The story of my life really. If you ask me to sum it up in three words it would be that. A life, which so far, has let me on a ridiculous path of hilarity, sadness and the downright bizarre. And it wasn’t until I found myself talking out loud to myself yesterday, that I realised how being slightly bonkers was saving my sanity.
This week. Week two of lockdown. Well, it’s been an interestingly busy and stressful week for someone who has only left the house for a covid test, and to Tescos where I thought ‘there’s just not enough wine to sort me out at the minute’. A week where I have been knee deep in detoxing, battled a cold, which then went! (Seems the detox and extra vitamins are working), and where my book formatting went to shite and all I wanted to do was throw it away and pretend I’d never even thought about writing a novel.
First world problems, I’d agree. This was not lost on me whilst I scrubbed my kitchen clean (the middle one informed me it ‘needed a deep clean’…)in a blind haze (I have to touch and clean everything because I can’t actually see properly – I could feel the dirt though and it was shamefully disgusting). And realised, whilst reorganising my spice rack (oh how my weekends have changed) that the rabbit hole of insecurity and madness I was heading down, was almost certainly a ‘long standing behavioural pattern’ , which I had historically fallen into before.
Alarm bells rang…
CBT was something my therapist taught me about last year. I’m sure most of you know what it’s about, but it isn’t until you face an ‘episode’ of despair and that feeling that you can’t cope (three glasses of that vat of wine in and I’d fallen asleep. The next morning a hangover! The detox had broken me), that you truly get what to do. You see, even as I was stuffing my face with hummus crisps – I know, hardcore dirty food right! And drinking that first glass of wine, I knew none of it would help. I knew that others things such as: meeting friends, going out for a change of scene, going to my mum and dad’s for a cuppa – well I couldn’t do any of them. Stupid covid. I had to rely on my ingenuity to find a way through. CBT meant change and flexibility…
Now don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t the first time I’ve used it. I have had to think about my sessions quite often in the past year. My friend and I sometimes talk about the ‘catastrophising’ which I am prone to. The way I think the worst case scenario will always happen when in actual fact it rarely does. My lovely therapist taught me to think about best and worst case scenarios and tell myself it’ll be somewhere in the middle – or even closer to the best. Positivity and optimism is the key here apparently. With a bit of realism thrown into the mix.
So, digging deep I started making lists.
Last week, amid the loneliness of teaching from a virtual classroom (I miss 3D people with flesh and bones), the crappy weather; my aching poorly bones; my ‘publishing problems’…well the diary remained pretty much untouched. I felt stuck. Starved of plans for the future…oh, and my house was descending into a mucky mess due to me being superglued to my laptop and my poorliness (all I can do is watch whilst the scruffy lot LEAVE EVERYTHING OUT! Although, I’m getting good at ‘mute’ shouting orders ‘unmute’). Well guys, I just didn’t know what to do.
And don’t even get me started on the news…
So CBT and happy places. Away from nasty Covid and the Trump shit-storm…all the hate, headlines, negativity.
Lists, lists, lists…the diary is filling and it feels good.
- I made a playlist called ‘Happiness’ and shared it. It’s a beauty of four and a half hours of tunes, which feel like drinking from my lovely, and ever growing ‘Pukka tea’ collection.
- I have reordered my kitchen to suit me. I can now see better in there and (hoping) I get less bruises and break less plates and glasses, due to its new configuration.
- I’ve also broken my aim of not shopping in January, by buying some things which make me smile. A very inexpensive few frivolities and it appears I’m sleeping sounder and more relaxed.
- But, the one thing I have found is that as much as I miss ‘people’ I also miss my own space. I adore my family and never want to be without them, I also realised the need for ‘alone time’, someone physically or mentally I can take myself for a while to reflect and think. I’ve found it’s very easy to all get caught up with each other’s dresses and strains; breeding a confined environment of tension. After all, up until last March, I think the longest any of us has sent together for a prolonged period of time had been the family holiday! We are used to the busy. We were used to not sitting down…I escape by writing, reading, exercising, walking on the beach, cooking, long baths and a face mask…me time. Oh, and that talking out loud to oneself – never underestimate the value of a little madness.
I think it’s easy to forget in the midst of madness and meltdowns, that’s it’s okay to not be okay. Not only should you be kind to others, you need to be kind to yourself too. Show yourself some love – it’s not selfish to keep yourself well. After all, how can we support each other and fight this battle on a nearly empty tank!