We are not them

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Just a little realisation I made this evening after a shed load of cartooning and journaling…this old chestnut. I am not them. We are not them.

I AM NOT MY PARENTS.

Go tell that to my inner critic for me, would you? Shut the fuck up, Imaginary Storyline maker.

Every time I realise I’m not them, it goes/hits a little deeper. Like the daily little moments I tell myself I’m not them, in the midst of storylines playing out in my head and them filling me with terror. But then I sometimes get these mammoth waves – a huge fuck off hit of realisation that I’ve spent the last few days or weeks with a theory (one that’s been causing havoc with my inner sense of happiness, stability, and peace about the future) that’s all based on the assumption and core belief that I am them I AM FUCKING NOT.

The end. Period. Full stop.

If only it was that simple…but I’m glad this realising continues to go deeper. It’s like layers are being shed and I’m continuing to find my own skin away from them, away from theirs. These realisations, even though they always sound the same and consist of the same four words, the impact is always really different…or actually maybe the impact just goes deeper. To the next layer. And this thrill of celebration when I come-to, wake up, and find myself beneath the crap that’s been flying around my Inner Room all week or month or day or maybe even year, is the shedding of another layer.

That’s pretty beautiful.

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Forgive me, adrenals

Adrenal fatigue makes you feel cruddy, to say the least. It leaves you feeling as though your body is falling apart. It’s not, you just have rinsed your adrenals clean and they need a break. PTSD or severe anxiety can have this effect. But so can drinking a tonne of coffee.

For me it was the first one, but in many ways it would feel the same if it was the latter too. I am still in the process of fully working out what is going on health-wise, as it is feeling as though a pretty complex picture has been painted, but adrenal fatigue is very much amongst it. And it has been for absolutely ages, but I have not had the opportunity to rest and listen to my body accordingly, because my PTSD state has been so heightened and my fight-or-flight state has been a constant, severe, one for the last eight months. These new anti-d’s have enabled my anxiety and PTSD symptoms to dramatically reduce, and therefore my body finally has a chance to speak. Or more like, scream. And that it has done beautifully.

Your body does the best it can at any given time, and sometimes it needs to well earned rest and recharge to be able to tackle the next stage of life.

I hope that anyone who has experienced adrenal fatigue, or chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue, that they can connect with this cartoon that I draw below. Upon falling ill, it can take some time to learn what this spell of fatigue or ill-health is there to teach you. But once this happens, it feels like you’re being cheated still feeling so rough. “I’ve learnt my lesson, please can’t I just feel a BIT better?!” I find myself longing and longing to feel better and promising the skies that I will look after myself…I just wish I could not feel like death. Please? It would make it all so much easier.

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For me, adrenal fatigue is blended with chronic fatigue right now. It has been hard to distinguish between the two, but I am learning to spot the differences, slowly. It has been bringing back horrible fond memories, and familiar states, belonging to the time I spent in a severe hit of chronic fatigue a few years ago. This has never properly gone away, and is still very much present in my days, but adrenal fatigue is a new player in the mix.

No matter how many hours of rest, you still have to get back into bed after being out of it for twenty minutes. No matter how many supplements or herbal tinctures you take, vegetables you eat, or yoga positions you strike, you still feel crap. But the trick in this is having patience and trust that it will make a difference. This is hella hard though, and so sometimes to feel like shouting with rage is completely cool and fair enough. And probably really bloody healthy. But know that all this rest and time you are taking to be with how you feel, will heal.

There are so many words that I could type about this topic, all that you learn whilst in it, and the reasons that I have this in my life now and the past, that the few paragraphs above don’t really do it justice. But until that day of writing comes, just know that I am thinking of you if you are experiencing these physical treats.

All that you are doing, and all the rest you are taking, is making a difference, I promise.

Love.

Why we should all lie in bed for a day, or two

Yesterday I stayed in bed until about 5 o’clock. I then got up and moved two paces to the other side of the room and sat there for a bit. Then I got up, made some dinner, walked round the kitchen singing in my boxer shorts, and at 7pm got back into bed. The day before went a little along similar lines. Minus the kitchen singing boxer shorts episode.

And you know what? It felt great. Sure, I was in a blinding state of hideous trauma and anxiety for most of the day, and I shook and cried A LOT, but the thing that felt great was the fact that I was giving myself that time wrapped in a duvet, to really FEEL it and feel SAFE. I never do this. Or hardly ever at least. And never like yesterday. The day before, I made myself go for walk in the eve because I so desperately wanted to get some fresh air, but it was horrible. I was so triggered and in a trauma mist throughout, it just felt terrifying. So for once in my life (and I really think it is once), I stopped myself going outside and I really listened to that terrified little girl in me, and big girl at that matter, and stayed in bed. Why? Because that is what I needed.

All this trauma and tenderness has been hyped up by starting new meds. But the thing that this has brought with it, is a trust that’s growing, that it’s okay to give yourself what you need. It’s not okay in fact, it’s fucking essential. This might sound obvious, but for me is a massive learning curve. I’ve always ‘known’ it, but never known it. And I think I’m beginning to.

So, as I lay in that bed, I told that niggling character in the back of my mind, telling me to get the hell out of bed and do something with my life, to back the hell off and give me a break.

This is the cartoon I came up with.

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We all need days in bed sometimes, and even though they’re tough ones, at least you know you’re being kind to yourself in and amongst whatever other crap is going on. Next time you’re feeling fragile or triggered, go curl under your duvet, snuggle a hot water bottle and know it’s okay.

Love.

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You’re turning into your mother

All those inner niggles or inner doubts are simply just their own individual character, with their own individual voice. This voice is determined to help and make you listen and believe, but in actual fact it tends to just leave us feeling shoddy, full of doubt of life & ourselves, worrying ourselves into a frenzy and simply taking us inch by inch away from out true selves, in that moment.

So, here is my latest doodle. Here it is in aid of all the times in the past, and the most recent months being the most influential, of the voice of FACT that I’m turning into my mother. So I may as well give up now.

Both you and I know this is not true. Yet I still can’t quite settle for this, so here goes. By putting it on paper, I have soaked up the kind words of the advocate mouse – the inner me. My soul. My voice of reason & clarity, and what I know to actually be true. In turn, I laughed at the mother. I laughed at the fat lager drinking cat, telling me otherwise.

Now when these folk chip in again, I hope to keep them by side or even in a completely different room to me. Because now I know you to be talking complete and utter bollocks.

I am not my mother.

I am me.

And anything else couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Heartbreaking

It aches. In my chest. My heart has been broken and continues to be so, with every little nugget of psychiatric talk. Every little reference to medication. Every little reference to mental health.

But beneath it all is only severe anxiety. It’s only a heart and mind with ptsd.

Beneath this heartache is a feeling I’ve let myself down. All this medication, psychiatric talk and breakdown makes me feel like I’ve not done my best. I’ve failed. I haven’t held it together – I haven’t coped so therefore I’ve failed.

But dear girl, that is not true. Like I know anyone would tell me. We all are human. We all need to let go, let loose, let things be sometimes. Especially after carrying so much. It’s only natural. In fact, it’s called health.

To be in touch with psychiatric stuff – medications, mental health team, groups – does NOT mean you have failed. In a sense, it means you have succeeded. Not that I believe in failure or success with such things. But it’s true, you’ve got through and you’re asking for the help you deserve. Just so so deserve.

Just because you’re going down this route for now, it does not mean it is your only life route – we all hold so many aspects to our personality. Our being. Our nature. Our mental health is just one of them.

I know, one day not too far away, I will look back at this time and soften and forgive and let go of the judgements I am handing to myself. But right now, that is hard to find. I long for it so, but I just cannot grasp hold of that handle. So instead I try to grasp onto trust – a trust that one day I will be able to see it is just a patch in the journey. It does not define me. And it does not mean anything apart from what is. 

These judgements fade away for others, so please let go of them for yourself. There is no difference there.

Failure and success do not need to play this game.

Yours in knowing. And sunshine. ☀

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mezze platters & raindrops

So. Today is the first of firsts. I always read people’s blogs longing to post up about daily happenings and things I get up to. Instead I seem to just spill out the emotional ‘life’ stuff. But sometimes I just get bored of that cafuffle and want to share the little things. But I never quite know how…I don’t really know whether people will want to read it! But then I remembered the little vow I made to myself not long ago. It basically went along the lines of: try to start not giving a shit.

In a nice way.

So, here I am. Not giving a shit. ; )

Today has been so nice. It began with a bit of a lie-in – 9AM. Get in. Lately that has not been heard of. Not because I’ve had a crazy busy jam packed schedule. Nope. Just because my eyes have sprung awake at 7.30, or 7.32 on the dot every day this past week. It’s nice. I’ve been missing the days where mornings were my favourite time. It seems to be getting back to that way. And that’s a score.

Due to the rain, rain, rain that’s been falling from the sky, the allotment I was supposed to be starting work on and getting the keys for, was called off. So I was left a bit discombobulated. But then, thank the lord: I finally finished unpacking. It’s been over two weeks and I still hadn’t emptied all my bags into my new room. I think I just about have, apart from the few bags of crap shoved at the bottom of the wardrobe. They can hang out there for a bit. I don’t think I even have properly unpacked my rucksack from when I returned from California at the end of April…oops.

Made some quote and picture filled frames. A few quid from Ikea and a lot of nice memories – a nice mix for the walls.

I couldn’t help but notice myself really looking forward to being a housewife, or should I say, homekeeper. Mother. Girlfriend. Wife. Whatever it may be – I just think I am slowly really looking forward to gathering all my stuff together and making a home nice. One that I know is my own. That commitment bit gives me the heebyjeeby’s, due to the fact me and my itchy travelling feet have never lived in a room/house for longer than 8 months at a time…woah. I hadn’t ever typed that out before. But hey, that’s what being in your early twenties and late teens is about, right? Right.

I then went about editing some photographs from a wedding I worked at back in June. I rationed myself to twenty five minutes of editing. I have been feeling so overwhelmed by it, I couldn’t face it. Here’s a touch of comedy from the pack:

Some friends from Wales were in town, so I biked down the road to a cool spot I’d not been before. It was lovely. A fellow playing guitar, some cosy folk, a fantastic mezze platter…and my friends. Recently I’ve been really enjoying spending time on my own – away from friends. It’s weird. I feel like, in the cheesiest of most cheesy ways, the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting to know myself. Hehe. How Californian sounding of me. But it’s true. But I have been just so missing good solid easy-to-be-with and fun friends. They all live back in Wales. I need to find me some here. My friends here are friends with history, y’know? And that is amazing but because of the intensity of the past few months, I am really feeling that need for friends without that history. And just a history of ease. Right now I am feeling a weirdness and disconnection between me and my friends here. I have needed so much from them the past few months, and I guess I am somewhere inside, ashamed of that, embarrassed and wishing it hadn’t been so. And so I naturally lean towards taking myself away for a bit. But instead of that natural instinct being there in its sole being, I think I am also moving on slightly to new pastures – pastures with folk I feel more at ease with. But I really hope that doesn’t mean goodbye to these friends too. I think not.

Back to the mezze’s. We ate heaps and just caught up and it was lush. We then went outside for a cigarette, which I had been longing for for a month – I have this down to many episodes of Californication – he just makes smoking look so darn nice. But after two drags and me developing a slight swagger down the street, I passed the butt on. I remembered it’s not so nice after all. I phoned my friend in California for a catch up, which was wonderful. And then I biked home through the pouring rain and felt happy and ALIVE. And now I sit under the covers feeling ill, but accomplished and peaceful.

The food:

While I’m at it, I’m going to type about yesterday too. Because it was real nice too. The night before I switched medications to just taking one whole 50mg at night rather than 25mg in the eve and morn. And I think…I HOPE….I’ve hit jackpot. I really really hope. Maybe that’s why I want to start blogging full pelt, because I have a little inkling – a little candle of hope flickering inside, that this may just be the road upwards. I really really hope so. When I wonder whether it is, or wonder whether it’s not, I bring myself back to now. And now is going really well, so that is something to celebrate about. That seems to be getting stronger – that ability to live in the moment. And that’s such a relief. And it feels like an ever-growing gift. Mindfulness, I think, is right there in the grasp of my hand now – not just floating at my fingertips.

Since working a lot the past couple of weeks in a garden, back to my growing roots, I’ve been really finding the connection to the earth SO grounding. In all the mayhem of new medications, new homes, new beginnings, I have felt it really hard to connect to myself. And so every time I put my hands in the soil, to pull out a weed or plant a bulb, I have been really feeling that connection to something greater than myself. As cheesy as it sounds, it really is true – it works. Like wonder. Just to hold that connection to the world and the planet we live on, in my eyes, is one of the most healing things we can do. It offers a sense that you’re not alone, that there are so many other people and animals and creatures and plants in it with you – together. It  offers a sense of support and holding, which at times of struggle (and any time in life) is essential to feeling safe and protected. And so, enough of the tree hugging talk: I did a little doodle to explain it in a wee nutshell.

Back to yesterday. There’s not much more to say, apart from that I overcame two of my biggest fears…actually, hang on: THREE of them. Things that I have been just so overwhelmed and anxiety ridden at the thought of doing, I did yesterday with full swagger. I walked an hour and a half, with snippets of skateboarding inbetweeen, across the bustling city along a route I didn’t know, for a cranial sacral appointment. Something that just last week would have left my in stress hives. I then pottered slowly back, popping in and out of a couple of charity shops. Stopping in a healthfood store to buy some supplies. Both of these, but especially the latter would have left me crippled with overwhelm, stress and fear. I then did what I woke up wanting to do: sat in the afternoon autumn sun outside a cafe. It was so tasty with triumph, it was delicious.

Overcoming anxiety jackpot has been hit. And it felt so nutritious, I can’t even explain. And that’s not to even start on today or the day before yesterday. Here it is in a little nutshell: I biked, I got on my beautiful bike and rode around the park; I sat on the bench for fifteen minutes, just being with the moment and it felt flippin glorious; I walked to the shops and dove right into Poundland (the most bustling store of all where I live) and got what I needed without feeling like I was going to pass out or trip over the Everest sized mountain of anxiety rushing all over my body; I went for an early morning swim at the pool, involving a confident stroll through the dodgy neighbourhood; I walked across the same dodgy neighbourhood at night, to the pharmacy, but this before would have been the biggest NO GO of all; I cooked myself the tastiest breakfast and lunch today and yesterday….the list could go on.

Song of the weekend, that’s been on repeat 1,342 times:

How was your weekend?

Love.