Addicted to the bottle! *

Whooo, as I sit here to write this my heart is pounding with my breath catching in my throat, and it’s not because I just ran up the stairs either. Rather, I’m about to write about something BIG and open myself up in a way that I’m very reluctant to do normally.

For four weeks now I’ve had a sore throat. In that time, I’ve also had a stinking cold so I’m not that worried about the sore throat hanging on. What does interest me though is that it’s my throat which is holding on to this, rather than my chest which is the norm for my body. It indicates to me that in moving through issues to do with self love and self acceptance I am now ready to move onto issues to do with self expression – My Voice.

I have always been very hard on myself; hugely judgemental of my feelings and sensitiveness. These aspects of my Self have always seemed to get me into trouble, into hurt. Therefore, saying who I am has always been incredibly difficult for me to do. I struggle to say what I want, how I feel and express anything that I suspect will make someone mad with me or upset. Instead I seek approval, through being there at just the right time, or always being available to offer help, or not saying when something is upsetting me or scaring me. I bottle it up inside and then I either get sick or go *POP* loudly and scarily. I even find it difficult to let a friend know that I am concerned for them in case they get irritated with me and tell me I’m talking nonsense.

I am such a master at this bottling it up that by the time I was 15 I was chronically depressed and suicidal. In what was the best decision I ever made in my life, I insisted on seeing a therapist rather than taking pills and hoping for the best. (Please don’t get me wrong here, I fully support treating depression with meds as they can provide a vital balance of chemicals in the brain which the body at that time is not able to do. I do also think that along with the meds that talking is absolutely vital.) Personally, talking was the only option I wanted. I figured that at 15 my brain was young enough to regain its balance by itself and heal.

So began two and a half years of therapy once a week, where I poured out my heart, my anger and frustration, my dreams, my grief, my heart. Slowly I started to see who it was inside that was aching to get out. I began to see that staying in my school was not an option for me, that if I stayed within a rigidly structured institution any longer I would probably end up killing myself. So I left. I had to fight to leave because my parents didn’t want me to, and I couldn’t express to them my fear that if I stayed in that school I wouldn’t actually be around for much longer. But I did leave, with my parents’ eventual consent. It was an exceptionally hard thing for them to do; to let their daughter, who could have achieved anything she wanted to just drop out of school at 16, but they did it and I am exceptionally grateful that they did. I don’t think I ever told them I suspect it is to that decision that I owe my current state of aliveness.

From there I began to heal, quietly discovering that a real, flesh and blood person existed underneath everything. I eventually accepted my therapist’s suggestion of hypnotherapy (when she first suggested it I nearly ran out the room, my resistance was so great. It was all I could do to stay sitting in that chair and say no, not right now thank you) and suddenly the leaves on the trees seemed so green and there was a reason to wake up every day. I started my massage course and discovered Reiki. I began to have a plan and sense a purpose.

Eventually I started to forget my therapy appointments and we agreed that if this was the case then I probably didn’t need them so often, and eventually, at all.

A year later, all my friends slowly trickled out of the country until it was just me left. Rather than express the intense loneliness that engulfed me in my isolation, I began to comfort eat. I stuffed the food in as I tried to stuff the feelings down. I’d go to the shop and buy four or five chocolate bars, huge bags of crisps and snacks, loaves of bread, you name it, and then I’d sit and eat until I felt full and then very, very guilty.

During this time I began to see another therapist to deal with “inner child” stuff (do the math, I was only about 17/ 18 & these days I’m not so sure it was really “inner child” so much as just “child”, but then I wasn’t really into self acceptance in those days). She taught me to dialogue with my feelings and slowly I was able to begin to talk to these scary feelings of loneliness, failure and guilt. More anger came up, well more like rage actually, but I was finally beginning to understand how to let these feelings express safely and to listen to what they had to say.

To say I expected a lot of myself at this time is an understatement. I was trying, with no business knowledge whatsoever, to get a massage practice up and running in a country whose economy was rapidly declining. I had pressure on me, from myself and from others to achieve *something* – anything really – as long as it didn’t look as though I was sitting stagnant and healing from hurts and wounds that went way back and needed time. My inability to meet these pressures sat heavy with me but, again, I couldn’t express this part of me. Admit to failure – NO WAYS!

Eventually I decided to come to the UK and be nearer my friends and with my sister and at the tender age of 19, on the 25th January 2001, with £300 and a very big back pack, ready to start my new life, determined to make more of a success of myself, I set foot for the first time ever, on British soil.

In the first year of being here I was a nanny, an aeroplane part maker (I still don’t know what my official title was – robot maybe?), a legal assistant, a secretary and a massage therapist! I moved 4 times and I dealt with more change than I could begin to grasp. I also journalled madly through it all, talking to my feelings, listening to them, losing the weight I had gained through the comfort eating as I let go of my need for the food, and beginning to understand my relationship with my body in a whole new way.

Fast forward through nearly eight years exactly and you find me here, blogging about not being able to express myself, thinking my body may be asking me to have a look at something please? I know through my body that in my quest for love, I need to express the fears that are there about being hurt, about how worried I am that sex (oooh I said a naughty word on the internet) will lead to me getting seriously burned again. I am allowing myself to admit that I am currently scared of sex (ME???!!!!) and to allow that to be okay, to say to myself,

“Dear soft heart, I hear how you’re so worried about being hurt, that it’s all going to go horribly wrong. I hear your fear that you’ll have to deal with all those dreadful feelings again which felt as if they were going to swallow you up. I hear how you’re worried that this is a repetition of past patterns and that it’s going to go nowhere. I hear how you’re worried that if this turns out to be something you don’t want you’ll have to hurt someone to get out of it. I hear all these things and I promise you that I have you safe, because I’m making it okay, here and now, for you to go as slowly as the slowest part of you needs to go. I am making it safe for you to move forward with baby steps and gently and lovingly reminding you to listen within, because I think you’ll find as you do – you’ll hear that wise voice that says it’s okay to live, it’s okay to love and to trust that you’re not actually making a dreadful mistake. You are safe.

And I love you.”

Ten years it’s taken me to write this and express this. Ten years of slowly building up the tools that enable me to listen and accept and now, to express. You know, I still don’t think I’ve really *achieved* anything in the traditional meaning of the word, not yet anyhow, but I have achieved a self knowledge and acceptance that goes very deep. I have developed for myself tools that allow me to check in with my body to listen to what’s going on inside, and I very much doubt I’ll ever face the depression demons again. Now that is quite some achievement I think!

Jeez, I started off meaning to write about my recent dating experiences and you got this! Well, enjoy. J

 

*The bottle in which I put all my feelings that is. Not the bottle full of alcohol… phew.

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6 Responses

  1. Wow. What a brave post. You’ve given me some things to reflect on — thank you.

    *hugs*

  2. *Passes Wormy a Halls Mentho-lyptus lozenge*
    *Gives wormy a hug*
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. This post is truly beautiful, Wormy.

    You have given us all a perfect example of how to allow ourselves to be with our fears and hurts without being ruled by them. Also how to listen to our bodies to see what they’re telling us about what we need.

    And so powerful for you to write “I love you” to your Self. That is a hard thing to do for so many.

    Thank you for sharing what you are working on.

    P.S. I’ll take self-knowledge and *acceptance* over “achievement” any day of the year.

  4. This was very, very beautiful indeed. I’ve had some of the same experiences as you. I had anorexia, rather than comfort eating. I had depression, too. And you know what? I have a degree, a PhD, run a business and have written 17 books. I still feel like I haven’t achieved anything.

    That’s because we’re super-dooper hard on ourselves and have predefined ideas of what we’re supposed to have done By Now, and because we haven’t done those things, we feel like we haven’t done anything.

    My heart goes out to you. Well done for writing this. I remember last night seeing a tweet from you very late saying you were nervous about writing it and how vulnerable you felt. Indeed you are safe.

  5. @Chibi Jeebs – Thank you. I want to pop up with something cheeky and chirpy, like “pleased to be of service” but actually, I’m very flattered that you’re here and reading and reflecting. So just… thank you. And *hug* back.

    @Howlatthemoon – ooof thank you I needed that – the lozenge and the hug.

    @ Victoria – I reiterate my huge feelings of being flattered by everyone’s comments on my blog. I have an enormous store of ideas about listening to our bodies. I call it Body Wisdom and have wanted to teach a class on it for years, but have figured I don’t actually have anything to say that anyone would want to turn up for. So for it to be reaching people here is really quite exciting for me. Thank you ( I sound like a stuck record but really, truely do mean it) your comment made me get all choked up with its kindness.

    @ Joley – I would never have written this post and felt brave enough to publishit if I didn’t feel confident that no one but lovelies would turn up and comment. How right I was. Somehow, it seemed time to get this never talked about secret out in the open. Turns out, it’s no big deal after all. YAY.

    To everyone, I want to get all cheesey and give you great big squishy hugs for being so lovely to me. I got all teary eyed today when I sneakily checked my inbox today, in my CAD class, and found your comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. I love this post. I wanted to leave a comment yesterday and didn’t have the time.
    I love the vulnerability in this post – I always feel super awkward and scared after writing a post this vulnerable, so I can totally understand that. But as you can see, you are soo safe here, because we all love you!

    I’m just so proud of you and delighted that you’re at this place where you can accept yourself and like Victoria said – tell yourself you love yourself. It’s a place I’m looking to go to, and its inspiring to see someone else there instead 🙂

    I much prefer your acceptance to achievement. Achievements overrated anyways. I’ve got a friend who’s achieved a billion things in life and still isn’t happy, so there ya go 🙂 You’re doing just fine!

    Big hugs!

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