Writing Cathartically part 2 - Trying to be brutially honest in how I feel and how I deal with stuff
Please note this post was written back in the summer when I wasn't feeling so great, I think because I am being to honest about how I felt it has taken me longer to publish x for the record I am now feeling brighter and in a better place x
Writing is helping and I’m finding I’m waking wanting to put my early morning thoughts down on paper, those thoughts and images that either make complete sense or just bug the hell out of you when you wake up at 4.30am running around and popping into your head and then boof just vanish into the ether when you try to recall them later. I have told myself and decided that this is a blip in my make-up and I’m going to find my way around the maze and step out of it…. Is it that easy, is that actually an easy thing to do, we will see.
In my bid to figure out why I’ve been feeling under par, I have been looking at what could have caused it.
Do I have a mental health problem, I’m not sure I do (or do I not want to own that !!), do I have stress and anxiety, I thought not, but maybe I’m not so sure anymore and what do I think about that ?
I thought I was strong and resilient, that I was good at coping, that I could adapt, move on and overcome, and maybe that is the case, or maybe it was the case until all that coping, adapting and being strong and resilient just all became too much to the point where the slightest thing was just overwhelming - after all I always was a cryer, it was just the way my frustrations, anger, disappointment and a host of other emotions showed themselves, a good cry, a few tissues and I’m back on track, not to worry it will be fine.
But what happens when that no longer works and you still feel sad and just generally meh not all of the time, just some of it, a little bit melancholy. Don’t get me wrong I can’t even begin to explain how happy and content I feel when out with my partner or family, exploring, cycling, travelling and generally having some fun - is my age, is it to do with the menopause or post menopause - post-pausal (yep I feel like I’m on pause that’s for sure) …. hhhmmm
I feel I need to dig deeper into why I feel like this, revisit some of my life experiences and hopefully make some sense of it, for what was a very level, happy, peaceful, steady first forty plus years of my life, the past fifteen have been a crazy whirlwind of change and experiences I didn’t expect to have, BUT they have been some of the best, most exciting, fun, saddest, worrying times of my life, bringing me more life challenges than I thought I could possibly deal with, and maybe that’s just it ?
How am I dealing with it, well I’ve started writing - as you can probably tell !! and seeing if that exercise and practice can bring me back to the stronger person I thought I was.
I did a bit of research into my feelings and Dr Google told me they are signs of depression, but as I said at the beginning of this blog - I’m fighting that, that deep down stubborn part of me, the words that still ring in my ears from my teenage years from my mum of ‘pull yourself together and sort it out’ that resilience is clawing at me, don’t give in to it - please don’t think I am trying to belittle depression, I know it is a very real thing, this is just my own inner voice nagging me - we all experience life differently, this is mine. You know that self defence reaction to how others are treating you, as in how dare they, the bloody cheek of it, who do they think they are, well that’s how I’m trying to treat these feelings, although that is only just happening as I’ve been writing and researching.
In my last blog about being stressed and how I’m feeling, I’d looked directly at those feelings, but now I want to find out why I might be feeling like that. This is what I found
I find this fascinating, particularly the environmental factors and the conspirators side of me would love to discuss in much more depth these factors, however, we are all subject to these on a daily basis without any real option to be able to address them. We have started to switch off our wifi at night and I have been leaving my phone downstairs for about two years now - this has helped hugely with my sleep pattern and I rarely have long periods of being awake in the night, I used to believe it helped me go back to sleep, and help me go to sleep, it did take a while, but I do try and use that time to be more mindful.
I think there is one huge factor missing from that list and that is Social Media, but that is a whole other subject for another blog !!
Before I address the external factors I’d like to add that my own view of my own self is fairly positive, no I don’t like particular bits of my body, but again that is something we ALL suffer with - (another blog I think) (and this is where the writing is helping too, I feel like I’m inspiring myself)
So the external factors - I might have hit the nail on the head there, as I said at the beginning, the past 15 years or so have been a complete whirlwind - and now in a whisper I tell you that here for the first time the tears are leaking, my head is clouding over and the sadness is falling and my typing is slowing I have found the issues
I’ll take these in the order they were found in my research, not in the significance they have played, however each one is significant in it’s own way.
The death of a loved one - six years ago my sister-in-law died, leaving my brother with two young girls to look after and bring up alone. It’s not been an easy journey for any of them and I have been the main source of support for all of them, especially at the beginning, it was a heartbreaking period in many ways and not just due to the loss of their mother and wife, it was far more reaching than that, complicated and difficult.
A move - wherever I lay my hat is my home - ya think !!! a move, A MOVE, more like about thirteen in as many years, from family homes to pubs, to marriage breakdowns and living alone, to living back in the family home in order to sell it, to living with new partners and parents, to owning a house, to buying a ruin in France, to that not working and moving back, to renting to … well that’s the next chapter I’m not ready to share just yet !!! and all the other ones inbetween - but hey yeah moving that’s a whole bundle of fun - NOT - what that has taught me though is it really isn’t the material things in life that matter, it’s family and friends
A divorce - from 20+ years of what I thought was a happy marriage, to boom it’s over in what felt like the blink of an eye, it was a sad and difficult time, not just for me, but my children too, the bubble burst big style - I lost my lovely home, I lost being able to have my children live with me - I couldn’t afford a home to support them, I had huge debts from previous holidays, doing up our family home in order to rent it to move to the pub, contributing towards doing the pub up and subsequent loans … I’m going to add another part here though - that was a very difficult time as most divorces are, but without it I wouldn’t be where I am now (yea I can hear you saying bloody struggling mentally) with an amazing partner who I fell for at first sight and the crazy adventures we have together, the best relationships with my children as it made us closer. I embrace all of this and my happy marriage to a man, who is now again my friend, and father of my children and who was brave enough to see things weren’t right and do something about it, no matter the pain - I wouldn’t change a thing to be where I am today. I think that might just confirm I have lost the plot !!
Financial difficulties - well yes as I mentioned above, my divorce created some financial issues and having to start all over again, and a similar situation when we moved back from France just under two years ago, with no jobs and two cars full of whatever we could cram in them !! but we did it and we are OK
Job loss - not so much job loss but more job interviews and starting new jobs in the week of my marriage breaking up - got it though. Oh I did loose a job, position no longer needed and a reshuffle to another department. Then conflict at work with the head of department making strange suggestions to me about my son (sorry not going into that one, not sure if there’s still a gagging order !! ) but because I couldn’t go back due the stress and anxiety it caused I was dismissed - and that there is where my cake journey began - and now building and creating a new business, I have the confidence to know it will be fine, it’s more the external factors that stop me in my tracks from moving forward.
Social isolation - generally I’m OK in my own company, but a host of issues over this summer with other family members have occupied my mind, meant I haven’t been able to run some of my monthly modeller classes and I’ve missed those guys hugely. I think the external factors this summer took the time I would have used to socialise, because then the remaining time I felt I had to be building my business and maybe I should have, and this is where I am now, go with the flow and let it happen when it happens, although I still want to give myself some deadlines.
Periods of relationship conflict, whether marital or family-related - we all have this, but I’ve been lucky that most are short lived. But the sudden break down of a friendship in France left me feeling bereft, it was a contributing factor of moving back to the UK, I think it is that I still don’t understand what happened, I tried to address it but was met with hostility, it made me very sad and along with a host of other issues we were facing it was the pivotal factor that brought us back, I refuse to live my life in what was fundamentally a school playground and did something about it.
Demanding work or a stressful workplace - hey that’s just me doing that to myself, I’ll have to have a word with the boss about that, and that’s what this is all about really, having a bit of a word with myself
Health issues, especially when the person has a chronic health problem - so not me, but my son who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome - hypermobile and issues with collagen in the body, which in turn affects a whole host of things and Crohns to boot, as a mum it’s not easy watching your children struggle but I’m sure that goes without any need for explanation.
So there we go I think I meet that criteria don’t you ???
What can I do? generally I tend to try and find the positives in situations, I think I’ve addressed some of that above, and generally I tend to keep the lid closed on it all, never really looking back, looking forward to the next adventure, chapter or event. I think that is where I need to get back too.
Some suggestions I have found for self help for external factors include
Eating healthy - I’m fairly good at this, we use Gusto and Hello Fresh to get a good variety
Physically active - I try to do something most days, pilates class, gym, out on my bike or walk into town, it doesn’t always pan out that way, but all the best intentions and all that !!
Sleep - yup no real issues there, I don’t cope with late nights
Asking for help - if there is someone else who can, then I will
Humour - I can certainly laugh at myself
Paring down the activities you do
Saying no to new commitments - I have no problems there
Importantly I also think finding groups of friends with similar interests or outlooks can help and above all ensuring that you see each other is really important and I’m just beginning to realise that more and more.
I need more of this we all do.
What I’m going to do …
Continue to write - this is one of the most cathartic exercises I have done ( maybe there is a secret author inside of me, yearning to get out !!)
Continue to make myself accountable and invite you to do that with me in my Facebook group Cake Minds
Get some coffee dates in my diary
Not over worry if my business doesn’t launch when I wanted it too - but since writing this, I did and that has helped towards me feeling much more positive
Join me in Cake Minds on Facebook if you want to be accountable too - https://www.facebook.com/groups/CakeMinds/
And let me know if you start writing things down and if it helps you too.
NB - please understand this about my own personal journey, I do not want to undermine anyone else who is struggling with their own issues, much love to those of you that are xx