Every day you should reflect
I woke up this morning and I had a thought. The past few years happened the way they did and I’m still here; I survived and now I’m living in my perfect present.
If I think about the last 7/8 years of my life, it’s been a roller coaster and I lost myself in grief and, at times, self hatred. The years leading up to my mother’s death were some of the hardest of my life, half the time I was in complete despair, terrified of what was to come and how I was going to survive without my mum by my side.
It was the loneliest part of my life, for sure. I was surrounded by loved ones, yet I had never felt more alone. I bottled up my thoughts and fears, and the result of that was me being a f**ked up mess. I smiled through everything but it would only take the tiniest thing and I would be a sobbing mess. I couldn’t control my emotions whatsoever and I could not understand why.
I have never been a big drinker, in fact now I barely drink at all, but during that period of my life, when I working in London, I spent every night after work in the pub numbing the pain as best I could. On reflection I suppose it was the grieving process, which, for me, started many years before my mum passed away.
I made some bad judgements in that time, and made some hard choices. As a result, after my mum died, I had to take myself to therapy to process everything that had happened. I had to acknowledge and put to bed some pretty dark things before I could step into the light and move forward with my life. I’m pretty sure, had I not gone to therapy, I wouldn’t have fully recovered and my life could have spiralled.
It’s 7 years later and I’m living in the same house, but I’m unrecognisable as a person. My life is beautiful now, I’m happy and beyond grateful. I honestly believe that you have to hit bottom sometimes to fully appreciate life’s journey, where you’ve been and where you’ve got to.
The Power of Now
Today (a Sunday) Annie and I met some friends for a walk and a coffee and then we spent the whole afternoon at home, together, in the garden just being a family. We “played ball” as Annie likes to call it (not sure where she’s getting these american colloquialisms from), we sat together and chatted and we asked Alexa to play songs and we danced around.
My past has taught me to live for now.
I once read a book (gifted from a dear friend) called the Power of Now. And it was an enlightening read. He gave it to me during the dark period I talked about above, and at the time I was completely oblivious to why he was giving it to me. The book, of course is about living for today. One of my favourite quotes from the book is “As there are now problems in the Now, there is no fear either“.
It’s part of why I wanted to write the blog. Before my blog there were diaries. I feel that I have to write and record everything to make sure that I never forget that I once went through hell, and back again, and it almost killed me. But it was all for a purpose, it was leading me to where I am now, and it’s allowed me to fully appreciate what I have. I am beyond f**cking grateful for surviving my past and reaching my perfect present.
I don’t know why I am sharing this. I suppose to put it out there that sometimes you have to admit you need help. My friends always say I’m strong, but truthfully that’s just an illusion. We’re all breakable and fragile, we all have internal struggles. I don’t know what pushed me that day to book an appointment with a therapist (it certainly wasn’t others telling me to), but something deep down in my soul told me that I couldn’t continue to bottle things up, I needed an outlet, I needed to acknowledge that I wasn’t well. My self preservation kicked in!
Don’t be scared to get help
Getting counselling was the best decision I ever made (after having Annie) and I would urge anyone who is finding life difficult, or feeling tormented, or in despair to call a professional and share. You may have friends or family members that you confide in, and that’s great, but they will never be completely impartial or objective. You will be holding something back from them because of connections to other people, or fear of judgement or worrying them. I strongly believe you need someone detached from your world to give you the chance to open up the way you need to, and get the constructive help you need.
Getting therapy won’t be a quick fix to achieving your Perfect Present, because really “perfect” doesn’t exist, but it allows you to really dig deep into your soul and find the root cause of your struggles. Be prepared for finding a couple of elephants in the room that you weren’t necessarily expecting! (it isn’t always the obvious things).
Counselling services are often offered free through employers, or there are a wide range of counselling services out there through the NHS, through Charities or Third Sector. There are also private therapists, who can be expensive but you might think it’s worth the investment (I certainly did). You can read more about how to find a therapist on the Mind Charity website.