me at times- but it is working with the grey. I tend to box people into competent- incompetent, generous-stingy, capable- incapable… And actually sometimes people including myself can vary on that spectrum.

On Monday I felt paralysed by my emotional pain. Everything I had been working on seemed Sooo pointless. By Tuesday I was able to accept more that Nellie dying is absolutely awful, but that doesn’t have to negate everything else. Yesterday I was very wobbly and today I’ve identified my struggle of two things going on at the same time. That is really helpful.

Hair cuts, jewellery, clothes, making soups and eyebrows seem so unbelievably pointless when I think about my brother. And in many ways yes they are. But I’ve had glimpses that sometimes the more mundane things in life are the things that enable to you keep going when the bigger things are shaken. Going grocery shopping, washing up, having a shower are part of the rhythms that may help stop a potential crash.

I have had to accept that Nellie has died and i am trying to accept that my brother will respond the way he chooses to respond. I have had to put into practice the skills of self-soothing and distress tolerance in a way I haven’t had to for quite a while. I am tired, very shaky and vulnerable. But I have also known what I have needed to do to manage. I’ve been exercising, cooking, watching films, sitting outside, tidying up. Apart from one day I haven’t totally collapsed- which is wonderful 🙂

Thank you for all your thoughts.

Thanks for listening.

Hepzibah.

That time of year again…

Standard

It’s been a busy few weeks. With good things. But busy nevertheless. But I have been gifted the chance to breathe, take stock and refresh. Last new year I went skiing with friends- I do not ski, but I do enjoy après ski all day! I joined them on Sunday. Yesterday I slept pretty much most of the day… Wonderful.

I decided before I came out to France that I would release myself from all expectations this holidaySometimes I try so hard to rest that I never manage it! Sometimes I come on holiday thinking I will ad this book… Make that garment… Do this amount of exercise… I put so much pressure on myself to relax that I can exhaust myself. This holiday I decided that my priority was sleep. My sleep pattern was really disturbed over the christmas holidays with needing eye drops through the night, and I know I need to sleep. My next priority was to try and go with the flow. If I blogged great, if I didn’t, great. If I did any work, fab- if I didn’t do any work- fab. I don’t find this easy. I felt the pang of guilt yesterday when I only woke up at lunch time… But I am going to consciously choose to do what I need- not what I think I should do.

So I write this blog because I want to. Lemon drizzle is in the oven because I wanted to make it for my friends. I’ve listened to barchester towers on the radio because I have the time to stop and listen. I’ve mentioned many times that resting and relaxing are a huge challenge for me… I really hope that this week is a step in the right direction.

I leave with my view from the balcony… What a gift.

Thanks for listening.

20140218-163944.jpg

Signs of change

Standard

My body continues to be challenging. My eye is not responding to treatment as I would have hoped. The main repercussion of compromised vision has been the effect in my distress tolerance and DBT skills. I have blogged previously about how I am a visual learner and my more successful skills are visually based. For the post month I have not been able to read, knit, crochet, make jewellery… Blogging is just about ok in very small doses!

So I’ve had to challenge myself to be skilful in new ways. One of the main things I have done is have bursts of de-cluttering and organising my home. In shortish bursts I’ve attacked various drawers and shelves- it’s been sooooo satisfying!

Today I went through some photos. The first pack was of a visit to New York. I looked at the photos and could not relate to having visited there. The images were alien to me. I then began to organise my Olympic memorabilia- I had been part of the opening ceremony but have no real recollection of this event. I found it very challenging and on the whole quite unpleasant so I zoned out a lot of the time. The photos mean nothing to me.

But then I saw an image of St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow. Immediately I knew I had been there! How encouraging is that!!! I knew I had been there. Such a change.

20140120-191134.jpg

20140120-191152.jpg

20140120-191210.jpg

The other encouraging development over the past month is that I have been able to connect more with the needs of my body. For my whole life I’ve lived in fear that I have imagined or made up being ill. The reasons for this aren’t important at the moment. Except to say, it has at times stopped me getting appropriate medical treatment.

During this last month, I’ve had to go to the hospital 10 times and each time I have been able to articulate and identify the level of pain I’m experiencing. Every single time the doctor has believed me and my symptoms have matched up with the evidence in my body. That is really helpful for me. So helpful. Maybe I can trust what I am feeling in my body a bit more than I ever feared. Amazing.

I’m not happy my body is struggling. But I’m really happy that I am more connected to myself than I ever have been.

Thanks for listening.

Very satisfying!

Image

20131229-101809.jpg

Things are a bit out of sorts for me at the moment. But i was gifted the opportunity to make bread this morning. Gosh, throwing dough about is very satisfying! It’s in the airing cupboard as I type- I’m looking forward to the smell of bread filling the house. Added bonus- Edna next door is going to have the loaf so I’m not tempted to scoff the lot. #mastery