round the corner

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Unknown.pngThe shift described in my previous post had started. And it continued.

 

 

I really do find myself extremely frustrating and very difficult to manage most of the time.

One of my frustrations is that I feel like I can’t do ‘normal’ things like other people. I compare myself to other people a lot and always come up lacking (like we all do).

Other people can drill holes in walls. Other people don’t get lost as easily as I do. Other people can measure sizes better than I. Other people are nicer than I am… other people manage to have food in the cupboards and clean floors… you know the usual script we all tell ourselves.

But one thing that I was determined to conquer this holiday, was my frustration that I can’t just take myself off by myself and walk up a mountain. Ideally, I would have others to do that with, but what if I don’t have others to join me… am I just not going to do it? If I want to do something just get a grip and do it…

Unknown-1.pngSo this holiday, while my friends were skiing. I decided to go up a mountain. By myself. This was one of the most STUPID things I have done in a while. It’s all very well me doing my intrepid explorer rubbish- but going up a mountain by yourself is sometimes just STUPID.

I had a guide book. But not much else. Unsuitable footwear which meant I literally had to crawl along some icy patches. I couldn’t work out how to move the time on my fitbit back so my watch said one thing and my phone the other. But the problem was, I couldn’t seem to work out which one was correct! Unfortunately while on the mountain I was following my fitbit time when I should have been using the phone and I was an hour out which meant I had to RUUUUUUNN to catch the last cable car down the mountain. Just ridiculous!

I also discovered that I get very confused over left and right (sorry, I just do) and up and down. And when the book said walk this way for 100 metres, I have absolutely NO IDEA whatsoever, what that actually means. I just find distances very tricky to judge- so I literally couldn’t work out where I was, where I had to go and how on earth I was going to do it.

In reality, I wasn’t in any danger. I had a phone and signal. It was light. Nothing was going to go really wrong as long as I didn’t slip over the edge. But I was so determined to reach the end of this blooming trail. The problem being… the destination wasn’t signposted and I didn’t really know what I was looking for. images.jpeg

The book said Mount Clary. I presumed this was a mountain? but mountains don’t have labels usually- it could have been any of them! I was told there was a cafe at the destination. I subsequently found out that the signs I hoped would say Mount Clary, were actually saying the name of the restaurant (but I didn’t know that).

At times the guide book was really vague. When roads split off, I didn’t know which one to take. So of course I ended up taking the wrong one. My idealistic notions of climbing a mountain and enjoying the view at the end were crashing down by the minute. (It was also very cloudy so I couldn’t actually see Mount Blanc either!)

I remembered my mantra. I wasn’t going to keep on searching wondering if the destination was around the corner. I got to an end point (as I saw it) and stayed there.IMG_2380.JPG

That evening I discovered that I was literally about 2 mins away from the cafe!!!! If I had just kept on to the next bend I would have reached Mount Clary. Such a bummer. So near and yet so far. As it turns out, by this point I discovered the issue with my timings so I wouldn’t have been able to have a hot chocolate any way. But that wasn’t the point. I wanted to be able to say I had got myself from Les Gets to Mount Clary by myself.

“One more bend… a few more steps… if I had just…”  the voice I don’t want to live with… but two near misses in as many days… what’s happening?

shifting?

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My ex-fiance had an extremely annoying habit of always trying to find something better… we would drive for ages in a bid to find a better car parking space. We would walk the whole length of the beach to try and find the best spot. It used to drive me mad! Just park the damn car. Find a spot and sit down for goodness sake.

Along with never running for a tube train or bus ever again, I decided that once we split up I would never do that kind of thing. I didn’t want to always be looking for something better… never satisfied… always wondering if there was something better out there. images-1.jpeg

But recently, some 18 years later, I’ve had a number of quick succession of events that have made me question this approach.

At Easter I went ski-ing. I had to wait at Geneva airport for the rest of my friends to join me. I have done this before and I knew of a bar where I could sit and stitch to my hearts content. So at departures I turned right and went to the bar I had been to previously. I ended up having to wait about 5 hours and I was relatively settled. Except, the bar is dark. I wouldn’t go as far as dingy- but definitely dark. I really cannot stand being in ‘ambient’ lighting so it was bothering me- but not enough to make me find somewhere else. (I stuck to my above mantra).

As it happens when I joined my friends we turned left at the departures and my word I was surrounded with the bars/ cafes galore- all really light and airy with comfy seats! I was gutted. I genuinely felt disappointed. I had sat for over 5 hours in a dark den, when light was 200 metres away.

images.pngIt was then I began to question my previous aversion to exploring. But I don’t like the ‘what if’s’… what if I turned left instead of right… what if I’d checked out the whole airport… why did I assume this was all there was… and I could drive myself ad infinutum with that kind of thinking. But something was beginning to shift… images.jpeg

 

sometimes things can get better…

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I am back in the French Alps, and Lac Montriond is one of my happy places in the world. I have been  few times now and it is a short bus ride away from where I usually stay. It is glorious. This picture was possibly taken about 4 years ago, and doesn’t do it justice.

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Yesterday, I visited it again. And if it were possible, the scene that greeted me was even more spectacular… it was the first time I had seen it without snow and it was GLORIOUS.

 

IMG_2391My photos do not do it justice… but my eyes did.

It made me think, that sometimes we think things can never get better/ be better… and yesterday, I saw for myself, that sometimes things can get better even when they are already pretty amazing.

Thanks for listening.

And… breathe…

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Unknown.jpegbreathing… the very essence of life… without it we can’t survive. Instinctual. Natural even? Something we take for granted? Something we are usually not aware of?

But sometimes, it’s the only thing we can manage, and it’s the only thing we need to manage.

I have been finding things quite difficult since the start of the year- and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I am about to list is the full reason for my melancholy- but I’m sure it hasn’t helped.

  • A friend’s daughter committed suicide in January- though not personally affected by her loss, the impact on my mental health and ability to keep myself safe has been, and still is huge.
  • Another person I know has started treatment for anorexia. Her pictures and stories on Facebook have been hugely triggering for me- I know I need to block them- but like a moth to a light bulb I’m drawn to them…
  • My elderly neighbour with Alzheimers has been put in to a care home against her will. I have visited her every day for nearly 10 years- she is now gone. I’ve been to the care home to see her and it is just awful. I came out of there on Saturday and just wept- wept for her, and wept for myself, as I see before me my fear of what might happen to me…
  • School/Work has been awful (and still is) At times really unpleasant. I’ve felt betrayed by people I thought were friends and been stabbed in the back by parents whom I have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping… I’ve felt rejected and abandoned and have hurtled in to fear of bankruptcy and losing my house… I don’t feel positive enough to stem the negative tide… I can only see the ongoing trajectory as downward…
  • I am working so hard (some things that I wish I wasn’t having to work at), so I live with the constant tension of not actually doing a good enough job at any of what I am having to do…
  • My studies (my treat) is being totally neglected
  • I am still trying to adapt to the new arrangements I have/ need to have with close buddies who now have children
  • I am on count down to having to stop with my psychiatrist due to re-structuring in the Trust. I have seen him for 12 years- never a good time to stop, but it really doesn’t feel like the right time to stop either
  • Plus, a couple of other things that I choose not to blog about…

Actually as I write this I realise I feel depressed. I’ve had other times in life that have been tricky, but I’ve not felt like this. I am filled with doom about the future. I can’t see a way through. I haven’t the energy to fight at the moment. Things that were more natural to me aren’t anymore. The black cloud has tightened it’s grip a bit. So this post hasn’t developed the way I thought it would… I didn’t expect to write this last paragraph- but that’s good- that’s why I blog, it helps me process, and this process has taken me to a slightly unexpected place… so I’m going to stop here and get back to where I started, focus on my breathing.

Thanks for listening

 

 

 

End of an Era

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Most of you will know that I am single and without children.

I don’t feel necessarily broody. It’s just the way life has turned out.

As you can imagine, most of my friends are not single and have children (some quite a lot!)

images-1.jpegTwo days ago, my last ‘childless’ couple, Brad and Angelina, took 2 children in to their care. Wonderful- but it’s the End of an Era to me. Please hear me- I’m delighted for them and jealous of course, but the issue for me is that when people say, when one door closes another one opens… I seem to have lots closing but not many new one opening!

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I love all my children’s friends dearly- I really do. But the presence of children changes the dynamics. I’m grieving for my last set of friends whom I could text and say fancy lunch.. or an impromptu thing… I know it doesn’t mean we won’t ever do those things again, but it will be different. And I think to ignore that on my part is a bit naive. I know they will involve me as much as I want to be involved. I know the children will be ok with me being around… but I’m still feeling sad about losing my buddies in childlessness!

This morning while walking the pups, I was thinking about the automatic thoughts and feelings this has arisen in me and as I blog, I want to try and challenge them!

  1. everyone else seems to move on in life… I don’t
  2. you will be even more alone than you were before
  3. other people can have families, you cant
  4. you wouldn’t be able to manage even if you got one
  5. they will be too busy for the business and for you

Actually, I’m really crying as I type!

Because those automatic thoughts feel like the truth to me. And this is where I always get with CBT. I identify the thoughts, but then can never challenge them because I believe them! Shit. This isn’t going to plan. I hoped that I would be able to challenge each point and end this piece of writing feeling totally different. Shit- not going to happen.

images.jpegBUT, it will have to happen. It might take me longer than the 10 mins needed to write this blog, but it has to happen. If not, I am going to continue to be very miserable indeed. So time to sign off, need to get the CBT text books out and get to work on these thoughts before I get too overwhelmed with sadness…. gosh, hadn’t fully appreciated how sad I was feeling about it. Thank you blogging for the gift.

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Thanks for listening.

 

 

Half Term

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Sometimes, things don’t seem to get any easier. (or maybe they do, but I only really focus on them when they are tricky?)

Unknown.pngHalf Term is once again upon me. I imagine lots of teachers are celebrating. I’m relieved, but I’m not joyful.

My ideal half term is a few days away with friends then a few days at home to potter and organise myself for the next bit. My usual go-to-family weren’t around this holiday, and I realised that I was really feeling sad about it. I’ve been trying to think through why… and I think its for two main reasons

  1. the dilemma is what do I do instead but also
  2. I miss them and that time with them… but why?!?

POINT 1. 

I’ve known they were not around for ages- and I was actually trying to be very pro-active about this holiday. In good DBT style I was trying to consider what did I want… what did I need… and how could I meet those.

I’ve searched solo holidays, I nearly booked a ski-ing trip, but didn’t really want to go alone. I even booked a dog-friendly hotel for a couple of nights. I ended up cancelling it as I thought it might be a bit miserable… I considered another fitness boot camp… I tried to find a craft  or writing residential but I couldn’t… I’ve really researched but nothing was grabbing me. I either couldn’t quite face driving hours to get somewhere, or I didn’t want to leave the pups or it just didn’t seem like much fun by myself…

Unknown-1.pngSo I decided for myself, that I was going to stay put. Potentially a healthy choice. But then I found myself mentally preparing list upon list of things that I wanted to get done in the house, or in school, or in my studies or in my hobbies! I was arrested by the fact that my default position was busy-ness and achievements…

And then I refer back to my perennial issue of what does rest look like for me? the reality is, I love getting things ticked off my list- that makes me feel more restful, but as soon as one list gets completed- another one forms… somewhere and somehow I have to learn to stop.

So, at the start of half term, I decided that not only will I stay put, but also I will do my utmost to not be so driven and task-orientated. The main reason being that I had put things in place on a few days and I didn’t quite have long enough to make a visit worthwhile.

But things started to unravel pretty quickly! Firstly, I found out that I could have been to my friends… so that really threw me, secondly, to punctuate my week, I put some things in place- today’s got cancelled. Thursday’s isn’t looking promising and then friends I am visiting at the weekend are going out on Saturday night so I’m on babysitting duty!!!

But I’m holding on. But I hate that. Holidays are precious. I don’t want to survive. I want to flourish and replenish. I hate the thought of just getting through- that is so selling myself short. But I’m not going to run away.

POINT 2. 

This has been more revealing to me. I miss seeing my friends as I love them. They are adventurous fun-loving friends who I enjoy being with greatly. But also I realised they are my fix of ‘normality’. My fix of family. They have two wonderful children who have known me all their lives and who just accept me as  I am.

images.jpegAt New Year there was such a special afternoon. Each child was in their own room doing their thing. The dad was in his study doing his thing. The mum was doing her thing and I was in my room doing my thing. I absolutely loved it. Separate but together. It felt so wonderfully normal. People doing what they needed but coming back together (for food!). I miss that. I wish I had that. This half term that’s also what I’m missing and it feels painful to me at this  point in my life.

So what do I do about it? 

To be honest, I don’t entirely know. I am highly grateful for my home and my life. I do not think for one moment the grass is greener on side of any fence. My garden is pretty lush thank you very much. Wonderful friends and families that embrace me wholeheartedly. But something is missing. Really missing for me. And that has to be what I try and face. I just don’t know how.

Anyway, a longer ramble than usual- but needed to process much!

Thanks for listening.