Monday Musing – 12/04/21. Slave to our screens?

There’s a huge push for digital detoxing right now. I get it, really, I do. People do become disconnected from their family and friends due to spending too much time on social media, checking emails, snapping selfies, and so on. The kind of detox that is popular right now might appeal to people who spend their days online, on their smart phones, engaging with everone except their family.

But what about those of us who rely on screens to engage with others because a disability prevents us from socialising outside of our homes? I am not referring to lockdown life, I am referring to people, such as mysef, who have to spend huge swathes of time at home because a disability prevents us from leaving home.

And what about those of us who rely on tablets, IPads, smartphones etc to read? Someone like me, for instance, who has severe issues with joint pain, swelling, and even dislocations, what then? I know I can’t always hold a book, that’s where my kindle is a life saver. And there are times when I am confined to my bed, my phone is vital in keeping me connected with the outside world.

I have a smart watch that I use for a variety of reasons, quite a lot of them health related. My screens are a lifeline for me, when I am bed-bound I rely on them. I haven’t found an alternative solution that would enable me to have as good a quality of life as I have when my disability bites hard.

I don’t think we should fall into the demonising screens trap. I think we have to use our common sense. We have to establish whether a screen detox is something that would be beneficial to us, or would we be doing it just to follow a trend. This demonising of screens seems to be the latest thing we should all do. We find ourselves portrayed as slaves to our screens, but the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we really a slave to them?

I have yet to see any articles or self help books welcoming the use of screens for those of us who have limited mobility and the like. We seem to be forgotten when it comes to being represented in these mediums. This can often leave us feeling confused by what we are reading, we are as keen as anyone else to improve our lives, but often get left feeling despondent by reading that our lifeline is really bad for us and we shouldn’t really use it as much as we do.

Is something that is a lifeline to us such a bad thing?

Tuesday Thought – 06/04/21.

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?

Regret.

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.

Tuesday’s Thought – 30/03/21.

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.

Monday Musing – 29/03/21.

There’s a buzz in the air. We have sprung forward – aka moving into BST. Plus, we are now moving into the start of what our Prime Minister terms his roadmap out of lockdown.

It made me sit up and think yesterday. It is the time to be seen out in the world. We cast off our winter blues, our thoughts turn to sunny days and maybe, just maybe, being allowed to meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in however long.

And all of this requires us to be seen, obviously.

Being seen is a normal part of life. We venture out into the world and are seen by those who we pass in the street. By those who we share public transport with. By those who we work with. It’s normal and we don’t pay it much heed.

Normally.

There are those of us who have suffered terribly because of things that have happened to us. There are those of us who have anxiety disorders. Fear of going outside. Fear of being seen.

For me it is all about being seen because of a traumatic experience. I have spent over thirty years believing people were judging me because of what happened to me. They weren’t, they didn’t even know, but my hyper-vigilant mind had me believing that there were threats everywhere around me, and that everyone I saw was forming an opinion of me based on what happened.

When I finally broke free of that never ending cycle of fear I was left with a gaping big hole in my thought process. The idea was to fill that hole with positive thoughts, reinforcing what I had learnt in therapy. Only that somehow didn’t happen. I found myself gazing at what my therapist termed the wounded child. She was kind of healed, but she – me – I had no idea of who the hell I was.

The work we did when my therapy was nearing completion was geared to help me understand that for thirty odd years I had been emotionally trapped. Sixteen year old me was the forty odd year old me. Emotionally I had remained that age because I hadn’t processed one of the major parts of my trauma – the threat of being killed.

When my therapist had me reliving the attack over and over again I remembered things I hadn’t even processed. They were stuck. Inside of my head. Keeping me perpetually in fear. Always scanning for the threat. Never wanting to be seen. Needing to be invisible.

I have done the work on this issue. I have continued to do the work on this issue. It is a work in progress.

When Covid hit the UK I was just finishing my therapy, just getting started on dong the inner work that was required for me to continue to heal. I had a setback. The restrictions felt like I was being forced into doing something I didn’t want to do (please understand here that I fully understood the lockdown rules and the restrictions, I am just describing how I felt from a recovering from trauma POV). The threat of a deadly virus felt like the spectre of a ghost from my past. Enter hyper-vigilance once more.

This caused a breakdown. I was given medication and offered therapy once more. The latter I didn’t take, this time. The lockdown meant I would have to wait a considerable amount of time to see the lovely lady who has helped me so much. By the time she could see me again I didn’t even want to consider what state my mental health would have been in. So I began to work on myself using the tools she taught me.

The conclusion has been who the hell am I?

Well, in a few short weeks I will be 50 years old. A lifetime has passed between me of now and me from then. After a lot of inner work, facing my demons, and truths, realising I am not who people perceive me to be, accepting I am becoming who I want to be, and realising that I will be seen when I venture out into the world, and being absolutely OK with that.

That monster from the past has been dealt with. Yeah, he’s going to pop into my head,, probably several times a week, if not daily. But I don’t have to let his sneering face into my beautiful mind view. He didn’t conquer me. I lived. I maybe thought I hadn’t, but I did. I found love. I had a family. I have created so many beautiful moments in my life. Created stories that one day the world will see. Created a vision for women who have suffered what I have.

Springing forward this year feels so much brighter than last year. The year the was hell actually helped to heal me. I am different person. I am not who most people perceive me to be. I am not who social media portrays me to be – sometimes at the hand of others.

I am me and proud to be me.

Thursday Thought – 11/03/21.

People often misunderstand quotes such as the one above. They believe that a quote such as that blindly believes nothing bad will ever happen to us. Positive thoughts don’t prevent bad things happening all of the time, life happens and in life bad things can and do happen.

Quotes such as the one above are a reminder for us to choose how we react to what life throws our way. They aren’t trying to convince us that positivity will keep the bad at bay, they are reminding us to stop and think before we act, or react.

If someone upsets or angers you, pause, count to ten and then see how you choose to react. That moment’s pause is often all it takes to take the sting out of our reactions.

Starting your day off with a positive mindset can have a huge impact on the rest of your day. You will feel calmer right from the get go, and feeling calmer can give you a whole different perspective on what transpires for you throughout the day.

Bad stuff can and will still occur, because we can only really control our own actions and reactions, we cannot prevent everything from happening. There will always be negativity, illness, death, etc, that is life.

But by choosing how you react to your partner throwing an off hand comment your way, or how you react to your boss and their bad mood, these things can be handled with a positive mindset, you can choose not to react negatively.

Choose peace over anger.

Tuesday Thought – 23/02/21.

I don’t know about you but since MRx ended, and here in the UK (well, England) we are starting to see an end to our latest lockdown, there’s a lighting of the load feeling.

In England we have had three lockdowns, you’d think we’d be used to the restrictions by now. But most people I have spoken to feel down, depressed even, and I think that’s because the last two lockdowns have been in the winter.

The first lockdown was March 2020 until the summer. It was a great spring in terms of good weather, and I believe that helped people, most people, cope with the restrictions. I didn’t fare so well then. I had a breakdown and ended up back on anti-depressants.

The next lockdown started early November and ended early December. The promise of Christmas spent with loved ones helped some people cope, but the the goalposts were changed on that and a lot of people slumped into the doldrums once more.

And no sooner had we started a new year – a year we hoped would be vastly different and have a lighter feel than the previous one – we were put into lockdown number three.

It’s no wonder people have struggled. It’s the darkest time of the year, the weather isn’t that great, and even when there was snow, we weren’t allowed to meet family or friends to have some fun.

But now the end is in sight. Vaccinations are being given, cases are decreasing, deaths are decreasing, there’s a way forward now that is tangible for us all.

The ending of Mercury Retrograde and the news of the easing of restrictions have given hope to us. The light is increasing, the spring is just around the corner and maybe, just maybe we can see our loved ones at Easter.

That hope is filling the air with a beautiful vibe that is touching everything it comes into contact with. It feels like a new beginning is upon us. It’s exciting and much anticipated.

Monday Mooncards – 22/02/21

What a really positive card and a great start to the week!

The energy and your emotions are building, the sky is the limit, your dreams can come true. Keep moving forward as your goal is in sight.

I think this is a great card, coming right after Mercury has gone direct. The time is now to plan and do. There’s always a sense of hurriedness once Mercury has begun moving forward, but slow and steady wins the race, remember that when the current energies are urging you to move, move, move.

What a great start to the week!