Slow Down

Do you ever feel like everything is rushing around you and you just want to scream “STOP” at the top of your voice? Yet it seems like no one else sees this hustle and bustle of total chaos? Me too!

That chaos around you may seem completely unbearable but for every time you have experienced it you found a way to get through it. I’m so proud, I know it’s been hard.

The energy it takes to keep up with everything and everyone is exhausting, if you have a secret to getting more energy please share! I haven’t found it yet and I know for sure I have days when I need more energy than I have.

It’s on these days you, me, our friends, family, loved ones, even strangers passing by sometimes need that little reminder. Slow down, it is ok to slow yourself down a little bit in this world.

It is easy to trick our minds into thinking that by slowing ourselves down we will be missing things, or not being able to keep up with everything that we may need to do. The reality of it all though, is by constantly running at full speed we will eventually get to the point when we will just break down completely and stop.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”

None of us are superhuman, we actually don’t have an unlimited supply of physical or mental strength to be able to keep going all of the time. So why are we all so determined to do this? Why are we so reluctant to slow down when needed?

So what would slowing down achieve?

Will it mean we are able to concentrate on a smaller amount of things at a time? Will it mean that we can feel better about what we have achieved at each point in the day rather than overwhelmed? What if it meant that all the chaos was to shrink down into manageable chunks and leave us less confused and puzzled? Setting smaller goals and steps to take can be so much more manageable and saves your energy for when you need it most.

Slowing down doesn’t have to be seen as a negative, it isn’t a sign that we can’t manage or cope. Slowing down means we CAN manage because we know how to spread our energy across everything we need to do!

Slowing down also allows us to open our eyes and see the beauty amongst the chaos. What can initially be seen as an angry mess when watched slower is a vision of beauty, almost angelic dancing.

The beauty of watching the chaos in slow motion

So slowing down is ok, it is a good thing to do if we need to. Physically and mentally it will leave us with more energy, strength, control, and hope. Allows us to see clearer and to see a more wider field. Giving more options, lighting the paths which at full speed we may have missed.

So the next time it’s all running at full pace, remember it’s ok to slow down; because you can’t pour from an empty cup.

What If

Life is full of choices and decision making.  We are introduced to making decisions from such an early age.  Which toy are you going to play with?  What TV show do you want to watch? Do you want cake or ice cream? (ermmmm both thank you!) Some of these are easier than others.

It is only as we get older (sometimes wiser) we start to realise that the decisions we make leave an option that has been left behind.  

It is at this point when our days become full of times when we can ask ourselves ‘what if?’

Sometimes it can be important to change these ‘what if’ questions to something that can be more helpful to us. A little more kinder to our minds. It isn’t easy, but spending every minute of the day thinking what if you turned left instead of right is not going to achieve anything.

What if, just for today you chose the other option? It is impossible to turn back time, so teaching ourselves to think a little differently about our choices is going to be the only option.

Instead of asking yourself ‘what if?’ What would happen if you were have a different conversation with yourself about your choice? One that was to put less doubt and criticism on your choice? Imagine standing in front of a mirror and instead of asking why you turned left this morning you said something along these lines;

“You turned left, that’s amazing, look at the options you now have available, look how much closer you are to your goal, look how much further you have come, you actually made the choice.”

Rather than wondering if you should have picked the other option and contemplating what that would have meant for your day, you look at what the path you chose has given you.

Focusing on ‘what if’ all the time means you are missing out on what you have chosen, the beauty of your choices, your uniqueness, your character which is only visible through your choices.

What if, just for today you chose the other option?

There is no such thing as a wrong choice if you made it yourself, if it was made by you, by your own mind, your own personality and your own thinking.

The ‘what if’ way of thinking is always going to be there, it’s all you’ve ever known. That doesn’t mean it is wrong, it just means that is what you have been taught. Thinking of where you are now, and what you have, looking forwards and not backwards will take time and practice.

Choices are hard to make, admittedly at times they are made for us. This can make that ‘what if’ phrase scream so loud. Again, I wouldn’t say that is wrong. The energy spent on it though will exhaust you, in order to sustain that feeling of hope, motivation and momentum everyone has to keep their fire burning.

Be proud of your choices, have faith in your decisions, step forward with pride, and shine your rainbow of hope for all to see. You can’t change the decisions of the past, but you can lay the foundations for a stronger path to the future.

This is for you.

Can you do me a favour? I would like you to take some time for you.  For the next few minutes no one else matters other than the person reading this.  This time is for you, to read at your own pace and remind yourself of a few things.  Grab a few home comforts, whether that is a favourite blanket of yours, a cushion you can snuggle into, your babies soft toy, or that baggy t-shirt you refuse to wash because you can smell your safety net on it still.  Then get that drink you need to have right now, find somewhere calming and take some time for you.

I know you are tired; sleep has not been that great has it?  Even when you have been able to sleep you still wake up tired.  The nightmares, they seem so real don’t they?  Asking yourself why your brain does this to you, and why you can’t just get a break?  It seems all too real at times.  When you get too scared to even sleep at times, but it gets easier.  You don’t believe it now, I know that but it really will.  Give it time, do what you feel you have to too keep going, but I assure you that night will come when you lay your head on your pillow and close your eyes with peace.  When you wake you will feel refreshed, a little bit more recharged and ready to face the day.  Each day will get easier.  There will still be times when you will not sleep, be prepared for those, you will survive these.  You will be alright, as you get stronger.

 You are not alone in this.

As broken as I know you are feeling right now.  I would really like you to try and remember that you don’t need fixing.  You are not an object, you are beautiful, and you are perfect.  You have not decided or chosen to feel the way you do.  Hold on tight, you will be able to stand tall, how do I know this?  Look around, many things break, many people fall down.  The world carries on, and you can too.  You might do it a little slower for a while, and that is alright too.  It is not a race.  There is no prize, there is no finish line.  You need to do this at your own pace and in your time, but know you can do it.  Believe you can do this, and when you do you can look at yourself and see the person you thought was so broken actually wasn’t.  She was in fact growing, breaking out of her shell, into an amazing person.

 Remember, you are not alone.

Can you remember the last time that you smiled?  Not that pretend one that you do to convince everyone you are doing fine.  A proper smile, one where it hasn’t taken all of your energy and effort to keep on your face.  Nothing fancy just a simple, pure, natural, genuine smile that just appears on your face.  I didn’t think so.  I am guessing you force that smile, then as soon as you walk away it fades, I understand that.  Smiles are so important.  Never forget how to smile, even if it is just to smile at yourself and say “today I am me, and that is good enough” because it really is.  Taking the time to look for something to smile about, amongst the turmoil of each day will make a difference.  It will make everything a little easier.  Then the smiles become easier, and more frequent.  It is hard to start with, but you are strong enough to do it.  Give it a try, smile at the success of reading this far, you deserve it.  I am with you on this, and I am so proud of you.

How are you doing?  Are you looking after yourself?  Are you remembering to eat and drink?  That is so important; all of your self-care needs to be met by you.  Even if you don’t feel like it, you should try every day.  Without filling your own tank you cannot expect to have the energy to function.  I know you would worry about others, so now it’s time to take this advice for yourself.  Even if it is hard, just try.  Small steps if that is all you can manage crawl if you have too, just keep going.  What do you like to do that makes you feel good?  Pick something and give it a go, see how it makes you feel, because even if it can make you feel calm, relaxed, special for a little while don’t you think it is worth it.  Don’t you think you are worth it?  I do, I know you are worth it and you have earnt it, you deserve it.  

So now you have read this far, I am hoping that you are realising that this is a long journey and to be able to reach the destination you need to have some best hopes.  You may be thinking that you don’t know what the destination is, or you don’t understand the point in the journey because it’s hard.  You maybe even thinking that it’s pointless.  No one really knows where there destination is on a journey do they?  That’s the thing with a life journey, as you travel along it you learn about yourself, you begin to learn who you are, you learn about your strengths, your hopes, dreams, interests, dislikes, fears.  You begin to gain an identity that is true to you.  No journey is straight, easy, or peaceful.  It will be full of bumps, knock backs, tears, hugs, good days, bad days, happiness, and sadness.  Please remember it is your journey, and it is special.  Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your journey will inspire others, save others, make someone smile, give someone strength.  Your journey is important, and it I want to hear about it, you are not alone.

As I have mentioned many times, you are not alone.  You might not believe it, you may have rolled those eyes every time you have read it.  You are not alone though.  You may feel alone at times, thinking you have no one to turn too, no one to talk too, thinking no one cares.  I can honestly say that I felt that way too, and I was wrong.  People did care, more than I realised, when you are ready, in your own time to let people in, let them in.  Allow them to care, to hug, to give you that shoulder to cry on.  Allow them to hold your hand at the scary times, to cry with pride at the brave moments, and to love you when you need it the most.  Until then, try to remember, you really are not alone in the world, because when you look in the mirror you will see the following within you.

The strength to carry on every time you think you can’t.  To have the physical strength to make it to the end of every single day.  To survive every night, without giving up.  The emotional strength that you have been showing to keep on going, even when you have not wanted too.  You have shown how strong you are on so many occasions, with your determination to fight, to stand tall and prove yourself.  This determination is what will keep your strength growing; it will carry you through the harder days and nights.  This is something that you should be incredibly proud of.

Every day I want you to remind yourself of the love you have for yourself, the hope you have for your future.  I also want you to remind yourself of how proud you are on how far you have come, because the one thing you have to realise as you read this, is you have survived all of your bad days, you have lived through all of the nightmares, and you are here reading this.  

So be proud of that, smile at what you have achieved, never give up, because you’re not alone in this.

Bump in the Road.

When people talk about a ‘road to recovery’ we always want and hope for it to be smooth sailing. We all paint the ideal image in our minds of how we want it all to be, that light at the end of the tunnel. What happens when reality hits though and that light flickers out of sight? The ideal image in our head becomes so dampened the colours all start to run? Then what?

Well, let’s start by saying no journey is smooth. There are always going to a few bumps along the way. They may be slightly more painful sometimes, believe me when I say it feels like you hit the ground running at times. It can hurt, there is no denying it. The scary part comes next. Working out how to take the next step forward again.

For a number of different reasons this week it has felt like I have taken knock back, after knock back. Now having had several months of therapy which has taught me amazing skills and coping techniques I thought to my self ‘I got this.’

Turns out I hadn’t. So the steps I have been taking forward on my journey were in fact travelling in reverse. This would have usually caused great upset, but after talking through things with a very good, very honest friend I realised something quite important. Now my friend said this to me

‘So what you’ve fallen down the ladder 2,3 or 4 steps. You’re not gonna stay there. You know what it’s like higher up, you’ve been there before.’

At first I brushed it off as they were just trying to make me feel better, but after a while I began to realise that I have been higher before. I do know what it’s like, and actually what is the big deal that I’m having a rough few days.

When you have a lot on your plate to juggle as part of your everyday life, wether that is a combination of physical health, mental health, family or work commitments, it can sometimes be difficult to separate what is part of being ‘normal’ (what is that anyway?) and what is part of your ‘healing’

Bad days happen, bad weeks happen. Hiding them won’t help anyone, but living in them isn’t recommended either. The view is much nicer a few steps ahead. So don’t be alone, look around you and see who is there. Reach out that hand and do not shake it with someone at the moment as it isn’t allowed but wave and say ‘Hi’ send that email, or that text (that’s what I ended up doing) and take that first step back.

Always have hope that a better day is coming, small steps in your journey may make it longer, but it will be much more manageable and achievable, in the long run more rewarding too.

Just to share as well! I broke my laptop this week, so if anything looks a bit odd with posts, and stuff that’s why! – this didn’t help the bad week by the way! However still able to write, still able to edit the majority of this site (I hope)

At the end of the rainbow.

It’s the sunniest day, clear blue sky with only the smallest of clouds seen floating by in the sky.  The sounds of birds singing their songs in the distant trees, the laughter of the children echoing from the distant park, and the not so silent engines from the cars heading out for their days at the beach.  As I sit here alone, behind the closed doors of the house wishing I had the energy to join in with the activities taking place in the sunshine.  Wondering what was packed in the cars, a picnic? Maybe even a football or a frisbee? Hoping that the people heading out for the day would have a lovely day.  The songs from the birds seemed to go on forever, it never ended.  Where did they get their energy from?  Did they have any that I could have?  Listening to the laughter coming from the park I began to think; when was the last time I visited a park?  Sat on the swings and pushed myself so high and felt that freedom with the wind rushing past my ears the higher I got.  Climbed across the monkey bars as I held my breath hoping that I could do it that one time without letting go, or getting to the stop of the slide and taking in the view before speeding to the ground with a smile on my face.  It sure has been a while.

              Listening to those joyous sounds suddenly made those hands on the clock move quicker than I had ever experienced.  Before I knew it, the morning was over, and as the afternoon set in the clouds became thicker and heavier.  The wind started to blow through the trees with more force, making the leaves fall a little and fly through the air; the sun became disguised behind a shade of grey as more clouds appeared and coated the sky.  The birds became silent, like they knew what was about to happen.  The sounds from the park started to scatter into the far distance, and before long the sounds of raindrops started to hit the ground.  Slowly at first, but began to get louder, faster, and then quicker and even louder.  As I stood up and looked out of the window there I could see as clear as day, the beautiful musical raindrops hitting the windowpane.  In perfect synchronization and creating the most creative patterns as they draw their tear drop streaks, parallel to each other as they race to the bottom of the window. 

              That’s when I saw it in the distance, the very feint begins of colour beginning to appear.  I was sure I could see it.  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green; I am sure they were there.  I looked harder and I could see Blue, Indigo and Violet too.  Yes, there was a rainbow.  With a bounce in my step I put something on my feet, grabbed my rain jacket, and off I went.  After all, they say at the end of the rainbow you find your pot of gold.  This is what I needed more than anything.  I had nothing left to lose, I had nothing at all.  It was worth a try.  I walked at a fast pace, constantly looking up making sure I never lost sight of the beautiful colours in the sky.  Every time I looked up the raindrops fell in my eyes and shook me up a little bit more.  I knew I could do this.  I knew my days in that dark house were over.  I was tired of hearing that everyone reaches their pot of gold.  It was my turn now.  I had to get there soon.

              Before I knew it, I was running, the colours were getting brighter, and the sun was beginning to try and break through the clouds.  I felt the beating of my heart in my chest as the excitement began to build.  Was today going to be my day?  Was I going to make it?  Could I keep going long enough to make it to the end of the rainbow?

              I turned the corner just as the last raindrop fell with a little splash in the puddle at my feet.  I stopped with a sudden jolt.  I rubbed both my eyes with disbelief, wiping away all the raindrops that had taken up residency in my hair, and on my face.  I had made it to the end of the rainbow, I don’t know how, but there were the colours clear as anything, gently kissing the green grass.  With the sun shining it was almost looking like diamonds shining.  As I walked closer, I became even more confused; where was the pot of gold that I was supposed to get?  There was not anything here.  I was standing in the most beautiful green field, with the most breath-taking rainbow but no pot of gold.  With a heavy heart I sat there, and I cried.  I cried as much as it rained that afternoon, I wondered what I had ventured out for, what it was that I was hoping for.  Wondering if I should have just stayed locked away but knowing that I needed to do this, I had to try.

Just then I heard it.