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.

Being the change I want to see.

If you have ever wanted to make a difference anywhere you’ll know the first step is to research the subject area.

Right?

After I had a traumatic experience early autumn it sent me down the path I’m currently on. I’m at the beginning of my Psychology degree journey. This has given me so much food for thought, particularly where I aim to take this knowledge once I complete my degree.

However, in my area support for most things is inadequate. I spent a good part of yesterday researching where I could aim to make myself useful. But I just couldn’t see the right charity, support group, etc that covered what my burning passion is driving me towards.

And then I had an idea.

I could be the change. I let the thought percolate for some time and then sent a message to a couple of trusted people. An idea was born and the stumbling block I had came upon has vanished.

Today I realised that….

….it’s ok for me to be happy.

That took a huge chunk of time to realise, but I no longer feel guilty for being happy. It’s ok. It’s allowed.

Wow!

Recovering from trauma and PTSD episodes is really hard, but once I let go of how I thought I should feel and just allowed myself to be……that’s when the miracles started to happen. The miracles of happiness and feeling that happiness right to my core. The miracle that I actually love who I am, and that’s how it should be. The miracle that allows me to trust people who aren’t my family.

Wow!

Be happy, start living.

Moonday Cards – 11/10/20

If you’ve been feeling paranoid and acting weird, you can take this card as a very direct message from the Universe that you can stop now.

Worrying yourself is pointless. It’s time to release any negativity that has built up around your situation.

If you’re worrying about how a person has been treating you, then it’s time to let that go. Release any anger you have. Release any negative feelings. This doesn’t mean you’ve let them win, on the contrary, letting the situation go (and quite often the person/people) is very liberating. Forgiving them frees you.

Letting negativity go is the best possible thing for us to do. Holding on to all that anger, resentment, hatred, it gets us nowhere. In fact, it can often make us ill. Best to let it all go.

You can write about the situation on a piece of paper, read it through and then burn it. Alternatively you can tear the paper into tiny pieces and flush it down the toilet – you could use toilet paper if you’d rather flush that instead.

Just breathe. Then let go.

Weekend Vibes – 10/10/20.

Sometimes we get to the weekend and instead of relaxing we spend it stressing about work, school, family, friends, just about anything. We want our weekends to be fun, peaceful, relaxing, but when we stress about “stuff” we find Monday has rolled around again and the worrying has wasted the weekend. Time we could’ve spent relaxing. Time we could’ve spent being fully present with our families.

What if we could just let go of the stressors, at least for a couple of days? What if we could put the heavy stuff aside for a day or two and focus on the here and now? This doesn’t mean our stress is magically wiped away, it just means we are going to focus on the present day, and that present day is a Saturday or Sunday. *Please note, this post assumes you work Monday to Friday, but if you work weekends and have the same stress on your days off, by all means, take what you need from this post and apply to your life.*

There is a wonderful, easy, and simple exercise that I have used plenty of times. It won’t take your problems away, but it will allow you to become focused in the here and now and that is what we all want for our weekends off.

BE A TREE: Use your imagination to feel stable, calm and focused.

EXERCISE:

Mindfully ground yourself with inspiration from nature. Pretend your legs are the roots of a tree, reaching your arms up to be the branches. Sway from side to side as if you are blowing in the wind. Notice your legs don’t move, keeping you grounded. Imagine being a tree when the winds of life whip up. Be flexible, yet resilient, like a tree in a storm.

At first this might seem silly. You might feel self conscious, or wonder what this simple exercise can do to help reduce your stress and bring your thoughts back into the present moment.

Grounding yourself is always a wonderful way to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. This action alone can bring about calming thoughts and help you feel reconnected with the present. When you add the tree exercise to the grounding exercise you allow your thoughts to shift to the present moment, imagining yourself swaying in the wind just as tree does.

Trees are rooted in the earth, they are grounded. They are open to the elements all day, everyday. They take whatever weather system comes at them and they remain rooted and grounded, being flexible by swaying their branches. And so the idea here is to be more like a tree, swaying, being flexible, remaining calm and grounded and not being affected by everything that life throws our way.

This exercise is calming and soothing, and you will hopefully start to appreciate your life within the moment, rather than focusing on issues at work, or school, or even within the family life. This exercise is not intended to push your troubles away, the intent is to bring your focus to the here and now, allowing yourself to be present and shift your focus from stress to calm thoughts and thinking.

Once your thoughts are calm, you then have the opportunity to plan how you are going to tackle any problems you might be facing. You can plan a time and day for when you will tackle any issues, allowing your thoughts to be calm and not solely focused on those problems. Making a plan will help you feel more in control and allow you to enjoy the time you have free throughout the weekend.

Tuesday Thought – 29/09/20

For so long I’ve hidden away when it comes to connecting with new people. Online it’s easy to hide, in real life not so much.

Last night I had a group thing to attend online, I’d said that I’d go and I meant it. I started getting panicky around 10 minutes before the event was due to start.

I was still determined to go.

As the event started I couldn’t get into the room. How easy it would’ve been to just walk away, figuratively speaking. Hiding behind technical issues is lame, but it was true.

But the organiser swapped over to zoom and I had to re-download the app – my phone archives unused and rarely used apps when it updates the software.

Again, the panic was setting in. What would people think of me? Would they judge me? I felt nervous about how I looked. How I’d sound. I didn’t feel ready or good enough. But then a voice inside me said “show up as you are”.

Showing up as I am, last night, meant no make-up, casual clothing, no voice (I’ve lost my voice due to a cold) and wearing my glasses – something I rarely do unless I can wear my prescription sunglasses.

It meant trusting in the universe. Trusting that everything would be OK. Trusting that nobody would care how I looked, or sounded.

And so I clicked join and the world didn’t end. Everything was fine. I had a good time and I’m pleased I pushed through the panic.

Showing up as we are is scary as hell, but it’s so rewarding.