Thankful Thursday 03/12/20

1. Not falling apart during lockdown mark 2.

2. Being surrounded by love.

3. Having people in my life who understand me.

4. Getting to spend quality time with my family.

5. Living life on my terms.

Tis the season….

Wow! I can hardly believe it’s December!

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.

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 🎄🎁 🎅🏻

Monday Musings – 04/11/2019.

I’ve spent the past few months trying to smile instead of frown, or glare. It hasn’t always worked, life sometimes just throws huge curveballs at us and it’s difficult to see the positive.

What I have noticed is that whenever I smile instead of feeling gloomy or angry, I feel more adept at dealing with whatever life has thrown at me.

Simple Pleasures.

One of the things I have found whilst recovering from a PTSD episode is to make sure self love and self care are high on my agenda.

I have candles lit, incense burning, herbal tea to drink and I’m reading a book. Life in this very moment feels peaceful.

Gratitude.

 

As someone who has been struggling with chronic illness for years, I have learnt to be thankful for small things, no matter what they are.  Being chronically ill can be very overwhelming and can actually take over your life, leaving you feeling down and even angry a lot of the time.  Early on in my illness, someone told me that the best way she coped was to be thankful for the small things in life.  She explained that gratitude had a way of helping her to cope with the daily struggles she faced because of her chronic illnesses.

As someone who has followed a pagan path since the age of 14, this was something that felt right for me too.  I know many people with chronic illnesses feel really isolated and helpless and for me, I was looking for something to focus on that wasn’t all about the illnesses.  People turn to prayer, people turn to meditation, people turn to support networks, people do what they can to cope the best way they can.

I am not religious and I often find that support groups can be overwhelming, if not fraught with power struggles and drama – not all are like this, I hasten to add.  When I started showing gratitude for small things in life I started to feel less tense, more accepting of my illnesses, and more relaxed with my life as a whole.  Gratitude allowed me to view life differently.  Gone was the anger and bitterness that my body had failed me.  Gone were the resentful feelings I had been harbouring towards people who weren’t sick.

I began to view everyday as a blessing.  Whilst I was not brimming with vitality and good health, I was at least alive.  By showing gratitude each day I actually began to see life from a more positive viewpoint.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I feel like I am the biggest, grouchiest bear there is, but those days are less frequent now and I put it down to the power of positivity and practising gratitude.

I have found that there really is always something to be grateful for.  It could be something as mundane as the weather not being so hot, or it could even be that the doctor’s surgery wasn’t so busy and I was seen fairly quickly, rather than having to wait for a long time.  Gratitude doesn’t need to be based on materialistic things.  Gratitude can be small and simple; a beautiful flower you can see, the sound of a child’s laughter, a sunny day, a decent night’s sleep, absolutely anything that makes you feel a little better about life.

And once you start feeling grateful for small blessings, more blessings start to manifest in your life, making you feel even more grateful.  Of course, the simple things in life are as equally important as larger blessings, and once you begin this practice you soon learn that you are surrounded by blessings and miraculous things.  Being grateful helps us remain positive and this can help reduce stress in our lives – totally a win-win situation.

Practicing being grateful does not  mean you will turn into a peace-loving, dope-smoking hippy, 😉 there will still be things in life that annoy you, that challenge you, that upset you, etc, you’ll just feel more abe to deal with them, and that in itself is a blessing.

Some people like to keep a gratitude journal.  This helps them to focus on the positive things in their lives, and also keep a record of what has made them feel grateful.  Other people like to verbalise their gratitude, whether that be out loud to themselves, or whether they record what they are saying.  There is no right or wrong way to practice being grateful, whatever works for you is right for you.

Being Thankful.

There really is always something to be thankful for.  Even when your world is falling apart around you, there will be something, maybe it will be something small, maybe it will be something big, but there will be something that you can feel gratitude for.
Never give up hope.