Green shoots of recovery ….

20Sep09

I actually managed to get a good week in, last week, and am feeling remarkably well-balanced and settled at the moment. It’s a relief after feeling so off-centre for what feels like a long time.

Hebe (1)

All lot of things fell into place for me over the last week, not least of which was a series of affirmations that I wrote out for myself, and a written recognition of techniques and tools that work for me, and a “banned list” of negative ways of acting and thinking that are just not helpful.

It amazed me how much power came out of writing these affirmations down: I felt incredibly liberated and almost tearful with some of them, a release from years of build-up of anxieties and resentments which felt like a huge load got lifted off my shoulders.  And actually, it was a huge load that I lifted off – part of it was an active decision to shuck off the weight of others’ expectations of me – what I should be or do or think or want, and a decision to trust in myself and my own judgement, and make my own choices based on what I *really* want, not what I think others think I ought to want.  (Hrmmm, a bit convoluted, that one, no wonder I’ve been confused).

A big part of that is actively allowing myself to trust that those around me, for whom I care, will uphold me: if I let myself fall, they will catch me. They care enough about me to accept my decisions even if they don’t necessarily like them … and may even *prefer* my decisions and choices knowing that they are made wholly from my needs & desires rather than driven out of some sort of reluctant submission to my speculative assessment of *their* needs & desires. It’s quite scary and exposed-feeling, and I’m feeling vulnerable, like it’s a huge, brave and bold step to take, though I wonder whether or not anyone else will notice … I’m not announcing it with loud fanfares, nor am I being particularly aggressive over protecting my choices. It just feels like a big step out into the light from the black box I’ve been hiding in since … I don’t know when.

 A big side effect of working out these affirmations – these positive, powerful statements – has been that I have felt much more relaxed and confident over the past week in all areas of my life. The transformative power of a simple mindshift to view myself and what I *can* do in positive terms (instead of being trapped by all the negative not/can’t fears) is absolutely astonishing – in stressful situations, I’m much more able to relax and deal with it calmly, objectively and constructively, and am much more prepared to think laterally to consider the problem from a different angle and figure out a way to solve it without insisting that *my* way is the *only* way to approach it.

I’m become much more flexible in terms of using my time – I already used timeblocking, but got upset if I couldn’t use my ‘block’ as I’d planned, and let myself get incredibly pressured by the almighty to-do list. My attitude shift is allowing me to prioritise my most-important tasks each day and let the rest go, and view the to-do list as a semi-prioritised menu of desirable options. It means that I’m much less of a slave to the whip-cracking list, and I’m viewing those things as enjoyable ways to use leisure time to enhance my home or garden or life in general, rather than mandatory exercises to be got through and ticked off in some endless and futile pursuit of an impossible perfection. It helps remind me that these are all things (with a few exceptions) that I *want* to do, and that I will *enjoy* the process of doing, not imposed tasks that I should or ought to do.

I suppose a lot of this sounds pretty obvious, and I guess in many ways it is. But, for me, after the best part of nine years down a black hole kicked off by PND when Honey was born, these are massive steps out of an oppressive, depressive prison of Aspergers, anxiety and misery and back to some sort of normality. Yes, I am different, but those differences are not labels I can hide behind, nor are they plasters that I can use to patch myself back up so I can resemble a ‘normal’ person (whatever one of those might be). People will either accept me or they will not, and knowing I have Aspergers or PND or an anxiety disorder or psoriasis or whatever is not going to change their perceptions of me. They are excuses *I* use to shut myself off, and they do me no good and, in the long run, make it harder for people to understand and ultimately accept me.

I know with the level of creativity and drive I have, and with the standards I set myself, AND with a home and 3 children to nurture, my life is going to be busy. Very busy. But I can accept that, just as I can accept that I might need to let things happen more slowly so that I can maintain my wellbeing and energy levels in their current state. I am choosing to live that way, and by recognising my own active choices I rid myself of any number of nasty little resentment demons and I feel more open and at peace with myself and with my surroundings.

Of course, it’s not all perfect. I have had moments of stress and backsliding into old ways – after all, bad, entrenched habits are pretty hard to break all in one go – but these feel like exceptions rather than the norm. And I know that it’s easy to get carried away on the first wave of enthusiasm with these sorts of changes.

However, these changes feel like they go deep, like they’re a big, seismic shift in the way I think of myself, and in the way I see my life and those who fill it. I think it’s going to take some time for all those changes to settle down, for the aftershocks and knock-on effects to fully subside and for me to get used to this new internal landscape.

It’s exciting, not least because I’ve just given myself the most comfortable and productive week I’ve had in a very long time. In the last week I wrote another six scenes of the problematical CONTAIN THIS HOUR, so now I have 3/8 stories finished, and only 1 more story in the first cycle to finish, but I’ve also been keeping on top of the domestic and business side of things, AND finding time to spend on myself – with relaxations and exercise and gardening. With instant and immediate results like that, it’s easy to want to keep these changes going.

I iz happy.

YAY!

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4 Responses to “Green shoots of recovery ….”

  1. 1 erinmhartshorn

    Hooray for being happy! It sounds like the affirmations and the new way of thinking of yourself are both doing you a lot of good.

  2. Nice post. I might have to share this with a few friends. Thanks. I’ve had psoriasis for about 46 years now. Psoriasis is bad enough but now I have psoriatic arthritis. After four years of methotrexate therapy, I’ve just about given up any hope. I’ve tried everything — nothing seems to really work for me. Maybe I should try some postive affirmations?


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