Stay;

*WARNING – this blog contains discussions of Suicide. If this topic triggers you in any way, please reach out and ask for help*

With September 10th being National Suicide Awareness day, I’ve decided to share my story. This one will be the most difficult, as with it I carry my deepest shame. But my hope in sharing, as it has always been, is to raise awareness, to break the stigma and to hopefully inspire others to share their story or to choose to Stay;

For those that aren’t aware, the semi-colon has become a world wide symbol for suicide, depression, mental health and addiction awareness. It is used by authors when they could have chosen to end a sentence, but instead use the semi colon, to continue that sentence.

My story probably starts when I was 10 I guess. That life altering moment that would indescribably change me as a person, right down to my core. (For those that are reading my blog for the first time, I was sexually abused at this age and have written about my recovery in my blog titled Taking my Power Back) It was this event that altered my path. It made me feel ashamed and guilty. It made me see myself as weak and powerless. It completely changed the foundations in which I grew up on.

I learnt back then how to block my emotions. Anything that my subconscious mind thought I couldn’t deal with was blocked and stored away. I didn’t even remember the event until I was about 16 and started having flashbacks. That’s how strong my ability is to block things I can’t cope with. And to this day there’s things I’m still blocking from that time.

Coming into my early 20’s when I started to try and deal with these emotions, I realised I didn’t even have the basics to deal with small emotions, let alone the ones that come up surrounding such a horrific event. I was an emotional wreck. I was depressed. I was out of control. I was drinking constantly to try and numb the pain. My way of blocking these emotions was no longer working and it was all bubbling over and I was powerless to control it.

I hated myself so deeply and so wholly and I felt like I couldn’t escape the pain. When you hit such a low point in your life, you’re surrounded in it. It completely takes over. It doesn’t just come and go. All day. All night it hits you over and over. It’s utterly relentless. It wears you down. I was too afraid to sleep because of the nightmares. Which left me completely neurotic during the day and always angry and on edge. I felt like I was on high alert to my surroundings and loud noises would make me jump and terrify me. If anyone tried to touch me it made my skin crawl and I wanted to throw up. I felt like people were staring at me, like somehow they knew my dirty secrets that I’d buried. And I truly felt that it would never end. It slowly built up over years and only ever got worse over time.

What follows next I’m not going to go into too much detail as I don’t think it’s necessary to get my story across. But it starts with thoughts of just wanting to take the pain away and thoughts of honestly believing that everyone in your life would be better off without you. And for me on more than one occasion, it’s ended with an attempt to take my life. On many more occasions it’s ended with me having these feelings, but choosing to Stay;

It’s hard for me to even describe what that feels like. To be so depressed and so low that you think the world would be better without you. Sitting here now with rational and logical thoughts, it makes no sense what so ever. I know how devastated my family and friends would be. But I can say hand on heart, that when I’m in that dark place, there is no one that could convince me that me leaving, would have anything other than a positive impact on them.

I know that people who haven’t felt this darkness, struggle to understand these thought patterns. I get it. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I admit I would find it difficult too. However I beg of everyone reading this, if you can’t understand it please at least don’t pass judgement on it. Don’t judge someone for something you don’t understand. This is where the stigma and the shame comes from. Because people say it’s selfish and stupid to think like that. I can’t comment on what others feel, but with me I felt at the time that it would be the most selfless thing for me to do. To rid myself from everyone I care about so they don’t have to deal with me anymore. I truly cannot see the horrific impact it would cause when I’m in that darkness.

I feel that these judgements cause fear in people that are struggling. It makes it harder to reach out as people are scared that if they admit they are struggling and having dark thoughts, that they will be judged and criticised. They think they will be looked at as being weak or that they have something wrong with them.

We need to drop this stigma. We need to stop the judgement and criticism. We need to step up and speak out and spread the word that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s ok to struggle sometimes and feel like the world is caving in on you.

I truly hope that me speaking out can show a tiny part of my world that it’s OK to feel so shitty sometimes that you can barely breathe. And that it doesn’t make you a lesser person when you’re finding it hard to cope with life. I hope that by me choosing to stay; and writing these words, that I can help even just one person make that same choice. I hope that I can inspire others to share their stories. I hope that those that have in the past chosen to pass judgement on suicide and mental health, can maybe see it in a different light and show compassion to those in need. I hope that this message shows people that there is strength in choosing to keep fighting those battles inside their minds. I hope that by sharing this it can lessen someone’s shame that they carry from their story.

The one thing that really shines through for me when writing this is the hope I feel. Because it takes a whole lot of strength and a whole lot of guts to fight your way out of feeling utterly hopeless, and to change that to feeling to one of hope.

And my biggest hope, is that everyone finds their way and chooses to STAY;

When grief rears it’s ugly head.

I thought I had it under control. I thought I had passed the worst of it. I thought I had dealt with it enough for it to stay hidden. I thought I had pushed it far enough down that I wouldn’t have to face it again.

I was wrong.

It’s been 13 months since my last miscarriage. I’m not sure if making it through the year anniversary of the date we lost the baby, or the year anniversary only a month before that from the 2nd miscarriage; is the cause of this grief popping up. Or if it’s the fact that I’ve been starting to have thoughts that maybe my journey to have another baby isn’t actually over yet. My therapist thinks that now I’m in a really healthy place in my life and things are going well, my subconscious has gone “OK she’s ready to deal with this now” and has bought it to the surface again. I guess that does make sense as I know I have this innate ability to block things that I’m not ready to deal with yet.

Whatever the reasoning behind it doesn’t actually matter I guess, because it’s hit me full force and I feel like I’m right back at the start again. And I’ve been through it three times now so I know I can do it again. But what I’m struggling with right now, is that I just don’t want to.

I don’t want to feel the loss anymore. I don’t want to experience the ache in my heart when I see a pregnant woman. I don’t want the agony of the flashbacks to my time in hospital. I don’t want the crippling pain of all the what if questions that come to the surface. I don’t want the bad dreams that make me not want to sleep.

I just don’t want to deal with it. The grief is too intense. The pain is still too real. And all I can sit here and do is cry and beg to have my babies back. I sit here and wonder if they were girls or boys. If they would have looked like me or their big sister. I sit here and ache to hold them just once and look into their eyes. To breath them in and feel their tiny hearts beating.

There is literally nothing I or anyone else can do to make it easier or to take the pain away. It’s something I just have to sit through and allow myself to go through each agonising process, step by step.

Because it hits me at random moments (like at work and I end up sitting in the bathroom crying into toilet paper and trying to keep my sobbing to a minimum), my therapist has suggested I allocate “grief time.” To actually designate time to sit and think about it and allow myself to cry. It kind of sounds weird I guess but it makes sense. That way I’m allowing myself to experience the emotions in a controlled environment and I’m getting the emotional release that I need so it doesn’t build up and release itself at inopportune moments. This way I can attempt to have some kind of control over it and when it bubbles up when I can’t actually deal with it, to kindly say to myself “It’s ok that you’re feeling upset, however now is not the time and you will have your time later.” It kind of sound clinical but I like it. I feel that I would rather control it than be an inconsolable mess at inappropriate moments.

She has also suggested I create a memory box so that I can hold the special things from that time and allow myself to remember the beautiful memories of when I was pregnant. I do have things hidden away that I couldn’t face looking at, but the idea of putting them in a special box and honouring their memory instead of hiding them, sounds nice. It even allows me to feel a little bit of peace about it all.

So many people have told me that you never get over it, you just learn to live with it. And I’m starting to see that this is so true. I think I have been fighting it and trying to “get over it” so I didn’t have to ever face it again. But I’m realising now that that isn’t possible. This is something that will live within me for the rest of my life. Nothing will ever make it better. Nothing will ever fill that void or make the feeling of loss go away. It’s a matter of finding my way of coping day by day so that over time it eventually gets that little bit easier and isn’t so crippling when it hits you.

Grief is one nasty and sneaky bitch that hits you when you least expect it. I’m hoping I can find a way to manage it a little better and cope with it in my own way again, rather than having it control me.

And I hope one day I can find a way to stop wishing things turned out differently so I can finally accept what happened and stop hating life for taking my precious babies away.

Timeless healing

They say time heals all wounds. Well you know what, I’m getting a little bit impatient waiting for this to happen. Actually a lot impatient. To be honest I’m sick to death of waiting.

I’ve had a week of virtually no sleep and everything is getting on top of me. I’m even hitting a point where I’m losing motivation for my running which is massive. I’ve spent the last 9 months with an unwavering motivation to run and train and smash this half marathon goal. I’m 5 weeks away from the race and I’m quickly losing all focus and determination. My body isn’t recovering and healing like it should be, because I’m not sleeping.

One of the more important aspects of training is getting enough rest to give your body time to recover and this isn’t happening so my body is in constant agony. I’m sore from head to toe. My eyes feel like they have needles in them. My brain has a fog over it and I’m not thinking clearly. I even put toothpaste on my daughter’s chest instead of Vick’s vapour rub a few days ago.

All because I’m laying here wide awake with thoughts of when will this all be over? When will the pain go away? When will I heal? When will a day pass where I don’t think about the what if’s? When will I stop feeling so lonely? When will the grief go away? When will I be able to look at my daughter and not feel guilty that she will grow up never remembering her parents together? When will I stop feeling like I was never good enough? When will I stop analysing everything tiny little thing I said and did and wondering how I could have done it differently? When? When? WHEN!?!?!?!?

I feel like I’ve stepped up big time during this journey. I’ve seen a therapist. I’ve followed her recommendations. I’ve done the hard work and walked into the pain rather than walking away and pretending I’m fine. I never stop processing my thoughts and feelings and doing the work to heal them. I’ve done the hard yards and faced everything that I’ve bottled up my whole life. I’ve opened up and been completely vulnerable.

Yet still I’m here feeling like shit. I’m still hurting. I’m still grieving. And I’m fucking over it.

I’ve hit a point where I’m just thinking fuck it why don’t I just go back to pushing my emotions down. Pretending that everything is fine. Pretending I’m ok and that losing my little family isn’t a big deal. Pretending I’ve moved on and I’m happy. Bury my head in the sand and not deal with any feelings or emotions that come up?

It would be so much easier. I could “heal” myself in an instant if I just pretend I don’t care and that it doesn’t affect me.

I’m sick of feeling so deeply. I’m sick of caring so much. I’m sick of the roller coaster. I’m sick of the heartbreak. I’m sick of the battle.

I’m totally and utterly done. I’ve given it my all. I’ve thrown myself into this journey with reckless abandon to finally face my demons and heal properly.

But I’m exhausted.

I’ve got nothing left to give.

I’m completely and irrecoverably done.

Time is taking too long.

I think I’ve been waiting for that aha moment where you all of a sudden you feel human again. Where everything finally clicks into place and all the hard work pays off. Maybe there is no such moment after so much heart ache in such a short space of time. Maybe little by little wounds heal and it gets easier. Maybe the pain never goes away.

I don’t know anymore. All I know right now in this moment is that I’ve literally got nothing left to give.

My journey has broken me.

Self pity rant

I’ve worked tirelessly to not feel self pity through this journey and to also find ways to express myself other than anger. I had a really bad habit of bottling things up so strongly that when the bottle finally cracked everything came out forcefully and I would react with anger.

But right now I’m fucking angry. And I’m full of self pity. And I can’t keep quiet any longer.

When did it become an acceptable practice to blatantly ignore people you’re meant to care about? When did it become ok to use people and then treat them like trash when you no longer see a need for them? When did people decide that when someone goes the extra mile for them to help out, it’s no longer necessary to even say a basic thank you?

It’s fucking rude and disrespectful and I’m done with it all.

Even during my darkest moments not once have I ever ignored anyone in my life. Wether it’s a random question they ask me or if they are reaching out for help or advice. I don’t ever go without replying. And sometimes all I can manage is a “I’m sorry I’m having a terrible day can we chat tomorrow?” But at least I reply. I make the effort to not make them feel unwanted and uncared for.

Yet somehow there is numerous people in my life that vow they care for me and are there for me no matter what, yet choose to ignore me. To blatantly not reply to text messages or calls.

And I’m not talking about being ignored because you’ve had an argument with someone and they just need space. These are “friends” and also someone who said she wanted to be in a relationship with me.

Out of the blue with no prior arguments. Ghosted. Completely ignored. No explanation. No apologies. Just completely pushed out of their lives. Or at the absolute most, one worded responses or messages that leave no doubt they are being blunt and to the point and show that they have no time for me and I’m inconveniencing them by just saying “hey how are you going?”

These are people that know what I’ve been through. That I’ve opened up to and been vulnerable with in telling them my biggest fear is being abandoned. And for whatever reason, they choose to do the same and hurt me all over again. Choose to put me in another position where I question everything I did and blame myself.

It used to be basic manners and basic human decency to treat people as they treat you. Now it seems the norm that if you go out of your way for someone and choose to be kind and helpful, the person you did that for then seems to feel they have the right to walk all over you. To look down on you and treat you as sub par to them.

I was just going to write that maybe I expect too much of people. But screw that. I’m not asking for anything other than basic manners. Basic respect. Basic communication. And I’m only expecting to be treated how I treat them. That’s not asking too much. And it shouldn’t even be an issue. I shouldn’t have to ask. These are people that have said they care about me. That I thought played an important part in my life.

People that know me, know that I’m loyal beyond reproach. If I care about someone I’d literally walk through fire for them. Yeah a bit extreme but that’s just me. But on a basic level when someone reaches out to me for help or advice, if possible I drop everything and do what I can to help. And if I can’t help I’ll be upfront and tell them I can’t help right now but am available at a different time. And then I always make the effort to check in with them and see how they are going. If someone I care about is going through a difficult time I’ll jump up to help in any way I can without being asked. Going over and above to make their lives even just a little easier in their time of need.

Is it too much to expect even just basic support in return? I’m not asking them to drop everything for me. Just to reply to a bloody text message when I reach out. Surely that’s not so fucking difficult to do for someone when they have been there tirelessly for you?

I’m absolutely done with it. I’ve tried to not let this whole process harden me or make me bitter. I’ve tried to be patient and understanding. But enough is enough. I’m sick of making such a huge effort to only be ignored and treated like crap. I’m sick of getting kicked while I’m down over and over. I’ve tried to work through it and keep it bottled but no more.

When someone can’t even say a simple thank you when you go out of your way to do something for them. Or can’t even make the effort to respond to a text. Then I’m done.

I’m no longer going to be the one making all the effort. I’m no longer going to chase people that make no effort for me. If those that haven’t made the effort or have ignored me, decide they want me in their lives; they can chase me. They can make the effort. They can step up and prove it. I’m done!!!

Self pity rant finished!

Onwards and upwards. Out with the people that don’t make the effort for me.

(This vow of not making an effort only applies to those that haven’t been doing the same for me. Or have ignored me. Or treated me like an object to use as they please. I’m obviously still going to be me and make the effort for those in my life that do the same and that have been here for me. I’m just realising I need to be even more careful when choosing who to trust and who to go out of my way for. And for those that have been there for me, I thank you again and I appreciate so much the effort you make xoxo).

My vulnerability is no longer my weakness.

Brene Brown is my new hero!! Her talks and books on vulnerability are brilliant. She is hilarious, blunt and at times it feels like she is reading my mind. Everything she said resonated with me so deeply.

There is a passage in one of her books where she talks about when she was on stage and asked the crowd, “How many people struggle with vulnerability because they see it as a weakness?” Of course most of the crowd raised their hands.

Then she asks “When you see people on stage how many people thought they were being courageous?” Again the crowd raises their hands.

I don’t know about you but standing in front of a crowd would have to be one of the most vulnerable positions you could put yourself in. I’m pretty sure 99% of society would all say the same. And we all see that as being so courageous, yet still see vulnerability as a weakness.

It blows my mind!!

How is it that we can admire these people for their bravery in leaving themselves completely vulnerable, yet when someone opens up about mental health struggles, or opens up about having feelings for someone or wears their heart on their sleeves and shows emotions; people look at them as if they are weak.

In all of these examples, people leave themselves completely vulnerable. Open to rejection and criticism. Yet one side is admired and the other side is judged so harshly.

I’ve felt both sides during my journey and after hearing that example from Brene, it’s made me realise that all this vulnerability I’m showing is not a weakness at all. I see it now as pure bravery and strength.

On one side I’ve received so many messages of support and admiration, not only by friends and family, but total strangers. I have been told how brave and courageous and strong I am to be able to open up and be so raw and honest with my struggles and trauma.

And I’ve also seen the other side where I’ve showed emotion and cried in front of people, and they’ve seen it as a sign of weakness. Criticised me for not being strong enough to hold on and cry when no one is around.

This makes no sense to me. How is it that I’m brave for writing about crying, yet when people see me cry, I’m viewed as weak??

Another quote from her book “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness, will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

This resonates big time with me. The last 6 months of my journey has completely revolved around exploring my darkness. I’ve dug deep and gone to places I didn’t want to. The deepest darkest places I could find.

And while discovering this darkness, it really has illuminated the power of the light within me. As I’ve healed my darkness and allowed the light to shine through, it’s opened my eyes to a whole new world out there. A whole new me that I didn’t know was inside of me.

See I’ve always put myself into a category that made me feel weak and powerless. I’m one of “those” ones. The reserved, the emotional, the thinkers. One of those ones that always gets called depressed. That always gets called rude. That’s looked down upon because we get nervous in social situations.

As I empowered the light within me, I started realising that all of these traits I have, are not weaknesses. They are my strengths.

It’s a strength to be reserved. It allows me to sit back and analyse situations before jumping in head first. It allows me to watch people and their behaviours so I can determine who I feel comfortable socialising with.

It’s a strength to be in touch with my emotions. Now that I have learnt to handle the stronger emotions I feel, it gives me a sense of strength to ride these feelings and embrace them. Yes I still cry. Yes I still get upset. However I no longer allow them to completely take hold of me. And I love that I feel emotions so strongly. I’d rather love incredibly deeply than not at all.

It’s a strength to be a thinker. Now that I have found ways to stop myself over-thinking situations, I actually really enjoy my deep thoughts that I have. Especially when I’m running. I explore deep within my consciousness and discover things I never knew about myself. I analyse things I’ve heard or read and discover how I feel about them. It’s fun and exciting now rather than tiring and draining when I was over-thinking situations and conversations I’d been in.

I’m not actually depressed and I’m not actually rude. (Ok yes I can be incredibly rude sometimes when people deserve it) however I’m social situations I’m not being rude by not talking much. I get incredibly nervous in crowds and especially around people I haven’t met before. But this doesn’t make me rude. And yes I have previously suffered from depression however in the words of my Psychologist;

“You’re not currently depressed. You’ve suffered many losses in a short amount of time and you’re grieving. But you’re seeking help and making changes. You’re motivated with running and setting new goals each week. When you’re in a stage of depression you don’t take these steps.”

Just because I’m in introvert, doesn’t mean I’m depressed. Just because I don’t feel comfortable in social situations, doesn’t mean I’m depressed.

Looking back on my life I realise I’ve always been so ashamed for being “different.” I’ve spent countless years wishing I could be extroverted because I thought that was normal. Hoping that I can wake up and suddenly feel powerful in crowds, to get a rush from meeting new people and to feel on a high after being in social situations. I’ve always believed these people are stronger than me. Braver than me. Better than me.

But now that I’ve released this light inside of me, I realise that they aren’t stronger or braver or better than me. They are just different to me and that’s ok.

I now love the qualities that I have. In my previous blogs I’ve discussed this and stated I now accept who I am. Which was a huge step. Now I feel like I’m starting to embrace my qualities. Starting to love them and be excited by them.

I’m seeing my own vulnerabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses and it’s a powerful feeling.

Having the ability to be vulnerable is risky, scary and fucking hard. But it really is the only way to achieve anything and to move forward in life. It’s such a courageous thing to do and the feeling of empowerment you receive during the process is like having the brightest light shining from within you.

It’s a beautiful and brave thing to experience and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

The sadness behind her smile

To be blunt and to the point, I’m having a shitty night.

I’ve been thinking about all the changes I’ve made over the last year. The endless effort and courage that has gone into making these changes.

The tears and the heartache it took to recognise and accept where I’ve been lacking in my life. Confronting myself with the things I’ve done wrong and the people I’ve hurt and taking ownership of my mistakes.

Walking into therapy each week and smashing through more walls and looking deep inside at the darkest parts of me. The countless hours spent reevaluating my life and where I stand. Facing my biggest fears and having the courage to take another step forward.

I’ve done all this and so much more. And I’m so proud of what I have achieved. I’m so proud of the person that I see in the mirror now. I’m the person I always knew I could be. The person I always dreamed of being.

But as I sit here tonight, all I can think is “What was the point of doing all of this?”

I’m still alone. I’m moving to Brisbane by myself. I picked up my keys to my new apartment today and the smile it gave me faded so quickly as I walked out and realised I had no one to share this joy with. I had no one to text. No one to call. No partner that was eagerly awaiting to hear from me.

And I can sit here and think rationally and know that all the work I’ve done is so worth it. And I can state that I am proud. And I know I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and be good again and be excited about the move and excited about the progress I’ve made. And I do know what the point of it all was.

But there’s that little voice nagging at me that just keeps repeating “What was the point of all of this when you still end up alone?” And it just won’t shut up tonight.

It’s making me so sad and frustrated and hurt. It’s making me question everything. It’s making me wish so badly to have my old life back. My life wasn’t meant to be like this. I don’t want my life to be like this.

I’m sad that today should have been exciting. But I’ve been wearing a fake smile all day. Pretending everything is ok. Putting on a brave face to hide the tears in my heart. Wearing that mask to hide the sadness that’s in my eyes.

Hiding from the sadness that’s behind my smile….

Out of the darkness and into the light

Since opening up about the difficulties I’ve faced, I’ve had so many people ask me how I do it. How do I get through the grief of losing 3 babies? How do I get through the heartbreak of having my partner walk out on me through that stage of our lives? How do I get through each day fighting to see my daughter? How do I find the motivation to keep training and focused on my goals? How do I keep moving forward when finally facing the trauma’s I went through as a child? And how am I doing this all at once?

 

I’ve been pretty flippant about it all and I guess haven’t really thought about it much. Doing my usual “oh it’s not that hard, anyone could do it.” Trying to downplay the struggles that I’ve faced and fought through, instead of being proud of getting through another day without giving up. I recently said this to a friend and she replied very despondently “I can’t even seem to get through minor things, I wish I had your strength.” 

 

It hit me that by downplaying how I’ve dealt with things, was making someone I care about, doubt herself. And that made me feel like shit. I started this blog and decided to share my journey, to help and inspire others, not to make them feel crappy. 

 

So I want to say here and now, it has been incredibly tough. Every step of this journey has been a struggle and I’m definitely not anywhere near the end of my journey. It’s been the longest 8 months of my life and I have come through so much, but there are still parts of my life that are a total mess. I still have days where I cry numerous times and feel like giving up. I just don’t have them as frequently anymore. But they still definitely happen. 

And most days I put on a brave face and hide the struggles because I feel like such a burden on people in my life. I accept I’m difficult to be around right now. That’s just part of my journey. Opening up old wounds and facing my fears makes me even more irritable and frustrated than normal. I’m changing and it’s hard for people to get used to. But I don’t like the old me so I focus on pushing forward.

 

It’s really hard to explain how I have tackled each step but I really want to share the things that have helped me, and also the many things I’ve tried that have pushed me back a step. 

 

I think the main thing I needed to do was accept each step of the way for what it was, a step that I tried to take. Sometimes the step took me forward, sometimes it took me backwards. And to start it was really difficult to accept that I had gone backwards, but I found it really helpful to focus on the fact that I had tried to go forward. Because making an effort, is always a better result than not trying at all. 

Again, I didn’t succeed at accepting this every time. Sometimes a step back would send me into feeling like a failure and I’d end up taking even more steps back. But most of the time I could accept what had happened and allow myself to feel sad for a few minutes and then move forward and try again. And it is getting easier with time. 

 

It really has been about forming new habits. I always have beaten myself up whenever I perceive myself as failing. And I needed to form a new habit of not doing this anymore. Which, like in attempting to form any new habit, it’s difficult and seems impossible to start, but gets easier with time and the more you practise it. 

Another thing that has helped me form these habits, is relating my coping techniques to my physical training. I know in depth how my body works and what I need to do to make it stronger and faster and fitter. I applied these practises, and this belief, to coping with grief and anxiety and it made me see it in a whole new light. To get fitter, faster and stronger. You practise. You train. You fuel your body to perform at its best. You set goals.

 

In applying this to my mental health, I practised acceptance. I trained in not beating myself up over every step back. I fuelled my mind by starting self-care every day. My brain became stronger, my coping techniques became faster. I set goals each time I faced another difficult situation, to handle it a little better than last time. 

 

Even in doing these new practices, I faced setbacks and I tried things that didn’t work. I started off doing meditation each day and to start with I loved it. I couldn’t get enough of the feeling I got from it. I felt grounded and full of energy and also more peaceful. Over time though these feelings lessened and I realised I wasn’t finding it as useful. I just wasn’t feeling the same benefits anymore. 

 

When I realised this, instead of getting disappointed like I normally would. I accepted that it helped me through some really difficult times and that I could find another method of reducing my anxiety. I related it again to my physical training, if a certain type of workout isn’t giving you the results you were after, you try something new. 

 

What I tried next and what is currently working for me is listening to a guided sleep mediation with positive affirmations. Not only is it helping me sleep better but I’ve noticed I wake up feeling fresher and more positive. 

Other things I tried that didn’t work for me at that particular time, was repeating positive mantras, looking in the mirror and saying affirmations and countless other ways that I looked up on Google. These techniques didn’t work for me, however I’m happy to try again when the time is right.

My secret, if you could call it that, is beginning to take the time for self care. I’ve always shied away from this thinking I don’t have time for bubble baths or relaxing massages etc. But what I realised is that it doesn’t have to be a huge task or a special event. Self care can and should be done every day and looked at as necessary, not as a treat.

Self care for me, is taking even just 5 minutes to sit and look at the ocean, or to have a cup of tea and focus on taking deep breaths. It’s about being “selfish” and giving yourself a few minutes a day that are all yours and you focus on nothing but yourself and grounding your energy.

Again this was a difficult task to start with as I felt like I was wasting time and had to keep rushing to get things done. But the more I practised it and started to stop and relax, I really started to enjoy it and look forward to my time. Some days I might only be able to spare 5 minutes, but I make every minute count and make sure I focus 100% on myself.

I also love audiobooks at the moment. I set myself a goal to read a book per week this year and was struggling with hitting my goal due to time constraints. So I started listening to them while I run and when driving. Even when I’m just cooking or washing up. My favourites so far are Normal Gets you Nowhere – Kelly Cutrone. The Operator – Robert O’Neil. Girl, wash your face – Rachel Hollis. And Get your Shit together – Sarah Knight.

Very different books but with the same no-excuses approach to putting on your big girl pants and stepping up to face your fears and stopping self doubt. I loved them and definitely recommend getting them.

All of these things put together have helped me take tiny steps forward in reaching my goals. Some days I’ve barely moved an inch, others I’ve gone backwards and some I haven’t moved. But the main thing is that when I look back and average it out, I’ve taken more steps forward. And the most important thing, is that I keep trying. I refuse to give in.

 

Making changes is so hard but I just keep leaning into the difficult times and tell myself that it’s short term discomfort for long term gain. Every time I‘ve moved forward in my journey, the joy I get out of it far outweighs the sadness and frustration over the set backs.

I feel like I still have so far to go. But I’m starting to also recognise how far I’ve already come. And I’m starting to get so much joy out of this journey rather than it feeling like a weight on my shoulders.

Finally, after living in so much darkness and self hate, I’m starting to see a tunnel of light. Finally feeling hope for my future. Finally starting to see my strength. Finally accepting that I am becoming the person I always wanted to be.

I hope some of these ideas resonate with you and can help on your journeys. Please don’t get despondent if one doesn’t work for you. Just keep trying. Remember that your journey isn’t a solid object, it will move and change with you as needed. Keep taking those tiny steps. You’re stronger and braver than you think you are.