I’ve spent a fair amount of time nursing regret at what I should’ve done in my life. It just seeps into you at times, you don’t realise you’re holding on so tightly.
Realising that life is a gift and that the journey is also a gift made me stop and think about why I’m lugging regret around with me.
What does it serve?
I’m talking about the regrets we have when we don’t take action in our lives, not the regrets we have when we’ve hurt someone.
There’s no reason why we can’t just aim for what we want our lives to be like, little by little. Just because we didn’t do that last week, or last year, or even five or ten years ago, that doesn’t mean we can’t still aim for that desire now.
There’s a saying that goes something like you’re a long time dead. Sobering thought. We may as well make good on what we want to do whilst we journey through this thing called life.
This week sees the last of my Psychology Level 1 lessons. I have learnt a lot and a vision for my future has transpired. I began this journey out of anger towards cuts to vital services for women who experience sexual violence, hoping to do one thing, but as I have gone through the first year of my Psychology Degree I have found out where my interest really lies.
It’s still early days for me on this journey and I am excited to see where the next steps of it take me.
I feel like I am so different on a personal level now. Studying has made me prioritise a hell of lot of things in my life, and there’s a lot I have let go. Mostly it has been trivial stuff, but one thing was a friendship that I considered to be of value, despite the warnings from family that the person was no good to me.
Earlier this year there was a situation in my personal life and it was during this time that this person blocked me on all social media – the situation was not related to her, it was something else. At the time I had too much going on to even give her actions more than a moment’s thought, but as life got back to a semblance of normality I got to thinking about how the loss of friendship was going to feel.
And I felt nothing.
I was quite surprised by this. I have known this person for many years and whenever one of us has stopped speaking to the other I have tended to feel the loss keenly. But I feel absolutely nothing this time and I think this has a lot to do with the inner work I have done on myself, plus how I prioritise who and what I allow into my life now.
Moving forward, thinking about where I want to be in terms of how I show up in the world, I now have a solid sense of who I allow into my inner circle. Working on myself on a therapeutical level and studying psychology has allowed me to tend to my inner garden, so to speak. I now only allow healthy relationships into my life. If something or someone is not good for my health, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, then it has no place in my life.
What started out as an angry call to action has possibly been one of the best decisions of my life. I have learnt how to weed out that which isn’t good for me, whereas in the past I would tend to ignore it, convincing myself that I knew myself well enough!
Sometimes endings are the best things for us. Sometimes letting go is the best thing we can do. Not all loss comes to hurt us, often it comes to teach us and we have to be willing to listen and learn, otherwise the lesson will just repeat itself until we learn what we need to.
What a year this has been. I started it off with the intention of loving myself. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have struggled with a lack of self love for a very long time. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions – which I always break by the middle of February at the very latest – I decided to dedicate the year to loving myself. I started off great, I was able to practice self love each day; that was until we hit lockdown in March.
That was when things went downhill.
I have CPTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and had been in a hyper vigilant state for most of my adult life. I had gone through therapy that had helped me enormously, but I lost my ability to cope once the UK went into lockdown.
I became so paranoid and stressed, I was crying most days and really couldn’t cope with the threat of being stopped by the police or some other official anytime I left the house.
By my birthday I’d had a breakdown and was in a really dark place. I felt like I had failed at the self love project and started thinking very dark and scary thoughts. I eventually went to see a Dr. and got prescribed anti-depressants.
After a few weeks I began to feel better in myself. That nearly came to an end in late summer, I needed a smear and the first attempt failed – I was really calm and positive too. The second attempt was a disaster also. Flashbacks, panic attacks, massive triggers….they also couldn’t get a sample of cells. I cried all the way home. I felt like I was 16 again.
But out of that experience I felt empowered to help other women who have suffered any form of sexual violence, and domestic abuse too. I was so determined to put my own experiences to some use that I enrolled with the OU to study Psychology with Counselling.
And as we enter the final month of what can only be termed as a horrific year, I feel empowered, well, happy, determined, and I certainly practice self love.
You see, I now know that going to the GP to get the medication was an act of self love. I know that pushing through my trauma triggers and flashbacks has catapulted me forward to a place where I can try to make a difference to women who have suffered at the hands of rapists and abusers.
2020 broke me. But I rose from the ashes and I am rebuilding my life on my own terms.
This year the holiday season feels more poignant than ever before. This year has been dominated by loss. It has driven home the message for me that life is for living.
There’s a huge debate going on all over England- in homes, online, in government, in the media – about whether England should go into another lockdown.
This isn’t a political post. This is my personal reason for why I do not want another nationwide lockdown.
My mental health buckled under the last lockdown. I was on the verge of a breakdown, all brought to the fore by lockdown.
Yes, I’m on medication now, but there’s no emotional support here once everything locks down. Everyone is dealing with their own personal crises once lockdown hits. Me saying “I’m drowning again, please help” feels very selfish when people have their own MH to worry about.
I don’t want to have to be in that dark place again. Fear having control of my life. Not being able to sleep because hyper vigilance is ramped up to the max. The four walls closing in on me, jumping at any noise outside and wondering who might be watching.
Yes, this all sounds selfish when you compare it to what’s happening with the pandemic. I just don’t know if I’ll survive another lockdown mentally.