09/09/2014 03:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Raw and Real


There are times that life is a hard struggle and right now is one of them. I get overwhelmed with the persistent, jabbering, all consuming thoughts in my head and I'm exhausted. Utterly exhausted. I make up stories that have absolutely no basis in fact yet are totally real in my head. I can believe utter nonsense to my core and it terrifies me. I can tell myself the most outrageous lies and believe them. These are my demons. Please tell me that I'm not the only one? There are times that my dear, sweet man looks at me in utter disbelief at what inner world I have the capacity to create. And an inner world that I totally believe.

We all go through these painful times I believe, it's just that many of us don't admit it out loud and here I am shouting it out loud as I press publish on this blog.

I was talking with a client this morning about noticing when it is we head off down the path we know will lead to despair. We're often unaware until the moment has passed, sometimes this moment is five minutes after we've said or done something we wish we hadn't. Sometimes it can be hours or even days. Dear Lord, please let it not be weeks. Having some sort of trigger to warn us before the event would be helpful... it's something that takes practice.

The moment we realise where we are heading this is time to look after ourselves and for me this is absolutely vital -- I don't do it often enough, as I'm much more likely to be bashing myself and judging myself. This post then is being written in case it offers you hope and support and importantly it's being written for me as a reminder of the things I need and must do to bring me out of the hole I find myself in.

Exercise: Whatever it is. At the moment I'm running again -- following a long standing stress induced injury I had been unable to run without pain. Now rather bizarrely I'm enjoying it and am pain free. Getting out every other day is vital for my health and sanity.

Meditation: Daily -- I'm no saint and there are days and sometimes weeks that I get out of the habit and then it's forgotten and then I wonder why I feel at odds and it's because I've not made the time for it, believing I don't have the time... and so it goes on. Meditation soothes me.

Music: Every time it is Curtis Mayfield who comes to my rescue. I don't know what it is about his voice and his lyrics but I cry and am cleansed and uplifted.

Friends: I am a sociable animal, my work life as a writer and a coach can be solitary and long term isolation is not good for me. I need people.

Being creative: In a different way -- keeping away from my keyboard and perhaps taking out my sewing machine or my knitting needles. A dear friend and I have a question we always ask each other when we sense the other is not good. What have you created recently? What are you working on?

Reading: Sometimes I need to drown out the noise, the constant chattering in my head with something else. I love the escapism of reading fiction and finding myself absorbed in another's life is my respite.

Trust: Working with a client this week we spoke about her tough times and I shared with her my mantra, the words I keep close to me at all times... know deep down that this too will pass. I imagine a candle alight somewhere guiding me through.

Journal: Write, write, write, even though it's painful and stilted and makes no sense or is repetition of whatever crap is going around in your head. From someone who never ever wrote a thing since leaving full time education in 1985 until I began writing in 2007 I can only tell you of the enormous benefit in doing so. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone, not even to you. Write it and be done. Even if you've never written a word in a journal before for fear of performance anxiety and getting it right. Get over yourself and write. Nobody has to read it, not even you, you can tear it up and burn it if you wish just get the damn thing out of your head and onto paper or a word doc.

Physical work: Something you can do with energy -- for me it's cleaning. I don't really enjoy it but it gets me into a sweat, I play loud music and scrub and scrub and scrub. It's cathartic and I feel cleansed afterwards and happy that my home is clean.

Cook: I have a tendency to forget to eat when the demons are in my head. I realise late in the day that my stomach is rumbling. So I cook. I bake bread or I bake a cake. Nurturing my physical body is nurturing my emotional being.

And then it passes. There is always sun after rain.