Rose tainted lens

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Lately I’ve noticed how much I resist being in the ‘now’ because my life doesn’t look like how I want it to. It doesn’t look ANYTHING like how I thought it would, dreamt it would, believed it would, hoped it would, or wanted it to like…so it just means I fucking hate a lot about the ‘present’, if I really let myself be in it…like, proper in it. Not just mindfulness within myself, my body, but mindfulness of everything around me. Not just the trees, the birds singing, the beautiful sun shining through the clouds…I mean really looking at where I am geographically, in front of me and on the map, and really breathing that in and really noticing how that makes me feel.

Heartbreak. Hatred. Longing. Hating. Wanting. Wishing. Hoping…they are normally the sensations and feelings I notice. When I’m being mindful with a little bit of me left outside of the ‘now’ and sitting in imagined reality, then I have a bit of peace. I have a bit of hope. I am not left in a pit of wondering how the FUCK I got here…wondering where the FUCK I am going. When I allow myself to daydream or to look at the present a little differently, a little with rose tainted glasses and a hopeful grin, I am okay with where I am. But when I look at it with what feels like ‘real eyes’, I almost cannot handle it. Hence hardly doing it very often.

This is not where I want to be. This is not who I thought I would be. This is not what I wanted to be. This is not what I was going to be. This is not what I was going to do.

Is this being twenty-something? Is this me still finding my feet with where I find myself in adulthood? Is this me ‘coming to terms with’ the person I am becoming? Is this me wondering where on earth I am going? I laughed when I wrote those last two questions. ‘Coming to terms with the person I’m becoming’…that feels sad, but quite funny, that I would write that!

I feel like imagination and rose tainted glasses, make things hopeful. I see things how I want to see them. But maybe this is okay? Because it keeps me happy. It keeps me from feeling the grief, the pain, that I feel when I really see myself for where I am now. The grief and pain of when I look at my life how it is now doesn’t overwhelm so intensely, when I have on my rose tainted glasses.

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Another thing I’ve noticed, with the refusing to allow or accept for where I’m at, is the resistance towards feeling supported by the world, life, the universe. “When I look back, I see only miracles”, is one of my favourite quotes (I have no idea who it’s by…) but when I hate how much my life has not felt like mine, and how much it’s felt like a dream, I cannot help but feel MEGA resistance to the fact that actually, when I look back, I have always been so, so, so looked after by life and where I have found myself. I have always, always, had what I need…in times I have had NO idea how it would come to me.

But this feeling of being in a dream and this feeling of life not really belonging to me, not being truly mine – the idea that I am not where I wanted or should or ever thought I would be, feels at the root of this resistance. And it kinda makes sense.

How am I supposed to be grateful, when where I find myself is not where I want to be? How am I supposed to feel looked after when the support is for a life I didn’t think I would lead? How am I supposed to allow myself to grieve for what was, when I don’t fucking like what is now. Sure there is a shit tonne of beauty, but there always is, wherever I am. Thing is, the rest of what is, is shit…it’s not where I want to be. But I can look at it through the rose tainted, hopeful, glasses. Or I can look at it through the ones that don’t fit me – the glasses that don’t agree with me.

Either way, I do want to feel more present with the present. I do want to be able to sit with the now, more. To sit with where I truly am – rose tainted lens’ or real, uncomfy ones – and be able to be with the feelings, the realisms…I think part of this is growing up, but I also think that part of this is recovering from the overdose. I remember my therapist saying that people have told her that the time following an attempt is like a ‘bad trip’. I’ve never had a bad trip, I don’t even really think I’ve ever had any kinda trip (except for ones involving rucksacks). But I defo feel like that’s how I feel – like my life is a trip, a dream, a surreal – so surreal – time that I keep expecting to wake up from.

And I know this isn’t a dream, and it hasn’t been a dream (at a lot of points I have definitely said it’s felt like a fucking nightmare) but I do feel as though I’m waking up, slowly. My eyes feel like they’re opening wider than they were before. They’re letting more of life in, and letting more of love out. And all the other shit too. I do feel like I’m waking from a dream, and where I’m finding myself is reality. And I’m getting a bit of a shock.

But I reckon this is probably a good thing. A really, really, healing thing. I just need to stop trying to drown out the feelings that I’m waking up to, too…

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Shame…sod off

The last week I’ve noticed a whole new depth of shame. Shame around my suicide attempt. Shame around other stuff too, but that’s a whole other post. What. A. Freakin’. Week.

I think I’ve been aware of this for a while – maybe like this whole year and a half! – but I feel like this shame is here at the surface to be healed. After doing something like attempting to take your own life, shame feels like an obvious symptom to follow after. It is a symptom because of how it fucks your body up when you’re feeling it. I’ve noticed how it’s literally like a drug. It’s like a poison. A rotten apple that’s been planted in your system and from it, lots of maggots crawl out and squirm and cause havoc with your belief systems, a sense of worthiness and a sense of self. And they don’t stop until you tell them to fuck the hell off by sharing the shame with someone else. Just yelling at them, face on, don’t seem to work. I just end up stressed and in turmoil and more pain, and they continue to rummage around, eating away any form of self love, respect or feeling of deserving anything good or loving. Fucking maggots.

Anyways, so this shame I’m talking about is pretty fucking huge. And I think until now I haven’t needed to face it. I have a bit, obviously, but only in bite sized pieces. I’ve been able to avoid and dance around the big chunk of it, and let the maggots do their thing. (This metaphor is really quite gross but I’m quite enjoying it as I feel like it suits it quite well, so enjoy the maggot talk folks.) I’ve almost let them be there because they have been just as all encompassing as they are now, but they weren’t my focus on working through things. I had other maggots as my priority.

But now I’m noticing how deeply this shame runs – how deeply it’s gone. Or maybe I’m just getting a deeper insight, as my heart continues to open. It’s the shame of the fact I attempted. It’s the beliefs that have formed from this…this simple yet life changing act. The theories my inner critic has created, of all the things I now don’t deserve (according to him) and all the reasons I shouldn’t be here some more (according to him). I particularly noticed this this week as I’ve had a week from hell. A mind trippy low dark, deeply dark, week due to a reaction with a herb that brought up a tonne of grief that I couldn’t handle.

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During the whole time though, I watched as the impact of my overdose flooded me with shame and a sense of unworthiness. As I lay here swimming in a darkness I’ve never experienced before, I couldn’t properly reach out – partly because I literally couldn’t feel and barely fucking function, but also because within the shame I was flooded with, were beliefs that had been built from foundations of taking an overdose. And, lets be honest, foundations that were probably laid watching my mothers suicide attempts. That’s where my critic was born after all, so actually the judgement, hatred and critical words were born then. Not a year and a half ago – they were just turned towards me, when I attempted. Holy smokes that’s a beautiful thing to realise.

In this week of darkness, I realised that the difficulty of calling up a friend or meeting for coffee and truly owning up to the fact you’re feeling suicidal or desperate, or simply just depressed felt like such a mega task. In the past 18 months I just wouldn’t have said anything because the guilt of how much I needed friends during the time of my overdose and afterwards, still was running so strong. As was the fear of what me saying that, might bring up in them. But this time round, those two elements had faded. I think time really does heal. All those folks that say that are right. It just doesn’t feel as fresh anymore. And so this time round I could sit and openly say that I was really motherfucking struggling, and not care take. But instead, what lay beneath this new round ability to not care-take, was a river of beliefs that headed from my head to my heart and back again. The utter shame and sense of unworthiness because of what I did. A feel I don’t deserve support because of what I did. A sense that I don’t deserve deep connection and companionship because of what I did. And, most of all, that I don’t deserve regular support and love and company when I feel like this – I need to deal with it alone because anything else is too much. Too much for me, too much for the planet, and too much for the other person. It’s just too much to ask.

Or is it?

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Does the fact I attempted suicide mean I deserve any less than another person? No.

Does the fact I attempted suicide mean I deserve to go it alone, and need to go it alone? No

Does the fact I attempted suicide mean I shouldn’t tell anyone when I’m feeling deep in darkness and desperation or a sense of hopelessness? NO. It means I just need to pick those that feel safe and can hold it, and me.

Does the fact I attempted suicide suggest that I am totally doomed forever, red marked as a fuck up? A 2 out of 10, or an F? Err, NO.

And that goes for any of you out there too. I’m not sure how this shame truly heals, except I have a feeling it’s time and connection. And sharing. And, words from myself to the wounded part of me, and a middle finger to the critic, reminding myself I do deserve it and I do deserve love, despite whatever I’ve done or did or do. I deserve the unconditional kind. The kind I never got.

Until now – from me and those I love around me.

One continuing choice, is the greatest gift to myself

Until now I think the excitement of this journey and the ‘getting to know myself’ path that I’m on, has felt somewhat out of my hands as to whether I have a choice about it. In my eyes I didn’t. I was teetering towards the floor, I spent a whole summer swimming in serious suicidal ideation, I desperately grasped to therapy that winter and then in the springtime I overdosed. In my eyes this meant I had no choice but to unravel this stuff, heal this stuff, discover the hidden bubble-protected stuff, heal myself, give myself all the attention, devotion and love I have, and learn ways to find a shed load more of these three things, in unconditional supplies, that I didn’t know was there. This felt necessary for survival, it wasn’t just because I ‘felt like it’. My entire life was there before my eyes, blinding in a way that I didn’t think I could have looked anywhere else. But I could have. I could have stared vodka in the face every day and started my waking moments with a shot. I could have snorted crack til it came outta my eyeballs and numbed the pain. I could have done what a lotta people do. Okay maybe not the crack, but definitely the alcohol. I could have taken up the two last self destructive coping methods that I had never tried. But I didn’t. They were never an option for me or a decision that I needed to make, in my eyes, but I still did. I chose not to, no matter how subconscious this decision was.

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The last six months a friend has often said to me that I have a choice and I made a choice and am constantly making that choice – the choice to follow this healing path. I have always looked at him as though that’s a load of total bollocks. I’m not. ‘I have no choice, you don’t know shit’, I have desperately want to reply, because the thought that I have CHOSEN this path just makes me want to vom. It makes me want to curl up with embarrassment at the thought that I decided to do this. I decided to put myself through hell when things felt shit enough.

But gradually something inside me has shifted and I am realising that this choice is the biggest gift I can give myself. Like, it’s the ultimate act of self love – to heal. And it’s mega exciting too. I’m getting to know ME! It hasn’t really clicked until today, but this is self discovery that I’m doing. That is fucking cool.

After realising this, the enthusiasm that has been there beneath this all, can blossom and shine even more. Until now I’ve struggled to not just feel demoralised by what I’m doing, and weirded out by how I have enthusiasm for it. I shouldn’t, should I? How lame is that. I’ve felt battered down at how relentless this healing game is. Resentment and a hatred has burned so strongly through the clouds of self care and self love, leaving me sunburnt in a way that turns pink instead of a beautiful bronzed brown.

But I think it’s because I’ve been seeing this time as healing. Just healing. Don’t get me wrong, this has also filled my heart with such warmth that tears flow and flow when I finally realise I’m getting the chance to heal. Something I’ve needed for about 23 years. (I’m only 26). But maybe I’m not just healing. Today I realised that I have been seeing this time as so focused on what’s happened in the past, that’s led me to this point. To be fair, that is totally legit because in that IS what’s led me here. But now I want to see this journey as also as self discovery too – getting to know myself inside out, regardless of the past stuff. The past is just an added gazillion layer to sort through amongst this journey. I feel battered and bruised and torn when I just see it as overcoming my past and healing my past. Not to mention the “UNFAIRNESS” that rips me at the seams. But I’m healing my self, my whole Self now. And the parts within that are wounded from the past. The actual past can go fuck itself. I’m healing what’s here now because what’s here now sure is wounding from the past, but it isn’t actually the past. The past is done for. I’m left with my beautiful, battered, knackered, wise and wounded, beautiful self.

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This might sound obvious but I’m getting to know myself. I’m doing what all those wise owls do. I have struggled to see why on earth I would spend all this focus on, and time with, myself when it’s just me. Plain old me. Why can’t someone else get to know me so well and I get to know them in return? Deal?

But I’m doing this for me, I’m not doing it for anyone else. And so noone else can do it for me. I’m so shiney and brilliant that right now I don’t want to share myself with anyone else. I want to dive deeper into me and keep on discovering all this territory that’s never been found. I want to walk bare foot on shores that have only ever been kicked up in a frenzy from some trauma before. I want to put on my stilettos (I need to buy a pair first) and strut through the corridors of my inner self, owning it all. I also wanna kick the fuck outta the shitty dark corners and put a bouncy castle there instead, but I don’t know if can afford one of those. Bouncy castles are costly.

Everything I’ve done before now has been for someone else – as a child, as a teen, as a young adult – but now this journey is my own. From day one I was born into responsibility and now, as of a year or so ago, I made the decision to have all this responsibility for just myself. My rucksack of responsibility is just mine. I kicked out the items that weren’t anymore (MY MOTHER). The weight of this rucksack is mine to get to know, sort through, sift through, buy better straps for, and gradually learn a better posture by which to carry it. And I’m getting there. But first I still seem to have a fuck load of sifting. I could just hand it over to the Goodwill stores here and get drunk and snort crack but I don’t think I want to, no matter how painful this sifting and posture learning is. It’s my sifting to do and it’s my posture to learn, just for me. For no one else. Anyone else I get to share this whole-of-me with, well…that’s just a bonus.

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This journey of discovery is where I am grateful for my sense of fun and humour. I have been this entire year. All the drawing of cartoons, all the mindful and playful walks in nature, all the journalling and excitement about the revelations I have and realisations I’ve put together…but I realise, I don’t think I had really set my ‘intention’ until now. Like, inside I know I’ve been healing but its mostly felt like surviving. The last few weeks I’ve noticed a big old shift happen with this and I really KNOW that I am healing. In every way. It’s like my body knows it, my mind knows it, my soul knows it, and my heart knows it. And so because of this knowledge I can allow for it more and give myself the time and the trust. This in itself is a mega hit of mega dope beauty for me. And now, as of today, and probably as of this healing revelation/shift too, I now can see this time as exciting and a right of passage and a beautiful brilliant project I’ve decided to give myself. It’s like the ultimate home work, except the only test I get is the one I constantly give myself. Thank fuck because I hate normal tests.

I have always looked at people in awe when they just so clearly are on their path of self discovery and so dedicatedly and enthusiastically doing so. They’re the cool kids in my eyes. And I realise that, if I just set that as my intention (which it so blatantly has been this entire time, I just didn’t realise it), I can let myself feel like one of the cool kids too. Because I am. And so are you.

My song of belonging

There are thousands and thousands of research studies about how a sense of belonging is one of the key elements to health. Nature is where my sense of belonging blossoms, grows and is nurtured and feels like the healthiest relationship I have. I give, I get given a shed load back. I feel protective and I feel protected. I listen and I always feel heard.

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Scanning over an article just now – I never read these kinda things as it is just too triggering, so I literally scan over the pictures and get the gist – about how suicide has become an epidemic. I was absolutely shocked to see their chart showing how self-harm was the leading cause of death in the developing world in 2010. I think I had heard this statistic loosely before, but there was something about seeing it in an actual list…sitting there above natural causes. It broke my heart. And it made the anger in me boil, that this is even the case. The rage felt blinding and the protection oozed out and I just want to stop it all. One day I’ll work with this and with people knee deep in suicidality, but definitely not yet. My attempt, and all those of my mother, are way way too fresh. But one day.

In another little picture in the article, it shows the three leading elements that contribute to the desire of suicide, and right there is: ‘thwarted belongingness’. For me that has been and was definitely a leading factor in my feeling of desperation in the years before now. But now it has changed, and I definitely think nature has been the crucial instrument in helping this song of belonging develop begin to play in my heart. It makes me teary to realise this, and also makes me realise how much I’ve grown.

Mindful, playful and heartfelt connection with the earth has meant this song has continued to play over the year. Somedays louder than others, and somedays it feels like it’s gone quiet but the difference is that even on these deeply lonely quiet days, there is a murmur of song gently playing in the background that was never there before. It was either all or nothing before. I felt loved or I felt loathed. I felt supported or I felt painfully isolated. I felt as though I belonged, or I felt as though my feet had no place on this earth where they felt truly held.

Just like anything, it took practise to get this song playing…this alien thing I didn’t know how to do I can now do with my eyes closed. The way I can get my being to truly feel held, the way I can open my heart up to the natural world around me and let the support in, the way I can ground myself and allow myself to feel a sense of purpose in simply just being on the earth – nothing else – is just bloody beautiful. And is something that gives me faith for whatever road lies ahead, because this is a song I know will never fade out.

That last image was borrowed – i just loved it. Link attached.

I only love myself when I’m cool

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I used to think self love was just one of those cheesy things that just the hippies I grew up with were into. Now I realise it’s something that we all need to be into. And actually, those hippies I grew up with weren’t actually ticking the boxes of self love in its entirety after all, I realise now. But that’s an entirely different conversation.

Self love, to me, means forgiving, nurturing, accepting, allowing for, honouring, and loving each and every part of you. Not just the pretty parts. Not just the cool parts. ALL OF IT. Recently I noticed my self love boxes were being ticked and I really felt like, for the first time in my life, I was really getting to grips with this nurturing stuff. Every day I was feeling this warm sense of pride for myself. And it was feeling just lovely. But then the anniversary hit and in the days, and week, that followed this I fell of the self love wagon and onto the shame one. The shame wagon was where I made a home for myself, got cosy and nested for a week. It was shit. It took a hell of a lot of effort to slowly wade my way out of the duvets that were keeping me there, quietly festering and sitting in the depths of my own emotions and hatred for myself.

But slowly, I began to do it and make my way back to the self love wagon. This only properly happened yesterday. And what a freaking’ relief. There were lots of little steps, but there was just this inability to let love in and to feel love that was stopping me make the final step outta the shitty shame wagon. I shared it with friends a bit – my feelings of shame – and I took myself out into the world when all I wanted to do (and had been doing rather a lot) was lie in bed at home. But nothing was properly shifting it. These little bits of encounters with love was lovely n all but my heart only opened up for about a few seconds and then it went on shut down again. And the most frustrating and painful thing of it all, was my inability to connect with any kinda love for myself. Zero was there…Zilch.

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There was the biggest resistance to the act of loving myself or letting others love me…like, so so physical I just couldn’t shift it…because of what I did, blah blah blah. Slowly I saw that actually the love was there – this stuff never goes anywhere, it just gets masked by other shit – but I just couldn’t trust that it was safe to connect with it. But, eventually I did. Through somatic experiencing in therapy, and a craniosacral appointment, things managed to click into place a bit more and my love was/is back.

But what I realised, through this whole lack of love venture was that self love is a whole lot fucking harder than I thought. I thought I was getting it but actually, I was getting it in relation to the bits of me that are, in my opinion, loveable. Not the other bits…like the high maintenance, complicated, frustrating, loser-ish, really-fucking-way-too-beyond-acceptable sensitive, HARD WORK, parts of me…hell no. Not those parts. I found myself laughing as I was on the phone to a friend saying, “I only love myself when I’m cool”. It was half a joke and half totes truth.

I was beginning to fall in love with my vulnerability, my sensitivity (up to a point), my need for nurturance – from me and from others, my imperfections, my anger, my need for gentleness, my weirdness, a little bit of my high maintenance… And any of those things that I wasn’t quite falling in love with, I was learning to forgive me for them or allowing for them to be there. But I kinda was learning to see that actually these things were loveable from the outside too. All these things I had shunned and tried my freakin’ hardest to NOT EXIST…there they were, and here they are. I just hadn’t allowed for them to be here before. But I definitely do not want to allow for all the other shit bits that I really find hard to love…like all the extra weird, extra hard work, extra fucking complicated and frustrating bits of me that I now realise are there. And not just there, but there with (shitty) flying colours.

Damn. I thought I’d gotten this self love business nailed. I’ve put that to the side though and I just trust that as I continue to grow – both in myself, and up – this ability to love the even wider whole of me, will come. I reckon it will. But fuck that’s scary, cos what if I end up loving myself and I’m a total nightmare bitch but I don’t realise because I love myself so much I don’t notice…? That’s what I trust my friends are for. To just give me the heads up if this happens. I’ve asked them.

Right now, as I have switched wagons and am sat back on my self love one, all I want to do is be with myself. All I wanna do is hang out, with me. Just me, myself and I. And y’know what? It’s fucking lovely. I saw friends today, at a festival/market down the road, and that was nice. But all I could think was how I wanted to be lying on the grass at my allotment, reading my book. Last night I sat for two hours on my favourite hill as the sun set, writing my journal, and just glowing with pride and love for myself. I think I’m making up for that week or two of shame, self hating, hell.

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With the risk of sounding like those bloody hippies I grew up with, I love myself today. A LOT. And I really mean it. And, it feels real good. I was looking at pictures of myself – actually, correction…I was taking pictures of myself to show off my somewhat dodgy self-done haircut for Instagram (YEP, we all have done it – the photo taking, maybe not the haircut), and then looking at them…and I kept on thinking, what a cool chick, who’s that girl? Oh, that’s me! Oh she’s lovely, beautiful, ace, and so loveable…yep, that’s me.

And that’s when it clicked. I love myself. I am feeling pretty cool today, despite the intense fatigue and pain, I feel pretty darn cool. And so what if I only love myself when I feel cool. My cool is a pretty wholesome cool. And fuck, that’s an achievement from six months ago. So I’ll take any love I can get from myself to me. The other lot of me will get loved when the time is right. Until then, I’m off to hang out with a film and FOOD. Just me, myself, and I.

Keeping schtum

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My last post talked about the juicy subject of guilt…something I thought I was in the depths of feeling, but now I realise this guilt quickly became shame, I just didn’t clock on. Shame literally does no good. It feels like something that riggles its way so subtly into your life, only to sit there and fester, turning your days into depressive inner chatter and withdrawal, isolation and self hatred…all coming from somewhere you can’t quite put your finger on, or without you even realising it beginning to happen.

That’s what it’s been like for me. This last week has been so bizarre. I have lost myself to the above scenario, and I have felt overwhelmed by it, but unable to get out of it no matter how much positive self talk or love I try to give myself. It’s all been shame based on what I did last year. All based on the fact that I attempted suicide… and all the self-judgement that has come from this. I have literally had to force myself to see friends, with a constant dialogue of “why are you still my friend, you shouldn’t be, I shouldn’t be here with you trying to be funny and normal after what I did, you must think I am so awful, I am awful…” running through my head. I have managed to perfect the art of avoiding talking about it when I do speak to friends because the vulnerability it takes to share this is WAY too much, and way too daunting…and I’m scared.

But tonight I asked a friend on the phone: “you don’t think any less of me because of what I did last year, do you?”… There was a pause and she laughed: “I can’t work out whether you’re being serious – is that a trick question?!” I went on to laugh too, but say that no it really wasn’t and I was totally serious… She went on to reassure and say lovely things. It felt like medicine. And it made me realise that when we get left with our guilt or self-criticism, doubt, and judgement, it becomes a big ugly bear that follows us around. To us it becomes massive, inconsolable and all encompassing. But when we share, the empathy and love, immediately softens it down.

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“Empathy is the antidote to shame.  If you put shame in a petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy,silence and judgement.  If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and dose it with empathy it cannot survive.”

Brene Brown

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Speaking with my therapist yesterday, she called this ‘toxic shame’. The shame that grows and grows when kept isolated from people, and the kind of shame that can only be healed, soothed, or told to sod off, through love. Without risk of sounding cheesy, that really is how it works. Since hearing that, I realise that really is true. It is love from mother/father or boyfriend/girlfriend that is the key to this passing, apparently. But, seeing as I don’t have those treats in my life, friends are the people I can turn to, to give me that love and reassurance. At least some of it anyway. I realised the beginning of this shame-fest was a tonne of grief about not having a mother to turn to. I suddenly felt an overwhelming and desperate longing for a mum to call up, to visit, and to tell that I overdosed… to have a mum to hug me and tell me it’s going to be okay. To tell me that she doesn’t think badly of me for doing what I did, that I am not any less of a person because of it, to tell me that she understands and that she is here for me always, that she still loves me, and that doing what I did doesn’t change anything… that’s what I needed/need, and after speaking with my therapist I realise that this is an innate human need that I was experiencing. But something that has been so blocked from my radar out of pure unavailability that I didn’t know what to do with it, so I buried it out of fear. As well as the scenario above with my friend on the phone, I have had two other times I have shared this shame briefly with a friend and immediately I just cried…simply hearing someone tell me all that I needed to hear, the shame just cannot help but disappear, even if for just that brief moment. This proves the love theory to be true.

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“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.”

Brene Brown

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The other day, in the midst of this ‘aftermath of an overdose’ shame-fest emotional shenanigans that I was experiencing, I was longing to pick up something and read experiences of other people’s journey with their healing of suicide…in every little detail. Not just the overall paragraph about it. Like, each and every nitty gritty and not-so pretty detail that only those who have attempted suicide can truly know. I couldn’t find it, and so this is why I want to document this journey. The feelings feel so alien, intense and bizarre…and SO flippin’ hard to express – in my journal, through the blog or in person. And given the nature of the topic, it feels hard to truly trust it is safe to share. So, instead, I need to keep typing and keep on finding my way back to the keyboard, and hope the spoken words will come properly soon.

This week  has felt like I am learning how to do things from the beginning again. But maybe this is just a deeper level of healing. Letting love in at the moment feels almost impossible, but is the thing I crave the greatest. I am still allowing it to be around me despite this inability to feel it. I long to just keep schtum, keep withdrawn, keep myself to myself…but I know in my heart that’s not what I want. All I can do is prove this shame wrong. Keep on gently giving myself love or letting it be there from others, despite whatever self hating critical chatter is going on and whatever urge to withdraw and keep schtum is there.

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Shame, sod off.

The jumpsuit

I’m going on holiday. As I sit on the train headed south, watching my favourite surf film, that’s how I’m seeing it. I’m going on a mini break to the countryside! And THE SEA. Oh how I’ve needed one of these!

Holy smokes the last day and a half has been intense. Since my last post I fell apart a bit. I’ve cried a lot. And I have spent the last 24 hours with people, because Wednesday night sleeping at home on my own was so so painful. It’s like when I’m on my own I start to unravel, but company eases it and softens the physical stuff. That’s what it is – it’s the physical sensations that are hitting me hardest. Emotionally, I know I am fine. I am here solid and cool beneath it all. But fuck, the physicality is intense.

But it’s the memories stored that are surfacing and releasing. This time last year my body had its biggest trauma ever, so no wonder it is experiencing the memories and the sensations as though it’s happening or will happen again. The only way I don’t get overwhelmed is when I am in company – their nervous system eases my nervous system. So that’s why I’m off on holiday – to hang out with my lovely friend.

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There is an abundance of emotions and feelings I want to describe, but most of all the overwhelm and relief, and grief and sorrow, of that time. This time last year. It changed my life in a million ways that day. It is a year since talking with my parents and sister. It’s a year since I thought that I had to do this on my own. It’s a year since I learnt that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a year since I realised I began to discover that I truly matter. It’s a year since I said goodbye to that part of me that was only here to serve my mum. It’s a year since I stepped into the self I am today. It’s a year since my friends literally went beyond any love I have ever known, and blew me away in their support, organisation and the way they stepped into the role of sorting things out in ways I will only ever be so so grateful. It’s a year since I let go of the desperate need to push on through. It’s one whole freakin’ year. In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in others it feels like a lifetime ago.

So much physical pain and terror is surfacing, with a constant shake as though I need a stiff whiskey. The psychosomatic stuff is bizarre. Headaches galore. Dizzy spells. Gentle shaking and spells of dissociation. It’s all goin’ on. But last night I slept, and oh how that was a relief. Clenched jaw and mental dreams but I slept through. I was in my friends cosy abode – tucked in and safe. I think this was why.

I’m scared for the next few days. I’m scared that I’ll unravel. I’m scared that I won’t get through it okay. I know I’ll get through it – I know that in every bone in my body. But y’know what I’m most scared of? Not today. I know I’ll get through it. I’m having a birthday party baby. What I’m scared of is the days that followed the overdosed. I’m terrified. What I experienced was the most terrifying experience of my life. Sure, I have technically had worse (not that you can compare trauma), but this one was the first one I had ever felt. The trauma I’m talking of is the psych hospital that I spent 24 hours in. It was fucking protocol. It was terrifying. It was like a prison, except everyone was mad and sleeping in the same room. The toilets were covered in shit, the noise was insane – literally. But there was me, sane and completely indescribably terrified. I spent every hour slightly ‘checked out’ for survival reasons, holding onto a list that of my friends names and loving things that they had said to me the two days before, that I had managed to write out when I got there. But even in that experience, there was an angel. The nurse that came on duty at the end just looked at me and asked what the hell I was doing in there?! Within an hour I was out and she gave me the biggest hug, and told me never to come back there again! I most certainly will not.

So that’s the bit I’m feeling terror for. It’s so so physical. I know it won’t happen again. I know there is no way it could. Just like I know I won’t overdose again, I know I won’t end up in that place. But I’m scared I might somewhere else? This is all anxiety – it’s technically irrational but to my fear it’s rational.

But I see I’ve come so far in the world of trauma healing. Part of trauma release of past trauma stored, is that you need to experience the physical and emotional sensations that you would have at the time. So that’s why I’m scared. I’m scared that at the time of that trauma, I

But that’s not here yet. It’s in a couple of days. And y’know what, I’ve got a funny feeling everything will be okay. I was worried about yesterday and it was okay. I was worried about today and so far it’s turning out okay and I know it will only continue to. I’m experiencing all these uncomfortable and deeply painful memories or feelings or sensations, but there’s a bizarre solidness of okayness in my being.

That’s where the jumpsuit comes in. I am seeing it as I am wearing this jumpsuit of memories – physical and emotional – and sensations that gets all puffy and huge, but beneath it is me. I just am wearing this jumpsuit because I need to, to let it heal and become just another jumpsuit part of my life closet. But this jumpsuit needs to be worn and loved, as a terrifying but also so transformational experience.

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I feel like all the last month or two has been prepping me for the next few days, big time. I have been healing and releasing some deep traumas from long ago that have been so fucking painful and overwhelming – the physical and emotional states. But I have got through those so I can get through now. So Bring. It. On.

Through somatic experiencing therapy I can now distinguish what is physical and what is feedback that becomes emtional. Our mind interprets what the body is saying. So take now – my body is full of terror and pain, so even two months prior to this I would have been feeling this emotionally too. I look back on this year and my heart opens, because I see I didn’t have this skill before. Now there is a distance between me and the trauma memory – hello, jumpsuit. Before my jumpsuit covered my insides too, now it’s an outer shell. This is huge. This is how I know that I will get through the next few days. There is a deep fear that I’ll not be able to handle it and lose the plot, but fuck if I haven’t lost the plot this whole year then I’m not going to lose it now.

I know how to be with the physical states, how to not let the memories flood and become all encompassing. I need people to help me do this, and this is normal. I know how to hold myself, give myself a cuddle, take short moments to be with the now, mindfully breath and connect to the earth, cry, allow the trauma to slowly and gently release through noticing the shakes, rather than thinking I needed to let it go all at once…stuff I never knew just months ago.

So, as my train journey comes to an end, I know I have done the right thing. And as I look at my bikini in my bag I hope that get to use it and go dive in that big blue sea, baby.

Time is crazy, this year has been crazy, and fuck am glad it is over. But it bizarrely holds so much beauty too. With pain comes a shed load of this, always. And this year and this time now is total proof of that. As the tears fall out of relief for it all, my heart widens even more for myself and all the love and life changing shiz that has come from something that I will never do again.

Now it’s time for some healing from those country hills, people.

Love.

Cafuffled Dates

My attribute that I am most glad of at the moment, is my sense of humour. My ability to laugh at myself and at life is something I have realised is such a big resource – one that I used to overlook. This year, however, I have begun to discover how this is such a tool, and one that I am proud of, and so grateful for. Provided the laughter is in a heart-warming, compassionate and light way, rather than a bypassing abusive kinda way, this is when it’s health in a nutshell (in my opinion). 

Today is a classic example of a) how my life can be, and b) how my humour is a gift. I’ve been anticipating the year mark since the overdose happened for a while now. I just can’t help it. It was a mega big deal. It changed my life. Not only is the rational remembering, but there is also the physical remembering – the surfacing of memories, the physical symptoms that is trauma simply coming up to say hello, and then head on its way.

I thought the year mark was next week. I have next week increasingly filling with nice things – friends, theatre trips, and other stuff coming my way – but now, it turns out, the year mark is on Friday…this Friday!! As in, in two days. This is hilarious. It is like planning your 30th birthday party for one week, and then suddenly discovering your 30th birthday is actually the week before. Okay, I know I hardly turned 30 that day, but I was reborn. The me I am now, was born then. So in that sense, maybe I should throw myself a 1st Birthday Party. Except I want more than one candle on my cake. You’re all invited. Who’s in?

I had been aware of memories surfacing and feeling increasingly in need of company, love and just more company the last few days. I figured it was to do with my period that needed to hit me anytime soon. But there was something about my thoughts – the memories that were surfacing felt different to normal. It sometimes feels hard when memories of the overdose surface, to not worry and wonder whether it is suicidality back again….Instead, it is as though it is the trauma releasing. And because part of the trauma is stored in my mind, it can get a touch confusing and close for comfort as these thoughts surface to release. But there is a big big difference between remembering the details of a time that I wanted it all to end, and actually wanting it too. Trust me, it is so not the latter. It just gets a little weird and close. Beneath it all, I always know I am there, on solid ground, with a healthy distance from the memories/thoughts. Watching them like a passing, and sometimes stormy, cloud.

The way I discovered the day was actually this week, was because my therapist (from America) emailed me to arrange a time to speak this week, as she does. She then said that she knows it’s a special week this week, so if I would prefer not to speak because of plans or company, then that’s okay. I emailed back informing her that it was in fact next week, the special week. She emailed back apologising, saying her notes said it was the 19th and 20th.

And then it clicked. I looked over my way of working it out – all I knew was that it happened on a Thursday last year, around the third week in April, so I figured it would be Wednesday this year, and next week – and realised I had been completely blonde. First off, it would be Friday this year, not Wednesday, and it is this week, not next.

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So here I am in my ‘special week’ and I didn’t even realise! But I think subconsciously I did. It’s funny. Incredibly funny really, because I have been spending so much time in the midst of angst and worry and fear of next week, and now it is here with me already. And, I have all these lovely things planned, but the time is actually now! I watched and am watching how anxiety is there, because of this. And heartbreak too. For today is the day that I almost did it. And this is what is weird – this is why I feel like subconsciously I knew the week was this week – because I felt like I wanted to sleep at someone’s house tonight. I wanted company, but I didn’t know why. And now I do. This time last year I sat in the dunes and almost overdosed. I then spent the rest of the night in agony and turmoil, but with a deep knowing that it was about it happen. It was one of the weirdest nights of my life.

But instead, I will go home and I will have a bath and eat some tasty food. I have asked a friend if I can sleep at hers, but she doesn’t get home til late so it might not happen. And plus she thinks I’ll be fine so I think she didn’t really feel a need. I know I will be fine, but it is simply just the company I need. And I think this is a normal kinda thing to want at times like this. Love, after all, is all we need, yo.

And y’know what else is funny, I was on my period when I overdosed. And so that is a hella lot of anxiety that I get every month when that fella comes! Although it has definitely softened as the months have gone on, since it happened. But this month I worked out on my calendar that it would fall around the time of the ‘year mark’…this made me laugh. Thanks woman bits. But then it started today, and I thought it was weird. But then I thought, hey, maybe this is the universe helping me out. One less thing to feel is the same as it was last year, during this time of this year! And now it turns out that it is here at the same time anyway!

One thing anxiety and trauma do together, is leave you reading into every little synchronicity or every little thing that is the same as it was last year, or whenever the trauma happened. There is a deep deep knowing and super strong belief that all will be well – I KNOW it is not going to happen again. But that is the rational. That is the sensible grounded me. Then there is the nutty anxiety me. She’s the one that reads into things and comes up with all these angst ridden conclusions. She’s the one that needs a whisky.

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I panicked as I don’t have anything special planned for the coming few days. But then I realised I do. I have a dear friend from Aus visiting tomorrow. But what about Friday? What should I do? I want to do something special to honour the time, and be with someone who I love and feel relaxed with, and who I know will simply ‘get it’. I knew who right away. My friend maisie who lives by the sea, and who has been trying to get me to visit for the past few weeks. I’ll go and visit her. So, I text her and it’s on. My 1st Birthday Party will be happening by the hills and the ocean – couldn’t be more perfect.

And y’know what else, it feels significant too because I have been nervous about leaving the city and kipping somewhere else for a night. So this is the bridging of that fear too. A taste of even more freedom. The freedom that I have been increasingly feeling this last month.

I feel like I’m a combination of things right now. I feel a desperate need for love and people. And then I feel an overwhelming sense of confidence in my own self and my ability to just be there for me. I feel a deep anxiety around this time, for what could happen and what did happen. And then there’s the pain and the sorrow…oh, the sorrow and grief for myself back then. But then there’s the pride I’m glowing for myself. I’m scared, but there’s this bizarre trust that seems to be here more and more recently – the trust that whatever happens, I’m going to be okay. I don’t know if this is me deluded, or whether it’s the truth, but in a way I guess it  doesn’t really matter. What matters is, it’s here. And then there’s the humour – that’s there too. I keep finding myself laughing at how this has all come about – something that was so huge and had so much anticipation around is just here. Quietly here. This brings a secret relief, weirdly, too.

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Happy birthday to me.

Loss

As I sit here and mourn the loss of the household cat, Magic, it feels like the whole world of grief and loss swims up to sit right in front of me.

When I lose one thing, I can’t help but think of all the other things I’ve lost as well. All the other things I have lost but never had a chance to grieve, because the ground has never slowed down to stay beneath my feet.

Until now. Now I can finally let the tears fall that that have never had a safe place to land.

Death is such a weird thing. How someone can be so alive, to suddenly being so gone? Connecting with the loss, connecting with the grief, brings the feelings of importance to the life I live. But it also brings the awareness of its fragility too. I left the cat for two hours, came back and she was dead. Just two hours before, I had stroked her delicate head and wondered whether she was okay. When I stepped back in my room, I knew something was different. And then I saw her. she had slipped between the gap in the chair – the one she had been sleeping on – and fallen. Her paw was still caught in the cushion above. Her body laid sprawled, unladylike. Un-Magic like. A cat that has been so quiet and content, pottering around, sleeping in any box or bag she could find, was suddenly sprawled out in a way I had never seen her before. She was old, she was a delicate flower.

She was not my cat. She was our landlords. But just the presence of death, whether you are deeply connected or familiar strangers, brings up the process of Loss, and the questioning of life that follow this. We connect with any living thing to a certain level, always.

There’s a gap now in the house. A slight edge in the air, of sorrow and grief. The other cat, Dumbledore is parading around as though nothing is the matter. They were not the closest of friends. He just wandered off the street one day and took half of her spot as the household cat. But then I catch him sniffing where Magic’s body was found, and taking a moment to sit, and I see that he knows what’s going on. Animals always do.

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Loss makes you realise how precious you are. It brings up the overdose in all its entirety. It brings up the fact that, on that day, this is what I thought I wanted. I knew I truly wanted, in that moment, and the moments before. And death was it. But today, as I sat next to Magic’s cooling body, I took a deep breath as tears rolled forward. This is not what I wanted. Nor was it ever. Sure, there were parts of me that did. Parts of me that used to dream for it to be what I got, what happened…but there was a deeper part of me. The part that wants to live, and loves that I do.

This is the part that I connected with even more today. I realised that death is not something we choose. It is not something that I can just ‘decide’ one day, that it is what I want. Provided you are in a lighter headspace, I feel like this might be one of the remedies for Suicidality. In the darker times, I see that it wouldn’t. It would have only upped the longing. But increasingly recently, I have realised more and more that I am here to live. I do not choose when I die. This is something that happens, and it is out of my hands. In the meantime, I need to live. And no burden or overwhelm can cause this to end, because no matter the pain, or the ill-health, or the isolation, or the seeming ‘failings’, that is life.

Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect, and so embracing just the basic task of living, is the achievement we can all make in life. The rest are just added bonuses.

Love.