Person in Progress

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

Not to put to fine a point on it, most of the last year or two has been toxic in alot of ways. It has not gone well, besieged by illness and tormented by the past and situations which I felt powerless to change.  But underneath it all, little did I realise that actually I was changing. We are ever changing and sometimes, it creeps up on us and whacks us over the head with the proverbial hammer. Sometimes it needs to.

I needed to change, so many things.  My self-destructive thinking, my approach to people always thinking that it was my job to make them like me and getting awfully disappointed and even upset if they didn’t. My attitude to myself and general way of thinking. I had to stop taking things so personally, but the trouble with being an empathetic soul means that unless you take time to protect yourself, then it feels as though it is all on you, your responsibility to make things better for others, to listen, to advise etc, etc. Sometimes it is just too much to cope with.

Then someone wonderful sat me down for a little talk, well actually a lot of talks over quite a long period of time. She told me that I was a nice person, (I have always tried to be) that I am loved and that people should be proud to know me and work with me, that I am an inspiration and encouragement to others and if they didn’t like me, then it was their problem and not mine.

That last bit, I have to admit was a bit of a thunderbolt. I don’t think that I was equipped to deal with it at the time, but it was nice to hear it.  But there it sat, at the back of my mind for months and months.  Slowly over time, I began to view myself differently, I looked at the things that I could do, the ways that I could help people and even in some small way, I decided that if people didn’t like me, then that was it. I wasn’t going to beat myself up trying.

This was a sign of a new me emerging.  I also found my usually reserved thoughts, creeping out, when someone made me angry, or sad, or hurt then I became vocal about it. I occasionally swore, whereas the previous me would have done almost anything to avoid this, I have become more like my siblings who don’t hide their emotions. It didn’t always make me nice to be around, but as time has gone by, I have been fighting invisible illnesses which people do not understand and trying to keep a brave face.  Sometimes the cracks show.

I have looked into myself, rediscovered my spirituality, things that make me tick, instincts which I have long neglected to follow, recognition of things that I know to be true.  I have looked at alternative ways to heal physical ailments. Having been let down by medics who are supposed to help, left out in the cold I decided that it was not good enough and would look at alternative therapies, return to reflexology and homeopathic remedies in the hope that it would start to make a difference and slowly it did. Little steps, bit by bit I began to change.

I have consciously tried to regain my confidence that had been ripped from me by the people who tore away at me. By the circumstances which have caused havoc in my life lately and by the grief caused by the loss of loved ones.

But, I am still the new me in progress. My eyes have been opened to so much in the past few months. The toxic people and relationships which I have had to sustain in the workplace just to get along, are gone along with the job. I have found that by having time to work things out in my head and realise people for what they were has given me a better understanding of their behaviour.

I miss working, in the normal sense but I now realise that I don’t have to accept their bad behaviour any more. Lately I have been concentrating on getting my health back to normal and I am still a way off. I am less trusting of people now. I no longer take them at face value, I watch for the signs, body language and follow my gut feeling. As someone who was watching my back once said, “if something looks too good to be true, it usually is” the same can be said for people.

The environments that I had been around had become toxic, there was bad feeling all around me and it was making me more and more sick. Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will notice that some of what had been happening, or had happened in the past has been mentioned sometimes at length and this has been part of the process of healing from it. Fixing my mental health along with my physical health and finally I feel as though I have turned a corner.

I took time out from the norm, actively encouraged, (well pushed and shoved kicking and screaming would be more apt) to go off and take some time out, to see friends not knowing how my health was going to be in the future it was arranged for now. I was also encouraged to do things which caused happiness and to get creative, which I have been busy doing for a while now. In conclusion it has been exactly what was needed.

So have I rebooted my system, for want of a better phrase?  I hope so. I think I am becoming a different person and it isn’t just about growing up and being an adult. Time changes us, situations change us, relationships change us, so we remain ever-changing, evolving into hopefully a new improved version of ourselves, before we get to grow old disgracefully, having the time of our lives, surrounded by loving people who will miss us when we are gone.

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Overload

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

It sometimes feels as though too much.
Indescribable feeling, not unreal as such.

Fatigued, exhausted from it all.

Setting myself up for a fall?

I try to sleep, but sleep won’t come.

Nowhere from it that I can run.

I worry it will swallow me whole 

Falling down this great big hole.

I feel the senses overload,

As I travel on this road.

Sometimes uncontrollable quakes,

After which my body aches.

Often feel as though bound and chained.

When I have felt my energy drained.

All the senses heightened here,

Shaking, sweating cloaked in fear.

Sounds so loud, then they are gone.

But they tell me nothing’s wrong.

Suddenly I’m temporarily deaf, 

Frightening leaving me bereft.

I asked them the problem to address, 

But they say it’s caused by stress.

I tried the calm. To meditate.

Can’t force the quiet, myself I berate.

My voice has changed, I cannot shout.

When I try to let it all out.

Swollen throat I almost choke, 

Sending the message my body has broke?

My mind and body feel detached,

Suddenly, became ill matched.

At this time I feel bereaved.

For what’s been lost, I am aggrieved.

I rest a while and floating free,

Willing just to return to me.

The blood is pounding around my head, 

Surging, thoughts fill me with dread.

With gritted teeth and clenched jaw,

My muscles aching and so sore.

Is this real pain or anxiety

there’s changes needed to just be. 

Cannot just stay powerless,

Wanting to relieve the stress. 

A deeper meaning I search to find,

Whilst hoping it’s not just in my mind.

Tremble

As I tremble, from the sheer weight of my feelings underneath it all. 

My hands are shaking, the blood races around my body.

I roar, the tiger inside momentarily wounded. 

Reliving the moments, I feel the pain of my recent past. Hurting from it all, renewed anger and sadness rising from the pit of my stomach. 

It is laid bare before a new person who didn’t know. She is in tears as I leave. Why did I do that to her? I did not do it on purpose or for gain it is my cry for help. The long awaited appointment. 

The ups and downs of thinking that I may have healed myself but the reality that the painful process has just begun again. I return to the safety of my car, where I sit and look at random things for a few minutes. My head pounding and a feeling of sickness creeping through my throat. I need to calm my nerves feeling numb, a bit dazed and confused. The next step in my therapy.
via Daily Prompt: Tremble

When it’s alright on the outside.

This is the inspiration beind this particular post. This picture came from Facebook as so many do but in particular advertising awareness for Crohn’s & Colitis.

It got me thinking about just how many people I might know who are dealing with an invisible illness. The ones where it does not show, people who we are sure they are alright because they don’t look ill. It occurred to me how  almost everyone we know fights a battle of some sort.

It could be cancer, mental health, abuse, addictions, or a physical illness or disability. It could be anything at all.

It is very easy to not think about what other people might be going through and just react to a comment, a look or an emotion but in a judgemental world that we are living in, just take a moment to think about it before your own assumptions take over. Some fight it all alone whilst others can have a whole network of support. Some simply cannot cope and will shut down hoping for the storm to pass. Some will talk about it whilst others will not everyone is different.

Respect those differences but if you know someone who has is coping with an illness invisible or not, just a small gesture to show that you are thinking of them, or that you care can mean the world when it all gets too much.

I know we have just had the season of goodwill and you might be feeling that New Year warm fuzzy feeling but can we extend that around the rest of the year and it might just start to make a difference in our lives. I’m not asking for world peace, after all who am I to ask?

To Those Who Are Getting Help. 

This is a bit of a follow on Post from the other day about CBT When Those Three Letters Mean Totally Different Things and when it’s just time to Breathe!

Someone very dear to me and whom I haven’t seen for some time had told me that they are getting help to work through their issues. I am so happy for them since although I love them it has been really hard for me to stay away but I had to for my own good. I didn’t want to be hurt again. So this is kind of like an open letter to them and others seeking some answers from within who have decided to speak to a professional.

First of all, I am proud of you. Now if you don’t know me personally then you might say, so what! But, down the line if you get to thinking have I done the right thing? Trust me if anyone is proud of you then it helps. The first step is to recognise that there is something you need to sort out and by seeing a counsellor then you may find that you understand better and can help control the emotions that wreak havoc.

Secondly, if you get past the group therapy of a CBT course and feel you need to see a counsellor one to one you are going to feel emotionally exhausted once you start talking. The process of opening up and talking about your innermost thoughts is going to hurt like hell so you are going to need some pretty tough people around you as you act like a child from time to time and let it all out, which is totally normal and part of your healing from whatever you are going through. You will release whatever is inside and the way it comes out may surprise you. Leaving you thinking Who is this person I fail to recognise? 

After your sessions, take a walk on your own. Sit in the car for a while, take some time for yourself to calm down before you drive home. If you like me felt sensory overload then you might also want to escape afterwards. But although you may want to flee the scene, for goodness sake do not drive when you are emotional if you can avoid that since you are most likely to lose concentration which could cause an accident. I used to sit in the car for about half an hour, do something like check my Facebook or text my friends and family or call them before heading off and then I used to just drive.  Go and find something beautiful to look at somewhere, or feel the wind on your face for a while.

I was also advised to Do something for yourself, just you every week, then every day. Just one small thing can make a huge difference when you are running around after everyone else. For me it was to become creative again and write whenever I can. I still come up against obstacles when someone would rather that I did something else. But I am hanging on to this one thing for me although it began as a small part of my therapy. It has become so much more.

At the end of it all you may feel a bit lost and wary of people since you have opened your heart and mind to a relative stranger and are still pretty raw. So take time to heal your mind, body and soul. If you can, during this time try to avoid getting drunk or high (if either of those are your thing) since you may feel differently to how you were before and may not actually recognise the person you are becoming.

It will take time so allow yourself that. Good Luck on your journey and when change begins to happen for you, however hard this might be, embrace it. You never know what might happen. Remember that there is a future out there and you have a part in it.

CBT When Those Three Letters Mean Totally Different Things and when it’s just time to Breathe!

It confused me slightly when I first heard the phrase. Compulsory Bike Training was what came to my mind with them as when years before I had learned to ride a Motorcycle this was a legal requirement. I did the training then the throttle jammed I rode the motorbike up a wall and it landed on top of me see  Almost a Biker Lots of physio for several months put pay to me ever getting back on one since then but I still have my bike gear in case I change my mind.

There I go flitting off on a different subject, Oh the butterfly mind again.

CBT -This time we are talking about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

When I first attended Therapy for PTSD & Trauma following an accident I was sent into a group session for this therapy and to be perfectly honest with you I hated it. I tried really hard to be the positive one and take good experiences from it but dreaded each session, leaving early from home, sitting in the car thinking “I don’t need to go” sometimes getting out and having a talk with myself to pull myself together before getting back in the car and heading off.

At the sessions I could relate to what they were saying. I knew some of this stuff anyway but somewhere along the way had stopped applying it to my everyday thinking, or even when I really needed it. I had felt that sometimes I was unravelling and I really didn’t like the feeling. I did not have confidence, it had gone but I did retain the ability to instil confidence in others which meant that I fooled myself into thinking that I was recovered long before I actually was. As the weeks went by there were a few other people who turned up early and we would sit and talk to each other before the sessions started, some were very open about their reasons for attending, others were a little more reserved.

I do not actually remember her name, but she was post operative transgender who had been placed in a homeless facility. She had been Hospitalised  due to someone taking offence at her and had lost her home and her life as she knew it. The authorities moved her there and she had to share the whole facility with men. Following her ordeal she was wary around them and they saw her as skivvy to them as a woman but did not accept her either because of her sexuality. She was going through hell, but was fighting a battle against abuse substances and alcohol too. There is always someone worse off than you If you can think past yourself, did she but know it she helped me too. She just needed someone to talk to, to hear her since she had tried to commit suicide and felt so alone but before that would happen she, like I had to go through those sessions. We both struggled with the group sessions. I think everyone did but in the end I hope that she found them useful as I have done and found an understanding counsellor.

CBT taught me how to remain calm at least on the outside when the inside is in turmoil. Many talk of fight or flight and I think I was born to fly.  Unless I have a bee in my bonnet and decide to stand my ground which does happen, from time to time when my stubbornness kicks in. It also taught me that not all gut feelings are to be ignored. Yes we sometimes get things wrong and don’t see them the way we should due to paralyzing fear when we are in that fight or flight mode. 

If you look into this type of therapy then CBT is described as a type of talking treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.

It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).

It forces you to rethink your first reaction to something in a negative or stressful situation and focus the mind to enable you to calm the body. It is beneficial if you suffer with anxiety or depression.

But if you can’t quite get your head around what is ruling it when you are stressed out…

Then it’s time to breathe. By regulating our breathing we can give our mind the chance at rational thought when flight or fight kicks in. Just a few deep breaths can make the world of difference. Don’t believe me? Just try it next time you are wound up.

Take the deepest breath you can and hold it whilst you count to three, then breathe out from as low down as possible in your stomach, do this three times at least. How do you feel now, a little calmer perhaps? I tried this at night when I was having awful nights with very little sleep. I found it improved that too. It was just too much for me to expect me to clear my thoughts as I did so, but just that small change has helped me.

After these group sessions and before I saw my one to one counsellor, there was a three month wait in between, whilst I tried to put into practice what I had learned and deal with the day to day, rebuilding my self confidence and with it my life.  I thought that I was doing so well I learned to block out my gut feelings for a while. I became mistrusting of them thinking that they should all be ignored as my brain struggled to cope with what life was throwing at me. It was a mistake. 

In certain situations I had a very strong feeling usually about people I met and during that time I did not trust my instincts and I should have. I put my trust in some people who saw weakness and chose to manipulate me and a situation, which left me wide open to their attacks. There I was kidding myself that I had my strength back, after all I was fine on the outside and wasn’t going to let it get me down. I got a new job, I thought I enjoyed it. I got on well with almost everyone there, was eager to please but could do nothing right for my direct manager. I spent a year working with a team where I just didn’t fit in.  Try as I may I could not change that, they had seen me as a usurper, someone who was there to break the little clique they already had.  For 12 months I tried my best, but struggled and felt as though I was drowning.  I had become even more withdrawn, desperate and miserable, when beforehand I was trying and had started to become upbeat and positive again.  Whilst I saw the counsellor with whom I was referred for a totally different reason, to get me through the trauma of an accident I spent the majority of the sessions discussing my job, the situations I was in and how I should cope.

I really felt that I gained a benefit from the one to one sessions. She told me that it wasn’t me, it was them. Where I had been beating myself up, figuratively speaking for months thinking where did I go wrong?  I found that running the situations past her, someone who wasn’t biased like my partner or mother, might help me see more clearly. She advised me to find a new job for my own sanity and get out of there, she could see the damage it had done to me over the short time I had been her client. Furthermore, she said I should also find something which made me happy, to do something for myself at least once a week it would help my recovery.  She suggested that since I was missing my creativity, (it had gone when things started to go downhill for me) that I follow my true nature and get creative again. I began with a simple adult colouring book and it seemed to open the floodgates, just the simple act of adding colour to the pages.

It took a while but I did and began to write poetry again.  After a while there were quite a few poems. I thought about a book, but did not have a clue how to get my work out there or publish it. So I decided to begin the blog so that at last I would be able to have a voice again. I had felt that there were very few who were inclined to listen, however my counsellor reassured me that my voice would be heard.  I am not talking about shouting from the rooftops or getting on my soap box about subjects. I needed to make sense of the things that were in my head. It was part of my therapy and would help me more than I could have ever anticipated.

I am not out of the woods yet, figuratively speaking there are times when thoughts are dark and miserable. There are others when I am extremely happy and there is so much in between.

If you are feeling depressed or suffering, please do not do it alone. Whatever it takes to get your help, speak to someone, if you do not have someone you can trust then call a helpline.

 

 

3 Quotes in 3 Days Challenge -Day 2

Well. With such a huge choice at my fingertips I was torn as to which one to choose for today. I don’t know if like me you have a folder full of quotes to lift your spirits, reassure you or push you on to greater things. Most are gathered from facebook pages throughout the daily onslaught there and many which hit the nail on the head. 

Will it be inspiring or push someone to do something they might be doubting their ability to do? Is it time for me to become a leader for a moment after all I was taught to lead by example?

Well, actually not today Thanks. 

I know that for some a tough week is governed by their workload where as for others it is governed by their health. Sometimes physical and mental. This week for me it has been the latter so although I would normally relish the chance to encourage others. The challenge I thought may shake me up and encourage a change in mood but I find that this is leading me in it’s own direction. Maybe I will re-do this challenge at a later date when in a different frame of mind, but for now it’s one day at a time. Meanwhile Thankyou again to my nominee http://www.TrulyUnplugged.com

I begrudgingly returned South again last week which has left me rather blue and craving the place we have just left. The sanctuary removed I have been on alert again and feeling very unsettled. Hoping for changes for the better to come here and bless us with their presence and at times feeling rather broken and emotional.

This quote by Jamie Lee Logan’s page Princess Sassy Pants & Co is another good place to look. I find that she combines her artwork with quite often just the right thing to say. This reminder came when I needed it.