Enough (cont from previous post)

How to explain?

I told him that my last trip with him was the happiest I had been. I was so happy.

But that trip had signalled a ‘mental’ end. For me, I had decided that once I got back there would be no more relaxing and dilly-dallying. No. It was time to start work.

When that didn’t happen (my DBS wasn’t back), I faltered. I mourned not being with him and the life I wanted with him. But I couldn’t motivate myself wholeheartedly to do much else. Whilst I couldn’t explain this to him as eloquently as I have just now, he understood. He told me not to worry – I would be working soon. He told me to fill my time, and my mind, with other work. He’s always right.

I continued. And then…and then there was the incident with my London friend. I hadn’t told him what she had said but he pressed me and so I did. 

This was hard to explain – naturally, he took the affront and felt that she (and I) were accusing him of being bad and of not loving me.

But that isn’t it. I told him that I know he is a good man. Her words, her belief that I was an option actually made me feel bad on me. That I wasn’t good enough. The reason he hasn’t made a commitment or a decision was that I wasn’t good enough.

“Did I say that? Have I ever said that to you? You must understand my thinking.”

He was angry with her for inserting herself so negatively in our relationship. He talked of his culture and the ‘white thread’ that family brought to support a couple when they were struggling.

He said there were no problems between us.  That he just needed time to get everything right where he was, before he made the final move to commitment and leaving his country.

He told me…he told me that he had never met a woman like me before. He told me that I was beautiful and gentle and a good woman, and that his parents had said the same. He said he was the bad one – he didn’t do half of what I did for him and so I had no reason to think bad of myself. When I asked him why he didn’t, and I say that not because I want him to do those things but out of curiosity, he said he wasn’t in the position to do it. It wasn’t his way and I knew his situation. (I repeat, I don’t expect those things from him. I don’t need gifts as such. I perhaps just need a symbol.)

He talked about how we shared our life, and how we had done so for two years now. He told me he had never spent so much virtual time with a woman, none of his ex girlfriends. And I was the only one who knew his family – didn’t I realise that was something special?

That is what he had given me, I concluded. Not a token. He had made the decision to give me his life, of a fashion. Outside of me, and his parents, and his Instagram aspirations he does little else. This isn’t a man going out all the time. He rarely goes anywhere.

I am enough. He told me I am enough. What actually said is that I’m better than, more than that.

So….

Enough already. Stop with the mopsing and the worrying and the overthinking.

I am enough.

Making motivation

I’m a thinker, not a doer. That just about sums me up. Overthinker is probably more accurate.

I had a little read of a new blog today, https://damonashworthpsychology.com. One of his posts was about personality traits so this was a great way of procrastinating and not applying for jobs. 120 statements later and I am…

An assertive, pleasure seeking, emotional and sensitive person who likes novelty and variety as I am imaginative and creative.

I also have low self discipline and cooperation.

I am no Psychologist and I have completely done this an injustice. I would say it is fairly accurate though. I’ve average on most things apart from my emotions and creativity.

I will look into this further at some point. The reason for doing it, other than procrastinating, was to try get an insight. Into myself.

I still feel lost. I don’t know where I am going or heading. I’m working my way through Mel Robbins’ book and I am finding it hard to specify what my dreams actually are. I don’t know what jobs to go for. I don’t know where to start.

Being the over-emotional thinker that I am, I get overwhelmed easily. Overwhelm means overthink which results in…nothing. I sit and think, and wonder and then do little. Then feel bad about it. Mel says doing is so much better than thinking. I agree but I think a lot so I’m not sure how to stop that.

I have a weekly plan for cleaning my house. This is to encourage me not to be overwhelmed and just do something each day. Today’s job is bedrooms.

After a morning of sleeping, scrolling, vaccination-having and over thinking, I made myself get up. And I used Mel’s 5,4,3,2,1 to help. I like music. So I figured I would spend one song on my eldest room, two of my middle, three on my youngest, four on the spare and five ish on my room. And it worked!

Sure, I went over a little. But that was my choice. And so today I have achieved something.

You see, it is not that I lack motivation as such. I just lack the self discipline to get started. Once I get started, I often take it too far – tipping the whole toy box out to sort it in some OCD inspiring way. All or nothing.

Why don’t I know what I want? Why can I not let myself go there and think about it? I like thinking. I think a lot. Why can’t I just open the doors to my hidden desires?

I’m going to have to make myself do it. I suspect that I’m frightened to look at what I really want because of the disappointment if I don’t get it. I don’t like failing which is probably why I am procrastinating all the time, not knowing what to do. For someone who likes now experiences and variety, it is no wonder that I am unhappy at the moment. Sitting on the couch thinking will do that to you.

Mud

Ever had one of those dreams where you are desperate to get somewhere, or away from something, and even though your panting and sweating and giving your all, you are not getting anywhere? It is like your feet are in quick sand or mud and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’m living that at the moment. I know I need to keep busy. I know that there are lots of things that I could be doing – should be doing- in regards to a new job or career. Motivation is like the tide at the moment – sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not.

Today, I didn’t want to get up. I haven’t logged on to my online course. But I did finish my painting and I have worked through another few chapters of my self-help book. I also, finally, picked up my increased medication.

The book has made me consider all areas of my life and what I am not happy about. It has then asked me to write down all the excuses I have for not doing something about my unhappiness. Fear and confidence seem to play a big part. No surprises there then.

But, I am not going to get anywhere unless I do something. And that is what the book is about – motivating yourself through the fear, the lows and the mud-wading dreams.

It is also interesting to see where I can’t change things because they are out of my control. Most of my concerns around Wildcard are just that – things out of our control. I wish knowing that stopped me worrying. It doesn’t. And out of all the areas of my life, it is the one I worry about the most. Well, until all this bother with work.

Work. What a sticky yucky mud-fest that has turned out to be. An area of my life that I once had really pride in. Now? Here are my choices…

  • Go back to work and ‘fight’ for my job whilst watching my back and being very aware that they want me and my expensive salary gone
  • Quit. Find another teaching job. There are few teaching jobs at this time of year and none at my level. Unlikely they will want to pay me for a standard teacher post as I am too expensive.
  • Quit. Try tutoring. I’ve no idea if this is enough to keep me afloat financially.
  • Quit. Get out of teaching completely. How transferable are my skills?

It is a mess. And of course, I am getting differing advice from different people. I’ve wanted my own business for along time but, savings are few and I am alone in this.

I will never know unless I try. I’ve had two weeks of intermittent wallowing. I’ve another two weeks off. Time to put my all into trying. Wish me luck.

Corona change

It’s Thursday so I probably shouldn’t be thinking about this yet but, hey, it’s what I do.

I may, or may not be back in work full time on Monday. Being honest, I started this half term week with the understanding that I am back in work full time from June 1st. Since then, I’ve been in school, spoke to the Head and was told ‘it is up for discussion’. And then yesterday, the local authority published a report saying that despite government instruction, Lancashire does not yet meet all the requirements to reopen schools due to the levels of Coronavirus. So, who knows?

The point is, things are changing every day. I’m not political but there seems to be no clear direction, no leadership: ambiguous comments built on ambiguous comments. I can’t believe that, even though hundreds of people are still dying every day here, we are being told that we can ‘stay alert’ but go out when Wild Card’s country is still in complete lockdown with under ten people dying a day. They’ve had under 200 people die in total. And they are still in lockdown.

But, thinking about change with the forever-changing possibility that I am back in work, I’ve considered how life has changed for me.

I’m exercising. Regularly. I know, I can’t believe it myself. It started months ago with a free 30 day subscription to an online exercise site. And then I just took some of the exercises and started doing my own thing. Each time I do the routine I add more repetitions or a new move. I’m now up to 30 minutes three times a week. On top of that, I’m walking for 30 minutes most days too. That is a big deal for me. I haven’t exercised that much or frequently since my early 20s. It probably needs improvement but, you know what, I’m proud of myself. I actually have muscles – definition – in my legs.

Talking of which, I haven’t put any weight on over lockdown. That is another achievement. Due to my gluten intolerance which was diagnosed last September, my eating habits completely changed and I dropped a significant amount of weight very quickly. I wasn’t eating properly though and that couldn’t be sustained. I was upset that I’d stopped losing weight at first until my best friend pointed it out – I’m eating properly, no longer denying myself anything (apart from gluten) and yet I haven’t put any weight on. I still need to lose some weight which is why I am increasing my exercise and have started to log my food again. But no weight gain is good.

I have had a face skin care routine from August last year when a friend introduced me to double cleansing. (I may have a slight obsession with face products now). But since lockdown, I’ve been much better with moisturising my whole body – I exercise, shower and moisturise. Similarly, whilst my relationship with Wild Card has ensured that I wear make up everyday, not just when I’m in work, scrolling through Facebook Watch videos has taught me a few tricks and my make up looks much better, more natural. I hate the whole ‘Instagram plaster your face until you look like something out of Star Trek’ look (sorry girls) but I’ve found a happy medium now.

Talking of happy mediums, I’m afraid I am not one of those people who took lockdown and completely transformed their house. I kind of thought, if there is a chance I could get corona and die I don’t want my last days to have been about painting the living room. But my house is cleaner and more tidy and I have organised and sorted through a few key areas. My garden is also looking better but not finished. I’m OK with that.

I have been reading a lot more though. I love reading, always have, but the last few years have seen pockets of reading and longer periods of not. I was just too tired. I’ve read lots of books since lockdown and I’m loving it all over again.

Being a teacher and therefore a key worker, I have worked over lockdown. I’ve been going into school a couple of times a week and setting and checking work each day. But there has been balance too. Yes, my job is very important to me, but my family and health are more important. It was hard at first – guilt plagued me – but I’m slowly finding a better balance between it all: work, home, family, me. Of course, this will all need re-evaluation when I go back to work.

And you know what? Despite the sometimes tumultuous ups and downs, I’ve been able to sustain a long distance relationship with Wild Card. I mean, how difficult has this situation been and yet we are still together, still loving each other. Yesterday, he told me I am his life. That’s a big statement from him – he’s normally about actions rather than words – and it has really touched me. 😊

So, how has this situation changed your life for the better? Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

Advice

Happiness comes when you are at peace with yourself.

Facebook friend

So my sunshine and dark clouds mood has continued throughout the day.

I’ve been trying hard to process everything, as I do. As the hours went on, I came to the conclusion that whilst he was still in regular contact, despite his mood, I have to believe that there is not an issue between us.

The only problem with that was, the hours crept by and he didn’t get back in contact. But I had decided that, as he is not himself, it’s important to let him take the lead. Hounding him when he’s not in the mood is not a good idea. But as two hours became three became four, panic started to set in.

At this point I did three things that helped. I spoke to my sisters, I went for a walk and I read some articles online which helped me gain some perspective. I found a site called Markmanson.net. He’s quite informal in his writing and I like his tone. I read quite a few of his articles and what he said made sense:

Whilst reading the above, Wild Card called me. Once again he was a little more like himself – each conversation seems to inch him slowly back to the norm. We talked a little, we laughed. There were still some awkward silences and at one point he was a little snappy.

Being honest, as the call ended, the tides had turned a little. Whilst glad we had some semblance of normality, I actually considered that sometimes the way he had spoken to me was not acceptable and at one stage I had pointed that out to him. He is also still withholding some of the affectionate things he does and I again thought about how unfair that was.

He has said I have done nothing wrong, so why then behave that way? It’s one thing to be a little tired and irritable but another to be sullen.

I decided to heed someone of my own advice. This situation is challenging for everyone at the moment. I’m not making any decisions and I’m certainly not going to jump to any conclusions. I’m going to be patient and understanding but I’m not going to be walked over.

Funnily enough, whilst making these decisions, I received a few messages from the German man again: He pops up now and again for a chat. After a bit of conversation he told me the above quote. And it stuck with me.

How can I be at peace with myself?

Wild Card makes me happy most of the time. Why?

Because he makes me feel loved and wanted. And when that happens, I am at peace with myself. Because for him to love me and want me, I must be good enough.

So I crave his attention for that feeling. Because, as he is so attractive (in every way, not just physical) , his approval makes me so.

But, who makes his opinion count? I do. By showing me any positive attention, he has made me feel worthy. He doesn’t need to keep doing it – he has already done it. I don’t need him to keep doing it.

I don’t need him to justify that I am worthy.

I am successful. I have worked hard throughout my life to get where I am, without help. I worked two jobs to go through university. I worked to get myself through my postgrad in teaching.

I have a house, a car, a job. These are all materialistic things which show my success. But what about me as a person?

This is harder. And because I’m not comfortable with proclaiming my own virtues, I will recount what people have told me.

I’ve been told that I am a good teacher and that I am approachable. Pupils feel comfortable coming to me with their issues. Likewise, some staff have come to me when they haven’t been able to go anywhere else.

I’ve been told that I am beautiful and pretty. I’ve been told that I look younger than I am. People like my eyes, my lips, my smile, my bottom. I am attractive to some people.

I am strong and independent. I am a good listener. I’m not afraid to say what is right and stuck up for what is right.

I am loyal and faithful. I am honest. I have an infinite amount of love and will shower those I care about with that love. I will work hard to make them happy. I am sensitive and have good emotional intelligence. I am sensual and sexual.

And so, I have to let go. I have to stop seeking control. Him loving me or not does not make me worthy – I was that already. If he decides I’m not the one for him it is going to hurt like hell (it hurts just writing about it) but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough or pretty enough. It just means I wasn’t right for him.

And that’s a bitter pill to swallow because I thought that we were. Maybe we are, maybe we are not. But I can’t force that. Worrying about it doesn’t change it. Willing it to be the truth doesn’t make it the truth. I can’t make him love me or want me.

He called back less than half an hour later and asked me what was wrong. I think he knew that he had been ‘off’ on the previous conversation and this was his way of acknowledgement – he was giving me an opportunity to bring it up. I didn’t tell him. We talked briefly but he was really tired. The call ended and I finally got my kiss.

I’m OK.

I am, honestly. But I will warn you, this post is a long one.

He did enough with the unexpected phonecall last night to actually talk about our ‘problem‘ and then his texts and calls today put my mind at relative ease as things are back to normal.

I’ve done as any good English teacher would do and I’ve spent some of my day reading about ‘anxiety in relationships’.

There are some good articles out there and they did put my mind at rest somewhat. They talked about the need to process what might be causing the anxiety as well as reasurring you that some anxiety is normal. Note the word ‘some’ though.

Anyone who has read my blog for a little while will know that I suffer from anxiety anyway. And we are all on edge at the moment. Plus I’m in a new relationship. And it’s long distance. Which is new to me. And I’m absolutely in love with him. Yep, a pretty toxic mix of anxiety-causing factors there. So first of all, I’m going to give myself a break.

Now. Processing time. Again, readers of my blog will know that I do this: I think (probably too much) and I process. Often I find the answers I need. Sometimes I manage to follow them for a little while. It’s the constancy that’s the issue.

One article talks about the negative impact of previous relationships:

So, I can put a ‘hell yes’ next to every one of those. Not bad for a woman who has had four and a half relationships. Is it any wonder I’m a mess? First boyfriend probably cheated on me. He certainly did number two and three before I finally got shut of him. Lost Soul (my half of a relationship which says it all) did two and three. My husband? Well, he doesn’t quite fit into any but he lied repeatedly and I felt that he didn’t love me as much as he should have done. Although, you can say the same about my feelings for him. You can read about my previous failed relationships in earlier posts.

So all of that is equating to a lot of hurt and distrust. And whilst I loved most of them, I have not felt as I feel now for Wild Card, except perhaps for Lost Soul in the beginning.

Self esteem: Well, I haven’t got much. Probably because of the above and the fact that I have been very overweight for most of my adult life. I’ve been told I’m pretty but I don’t trust people because I feel they say that as a softener for the fact I am big. Sure, I’ve lost three and a half stone but I probably need to lose the same again to be classed as the right weight.

Questioning: Yep, I question everything. A lot. I overthink, a lot. Everything thing he says or does, doesn’t say or doesn’t do, gets heavily processed in my brain. We all know that anxiety impairs your ability to think properly. Overthinking can lead you down the wrong path. I’ve got to keep with the facts and stop ruminating with ‘what ifs’.

Another article talks about taking your fears and considering how your thoughts have created the anxiety but then how they can quell it. Here goes:

How my thoughts support my fears: You can never truly know how someone feels – you only know as much as they care to show and share with you. Even then they can lie. He may hurt me. He may lie. He may cheat. But he also might not and worrying about it isn’t going to make it any less likely. If it’s going to happen, it will happen. That’s his choice. I’m pretty sure he wishes I was thinner, although I know he likes my bottom. And my eyes and lips. And hair. And smile come to think about it. (oops this should be in the other section). He does make me jealous, sometimes on purpose. He teases and jokes. It’s part of who he is. But also, there is a place for my jealousy. He is a very attractive, younger, single man. I’m not the easy option and probably not the best, if I am being honest. And he is honest with me, perhaps too much. He’s told me things about past girlfriends to be honest with me but then fails to see how this then affects me. He’s done it today – mystery caller has turned out to be his ex.

How my thoughts go against my fears: I have no evidence that he has cheated or will cheat. He has strong feelings about monogomy so I have to hope that it goes for him too. He’s always been very honest about the nature of our relationship as he is very aware of our cultural differences. I have to trust that is because he is serious. And his feelings? He tells me he loves me regularly and if the amount of attention and time are anything to go by, it’s clear that he feels something. If he wasn’t attracted to me, he wouldn’t be with me. That man is delicious and I have no doubts that there are some very beautiful women who like him. But he is with me: he is pursuing me. That has to count for something. (and he likes my bottom, eyes, lips, smile and hair. ) I know then he’s making me jealous to tease. It’s obvious. I know he is joking. I’ve just got to stop my mind from twisting what I know is a joke into something it isn’t.

And I know when he is being sincere. I know by the way he talks and how he looks. He told me about his ex calling today so that I would stop thinking it was another girl. (!) I know that. When he questioned my being quiet (goddam him, I really tried to act normal) I simply asked what he had said to her. They had ‘chit chat’ apparently. He told me to not think about it as it was nothing. As our conversation ended he brought it up again, telling me not to be sad as it was nothing. He always soothes me at the end of a call if I have shown any anxiety or stress about anything (none him-related stuff too) and it’s one of the ways he shows he cares. He would not have told me about her calling or tried to make me feel better if it was anything to worry about.

Ultimately, my anxiety is making this relationship unhappy. My anxiety. I’ve got to trust him, otherwise, what is the point? If I trust him and he breaks that trust then he wasn’t worth it anyway. If I don’t trust him then it will be me who could destroy this. It has to stop.

Fighting the fear

  1. Take some deep breaths. Think about what might be causing this and what you can, or can’t, do about it.
  2. If it’s a nice day, go outside. Face the sun, shut your eyes and spread your feet apart comfortably and securely. Let your arms flop to your sides. Take some deep breaths. Let the sun warm your face. Feel the breeze on your body. Breath. Listen to the world around you.
  3. Write it all down, every last poisonous worry. Feel smug that they’re now out of your head.
  4. Do something that is nagging you, even if you don’t want to do it. Feel proud of yourself for doing it.
  5. Cuddle or call someone you love.
  6. Take a shower, apply some moisturiser. Wear clothes that make you feel good and put some make up on, if that’s your thing.
  7. Eat some fruit or a salad.
  8. Drink a cold refreshing glass of water.
  9. Write in your diary – three things that have gone well today.
  10. Have faith that tomorrow is another day.

Never mind, the sun will shine again.

Flourish

The weeks are zooming by. There’s only two left until Easter and the day I take my three children to France, alone.

I’m really excited about showing them France and about spending time with them without distractions.

I’m petrified about the airport and driving abroad, neither of which I have even done without another adult or at all in the case of the driving.

I certainly don’t regret the decision. Since Dad died, I’m more focused on creating memories with my children. If the memory is mum getting arrested for driving on the wrong side of road, we’ll so-be-it.😁

In essence, I’m trying to fill a massive Dad shaped void in my life. All year I’ve been booking trips and days out and it has helped. I’m doing things I enjoy, things that distract.

I’m the final weeks of Dad’s life, when he was in hospital, my sisters and I were leaving the hospital and stopped at the pay station to pay our parking. On top of the machine was a book, brand new.

There was no one around who could have left this book (we were leaving late at night) and no volunteers on the help desk to hand it to. We decided to take it with us, in order to hand it in when we came in the next day. All good intentions.

I hope whoever forgot their book that day forgives me for not handing it in. It wasn’t intentional. I can’t remember exactly why I didn’t, my only excuse being that my Dad was dying – my head was not thinking of much else.

Nine months later and I have started to read the book.

The book is about using positive psychology to help patients with depression and anxiety overcome their negative thinking patterns. It couldn’t have been more relevant to me unless God had handed it me himself.

I’m only a few chapters in so far and it has been interesting. It gives you exercises to try and a link to their website where you can take free questionnaires/assessments. I have taken the rather long but intriguing personality test which revealed things that I didn’t expect but completely now understand. (The idea is that if you do more activities which use these signature strengths, you will be happier).

I expected creativity to be pretty high in my personality list. I write, craft, bake and design cakes, make learning resources and lessons etc..It wasn’t.

Top of my list:

When I initially got the results I didn’t think the top one was right. I mean, that is me, but at the top?

Thinking about it (yes, I know there is irony there) it is very much me. I need to think things through from all angles before I make a decision. When I haven’t thought things through, I get a real sense of uneasiness. When I have and a decision is made, I get a eureka moment or epiphany. This blog is full of them. This blog is me thinking: I start with an idea of something I want to write about and work through, and the act of writing often helps me work it out. I never know what I’m going to write exactly.

Two is not wholly unexpected. It is evident in my love of art and music and my obsession with the outdoors – trees and mountains and lakes. Maybe this is why the Lake District appeals to me so much – it activates a signature strength therefore makes me feel happy and content.

Three – my motto in life is ‘treat people how you would expect to be treated yourself’. Pretty significant, I would say. My job in leading behaviour in school makes sense too. It’s not the role I ultimately wanted but I don’t hate it.

Four – yep. I loved being a Head of Department, and only wanted a promotion when I felt that I was no longer needed: my department was running like clockwork and had developed into a strong entity. I wanted a challenge and so applied for senior leadership. Ironically, I haven’t had the same satisfaction in this role. I don’t have a team to lead and so this may explain why I feel so isolated at times. It also explains why I have used working parties so many times as I have planned and changed strategies.

And five? Well, I’m a teacher. Says it all really. As a teacher, you are constantly learning and developing yourself to teach better. I love teaching my pupils. And, I also have a long list of things that I want to learn – photography, landscape painting, piano, another language. I’d go back to Uni in a heartbeat; to learn the modules I was unable to choose the first time. I need to make time to learn things.

So, to make myself happier, I need to plan more opportunities to use these strengths.

The other activity that I have used and have found helpful, is the ‘What went well’ log. We use ‘What went well’ (WWW) in school regularly. Pupils reflect on their learning and staff reflect on their teaching – it’s a familiar concept.

I’ve tried positivity logs before and I ran out of steam. The previous one was a ‘thankful log’. There’s only so many times you can write about being thankful for family and friends, health, wealth and opportunities.

The WWW log makes me thi k about my day. Sure, sometimes I struggle to find three but I work on it, think about it and I always do get three. I have downloaded an App on my phone to log them easily and this enables me to look back. In time I will analyse what I’m writing, using a signature strength of course.

This book is helping me. I’d like to think it was fate that we found it. I also like the idea that someone may have left the book there on purpose for someone else to use. (I doubt it as the book was brand new and still had the amazon receipt in).

Either way, my plan is to buy another copy of this book and leave it somewhere in the hope that fate will lead someone else to finding it and using it. In a sense, that’s what I have done here on this blog.

I will update when I have read and used more. Happy reading!

Immersion 

Memories are such a powerful thing. I would expect, perhaps even without realising it, it is one of the main reasons we write a blog. We are recording our thoughts and opinions at specific moments in our life – memories  that otherwise could disappear into history never to be thought of again. Just think about how many minutes you have lived today and how many of them you will never remember again. 

There are certain memories that I love to immerse myself in. By that, I don’t just mean thinking about them as I’m hoovering or washing dishes or something. I’m talking about focusing clearly on every part of the memory that I can. I suppose in some way it is a form of meditation or relaxation. 

First of all, I need to be lying down somewhere comfortable and quiet. And then, I think very carefully about where it began. It’s almost like flicking through a photo album: my mind searches through to find the true beginning. 

Then it starts. I play the memory in my head, crafting each moment and sound, each feeling and sensation. Sometimes my mind might wander a little as I process something that occurs to me or perhaps I’ll realise that I have missed something. At that point, I may make myself go back to the beginning. 

At the end, I pause to relish in the happiness of the memory. That is key, of course, they must be happy memories. Occasionally I fall asleep but that’s OK – it’s what my body needs at that point. (Plus, I often don’t realise that’s what has happened until I wake up!) 

I find this truly relaxing. I come out of the immersion feeling calmer and happier. I know that with mindfulness at the forefront, we should not dwell on the past. But for me, somehow, immersing myself in a time that made me happy makes me appreciate what I have had and what I may have again someday. 

Hopefully, this will help someone else out there. ☺ 

Euphoria 


Today I have done something I haven’t done for probably twenty years. It is the simplest, easiest thing I could do. I do it every day,  in fact. Just not in this context. 

It probably won’t feel like something special to you. You’ll probably wonder at my pride and enthusiasm. 

I feel well. I’ve not had a low day for some time now. I still have occasional bouts of anxiety but that’s usually when I’ve forgotten my tablet, or when I’m in a genuinely stressful situation. Those times still need work and my counselling should help with that. 

In fact, I had a particularly stressful morning. My ex and I had a few heated conversations over visitations. He left with the children at 2pm leaving me an afternoon.  I’ve written before about the anxiety and confusion I often feel in these situations – which of the many tasks I need to complete should I start on? I sit there, guilty and stressed and then eventually fed up because I’ve wasted my time thinking about it. 

Today was different. Today, I put my comfortable boots on, put water in my backpack and went out for a walk. On my own. I wanted to go, enjoy the sunshine, and feel my body responding to the exercise. I wanted to feel good about myself again. 

I drove out towards a beauty spot a few miles from my home. I’ve driven past it countless times but have never had the time to go. I felt anxious and guilty as I went. But I spoke to myself, encouraged myself. 

You’re only going to be out an hour or so. You can do your housework/school work when you get back. You’re building your fitness, so an hour’s walk will be sufficient. 

It always seems busy so you’re not going to get attacked or murdered. You’ll be fine. 

You often see line walkers, lots of people do it. Don’t worry. 

You deserve this time. This is productive time because you’re putting your mental and physical health first. Everyone says you should make time for yourself and exercise. You are checking it out to see if the children would like it anyway. 

I parked the car. I took a deep breath. 

When I had finally crossed the road, seeing other people walking down the stony path too, my anxiety started to lift and my curiosity took over. 

I went through a narrow gate and followed a gentle slope through rustling trees. It was beautiful. Wild garlic flowered around me and a I could hear a trickling brook ahead. The path was easy to walk on and follow, and as there was a family ahead, I decided that I would follow them for a little while. 


I crossed a little bridge to see a waterfall trickling over rocks into a pool. As I continued, I followed a stream as it made its way over rocks and fallen branches. And then I saw the bluebells. 

I love bluebell woods. I have a large canvas in my living room, one that I spent months searching for. I recently bought two prints from the Lake District of woodland bluebells. It just felt like I was meant to be there. I felt alive, peaceful, happy, excited, intrigued. I didn’t feel guilty or selfish, anxious or depressed. 
Spurred on by my recent hill climbing at the Great Orme, I made myself take the hard routes. Sure,  I huffed and puffed, but it was worth it. And I saw even more beauty when I got to the top. 

I smiled at people as they walked past. And they smiled back. Two small children, probably 2 and 3 years of age, said hello as I passed them and I stopped to talk to them about their walk. 

After 30 minutes, I turned round and made my way back, taking a slightly different route so I could see as much as I could. 

Back at the car I sat for a few minutes, my cheeks flushes with exercise. I didn’t want to go home but I knew I must. I took the scenic drive home, window open, singing  along to the radio. 

I’ve never been one to understand the buzz people get from exercise. I do now. 

I want to be fit and healthy. I want the power of nature and the power of my body to walk away my anxiety. Beautiful places make my world beautiful. 

I have been trapped in a life that made me unhappy. My thoughts and emotions overcame my desire to live and my ability to see the good all around me. 

I’ve punished my body for years, attempting to anaesthetise my senses and feelings with food, numbing all feeling with taste til I felt sick. No more. I will need to break the habit, but no more. 

If I am lucky, I’m not even half way through my life. There is so much I can see and do and achieve. And I will. And I’m going to take my children, family and friends with me. And sometimes I will walk alone. But that’s OK. There’s kindness in the face of  strangers too. 

All this from a walk. 

Take those first steps. Break free from the trap you have put yourself in. See the beautiful world that is just around the corner and beyond. Enjoy the wonderful gift of life.