Thursday’s Thought. 03/08/20.

I’ve been doing a lot of inner work during this pandemic. In fact, I dedicated this whole year to loving myself.

Love for yourself is not about being conceited, or about “bigging” yourself up whilst putting others down. It’s about learning how to love you. Learning how to respect yourself. Learning how to have self love and bolster your self esteem.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself these past few months, it’s not about apportioning blame to aspects of myself I didn’t like; it’s been about acknowledging aspects that I’m less than happy with and improving what needing working on.

I’m now in a better mindset. I choose to be positive. I set that intention for myself everyday. Sometimes the demons rear their ugly heads and it’s a real struggle, other days I breeze through the day, achieving what I need to get done.

I had an interesting conversation with someone I know a few days back. She has noticed the change in me and wanted to know if I had “got better.” She was referring to my relapse with PTSD over the last couple of years.

I honestly haven’t done anything other than get medication. I believe the medication stabilised my mood enough for me to take steps to work through the flashbacks and triggers. I’m not really having flashbacks, but I am feeling very anxious.

This pandemic has really messed with my head in so much as it has made the hyper vigilance really bad. Night time is the worst. Some nights I’m a nervous wreck, jumping and hyperventilating at the slightest noise. My sleep has been really badly affected too, I’m convinced “that person” is in my house, obviously I know he’s not.

Medication has helped me to work through stuff. It’s helped me to manage my condition using the tools and techniques my therapist taught me.

I’m not “cured” from my PTSD. I am managing it. I get frustrated at people who claim they can cure PTSD. My therapist taught me that you don’t cure it, you manage it. You can heal the wounds (often emotional) that trauma inflicted upon you, but the scars will still be there. The scars will “itch and sting” from time to time, that’s the flare up of the PTSD. And just like you would with a physical scar, you soothe it the best way you can.

This pandemic has affected so many people in so many different ways. There’s no shame in hollering for help. That’s why I made a conscious decision to greet each day with as positive a mindset as possible. It’s helped me tackle a hell of a lot of blocks and for that I’m grateful.

PTSD is a mental illness and can be very debilitating. You can be going through an active episode and still appear as though you’ve got your shit together. That, for me, signifies an improvement in my journey and that’s what I’ve been striving for over so many years.

Beauty in our surroundings.

Like many people I’m struggling with Lockdown. I don’t usually go out much, but now that I can’t I feel really trapped. I know there are a lot of people feeling exactly the same way.

I’m blessed to have such beautiful surroundings in my neighbourhood and it’s certainly helped to soothe my jangled nerves.

Finding beauty in the places we have around us can help alleviate some of the stress that we feel. Mother Nature always soothes my soul.

The view from my bedroom window.

Self care during a pandemic.

If, like me, you’re really struggling mentally and emotionally during this pandemic and especially if you’re in lockdown, chances are you could benefit from some self care.

When the Covid19 virus started making headlines back at the beginning of the year it felt scary for me. I read as much as I could about it, and with each passing week it got closer to home.

Around ten days ago my brain/thoughts had just had enough. I already socially distance myself anyway so that wasn’t a real hardship for me. But then the UK went into lockdown.

As a person who spends a lot of time at home I really thought this would be a breeze for me. A couple of days in and I started to struggle. I don’t know what it was about the enforced staying at home, it just suddenly started making me feel so very claustrophobic.

This is when I had suddenly decided I’d had enough of the endless news cycles churning out everything and anything Coronavirus related. Social media channels were just as bad too. Everyone had something to say and everyone was an expert, it was driving me nuts.

Enough was enough for me. Now I limit my time on social media (I was doing this mostly anyway) and the browsing of news is very limited too. Instead, I have been focusing on self care and trying to be as kind and gentle to myself as possible.

When I was writing this post I felt called to draw an Oracle Card. The card is from The Sacred Self-Care Oracle deck by Jill Pyle. The Card I drew is Music.

Choose music that resonates with you and holds a positive vibration.
Music always has the power to move me one way or another, and I think at a time like this music can really help aid relaxation. Music allows us to forget our troubles, even if it’s only for a while. It has fantastic healing abilities and is such a feel good past time.

Whether you’re into rock or pop music, or whether it’s classical or easy listening, now is a good time to crank up the music and set your worries aside for awhile.
I also found this info sheet online when I was browsing for some self care ideas and activities. I think Dominee has provided a fantastic resource here to help with those gnawing negative thoughts.

Choosing how to feel.

Today I chose this card from Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back oracle deck. Lately I’ve felt pretty low and I’d normally try and rise above it all and focus on how to change it to a positive feeling. But that hasn’t been working out so well. This card has allowed me to honour the low mood that
has enveloped me for the past few weeks. I am learning that we need to feel the negative as well as the positive.

The Promises We Make Ourselves.

At this time of the year many of us have made a commitment to change something. We call them resolutions, New Year Resolutions. Similar words in keeping with resolution are decision, aim, declaration, purpose, perseverance, intention. Words we should remember when we struggle with these promises we have made.

Whatever we have promised ourselves that we will change we will have done so with good intentions. However, many of us start to lose focus after a couple of weeks. We lose the motivation that inspired us around the Holiday season. We become angry with ourselves and the promise we made starts to feel like a burden.

I made a promise to myself that I would simply love myself more. After all of the turmoil I had gone through in the past few years I decided it was an easy enough thing for me to do. Nothing too taxing, nothing that would make me feel like I was being hard on myself.

Love myself more.

For me, loving myself more means:

Being kind to myself.

Practising Self-Care.

Setting boundaries.

Not pushing myself too hard.

Seems easy enough, right? For the first week of January it was easy to be kind and gentle with myself. It was easy to make sure nobody was encroaching on my boundaries. By the second week I was struggling with a virus and it was all I could do to just function, self-care and self-love slipped down my list of priorities as I struggled to get through each day. I felt like a failure. How could I have failed at something so simple?

Last week once the effects of the virus had gone and I was starting to feel more human, I got to thinking about resolutions, my promise to myself, and what it all means to me. I began the year with the intention to love myself completely and that included not being too hard on myself. Yet here I was being hard on myself. Beating myself up for failing at something as easy as loving myself.

Feeling so much better had given me clarity and allowed me to see that when I was ill I was giving myself self-care and self-love. By just doing what I needed to each day and not over taxing myself, that was an act of self-love and self-care.

When we make promises to ourselves at the beginning of each new year we need to remember that life will always throw curve balls our way. Rather than giving up we should thank life/the universe for whatever lesson it was teaching us at the time and recommit to the promise we made ourselves. Losing our way also gives us a chance to tweak the promise, because life isn’t static and neither should we be.

Happy To Be Me.

Regular readers of this blog will recall I have struggled with PTSD for many, many years. I started therapy late 2018 and by February 2019 we had established I hadn’t dealt with the threat that was made on my life August 23rd 1987.

It took a while for that to settle within me, the fact that I hadn’t just been raped, he’d held a knife to my throat and told me he’d kill me. The trauma of that had me stuck.

By going through with the reliving therapy I became unstuck and was able to deal with the emotions. I also discovered why I hated my face being touched – his hair had brushed against my face when he had been dragging me down the riverbank.

In June of last year an incident at my granddaughter’s school caused me to have a relapse with the PTSD. So it was back to see the therapist once more.

Dealing with everything has taught me that the feminine aspect of myself was severely wounded. Dressing in baggy clothes allowed me to feel less of a woman and therefore less of a target to rapists. Being hyper vigilant allowed me to always be aware of who was around me at all times. Keeping people at arms length allowed me to be in control. These feelings are fairly normal for someone who has been viscously attacked in such a violent way.

In recent weeks I began to realise I was actually happy. It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever experienced. All of my adult life has been spent in some sort of emotional turmoil, but that has all changed. The weird wasn’t because I’ve never experienced happy, naturally I have, but this was a feeling that had been growing inside of me, gaining momentum every day and wasn’t fleeting.

Recovering from deep rooted trauma is no easy task, but it is possible. My story is mine alone and my words are not intended to diminish anyone else’s pain and suffering.

I am happy to be me.

Monday Musings – 23/12/2019.

Sometimes the best advice we can give is to simply enjoy the moment.

From my hearth to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate that particular holiday, I hope you have a lovely day whatever you are doing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 🎄🎁 🎅🏻