After spending the whole of last year regularly writing and sharing my experiences I found myself in a place were I could no longer write. I didn’t want to share any more. I couldn’t cope with the responsibility that I had bestowed on myself to keep telling my story. I felt suffocated by it.
I have suffered from overwhelm, denial, feelings of inadequacy and worry, all the worry about everything and anything you could possibly worry about. There, I said it.
For someone who is openly and loudly ‘positive’ and ‘optimistic’, I’ve felt totally flat & convinced it was all about to go wrong. I have continued to seek opportunities to pull myself out of the pit but with each new opportunity I have just added in to the worry bucket.
It might be hard to believe from the outside. If you’ve bumped in to me in real-life I would have proudly told you that everything is fine, that things are pressing on well with Jack’s treatment (they are!) and that I am excitedly working on my ‘not-for-profit’ project. And that is all true but underneath the busyness, I have not ‘been myself’. I’m pretty good at dressing myself up to match the persona, as you can see below.
I shared my life warts & all through last year, via this blog and on my social media channels, I don’t think I truly connected to what was happening around me. At first writing and sharing everything was cathartic. But as more people read and engaged with it I feel like I lost connection with my reason for writing to begin with. I felt I was writing to entertain people. I was screenwriting a soap opera.
Self-care is something I actively promote and encourage other people to do but I am not always putting it in to practice myself.
A friend sent me a quote that said ‘don’t forget to check on your strong friend’ and she is one of only a small handful who actually has. I have told her when I am not OK and she has guided and encouraged me out of the hole. She has given me right royal bollockings over my need to practice what I preach too.
The thing with being described by others as ‘positive’ and ‘strong’ is that it creates an expectation internally that you must always behave that way. I have learnt that it’s alright to tell people that actually, I’m not feeling that strong at the minute, I feel a bit exhausted. I could do with a break.
So over the last couple of weeks I have been participating in a daily meditation challenge. Admittedly I have missed a couple and done two at once, but taking that 15 minutes (nearly) EVERY day to just breathe has helped to clear some of the fog. I had reiki from an amazing healer who knew I was holding something that needed to be shared, thank you Zarra for helping me to release that energy. I have also been training for a 10K charity race; running about 3 times a week has not only improved how I have felt in my body but also in my mind. The combination of these things has been a source of therapy, and has helped me work through these feelings and thoughts.
I’ve realised as a result of the last few weeks working on myself that I need to have a conversation with a professional about how I’ve been feeling. Although I can see through the fog a bit better in this moment, there may well be a patch ahead that I’m not prepared for. I’m completely OK with this, I don’t need to pretend that I can manage if I feel like I can’t. Nobody is going to think anything less of me nor is it going to impact my ability to help and inspire others.
Self-care is a priority and a necessity.
It’s OK to not feel OK and to tell others.