Compassion, realism and getting stuck in a jungle……

Hey all, I’m sorry I’ve been relatively quiet lately, being honest I’ve been suffering a bit of a writers block because I usually write about how I’m feeling and this being a massive transitional phase I’m finding it all a bit overwhelming.

CBT and hypnotherapy are going well and I’m working each day to be a more compassionate, confident and less self loathing me. This is of course very hard work but I honestly believe that anything worth having is worth working hard for.

Compassion is an interesting thing for me to be thinking about as it’s something I’ve always felt I understood and can give to others freely. Turns out I’m awful at being compassionate towards myself and this is an area that needs significant improvement. I’ve started by not expecting so much from myself. I don’t mean not setting goals or looking to achieve things as I’m still a driven person but I’m much more realistic in my ideas about things and that gives me the luxury that if things don’t go quite according to plan I don’t end up in an anxious state and telling myself it’s all my fault. 

I realise that I am happiest when life is simple, when I have the people I love around me and when I am laughing. You don’t need to be in a nightclub to have a nice evening and you certainly don’t need to be in six inch heels (I love them and they make my legs look so much nicer but my poor feet!)

Just last night we went after work to meet some friends on their camp site where they are staying for the weekend. The plan was a BBQ and some drinks. The boys were excited to play with their children and we were excited to have a relax with good conversation and some prosecco (well perhaps that was just me!) 

I wore a maxi dress, flip flops and a little kimono which was perfectly acceptable for the balmy Whitstable evening we left home to. However it was much more windy in Folkestone and it became clear quite soon that I was a cardigan down! 

We decided to walk from the top of the cliff which is where the campsite is to the bottom and the beach. Sounds so easy doesn’t it however eighty five active minutes on my Fitbit later, some nasty scratches from brambles, some stinging nettle stings and my hair looking like Monica in that episode of Friends where the humidity got to her we still hadn’t found a beach and gave up. But do you know what, it didn’t matter at all. We laughed, drank more prosecco, chatted and mocked ourselves for our appalling orienteering. The children played and we didn’t end up home until gone eleven pm. 

This morning I had the grand idea of a chilled out Saturday where we would mooch around the Farmers Market in town and have a light lunch before the boys had a friend’s birthday party to go to. We did indeed go to the Farmers Market and I bought a beautiful bunch of flowers and the boys each had a fresh pretzel. The boys after about four minutes decided that they had got bored and kept in very loud voices saying helpful things such as, ‘this is rubbish’, ‘why isn’t the food free’ and ‘why do you want more flowers’. 

We then went to the lovely Whitstable Museum which is run by some fantastic and knowledgable volunteers who very kindly let the boys handle a giant gun/musket that had just been donated and showed them various bits and pieces that we have seen many times before but they love each time. Their particular favourite is digging for sharks teeth and various Whitstable artefacts in the kids area. 

Then it was off to Champs, one of our fab bakeries/cafes. We stop here many times in the week for cakes after school but today was all about the bacon and egg rolls. I was excited to sit with a cuppa and all my boys and just enjoy some time. Leo however had other ideas and squirted Ribena everywhere, kept knocking my arm every time I tried to take a sip of tea, kept kicking Karl under the table and then wiped a bogie on my arm. Nate was much better behaved and was looking through the local paper which happened to have my column in with a picture of the boys. How one seven year old child can turn a small newspaper into a million pieces of paper in a numerical order unknown to man is beyond me but he managed it. 

Karl and I managed to eat our rolls and the boys munched on theirs which gave us about four minutes peace before Karl (bruises forming on his legs) said, ‘Luce, I can’t sit here anymore’. So off we went, the picture of family life, the children sporting Whitstable Mueseum badges, me carrying a beautiful bunch of flowers no one any the wiser to the fact that one of us was covered in Ribena, one in newsprint, one in spilled tea and the other unscathed but with slightly injured legs from his five year olds restless leg syndrome. 

The birthday party was fab and I like a normal mother treated myself to a strawberry slush puppy and made jokes about the lack of vodka in it before wondering what people would think about a boozing mother at a bowling party. It didn’t have vodka in don’t worry, though if I had enough change and hadn’t spent it all on the various gaming machines I may have been tempted! 

Have a fantastic rest of your weekend xx

The Great Pretender…..

Today I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland and the quote, ‘that’s just the trouble with me, I give myself very good advice but I very seldom follow it’. 

I had the long waited for first session of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this morning. After my first hypnotherapy session there is no doubt whatsoever that I feel brighter and more positive. But talking therapies mean you have to bare your soul and there is something that makes you feel so very vulnerable about spilling your innermost thoughts to a total stranger.

I did just that, I went through everything that has bought me to where I am today, the journey I’ve travelled, the awful decisions I’ve made, the relationships and friendships I have lost and the feeling of not being sure exactly what I have to offer anymore. 

I worked out some months ago that it’s self esteem, I was asked today whether I hated myself and I answered yes. It’s not that there aren’t things about myself that I don’t like because there are (I make a mean cuppa for example!) but there is always this underlying negativity, a critical voice if you like that tells me I’m not good enough, can’t move on from past mistakes and that I will never be loved by anyone.

Just reading back that paragraph I realise how ridiculous it would sound to someone who doesn’t have the issues I do and actually I am loved. My family love me, my children love me unconditionally, Karl has stuck by me through thick and thin and if that’s not love I don’t know what is and I have friends in my life who I know must love me because if they didn’t they wouldn’t still be here (you know who you are!)

My therapist who is also called Karl which made for many awkward moments during the session asked me to come back next week with some goals. What do I want from therapy and what I want to achieve from my life. Big questions and something that I really need to think about (apparently the world’s biggest bar of chocolate isn’t an okay answer?!) As I walked out and got into the car I felt positive. The first goal came to me, to not need the validation of others. To be able to hold my head high and think I am who I am and if you don’t understand that then that’s your business. Sounds so easy doesn’t it!

So I’ve decided to start here…… I’m Lucy, I’ve messed up a lot but I’m working my arse off to be a better person, a better wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend. I like to take pictures of flowers and talk about my thoughts and feelings here. I am sure that many people won’t understand my journey, my life or why I do the things I do and that is okay.

Here is an example of some good advice that I have always found very easy to give to myself and to others and yet have never managed to actually do. Let’s keep everything crossed that I can actually pull it off! 

Thanks for reading you very lovely people xx

Words from the Wise…..

Hey all, how are we?

I’m very conscious that I have been quite quiet recently. The main reason for this is that since I’ve been struggling with being so down I’ve not wanted to just come across as negative and moaning. I have so many wonderful things to be grateful for and I am trying to work on all the other sides of my appallingly low self esteem which I believe is the root cause of many of the issues I have had over the years.

I go back to work after six months off on Monday, this time has incorporated illness, major surgery, recovery and now my issues with me. Am I ready? No! Do I have any confidence? No. Would I rather curl up in a ball? Hell yes! I of course cannot do that, I am a professional, working mother and a huge part of who I am is someone who works. Not just because we need to cover all the bills and the mortgage but also because I like that I have another avenue in my life, a place where I am not just a mum and no one will shout at me because they can’t find the head to the green ninja from Lego Ninjago.

For so many reasons I now realise that I am the reason for a lot of the bad things that have happened in my life because I tell myself I am no good, I can’t manage it and I don’t deserve whatever it is. I spoke in a previous blog about mental health and needing to be okay with me otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage with anything or anyone else.

So while waiting for my initial counselling assessment I have tried to start my journey on my own and do some small things to help me get through this time. One of the first things I did was look to Pinterest. I have had an account for years but never really used it but have been sent many things from it in relation to my youth mentoring. I set up a number of boards one being, ‘quotes to live by’ and another, ‘things to read’. I began to find inspirational quotes and pieces about mindfulness and stockpiling them to read and to look at to remind myself of all the good and positive things in life.

I started to track my moods and work out what sort of things made me low and the things that made my heart sing. I focussed more on being a happy, healthy me and the mum and wife my family needs. I also spoke to others who have been through similar and have found themselves where I am. I realised that my priorities needed juggling and that not everything I prioritised was making me happy and healthy. I realised I needed to let some things go and work much harder at others. I basically realised that for me I was in a new phase and almost starting from square one.

As we all know the beginning of anything new is hard, leaving your comfort zone and trying something you are not used to doing is like trying to win a gold medal at the winter Olympics in ice skating when you have never skated before. It feels odd, abnormal and very lonely at first but after time it becomes more normal, almost a habit and you start to feel like you can manage.

I challenged myself to do some things I had never before been comfortable with. Since I had been ill I struggled with my running and whilst ill I have put on quite a lot of weight. Running was something I would happily do on my own as it gave me a space to think and to breathe. I couldn’t imagine walking on my own though, in fact I found the thought quite embarrassing, wouldn’t people think it’s odd that I’m out walking on my own and I don’t even have a dog?! As you can imagine when I started actually no one batted an eyelid and I have been enjoying some brisk, long walks out and about in the sunshine which has given me that space to think and breathe again outside in nature.

Things haven’t been perfect and following my assessment I am now on the waiting list for starting sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which I’ve never done before and is described as a more proactive type of therapy. Things are moving in the right direction, going back to work, getting back to my mentoring and being braver with my thoughts and outlook are all going in the right direction, I just need to not muck it all up!

So to sum up, who knows what will happen next week, just walking through the door of the office seems like a marathon to me at the moment. Hopefully it will be much simpler than that but if it’s not I will have to deal with it because as we said earlier I can’t just curl up into that tiny ball!

I wonder if any of these which are some of my favourite quotes that have helped me through recently will resonate with you?

‘You have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t helped. Try approving of yourself and see what happens’

‘Bloom where you are planted’

‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’

‘It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are’

‘You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious’

‘Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining’

‘She was unstoppable not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them’

‘Only grow things in your brain that you wouldn’t mind putting in a vase’

‘Some days she has no idea how she’ll do it. But every single day, it still gets done’

‘Don’t let the muggles get you down’ (Wise woman that JK Rowling!)