Nobody wants to read this rubbish. People want a quick and dirty fix. Me too.
When Christine Claire Reed posted a question on her page two days ago and it hooked into me. It got beneath my skin. It moved me to action.
So...What would it take to get you to finally make a change that you know deep down you need but have been resisting/avoiding/not moving toward? What would it take to get you off the couch (so to speak)? What would it take for you to move from wishing to doing? (This is NOT a rhetorical question.)
The first thing I do:
I read the question and then cleared the dishes in the kitchen. Later I read it again and then disappeared to cut my toenails. I reread it before going through my kindle for something to reread, to distract me. I reread it yet again the next day after an attempt to remember it while writing a morning journal entry. That prompted me to write it out in said journal. Something about writing longhand was important. It helped to get through the layers of resistance. It clarified my thoughts through the blur of overwhelm. I took the pages out into the crisp Irish sunshine and sat with the sprawly ink squiggles. I tried to be kind to myself, or at least to stop pushing for clarity and to stop clawing at my self-frustrations. I told myself to ‘catch yerslf on’ before being distracted into buying another book online. I left it alone and busied myself with mundane chores.
When I woke up this morning my brain was buzzing. How might I move from wishing to doing? What, I asked myself, would it take for you to take action? How can you catch yourself when you are busy running away? A list poured from my pen. So I have ideas, techniques and strategies after all – but are they merely theretical?
This is a list of things I do to help me move out of a cycle of WTF thinking. Beneath it all I am beginning to recognize the need to be self-nurturing, self-supporting and gently self-loving. This is not narcissism. This is survival.
1. Find someone to help.
You may not be ready for the angst of trying to find and connect with a therapist. That’s way down the line….
That someone is primarily you.
Your friends and family may be part of your funk. Don’t spill to those who are unable to understand the perilous knife-edge you are balancing on. Move away from those who drain your precious energy. I go to old familiar friends in my favorite tried and tested books. Self-help books have a notorious reputation for not helping but there are many that comfort and contain the urge to self-harm. By self-harm I refer not just to the obvious slashing of wrists but to the hungry need to fill the hole with sugar and starch, the self-loathing that requires new coverings and masks, the frustration that pushes you too far at the gym, the discomfort and despair that makes you reach for bottles of pills or potions.
My grandmother used to take her late husband’s walking stick up the garden at dusk and gleefully attack the slugs. Venting all the overwhelming feelings safely provides some relief. I have specific books to vent my angst through writing: The cheapest notebooks available that may be disposed of inventively afterwards.
Crying is wonderful. But tears can make witnesses uncomfortable. If you have suitable support I would encourage you to share your tears. It can be a cathartic experience. however such help is rare. Support yourself. Have a good cry. I found that exercise encouraged my floodgates to open. Classes and groups risked public humiliation. Even walking, especially walking. Town streets left me feeling vulnerable and exposed and more so since my dog died last year. A single woman walking alone is vulnerable. But sometimes, in the right place and time of day, a few tears amongst the shelter of the trees may provide some comfort.
At times all I want to do is hide under the duvet. Sleep can help. The brain needs copious amounts of sleep, especially if you are coping with change or new experiences. The brain can heal itself during sleep. Healing requires nurture. Long periods of inadequate nourishment tips the body’s balance in the wrong direction. I find it hard to be gentle with my own digestive system. Anxiety makes me eat and drink rubbish and then compound the cruelty to my gut with further self-loathing that only adds to the pressure. More anxiety leads to chronic dis-ease. I overwhelm my gut and expect to think my way to solutions for my problems. Good luck if you try that. All I got were piles.
So what has helped me?
2. Throw out the rubbish in the fridge. Get some probiotics. Eat fresh things that grow.
3. Get some sunshine. That’s scarce here in rainy Ireland so I have been taking vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 for a couple of months. It seems to help.
4. Move. Once you can get out of bed. Move your hand and push a pen across a page. Be gentle.
5. A bath. Pure unadulterated comfort. Nothing fancy, just clean and warm.
6. Turn off the news. Be careful with sites on social networks. I have had an image of a traumatized bear in my head for days that I can’t shift.
7. Reach out. I found some rocks to paint. Changes. Small. Gentle. Careful.
I have slowly begun to move on to more powerful actions. I will report in another day.