Broken

Comment Zen: This post is coming from a super vulnerable place, so I would love it if you could go gently with it too. Not that I would expect anything less, but that I feel the need to put out some safety buffers just because.

 

I feel like a very broken person at the moment, both emotionally and physically.

I have also been giving myself whopping doses of Reiki to my third chakra as a result of breaking my knee whilst snowboarding about a month ago.

Not literally breaking it, but tearing ligaments in my knee and ankle, giving myself insane haematomas and doing something weird to my ITB, which my Physio says is technically known as “mashing it”.

It is going to take a long time for me to stop wearing all the bits of Velcro and metal which are currently doing my ligaments’ job for them.

There has been so much change in the last few years it is literally insane.

It’s not going to stop, so I am going to have to do some learning about it, or go insane.

Then I think I threw a shoe last week.

In true shoe style, it was absolutely, never intended in a million years to be a shoe and yet it was and then I felt like something nasty on the bottom of the shoe.

 

Ugh.

 

Much angst as I tried to fix the situation. Much angst remaining even though it would seem the situation is slightly rectified. Oh boy.

But so much more was brought up in that one tiny moment – all the broken bits.

The monsters which say, “You are broken.”

The interpretations of “You are broken” which are far harsher than that one sentence.

In one moment, a whole rush of Bing!

Realising a lifetime of patterns in one reaction:

Believing that only perfect is loveable> feeling not perfect> being not perfect>therefore having clear evidential proof that I am not loveable.

Feeling really rather broken for not having sorted this out by now.

Feeling broken for having insanely high standards for myself, and insanely low standards for others.

Feeling… just broken.

Feeling sorry for myself for feeling broken.

And so on ad infinitum.

Choice.

 

I am able to objectively stand away and just observe these patterns coming up, which helps a lot.

I am also able to draw on amazing support from people who do actually love me when I can’t stand back and just end up crying and saying, “But nobody loves me! WAH!”

I can see that so much of this is triggered by feeling tired, being isolated and giving myself huge amounts of Reiki to my third chakra.

 

Because when you start healing that stuff, you start healing deep stuff.

 

As I have been giving myself the Reiki I have been picking up a clear message from my body which goes something like this, “Don’t worry about the leg – that’s being taken care of. Pay attention to the vulnerable bits, because they’re tired and lonely and desperately need this.”

 

So I’ll be giving those vulnerable bits some more Reiki.

 

By the way – I know I’m not broken, but what is also true is that I am feeling extremely vulnerable at the moment which means my monsters’ voices are rather loud.

What those voices point out as that healing needs to happen here and that healing is happening here.

Like an itchy scab.

Nice.

It’s Winter of course…

So we all know that recently I have been going through more change than I normally do.

I know the past two years have pretty much been constant change for me but recently – much more so.

In determining a direction I want to go and realising that the only way I will get there is to go there myself, I have been struggling against this change far more than I realised.

Resulting in a January more hellish that I can describe.

There were tears and cursing, almost rash actions, certainly rash fantasies (they’re not nearly as fun as they sound on paper!).

Ugh basically.

Then I realised…

It’s still Winter

But of course.

The time of gestation, going inward and sowing the seeds.

Spring is the time of birthing.

Spring is close, but it is not here yet.

So here I am pushing and pushing to find these solutions to everything.

Seriously – the pressure has been on to find answers to life, the universe and everything.
I know it is 42, but apparently I need to work this out myself rather than let a computer do so.

Such high expectations of myself.

Then I realise – it is time to nourish and be within.

It is time to slow, work with the flow of things and slowly grow the light.

No need to push and push and then question why the results aren’t happening when I think they should be happening.

Time to grow roots and a base from which to draw what I need when it comes to the blooming, shining, birthing time.

Trusting

If I spend this time asking myself what it is I need most and trusting the response, is it not logical that I will give myself what I desire most?

This is something I need to trust.

I worry that I won’t be able to accomplish everything and therefore don’t trust that I will accomplish just that if I give myself what I need.

Learning to pay attention to what you need is harder than it seems and a perfect thing to spend some time learning during a time of year that calls for just that.

Food for thought.

Re-encounters with Comfort Eating

The New Year has brought an insane amount of newness for me which, although expected, has thrown me into chaos.

The New Job

You see – it was totally expected. Eventually, eventually they gave me my start date and it was in the new year and not before Christmas as originally expected.

So now I’m working shifts – which I have NEVER done before.

And I’m working in a cafe – which I have NEVER done before.

In a climbing centre – which, to be fair, I know quite well, but…. as a climber not a worker bee.

There are a thousand things which have thrown me off whack.

Mostly it is the newness of all the new things I’m doing and having to adjust to them.

There’s realising that although this company and its people are incredible (we have meetings on beanbags, with lollipops – what is not to love about that pray tell?) the work I am doing for it is so totally no up my street that it may as well be in another city.

Struggling to adjust

The newness and the change are difficult for me to adjust to, because on one hand I need this job and I know that this is an amazing experience and on the other hand knowing that this is just so not right for me is making it hard to keep going in every day.

And then there’s the shifts – which have just thrown my days into disarray and along with that my social life.

Like I never get to see my housemate any more. The woman is one of my closest, dearest friends and I never get to see her anymore.

Where I used to see her every day, at least for a little bit before we fell asleep.

Heading back into old territory

So on my days off last week, where I had no one to spend my time with, I discovered this much about me:

When I am left alone and am struggling to adjust to something, I spend my days in bed, watching telly and eating. Mostly eating.

Old comforts.

Food is something I used to have a very tangled relationship with and I spent a very intense year about nine years ago learning about how much I was using food as a comfort instead of listening to the needs behind my feelings.

But the change

Since spending a year journaling away my relationship with comfort eating I have a new way of interacting with it.

It involves allowing it to happen but also picking up my journal and listening to what is going on behind the scenes.

No judgement.

What I found this time was such a huge change in my ways of interacting with myself that it took me by surprise.

I remember the days before when there was so much guilt and anxiety over feeling what I was feeling, this time however what was there was permission.

Comfort and Joy

Yeah, I discovered that the reason I was eating was because it was bringing me comfort and joy where I was feeling these things were lacking greatly from my day to day.

My other sources of these are scarcer now – my friends, my QS job, my colleagues, the known – and so I was turning to once source which was readily available.

Furthermore, I was able to give myself permission to need comfort and joy in a difficult situation, committing to finding some different, healthier ways of giving this to me.

Whilst I’m not sure what these are just yet, it does mean that every time I fancy eating when I’m not hungry and especially when it’s something sugar laden, I can recognise a need for a bit of comfort and then I can give myself an invisible hug and permission to need some comfort.

And so I say this

Comfort eating is a complex issue and the reasons behind it differ for everyone, but most often I believe it exists because there are some unmet needs lurking which are scarier than putting on weight or whatever negative connotations there are to comfort eating for you.

I have found that gently asking myself what’s up during these times, whilst still giving myself permission to need the crutch invariably leads to me being able to give myself what I really need without worrying that I am depriving myself of a source of comfort.

Food is less scary than asking for help in many, many situations.

Unless you’re asking for help from yourself, and in my experience, that’s the source that’s most often the most helpful.

Most of all permission to need is key.

Some rules of life… (My life anyway)

1. It’s all about pace

As you are probably aware, I’m training for the Cardiff Half Marathon (you should sponsor me!)
I’m a runner. Have been since I was about 12 when something went *Pop* in my head on a cross country course at school and I thought, “I can do this!”

It doesn’t mean I’ve always run, but it means that I can and I do (now) and that it brings me peace of mind. Once I’ve set up my pace, providing I don’t get out of breath, I can plod along quite happily, with my legs feeling strong and capable and taking me along.

Ask me to run faster than ‘my’ pace, get me out of breath, and I’m beat in about 100m! It means that training with anyone else is tricky for me as I try and match their pace. I’m learning, pretty quickly, that the key to achieving this goal and my distances on my training plan are to simply stick to my pace.

I’m not that comfortable asking others to stick to my pace yet, so I mostly train alone or in situations where the others can do their own thing comfortably as well. But that is a whole other post.

Of course it’s occurred to me that this is a pretty strong metaphor for life.

In other words, you can do anything; go anywhere as long as you stick to the pace that’s right for you.

For me, I’m coming to realize (ever so slowly and in the tiniest baby steps) that my pace is slow and steady.

I feel deeply, I think an awful lot and this means that in order to not be totally overwhelmed by it all I need to take things slowly, making space to find out just what I think and feel about each thing that comes up.

Rushing and impatience, although tempting and almost second nature to me, get me no where other than three steps forward and two steps back. Frustrating and not all that constructive, or compassionate at that!

2. Attitude is everything
Oh how boring! How many times have you heard this old chestnut? Positive thinking, positive expectations, positive intentions – BLAH BLAH BLAH and if I may say so – eff off.
Not my point. At. All.

Again a running metaphor.

Signing up to this marathon scared the bejaysus out of me. I didn’t think I could do it.

I am not the type of person who gets all gung ho about a challenge and proving stuff to myself. Most of the time I think I cripple myself with self doubt.

The first time I set off to run five miles? I was worried the whole day before that I was asking too much of myself.

What if I ran out of steam? What if I set off an attack of the tireds? What if I injured myself? What if, what if, what if?

Turns out that by setting the right pace (see? Do you see how beautifully this all ties in?) I did it with absolutely no problems at all. I was not even out of breath by the end!

Tired, yes, exhausted and crippled, no.

Then yesterday as I plodded away on the treadmill (seven miles on a treadmill leaves you ample time to think about a LOT of things) I realized that my belief about myself is that I am a quitter.

That I don’t achieve anything because I quit, because I don’t believe I’m an achiever.

Can you believe?

Indeed.

You can imagine all the Whizz! Pop! Bings! that were going off in my mind after realizing that and where it all comes from, and oh boy do I know where it all comes from.

Needless to say, it’s something I want to bring attention to, because it’s luggage I don’t feel I need anymore.

3. Take it one step at a time

When you’ve only ever run three miles, imagining thirteen and a half feels unbelievably overwhelming.
Running four though – that seems do-able.

Then once you’ve done four, five seems quite possible too.

Once you’ve done five, you imagine that you will quite like to see if you can do seven. If you can only do six then fine, but maybe… just maybe… you have seven in your legs.

Once you’ve done seven you realize you are over halfway there.

You begin to believe.

So if you’re starting up a new business? Trying to work out how to make it work so that you can bring in one month’s rent may seem totally overwhelming. But perhaps just one sale and then two?

Or any other goal or decision for that matter.

Do I want to see this person? You don’t start asking your heart/ god/ whatever you ask if this person is the meaning to life, the universe and everything to you. You simply ask, “is this for me right now in this very moment?”

4. Trust your tools. Trust yourself.

Running shoes – I will and do spend good money on them.
Not vast amounts, because I am not made of money and besides I do not actually think you need to.

Comfort and support are absolutely vital for me in my shoes and that is all.

If I doubt my shoes, if they are unsuitable for the job, give me blisters, don’t support my knees properly etc then I do not feel confident going out for a run, let alone a testing run.

Make sure you have good support systems in place, both internal and external.

Good support in training, encouragement and help with niggles – absolutely vital.

Good support in business… you are getting the hang of it.

Good support through friends and family…. You see? You see?! It is all transferable to personal life.

Know yourself and trust yourself. Know your limits, your buttons and listen to them. Trust the feedback you get from your body.

Pain, like fear needs to be listened to, but not necessarily pandered too. Perhaps you need to stop and stretch rather than give up completely.

Learn this about yourself and then trust that you do actually know what you are doing.

Be prepared to work with yourself instead of against yourself. Your pace is your pace and that pace is totally acceptable.

Start slow, start gentle and take care of yourself each step of the way.

It is not guarantee for success, it is not always easy, but it makes things more comfortable.

5. Warm up and Cool Down!

Heh heh heh! That is probably only hilariously funny to me.
But seriously, I do not like attempting any run without a good warm up and stretch and if I don’t cool down – well I probably struggle to walk the next day.

Make sure you give yourself space to work up to the “Big Thing” and space to stretch and let yourself recover from the “Big Thing” before throwing yourself into the next “Big Thing”.

As you get fitter, your recovery time gets better. Your muscles can cope with more and remember how to recover. Oh you also have more scar tissue but you work with that through stretching and stuff.

So it is with my personal life. As I get more in touch with myself, as I trust myself and have more compassion with the hard, the more self accepting I am – the easier the Hard is to process.

I resist less.

Life continues to deliver its goods and I will inevitably get hurt from time to time. New wounds will open, old wounds will be prodded but I heal faster and support the healing process better as I come more familiar with what works for me.

Who’d have thunk huh? All this for a £1.70 gym session, a treadmill and a pair of shoes doing the same thing over and over!

 

 

 

August Catch Up

Good morning/ Good afternoon – whatever! Hello, in other words.

I think it’s time for a sum up generally on how life has been going, because I realize there’s not been much of that here for a while.

So thinking….

Apart from LOTS of rain, of course.

Things have been changeable since returning to work. Some good weeks, some bad weeks, some really horrid weeks and some weeks that should, by any account, be classed as horrendous and have passed relatively easily.

Ah perspective – ’tis a tricky fella.

Most significantly … they’ve been months of release.

The craniosacral therapy woo- woo thingymagummy stuff leads to lots of release. Or perhaps lots of release takes place because I’m ready to let go by the time an appointment comes by.

I like it so… because the release is gentle, relaxing and energizing. It is affirming and not the kind of release advocated by pushing through stuff or just dealing with stuff.

This is good- as- and- when- I’m- ready release.

I’ve been talking to the dominatrix and that has helped an awful lot.

Mostly because I’ve been using Havi’s magic fairy dust stuff to deal with what comes up.

She’s been teaching me about power and stuff like that. Asking me to trust in mine and allow it to be there. Asking me to be clear in my needs and not shy away from them.

It’s become clear how good I have become at not
listening to my needs and I’ve been gently working on stating my point of view on things where I normally wouldn’t.

I’ve been surprised at clear communication from my body when I touched my nicely swollen throat glands and absent mindedly asked, “What’s going on here then?”

To hear back “Nothing! We’re just releasing stuff, just give us time please” was profound. Even though I talk to my body all the time, it’s not normally so direct in feedback.

I’ve been to the doctor.

Because I decided it was silly and really not necessary to think I had to deal with getting to grips with ME by myself and all by myself.

It meant having to register with a new surgery which is a HASSLE because I work 70 miles away from where I live and the NHS allocates your doctor where you live not by what is convenient or suitable for you.

So days off and nurses appointments and general pain in the ass type stuff, but worth it because when I walked into my Doctor’s room (eventually) he was both understanding and thorough and agreed that we need to explore what’s going on some more to really work out what is going on in this body of mine.

Yay! I liked that. I felt listened to. Not dismissed and rushed out in the 10 minute slot available to me.

I became an Aunty, which is just phenomenal.

I generally feel scary amounts of love for my family and now I’ve got one other gorgeous person to feel fiercely in love with and that makes me happy.

Although becoming an aunty has brought up other stuff with our family. Hard ick. Don’t know how to deal with it ick.

Strong, overwhelming feelings which generally scare the bejaysus out of me.

On the other hand – lots of acceptance and allowing myself to feel this way. Not judging or telling myself how I should or shouldn’t be feeling and trusting that when it comes to dealing with this and finding a resolution that this will show itself and I’ll be able to resolve how I feel about what’s been going on without hurtful words or judgments.

Onto other things…

The half marathon training is not going so well. Mostly because I have been repeatedly hijacked by my body and I’ve been scared to push things.

I’m slowly gaining a different perspective on things as I realize that my fundamental base fitness needs maintenance before it can increase and so I’m working more on that.

I am worried that I won’t be fit enough to run and that will be a huge disappointment.

However, I’m hoping that my gentler, improved way of thinking may help me make improvements quicker than I’m imagining.

I’d like to be able to sustain a certain level of activity and avoid the peaks and troughs that I’ve been through recently.

Including being a Happy Hippy on a Construction Site

Work … is well, work. Some days it’s hugely rewarding and others just frustrating and boring.

Good stuff has happened, new contracts have been signed and some clarity on the way forward has been gained.

Some decisions are difficult to stand by and I’m learning that sometimes you just have to stand firm even when the world is shouting and balling around you. Hard though.

Mostly I just want to run away in those circumstances. Or join in.

And the Future

I’d like to have a clear way forward at the end of this job. Clarification on what the future holds would be most welcome right now.

I’d like to know how I will facilitate my move out of Wales, where I shall work and on what project, where I shall live and what effect that will have on my life right now, if I should sign up to this university or that or if I should take a year out.

Answers to these questions, normally so easily answered in the past, would be very welcome right now.

As ever, I imagine that the course of action which shall reveal itself will be based on what I want but until I clearly know what I want I guess it shall remain partially hidden showing itself as glimpses of potential.

Acceptance

Yesterday I spent most of the day in a bit of a state after leaving work because I was so tired it made me cry.

At work. In front of my boss. On a construction site.

Yeah.

Of course it got me thinking about having M.E. and not being able to accept it because it’s a fucking bastard of an illness which has no rhyme or reason.

It is never easy to accept things that make no sense.

The thing is that if something doesn’t make sense, my first response is to blame myself.

I realized I was taking the illness very personally. Any tired attack was being viewed as my fault and so I brought my thinking (albeit amongst many tears and gulped breaths) round to the idea that perhaps this wasn’t personal.

Perhaps having M.E. and suffering the symptoms is not my fault.

Maybe.

Probably.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.

I realized that like any chronic disease there’s probably no cure that will work for everyone and that there is a lot to be said for learning to manage it.

Like Asthma, like Diabetes, like any other chronic illness that has to be managed so that it doesn’t interfere with your life too much.

I realized that I’m good at managing my Asthma because I was taught well, from a child. I didn’t have to figure it all out by myself.

I began to wonder about a CFS clinic – perhaps there is one in my area? I should ask the Doctor.

Acceptance doesn’t mean being happy with the fucker.

It also doesn’t mean stopping swearing at it – because by god it deserves to be sworn at.

Acceptance doesn’t take away the fear that I may become an old woman at 27, stuck in my bed unable to be with my friends.

It doesn’t stop me crying because I hate that I may have to contemplate giving up all the outdoor sports I love and do because I love them not because they keep me fit.

Keeping fit sucks.

Riding a mountain bike down single track through a forest that is whispering secrets to you while the wind rushes past your ears, filling you with a desire to whoop and holler is bloody good fun.

It makes my blood fizz.

I don’t want to have to stop. I won’t. So na na na na nah.

Acceptance does allow me to reason that I don’t have to do this alone and that I can learn to manage.

Gently I can allow myself to experience the inevitable learning curve that this will provide. I can look at the bad days and see that these do not represent failure but rather a glitch. A glitch which will pass and I will adjust.

Realizing this is a learning experience means I don’t have to be so hard on myself.

It allows me compassion when I’m scared by a bad day because bad days make me worry my world is ending.

Acceptance allows me hope.

Renaming it “Bloody M.E.”

I’m aware that I’ve not posted for some time.

Have I stopped thinking you ask? Fat chance, I laugh.

So what’s going on?

Busy. Ugh.

Busy, busy, busy. Ugh.

So much going on that I’d either be on here full time trying to write about it or not on here at all, getting immersed in the experience, enjoying the good, the lovely, stomping my feet at the bad and trying to be compassionate to myself through the hard.

Mostly though, I think I’ve just been trying to take too much on.

I ran the Race for Life and was all fired up and enthusiastic about the fact that I ran it.

I signed up for the Cardiff Half Marathon and decided to take part in the Taff Trail Challenge again this year.

That is, after running 3 miles successfully, I decided that my body and I were ready to start training for a 13.5 mile run and a 50 mile bike ride.

Yup, even I question my sanity.

Person with M.E. makes it back to work, manages a 3 mile run, doesn’t need to spend a week in bed and decides then that that’s a good enough reason to assume capability to train like a demon.

But I was like – I’ve got 19 weeks – that’s forever, I can take it slow with the training etc, blah blah blah.

I didn’t account for being hijacked by my body (AGAIN!) and I’ve had my first bad week in like ages, and I’m feeling sad.

But I’m also feeling lonely, because it’s hard when you’re trying to keep up with your friends and no one really gets how you can just be sabotaged without a moment’s notice and have to cancel everything whilst you wait for your throat glands to go down, the tiredness to abate a little and the aching to stop.

No one really gets the headache that won’t bloody go away, or the ensuing crankiness that’s bound to set in due to the fact that you’re mentally stomping your feet and shouting, “NO, NO, NO. Fuck off M.E. and LET ME HAVE MY LIFE!”

I know that my life will return to me in due course, because I don’t and I won’t give up whilst I find a way around or through this.

But the figuring it out is hard to do. No bones about that. It. Is. Hard.

I find myself scared of being tired.

Paranoid about the glands under my jaw – “please don’t be up, please don’t be up, please don’t be up” I chant.

Acutely aware of muscle stiffness or aches and particularly pernickety about stretching.

More than a little pissed off and confused because I’d rather not deal with this at all thank you.

Don’t let me get started on the training.

Actually that’s not so bad. Just lonely too.

I’d like to have someone to ride my bike with, who isn’t loads fitter than me but still loves the same kind of bike riding that I do too. Mountain biking that is, not road riding (bleuh).

Even though running is a special type of meditation and some much needed alone time for me, I’d still like someone who was at least interested in my progress and there to encourage me along.

You know, as opposed to telling me I’m insane and that they hate running.

Perhaps I need to write a few personal ads, Havi Stylie. One for a riding partner, one for a running buddy and one for my ideal next job when this project ends.

Speaking of which, Christine Kane’s blog, Hell Maybe proved to be invaluable to me this week when I went for an interview. It was in my mind as I went in and on my mind as I came out of the interview. It meant that I was able to walk away saying, “Hell NO!” instead of dithering about for ages.

So that’s been my busy, busy, busy; lots of work, lots of friends, lots of training, interviews and the like. Followed by a little moan about Bloody M.E.