Writing to heal Archives - Dale Darley

Category Archives for Writing to heal

Creating your perfect day story and action plan

It’s the start of a new month as I pen this and a time when I write about my perfect day. The first day of the month is a great trigger for thinking about what you want to create.

Already this morning I’ve had a sign from the Universe that something that I want to create is the right thing.

Let me explain… Awaking early as I do, I was called to put on the radio, more specifically radio 2. As I love to write in silence this is something I never do. When I got to the TV to choose a radio station I clicked on Heart and instead, Radio 2 started to play.

I smiled as the guest talked about something he had created, which was similar to a new ‘thing’ I wanted to create.

When you write about perfect days it opens you up to opportunities

The key to writing about your perfect day is to write it as if it were already true and full of the richness of your senses.

Whenever I journal, I learn, as you would expect, something about me. It’s not necessarily something new, more that there is something that needs to come to the surface. When surfaced, acknowledged and worked on.

I can remember going on a yoga retreat and one of the sessions was a Chakra Dance, which I had been looking forward to. What I had not anticipated was to start off loving the exercise and ending up screaming silently in my head stop the f***ing torture. I was engulfed with anger from the throat chakra up. So much so that when we came to draw our mandalas and journal about the experience there was lots of expletives and unexpressed anger.

I was delighted. Better out that in so it can be acknowledged and dealt with.

A few hours later one of my friends asked ‘where is the anger coming from?’ In a flash, I saw several instances where things had happened where I was not in control of what had occurred, where I had been taken advantage of.

In reality, there was nothing that I could have done, primarily because I was a child at the time. I realised that the knock-on effect of being unable to express myself had resulted in feelings of stuck anger at my throat. This sticky treacly anger then like a pack of dominos toppled into my other chakras, leaving me feeling tortured. It wasn’t much fun.

Later alone in my room. I explored the day’s events and in my mind, I asked myself what if I could have expressed myself?

Remembering this reminds me of many times when I didn’t express myself as I might have wished to. This is where journaling becomes so powerful, because you can write what you want and get it out.

When I look back at some of the things that happened I wonder what if I had the tools that I now have and instead of falling backwards into the void I was able to fly forwards to create a ‘perfect day’ in that space?

The reality is that I didn’t have the tools, but what I can do now is to look at the experiences through a new lens.

Instead of thinking of the past, I now concentrate on what I can create in the world.

The As If Mind

The mind likes as if because apparently it is pretty ‘dumb’ and likes to take instructions. As a child, you probably daydreamed a lot. Gazing nonchalantly out of the window into the near distance while conjuring up all kinds of beautiful things. Because you could make it real, and it was fun, it created new neural pathways to your new reality.

I wonder how many of us adults have lost the art of the daydream, and the magic of make-believe?

All is not lost, because when you create a fantasy in your minds-eye with your focus on what you want to create, you are allowing yourself to connect to a deep part of you. An element that allows your imagination to take you on a daydream to the land of creation.

The perfect day not about pretending that everything is wonderful. It is about believing that whatever position you find yourself in, you have the ability to improve your situation by trusting that it is possible to change things. For me, it’s about having faith and of course taking action.

Having faith that all will turn out as it should

Once you have had your wonderful daydream, write about it. Then hold the faith that things will go according to the master plan in the Cosmos. Having blind faith is one thing, however, if you add in some action, then you will be more than halfway there. Of course, things might not go to plan, but that might also be part of the plan. Things do have a habit of changing for all of the right reasons. Where’s the fun if you get what you think you want instead of what you need, eh?

The Universe is such a tease!

Using your imagination to create your perfect day story in daydreams and words

Do this before you go to sleep.

  • Close your eyes and imagine your perfect day as if it were already here
  • The key is to add as many delicious words, pictures, sounds, smells and tastes as possible so that you appeal to all of your senses – go on let go, you are creating a vision
  • When you have finished, sleep on it, or if you want to do it now, go for a walk to reflect
  • In the morning when you wake up, pick up your journal and write about your perfect day, remembering to make it as real as possible
  • A few days later read through and pick out the gems, themes, and keywords. These are the things that you want for your business and life
  • Head over to WordArt (or similar – you do have to pay to download – I capture the screen) and make a visual of your vision (the things you want to create) – play around until it speaks to your heart

WordART heart Feb 2019

  • Create the word cloud image and pop it into Canva and print it out (you can frame it later). You now have a visual word representation of your perfect day for this month. Our minds love visual things, so this will help to cement your vision

Add in the perfect day action plan

Vision ‘boards’ dreams and stories about your perfect day are great, but they lack action. They may trick the mind, but the mind now needs extra instructions to help us get there, wherever there is.

Steps to get from vision to action

  1. Keep your vision image in front of you
  2. Write out your goals (desires or intentions) for this month – no more than five
  3. Pick one (you can do the rest later) write the outcome of achieving this goal
  4. Then work back to the goal with the things that you need to do to make this a reality
  5. Review your 90 day planner – just review at this point
  6. Let’s get this party started
  7. Next, design your 90-day action plan, break it down into three 28-30 day plans if it’s easier.
  8. You can then chunk these into your weekly and daily planner
  9. Want to be more creative, get out your colouring pens and bring it all alive
  10. Be creative. This image is a visual reminder to take action based upon the plan which may change (we get what we need…)  Remember to connect to your intuition
  11. Keep your vision where you can see it – that’s why I love the creative part of this
  12. When you are considering your daily actions keep an eye on your board
  13. Keep taking small steps every day that leads you to your perfect day
  14. Refine and revisit as necessary

Remember to adjust your 90-day planner as needed and redo. As you work through your actions, life will probably throw a few balls at you, catch them, observe what they mean and then reimagine.

Remember to keep your vision and goals where you can see them. This is your now and your potential future. Have fun!

 

The child that stands in the way of my writing

Is there something that stands in the way of your writing? I have a stubborn, curious inner child who pops up into my head unbidden on occasion.

Just when I least expect it, she appears. ‘Why are you writing that?’ She enquires. I don’t always write what I want, sometimes I am writing for other people, but this is not what she is asking. She wants to know why I am exposing my wounds.

She wants to know why I have this desire to uncover the layers and face my uncertainties and fears.

She knows that when I do, she will have to come out of hiding. I ask quietly ‘why are you still hiding?’ She backs away; she is not shy; she shares my wounds, and she is not ready. She stays in the shadows watching me.

What stands in the way of your writing might be pain

She is me. I know that. I know that life caused her pain, not sweet pain, but an unfathomable ache that kept her in a trap of wanting to please, eager for others to like her. She wants approval. She longs for the person she is talking to turn their eyes to her and notice. Not to just see her long red hair or freckles but her soul, her inner beauty, her gifts.

She remembers winning a competition at school, but the winning wasn’t fun. She stood on the stage to receive her prize – a packet of colouring pens. She didn’t see or hear the audience clapping, she felt a fraud, because why did she deserve these congratulations? Didn’t the teacher tell her dad that she would never be good enough to go to University? Implying that she was average and not quite bright enough to go to that elite place. That damning statement stayed with her.

She was smart. She understood the complexities of maths, the nuances of language and the depth of art. She was quick to learn and quick to disrupt. She was bored with school and the uninteresting lessons. When she was called to a presentation from an art college, she wondered why did she get an invitation? Why her? She wasn’t good enough, was she?

Not good enough forced the child to never push her work forward, because it was never perfect enough for others eyes. When it wasn’t perfect, it was never finished. It languished for fear of ridicule. And so the child turned away from her talents and played another game. Pushing herself into corners far away from prying eyes, she became invisible. She thinks that she is standing in my way, but she isn’t. She helps me to understand me.

I am writing this for you’ I reply.

Memories and experiences stand in the way of your writing

This is a long ago memory and long ago feelings. I have written my way through a lot of hard stuff and grown as a person. But none the less there is often a child standing in the way of my writing.

Our memories and experiences stand in the way of our writing. It’s learning how to see the experience through new eyes.

I have learned to push through, that this resistance is a message that this ‘stuff’ needs to be dealt with and dealt with now. These days I embrace exploring these inner depths and stories because I know that I will love the outcome. Well, I will once I have screamed, cried and done whatever else needs to escape.

When it comes to writing for the world that same child can stand in the way of your writing.

So called Writer’s block is not about writing it is always what lays beneath. When you allow yourself to explore that then it does become easier to write and share openly.

You see I have learned that not everyone loves what you write, and that’s ok. I know that it’s hard to let go of perfectionism, but I also know that if I don’t get it out there, then I won’t get feedback and without that, I won’t grow – and neither will you. I make myself focus on one thing, and no matter how boring I find some of this stuff, it helps me get things done. I tell her I have found ways to overcome those irritations that have stood in my way.

Break through what stands in the way

I invite my inner child to sit and write with me. She tentatively takes up her pen and smiles. I love that cheeky smile; she has a wicked streak that isn’t revealed often. She is scared that someone will want to destroy her. Not because she deserves it, just because they can. They have stuff going on which causes them to attack without thinking. I remind her, that is their stuff, and their opinion has nothing to do with us. Send them away with love.

What do you say we have some fun?’ I ask.

My thought process is that if I can support and hold her close to me when she writes, she will know that her writing is safe.

How about we write for us?‘ I continue.

I’ve grown a bit of a tough skin and learned the art of feeling the fear (excitement) and doing it anyway. I know that I can find beauty in whatever she writes. My heart can wrap her in a web of love. Together we can write whatever we want.

She writes. Her words are big and never between the lines. Her eyes are far away as she retrieves messages from her soul. She has started, and we both know there is no going back. I kiss the top of her head, I’m not sure if she notices because her pen is flying.

Ask yourself what stands in the way of your writing?

It’s time for some honest reflection.

I don’t know what stands in the way of your writing. If you have a mischievous inner child or some other inner belief that needs dealing with before you feel confident to write. I have found that over many years of journaling which I call Writing to Heal that my confidence has grown and my layers peeled away. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been rewarding.

My invitation is that if the thought of writing from your soul is a little scary then start with something like my 101 days journaling adventure (see below). Over 101 days you will be sent quotes, some food for thought, an affirmation and an invitation to explore. It’s a start, isn’t it?

10 life lessons that 2018 taught me

2018 started well, I was full of life and looking forward to what this year would bring. I was expecting such a powerful life lesson experience…

Jumping out of the shower and singing to the dogs was how I was starting my days. I was content, and things felt in the flow. We were 19 days into the New Year, and things were certainly going my way. I had new clients and my plans for the coming year were being sorted.

I reached the bedroom and leaned over to move a bag of clothes and heard three loud cracks. Feeling a searing pain rip through my chest, I stared at the ceiling and asked. ‘what the fuck do you want with me now?’

What followed was hot tears, hadn’t I been through enough? I screamed at the same empty ceiling. Why would I expect anyone to be there? It was just a white ceiling devoid of emotion or reason.

To cut a very long story short my spine had fractured and for some freaky reasons. I spent most of the year in agony and extremely exhausted. However, bit by bit I discovered the root cause and put myself back together.

As the year came to an end I reflected that although this had been a tough year, I’d learned a lot and I was still smiling. This in comparison to some people I have spoken to who hated 2018 and enter the new year not feeling great, is a big win.

Life lesson #1 – stop or you will be stopped

In 2017 my dog pulled me over in what was a silly accident. It could have been avoided, but for some strange reason, I had wound her lead around my wrist. I was at the door opening it after a long walk, she spotted a cat and charged after it. In all of the years of her living with me, she had never done this. I equally have never flown without a plane.

I sustained a rib injury, followed by another which meant that 2017 was also fairly painful. I worked at healing that. I now know that the shingles attacks that arrived because of the trauma to the ribs are what raised prolactin, which lowered dopamine, serotonin and estrogen. No estrogen means bad news for your bones.

They call osteoporosis the silent dis-ease and it certainly crept up on me. I was stopped.

What I hadn’t banked on was the pain and changes to my body. Never in my life have I endured so much pain and for so long. Slowly I straightened my body as best I can and sorted out all kinds of other stuff.

When you are a work-a-holic as I have been and don’t heed the messages, it can come as quite a surprise to be completely halted in your tracks.

Life Lesson #2 – journal

After the first four days of being in a stupor, I decided to breathe through the pain and write. I found a brand new journal and I wrote endlessly. My journal became my bible. It was full of research, observations, how I felt and how I thought I would heal.

Life lesson #3 – ask for help

Asking for help comes in many forms. From lying on the concrete almost passing out and calling for help (2017), to asking someone to clean, do your shopping, bring in the wood to asking your divine inner wisdom and asking your Universe or God to show you what you need to see. Stop struggling and ask was a biggie. People love to help. I love to help. So opening my mouth and asking was a great thing to do for me.

Life lesson #4 – work with the right team

I love having treatments, massages, energy healing, reflexology, Bowen, acupuncture and the list goes on. I feel like a junkie because I get a high from being pampered. The results from treatments aren’t always lovely immediately, however, the net effect is usually good.

Over this year with the pain, I worked with one specialist osteopath. He was incredibly gentle and has helped me to straighten my spine and ease my pain. As a nutritionist, I have also been able to discuss my nutritional needs with him.

In addition, I worked with a naturopathic nutritionist. I am trained as one too, but I really needed her wise counsel. Another friend bombed across the mountain on her quad bike to deliver reflexology which was divine.

My doctor was incredible. He listened to my theories, noted my desires, was the voice of reason, ordered tests, read books I took in, but most importantly he believed I could heal myself. Unlike the specialist doctor I saw.

Life lesson #5 – breathe

I have worried about all kinds of things. Then I learned to breathe. When you allow panic to invade your body, it changes everything. When you learn to breathe into it and let go, things get much easier. When I feel that awful rise up through my body, I have two strategies; one is to walk, and two is to write. Walking clears the mind and you can travel through many stories until you get to the oh what the hell story. Then when you write, you can declutter the last remnants and make space for inner peace. What I notice now is that when I feel that familiar creep of panic my ribs hurt. It is a big reminder to breathe.

Life lesson #6 – changing my diet to feed my bones

You do not have to go to the extremes that I have done and studied to become a nutritional healer – again. Over the last 27 years, I have studied many nutrition courses from very scientific ones in the early days to more natural ones as the years have progressed.

Diet affects all aspects of your life. If you are not properly hydrated you are unable to think straight, nor will your body function properly. Water is such an important part of being human and we neglect it like it’s poison. Eating your diet and not one manufactured for the masses is vital. Certain foods are poison for certain people. My diet is gluten, nightshade, and a few other things free. The aim for me is to create a diet that gives me loads of energy, the fuel to repair itself, strengthens the bones, ensures that I am pain-free, hydrated, can eliminate waste efficiently and nourishes my mind, body, soul and spirit. my diet and the way that I eat is brilliant – for me.

If things aren’t working in your life and your body is crying out for some attention, please change your diet, it will change your life.

Life lesson #7 – connect with your inner muse

Writing has played a huge part in my life and personal growth. From journaling to writing books. When I log in with my inner muse as I have over many years, the downloads I get are incredible. My life has changed in many ways because of writing.

Journaling is something I recommend for all clients. Many feel that they cannot do it, but when they do directed journaling, in conjunction with listening to the muse the results are amazing. Your pen is connected to your unconscious mind, and it will tell you what you need to know.

When I write books, I get disheartened, just as you do, but when I read back what I have written after reflection, I am delighted. Clients books teach me so much and as they write they learn too.

The power of the pen is in the beautiful connection is has to your soul, your inner muse. Get connected to your inner muse she (or he) is indeed very wise.

Life lesson #8 – tap into your divine inner wisdom

Many of you reading this already know that you have all of the resources inside of you that you will ever need. The problem is that we often switch off the inner wisdom listening. The noise of the outside world confuses and overwhelms us, and so the voice is rarely heard. Then when it speaks we do not trust it.

Over this year, like no other time, I have tapped in and wow what a lot I know. You do too. I have learned that the voices in my head are there to guide me. The feelings in my gut are my intuition telling me that something is either right or not so right. Now I listen to them. In fact, I listen to all of the signals I receive.

Life lesson #9 – tell more people to f**k off

This is isn’t about being rude, it is ‘just get rid of the toxic people‘ who take up your space. You are a beautiful soul, and you deserve to be with people who nourish you and not destroy you. This is a great article from Kathy Parker called I no longer need you.

Life lesson #10 – invest

Invest in something that enriches your life. You might feel fearful that money is going out and at the moment nothing is coming in. That is fear talking. You have to invest in yourself if you expect others to invest in you. Of course, it doesn’t need to be cash it could be some other resource.

I used to hate supplements, now I supplement wisely. I’ve read over 30 books across a vast range of subjects for this healing journey. My time has been invested in learning how to heal. When I have needed treatments, I’ve gone for them. I have left no stone unturned in healing myself.

Then as I started to feel better and my energy came back, I invested in things for my business and I feel like a normal life of sorts has resumed.

Life lesson #11 – write a book

Not long after I started to journal I decided that I would write a book about healing osteoporosis. It would be my story and what I did and offer suggestions to others about how to cope, find their root cause and design a unique healing plan. This kept me focused and while I didn’t know all of the answers because I was living it as I wrote, it was an incredible experience.

Gratitude

As bizarre as it seems. I am grateful for a shit year. I learned more about me, I cleared some debris and while all is not 100% I discovered I am a resourceful, resilient, woman of courage.

There are many more life lessons that have come to me over this last year, and I may be inspired to write some more, but for now, that’s it.
What did 2018 teach you?

When you read this and wonder how you can move forward, my best advice would be to journal alongside whatever else is going on or you do. Please join me on 101 days of being me journaling adventure.

Writing to heal – Where is my now?

Stop for a moment and ask where is my now? Writing to heal starts with a reflection of where you are now, not where you have been, although we will get to that.

Pause.

The birds are singing, Ferdy dog is by my side, the girls are outside, my computer whirrs, my head feels fuzzy and my spine aches.

This isn’t where I am, or at least it is physically, it’s not where I am emotionally or spiritually. This is the dot that I exist in the vast Universe without connection to anything.

Close your eyes. Where are you now?

You can probably still hear sounds. What if you were to extend your listening further? I am 40 minutes from the motorway, I can’t hear it, yet I can – in my imagination.

It’s dark isn’t when you close your eyes? Dark and strangely peaceful, as if nothing else exists.

Do you find your mind wandering or perhaps you are travelling around your body, enquiring about your aches and pains? Perhaps what calls you for your day ahead? Or maybe the things that have been causing you consternation are zigzagging through the inner peace that you desire?

When we start a writing to heal journey, this is to my mind one of the simplest and most powerful questions – where is my now?

My now is days of pain both emotional and physical as I work to heal my body. I cry often, but not for long as a curious doggy nuzzles me and demands a biscuit or a walk and then my mood changes and their needs surpass mine. My body is healing, it is getting stronger, I can feel it and I just know.

In January 2018 my spine fractured. When I think of my now, I realise my life fractured. The foundation of me shattered. That isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, it’s not like I am jelly on the floor and have to slither to my nearest dark chocolate bar. More of a questioning about every part of who I am and how I got here.

I’m a researcher, a questioner and often an annoying git because I want to know how things work. If this happens, then what happens next and why would that happen if you did this?

Currently, I am writing a book You, me and osteoporosis and as I start to write what I think is a simple chapter, I invariably end up with more enquiries than answers. Luckily, through my writing to heal experiences I have learned to ask, write and then reflect.

I know that once I ‘put it out there’ the answers will come. Everything will fall into place and make sense.

And if it doesn’t, well does it really matter in the scheme of things? The answer to that is – it depends…

Hidden Content

Writing to heal – Where is my now?

Everyone’s perception of time is different. Use this exercise to put your journaling and writing into a timeframe and into context, so that when you reflect you are able to consider more clearly how events that surround your life are affecting you and how things fit together.

Your now will have been triggered by an event, this may be an event that happened a year, a month, a week, a day, or even just an hour ago.

I find it best to get comfortable, relax and to let my mind wander (connect to your muse) as I ask each question. It may be that you need to run through the list of questions, then go and do something else and come back to write and reflect.

Your now questions part #1

  • What images, sounds, feelings, come to mind as you start this exercise?
  • Ask yourself the question, where am I now in my life?
  • When did my now start?
  • What was the trigger?
  • What has been happening in my now?
  • What are the main characteristics of my now?
  • What projects are you working on? Write down what they are, how they fit into your life and what contribution they make to who you are and where you are going.
  • What is making you happy or sad at this time?
  • How does each day start and end?

Your now questions part #2

  • Who are you having relationships with? Write down the names and what they mean to you.
  • How are your emotions now and as your day progresses? What do you notice about them?
  • What frustrations or tensions are you feeling? Where are you feeling them?
  • How are your health and wellbeing? Focus on your body and make a note of what you notice.
  • What exercise or me time are you having?
  • What is your diet like? Are you eating sensibly, or eating rubbish, are there any cravings?
  • What are your finances like and how are you managing your money?
  • What are you reading/learning that is contributing to your personal growth?
  • What play or creativity are you engaging in?
  • Where are you planning to travel to or explore (in whatever way exploration speaks to you)?
  • What are you doing to contribute to your spiritual wealth? Are you listening to spirit?
  • What contribution are you making to your community?

Your now questions part #3

  • What is my relationship with me like?
  • How much do I love me? Describe that love.
  • What does your soul want you to know about your now?
  • What are your three words for the month ahead?

Write quickly, briefly, and write unconsciously. Leave this for a few days and come back to reflect. What do you learn in this writing to heal journey?

Exploring who you are with words is my gift. No matter where you are or what is going on, having a sounding board can support you and your wellbeing. Writing is healing, it brings clarity and purpose. You may start journaling, end up writing a book and changing the world – how cool is that? Please connect with me, chatting costs nothing and it could bring a smile to your face.

4 ways to get your daily dose of self-love

Neurotransmitters and getting  a DOSE of self-love

I first came across neurotransmitters when I was studying nutrition. Learning about chemicals which send signals to your brain was fascinating. While I was focussing mainly on how what I ate and drank would affect how I felt, I started to wonder how these mighty messengers could also be influenced by writing and more explicitly writing in connection to self-love.

Further study showed that neurotransmitters are affected by behaviour. Which means that they would be affected by writing activities. Words have the power to change lives and have as I’ve said so many times been my saviour.

My journey to self-love involved many things, but one consistent component has been writing (and reflection). I believe writing and reflection play a powerful part in exposing what is holding you back from loving yourself and aiding in the creation of the right environment for it to thrive. It is through writing that I have been able to create many daily actions on my journey to self-love.

Writing lets us to connect to our light so that we can see the world through a different lens.

Self-love

  • is not a place that we are heading to on the way to some strange destination; it is a feeling, an acceptance and a practice
  • is the foundation for being all that you can be
  • inspires you to have the freedom to be
  • means that your stories do not own you, it means that you have a strong foundation upon which you can move forward.

When you crack open your heart to loving yourself unconditionally, life will change. Plus a healthy dose of self-love will boost those feel good hormones, and that has to be good – right?

What is love?

That’s an interesting question. Some say that it is

  • The romantic connection between two people
  • A bond with their children
  • The relationship that they have with God, Grace, The Universe
  • The connection with their animals, friends and family
  • A chemical reaction in the brain to some environmental stimulation
  • A funny feeling in their body, which they can’t explain but they know it exists

Romantic love aside and there is plenty of research about this which we can draw on for considering what love is. However, this is not it. Love cannot be traded, exchanged, given away, demanded, it is a part of our essence and values. It is something that exists yet remains undefinable. Which is delightful.

Whatever it is and however you describe it, love exists. We are love; love lives in all of us, and we exist because of love. For me, love drives our stories, the ones about you, them and us. Stories are the foundation of humanity. Therefore love is the foundation of our humanity.

What is self?

Self is all that is you. It is what makes you, you and distinguishes you from others. It includes what you believe about yourself. Self-image is how you see yourself, and how you think others see you which will affect your confidence, self-esteem (how you feel about yourself), self-love and outlook on life.

How you know, see and feel about yourself is called perception. You will see yourself one way and not always as others see you. When you have a distorted sense of self, it does affect how you feel about who you are and what your purpose is. The more distorted your identity becomes, the more you find it hard to find meaning in the world.

Getting to know the real you is a lifelong project, and it does not have to be hard – once you take responsibility for you. We make it hard because we are hard on ourselves. I have spent a lifetime making it hard for me to love me, and then I woke up and made a decision no more. The more I practised and in my case wrote the more natural it became to let go of the old me.

Are you willing to question this sense of yourself so that you can move from fear into love?

Kickstarting self-love

We are spirit living a human existence, and our spirit carries our love vibration. Our human desire is to be connected to that vibration and to live from it. The trouble is the human system being very complex triggers off all kind of things in response to our environment and chemically stunts our capacity to love. The bottom line is that when the hormones for self-love are not triggered in the brain, we live in the shadow of fear.

Fear stops us fully experiencing and being able to create a nourishing and loving environment.

The good news is that at some point someone or something will wake you up and when you become aware, then you can make a conscious decision to pull the right ingredients into your life.

The key is to not leave self-love to chance and to do things that will trigger those feel good hormones and to keep doing them. This is not, so we live in some kind of weird self-love vacuum, more that we bring rituals (practice) into our lives that create a fantastic foundation for being. Love can free us, or it can bind us, that is your choice. When you put self-love, self-worth and self-value into your heart and soul, then you can live a life that has meaning.

Before we travel into the heady world of self-love, what drew me in neurotransmitters after the nutrition stuff was reading about the scientific research around love and what happens when we fall in and out of love. There is a great article here. All of this information started off scrambling my brain.

Everything about us is connected, so if one system is out of sync, then the rest will follow. For example, if I abuse my body with crap food, it affects how I feel and how I feel about myself, when I don’t feel good about me I may then think sod it and do something else which stresses me. And so on.

What I discovered was when I asked the question ‘do I love myself enough to?’ and then took good action to look after my human, my spirit came alive, and my soul felt loved. It got easier and easier to work through my shit.

Consider these neurotransmitters – your daily DOSE of self-love

4 ways to get your daily dose of self-love Dopamine called the motivation and reward molecule. This is according to research critical for love to thrive and survive between couples. It also makes sense for self-love to thrive as well. We all like to feel rewarded so that we stay motivated to continue.

Oxytocin called the bonding molecule. This is what bonds babies to mothers and lovers to each other. Oxytocin has been shown to have two sides to it. The positive everything in the world is rosy side and the side that is exhibited when things go wrong in love which leads to jealousy, envy and suspicion, i.e. a lack of trust.

Serotonin, the molecule of happiness. Serotonin is responsible for helping us to feel confident and enabling a stable mood. It is also part of the pathway to a good nights sleep. Lack of sleep will wear anyone down.

Endorphins, molecules of security and peace. These are known as natures painkillers. When you do not love yourself, you often will engage in activities which create dis-ease in the body and could trigger a pain response. By undertaking more loving activities, eating better, exercising, meditation and introducing other self-care opportunities, you will reduce the dis-ease and the related pain.

Hidden Content

Four things you can do to get your daily DOSE of self-love

Which don’t include writing – I know how bizarre…

Eat a healthy breakfast

I could wax lyrical about breakfasts, but if I don’t start the day with something delicious and fulfilling then all day I feel dissatisfied and out of sorts with me and the world. Here’s the thing I get when I eat breakfast.

I’m getting good nutrition; I’m eating mindfully, loving every mouthful, feeling at peace and know that my mind, body and soul will reward me by functioning well.

A typical breakfast for me is homemade almond milk, buckwheat porridge, seeds (chia and sunflower), nuts, fruit and some superfoods (maca and ashwagandha are just two). I tell you it is orgasmic.

Go for a walk

Walking is another life saver. Long before I had the three dogateers, I walked for miles every day after work. It allowed me to clear my head, get connected to Mother Earth and to see things in a new light. It also helped me through physical pain. When I thought I couldn’t move, I made myself take the dogs out for a walk no matter what. Slowly I recovered and even now when I am in pain, I go for a walk, and it seems to help me. I also see it as a reward for sitting and working. It is meditative and restorative.

Speak to yourself with loving kindness

Start to notice how you speak to yourself. These words are etched on your body. While you may tattoo yourself with a positive affirmation, you would not dream of writing your words of hatred on you for all to see. Your body can hear your words. Notice what they are and start to change them.

What I find helps me is to keep post-it notes in the kitchen and bathroom and write little love notes to me. I feel fab when I discover them (not sure how I could have forgotten I wrote them) and they help reinforce a positive self-image and love. When I find the notes, I say out loud what is on them.

I also start the day by looking in the mirror and saying something loving to me. And whenever I catch myself about to criticise me, I turn it around.

Allow your heart space to open to self-love

OPEN YOUR HEART AND SELF-LOVE WILL FIND YOU. ONCE FOUND IT GROWS, EXPANDS AND TRANSFORMS.

The heart space is often clogged with the mess of our lives. It is therefore natural to close this off to more pain. Think of it like putting a bird in a cage, closing the door and throwing away the key.

All is not lost.

Do not look for the key, let the key find you. This means to acknowledge that you have caged your heart and you are saying that you dare to allow it to open. It can be scary to let go and often you do not know that you are holding your heart in a tight grip.

When you are first woken up to loving you, your natural reaction is to protect your heart. However, this is the perfect time to work on opening it to you.

Place a hand on your heart, take your focus there and imagine that you are getting ready to send love out. Switch directions and shower yourself instead. Feels good, right?

Many find that sending out love is easy, but that through the many hurts receiving love is a little harder. This is ok. Being conscious that your heart is a channel will support you to being able to focus that love into the core of your being.

Keep focusing on bringing love in and holding the door of the cage open and slowly letting the prison fall away. Can you feel the expansion in your chest or the space between your breasts? It’s as if someone is holding your breastbone apart.

When I do this, I feel at peace with me and the world. I see things from my divine inner light and a place of love. Even if I initially want to do something opposite. Boy oh boy – so much work to do (smiles).

Make a date with self-love

The best time to start is now. Ask do I love myself enough to? And get one with it. Your neurotransmitters will adore you for it.

What are your self-love tips?

Resources

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/love-and-brain 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/136959-how-does-serotonin-affect-sleep/

5 fabulous reasons to cultivate self-love

Self-love some of the backstory…

Once upon a time, I felt such shame, guilt and self-hatred for my things that happened in my life and the hand I perceived I was dealt. I have found myself caught up in my stories. Isolation was my default stance. When I can’t bear things any longer I hide. The truth is I’ve hidden from my ‘truth’ and in doing so not allowed myself to love me. What I have come to realise that my crappy life is a fabulous gift. Writing is my saviour. Through writing, I have learned that I have a right to love.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology. Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC – 399 BC)

Not just writing if I am honest – pure bloody-mindedness as well.

When I was expelled from school, I called my dad at work, expecting the usual telling off. The sting of his words, ‘are you mental or what?’ wrenched my heart. I held back the tears and swallowed hard; he simply put the phone down on me. No one talked or looked at me that week, while I, slightly unconcerned, relished my newfound freedom. A few days later I found myself on a farm with the Moonies. More on this in another blog.

Then I entered the world of work.

Every day I dragged myself out of bed to go work, I wanted more from my life, but I was caught in a limbo land where I couldn’t move. I was trapped, caught in the spider’s web and watching horrified as life passed me by. Don’t get me wrong I have had some wonderful jobs, but I was never fulfilled. I wore the suits and did the stuff and on the inside, I was dying.

I thought that relationships would save me…

What I failed to realise was that it gets easier to deal with things, not that life would get easier. Blinkered and unaware of the tougher times to come I lived in a weird smog. My desire to learn, heal and grow and my knowledge of how to look at things didn’t desert me, but somehow I stranded myself on a loveless Island with a strange bedfellow.

One day in what I thought was the sanctity of a boring marriage, the one where I thought was safe, I was delivered a hellish wake-up call.

I relocated my life but not my self-hatred until I made myself look in the mirror.

Then it changed and I learned about self-love

OPEN YOUR HEART AND SELF-LOVE WILL FIND YOU. ONCE FOUND IT GROWS, EXPANDS AND TRANSFORMS.

I have been made to face up to life, who I am and why I am here, it has been freaking hard, but, it has taught me several things.

  • One, don’t look for the key, the key will find you.
  • Two, the same for love, don’t look for it.
  • Three, I have to open my heart to receive love.
  • Four, constant giving of love is all very well, but it doesn’t mean that you will get love and respect back.
  • Five, listen, watch, hear the signs and symbols for they are messages for you.
  • Six, faith and trust can be hard taskmasters.
  • Seven, loving yourself is awesome and makes such a difference to your life.
Hidden Content

5 fabulous reasons to cultivate self-love

You learn that self-love is not selfish

It sounds rather narcissistic to say that you love yourself. If you are a preening prancing horse then maybe it’s not so cool. However, the conscious evolved kind of love where you honour and respect who you are is a wonderful place to be. Through this, you start to see that you have value.

It lets you be who you are

I’ve always been a bit crazy or as I was once described a wild child, though I think I may let that label go. Instead, you can I can relish the silliness of being just who we want to be. For me, that includes singing to my doggies – they do like it, I’m sure. Dancing with them and generally feeling good about just being rather than trying to please others. When you love you, you can be real.

Your essence shines through

This is my essence as well as my values. I’m essentially a free spirit (my essence) who dislikes rules and adores freedom (a value). Intuitive and demanding fair play and justice. When you love yourself, it is easier to stand by your values and life your life as essentially you. That is, like above, not being afraid of being seen as you and walking your path, your way.

Acceptance and no judgement

This has to be one of the hardest things to do. Accept and do not judge yourself or others. However, it is one of the most satisfying and for me funniest ones to do. When I catch myself about to judge me, I eat my words, sing it away, make myself laugh and then quickly reframe. Of course, there is always room for expansion and transformation and that will come.

You can stand tall around bullies

Where once you may have had weak boundaries now you hold your head high and let the behaviour of manipulators and bullies pass you by. It becomes easier to say no, without making excuses. And when people try to emotionally blackmail you, you’ll find that it’s stuffed in the trash can as their stuff.

We’ll look at more reasons another day. For now, understand that cultivating self-love is one of the keys to inner peace and contentment.

What about you? What has loving you given you? If you don’t have it, what is the one thing you can do today to start this process and practice?

What Me Too brings up for me

When the Me Too campaign started, I turned off from the outpouring. I needed time to process. I wanted to know why on a deeply spiritual (and Universal) level this was started and the purpose it served.

Then I discovered that it was initially started by Tarana Burke over ten years ago.

Ten years.

Alyssa Milano then resurrected it on Twitter without knowing that Tarana was the originator.

This is incredible and blows my mind with the power that this brings to women, and actually, all beings. As we stand together – all of us we can evolve. This is eve-olution – a slow burn until it’s ready to ignite, has been triggered.

Feeling angry

My mind raced as I read stories and comments and I felt anger.

Not for anyone sharing a story, my anger. Anger that I was unable to stop two unhealthy men, one when I was ten and the other when I was a teenager. One a babysitter who was given authority and trust to look after ‘my parent’s children’ while they could go out to play.

The other a rather vile man who, I later, discovered, used his wife in the most degrading way. Although on reflection she was complicit in his grooming. With conflict at home and a deep sense of being unclean, but not knowing why, I was easy to exploit.

The stories we tell ourselves

As a young child, I did not know that the things that the babysitter did were wrong, I can clearly remember it all as a game. That was a defence mechanism and a story that I tell myself. Because I did not know that it was wrong, I couldn’t and didn’t tell. The irony is that the babysitter in question shares my name.

Recently I looked at Google Maps and stared at the house as if that would offer up some clues. But it looked just like a house. And thankfully there was nothing left.

The second incident, I have argued (my story) could have been averted.

But could it?

Now older, I’ve reasoned, I ‘should’ have known. Here’s the rub. As a rational adult, I know how insidious abuse is. I only have to look back at recent history to see how my last husband’s behaviour drove me, unwittingly, into a dark hole. I only have to talk to other men and women who live, have lived with narcissists to know how they work. I can remember telling my friends how kind he was. Really!

The brain and chemicals

What happens when you are blind to what is going on is that you convince yourself that everything is ok. That it is safer to be anywhere other than at home.

Not fully understanding the science of the brain, it seems that chemically there is a process that protects the person from accessing the trauma memory. This explains why I can only access the memories when I visualise the houses in which the incidents happened. I have almost perfect recall of the room layouts. I’ve been told that this is normal.

What I also know is that neurotransmitters involved in the love process play a part. We become addicted to the feelings that an abuser arouses in us. How crazy is that? Once a bond is formed it is difficult to break and because you believe that this person is a good person you will introduce others to them as if they are normal.

Is it my fault?

Later when the spell is broken, you can start to rationalise that it’s all your fault and it’s your fault that others got involved as well. This, of course, is not the truth but it becomes your truth, and when you own that, more damage occurs.

People who have been abused hide the memories and feelings because our prime directive is safety first.

The museum of your mind

Hiding memories with processes and techniques, in my opinion, don’t work. At least not for me. I want to know. I want them out.

I forgot everything for years, blocked it out of my mind until one day I was watching TV and the memories came flooding back. Boy did they come back. What followed was years of processing and dealing with anger and guilt. Not just for me, but for others. Trying to understand how this man’s wife could have been complicit and then knowing that she too was trapped and helpless. She was easy for me to forgive, not at first, but later. Then I as I thought about how she befriended me and when I introduced her to my friends, did the same I unforgave her. Despite her pain in this relationship, she played her part, as did I. I feel conflicted and in pain for us both.

I couldn’t forgive me for being stupid. How could I have thought this was safe and how could I have let them meet my friends? How could I? I have asked this so many times, but I cannot remember how we all met. I know it is not my fault, yet I felt shame.

I remember lots of people in their kitchen, and I’m wondering why they were there. Having baked beans in front of the TV, was that to get me out of the way? Being given nice clothes that weren’t theirs to give which were difficult to explain away, was this a bonding technique or to assuage their guilt?

Mostly all I can see is the house layout and two very explicit incidents, and I try as I can, I cannot recall anything else. Just like with the babysitter I can see the houses, two episodes and nothing else. But my insides are raw.

Later I heard some of what he did to his wife until she was able to escape. That got to me. Suddenly there was a whole other world of rubbish potentially going on in their house.

Thankfully, my involvement was short lived. Overhearing my dad, I realised that he was suspicious of where I spent my time. This woke me up and that was the end. Over, I never saw them again.

Never forgetting

Despite locking things away, I never forgot.

When I watched the program about the three girls in Harrogate, I cried buckets. I was lucky that this scale of horror didn’t happen to me.

But somehow in my head, once again, everything he did was my fault.

But here is the rub.

I wanted to share this with someone I loved, however, my head was a jumble, was it my fault, was it my fault that they met my friends, how did I make all of this happen? I needed someone to help me piece it together, to help me to understand, to be understanding and not treat me like shit under their feet. Their reaction was not ok.

This led me to lock it away again. I shrank. Hid. A person of no value and little worth.

The net result was I imploded. Not visibly, but my inner world collapsed, and I made choices that I unconsciously thought I deserved.

Later I tried again. It was brushed off as ‘well it’s over and in the past, get over it.’

What I get is that it’s hard for others to process. That they don’t care and why should they?

My experience has been that in their heads it is our fault. Women are to blame. We made these things happen.

No, we didn’t.

There are many factors at play here, not least the biological processes that occur during abuse, the way that memory works and how trauma is processed. Sexual abuse and assault are complicated. Humans are complicated.

What I learned about me

The knock on effects are many. Each person who has had something done to them will deal with it differently, and that is ok. There is in my experience not a right way, only our way. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed about me.

  • A desire to prove I am not stupid by taking lots of high-level qualifications
  • Getting pissed off if anyone treats me like I am stupid
  • Aggressive behaviour in response to male and female harassment, manipulation and bullying
  • Needing to feel safe
  • Wanting to protect others and becoming a fixer
  • Yearning to be heard and seen, but scared of being visible
  • Poor mate choices
  • Lack of self-love
Hidden Content

What is scary is that abuse changes us biologically. The pain in my ribs gets worse when I am angry, and I thank her (I’ve named my ribs Mabel) for letting me know that I need to deal with things.

Healing takes a lifetime.

While I may have processed all of this through many different methods, there will always I feel be fragments stuck in a corner somewhere – as there are today.

Several things have helped me

  • Eating cleanly
  • Writing
  • Forgiving, letting go and letting love
  • Learning to love me
  • Tearing up of soul contracts

Eating clean and ridding my body of processed rubbish has had a profound effect on my ability to grow as a human. When I am clean, I can function well. Without the chemicals of mass destruction running amok in my body I am strong and can make conscious decisions.

Writing is a powerful way to connect to the unconscious mind, higher self, highest true self and source. I call all of these my muse. Writing takes many forms. Journaling, scribbling and writing stories and books. On each of the full and new moons, I write and burn my thoughts. What comes up as the focus is used, I set a releasing intent, write and do not read, burn the writing in Rosemary and hold a crystal while I let the flames lick my wounds. As part of this process I forgive, let go and let love.

Learning to love me has been most profound. What a change this has made in my life and my identity. Self-love is the foundation from which I can be. In this, I have learned that I do not have to fix or mend others and how to ask for help. That if anyone treats me like I am stupid that’s their stuff. And aggression is now much more assertive. Best of all I am now prepared to add my voice and be visible.

Soul contracts. This is part of writing and loving me. A process where I see the contract, write it and then tear it up. Once burnt it helps me to heal.

I am wondering how the MeToo outpourings on Social Media in whatever form affect you? How you process and if like me, it is an iterative evolving cycle of things?

Before I close, I want to tell you that despite the spikes in my emotions, there is much love, inner peace and contentment in my life. As I am sure, there is in your life. This is I think a shift of consciousness again.

I also think that this current campaign has opened a vortex of Universal healing and I hope that we can all heal, expand and transform. Mother Earth can take the energy around our stuff; she can use it and create goodness from it. Let her help you.

Much love.

Resources (aka stuff I have read)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-me-too-campaign-was-created-by-a-black-woman-10-years-ago_us_59e61a7fe4b02a215b336fee

http://www.medicaldaily.com/memories-child-abuse-other-traumas-hide-brain-changing-patient-state-mind-may-help-348164

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neurosagacity/201701/the-brain-can-work-against-abuse-victims

http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2010/Fear_in_Love__Attachment,_Abuse,_and_the_Developing_Brain/

 

Empowering women with the power of your book

It’s not far away, or at least the calendar tells me, 57, (it’s the new 37) is just a few months away and for the first time, truthfully ever, I feel dissociated with age. More I feel I am in a skin housing a spirit whose flame has been ignited and she is ready to inspire and empower others to get off their ass and write their personal stories. As well as following my own writing dreams, but more on them another day.

I often wonder in this age of empowering women, why more are not writing about their experiences. Before my fingers leave that sentence I know why. It’s something I have done. Having already written six books I can easily tell you what I have been hiding behind.

Fear.

Fear of letting you see me, all of me, my vulnerability and the shit I have been through and going through.

It hasn’t been pretty, and while I like to think that I am outgoing and wear my heart on my sleeve, there is a deeper part of me that still fears the reaper.

People judge. As a young woman, I built an ice cage around me. No one was coming in, I’d already been wounded by those around who were in positions of trust. So what you saw was a happy smiling face, because I learned early on that smiling changed how I felt and how others reacted to me.

The trouble is at some point and especially with our spiritual global meltdown, the ice has to turn to water and the emotions must flow. Otherwise, you remain locked, and probably in some other kind of prison.

Life is not meant for incarceration. It is meant to bring us gifts along with the challenges. We are meant to be free.

Empowering women and the EVE-olution of the divine feminine is genuinely something I am witnessing. Ok maybe the global stage is struggling and there are many who poo poo women’s empowerment. Not everyone has to stand in the same corner and that’s ok. But in my world, there are women who, like me, have tasted the shitty side of life and are blowing fresh flowers into the face of the critics.

Empowering women to be and to evolve, to expand and transform is a job for a community and we have communities and circles. We have sisterhood, far beyond what I could have ever imagined in my early years. Growing with some very special women has far exceeded anything I could have imagined when I was growing up (and being a tearaway). Sisters who have your back. Sisters who rock.

What I see is more and more embracing storytelling and being supportive and I am delighted. What I’d love to see is those stories in books so that they can inspire others.

There must be other women with life-changing stories, who for some reason have not yet tested the power of their pen. Who want to expand beyond their fear and just do it. Pressing publish and getting back to wondering what goes with eye of toad for tea…

My stories began in my head when I was a child dancing around outside looking like some weird hippy. Getting lost in books and adventures was away to escape life. In my dreams, I was a writer. In my dreams, I could fly.

Things didn’t go to plan – they never do, do they? Life got in the way of my dreams. Instead, I was expelled at 16, and learning the hard way. But hey, that’s life.

How many women in the ‘fifty something‘ bracket have had a lifetime of lessons that could be poured into a book? Imagine if we wise crones could change our world and that of others?

The possibilities for empowering woman are outstanding. We may be sagging a bit, have a few laughter lines, but we are smart, sassy, sexy and have powerful stories to share.

We have a responsibility to empower women through our life experiences a book is a wonderful way to reach their hearts.

 

What I love about Autumn and the turning of the season

Summer is over and I am relieved. I love the sun but not the searing heat that keeps me trapped inside. I am preparing for winter which always suddenly descends. Every year winter catches me out, one day it’s warm the next freezing – just like that. But before I think about winter I want to relish this new season which has begun. Autumn is a season where we can be thankful for all that we have. Let go of the old and turn inwards for reflection.

We are also moving from earth season to metal (in Chinese Five Elements), which is rather apt, as I write this I have been thinking about grief and resentment. Not in a sad way, more about dealing with the frayed edges of some old stuff.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot

I’m also thinking about the expansion that I have undertaken over the last year and the contentment I feel. That may seem conflicted to feel contentment and resentment, yet I do. In my journey to self-love, I have come to embrace everything that comes up that needs to be shown love. It’s all about balance and finding that pivoting point.

In the morning there is a welcome chill in the air, it’s darker for longer and I feel change is less urgent. Walking the doggies is much more fun and we can get out more often, which is great for being grounded and having reflection time.

The colours are richer, the earth musty and there is a sense of the world slowing down.

Autumn equinox (also known as the Mabon or autumn harvest) was on 22nd September 9:04am (GMT).  At equinox the day is in balance, there is equal light and dark. It’s a time when I stop standing in the shadows and seek out the warmth of the sun. It’s a time when I feel ready to embrace more down to earth activities.

I’ve written a lot and now I am editing. This is my writing harvest. Where I felt as if I hadn’t produced anything, now I can see it all coming to fruition. Now I can breathe.

So the summer has ended, seeds are falling, the ground is cloaked in fallen debris, ready to be reborn in the spring.  Despite not getting much done in the searing heat, now it’s all about harvesting what I have sown, letting go of what doesn’t serve me, gathering up what I need to see me through winter, finding balance and courage.

The logs are here and stacked. The chimney swept. I have curtains ready to be lined to keep the heat in. For once, I am prepared and that also feels balanced.

As we move into the Metal season there will be more changes.

The colour for metal is white; this can be clothes, food or things in our environment.  Who needs an excuse to buy some beautiful white flowers or light a candle? All that comes to mind is pureed parsnips (they are white), dinner with my friend Dawn, too much Prosecco and a bit of a headbang to Nirvana – that was certainly a moment of letting go madness.

In Chinese Medicine lungs and large intestines are the organs we now focus on.  By nourishing the lung and learning to breathe properly you can balance and soothe the mind and eliminate wandering unhelpful thoughts.  The lungs draw in breathe and exhale waste carbon dioxide, with every breath I can let things go.  Metal makes me think of metal shields, warrior women and protection.  And I think of breathing in new ideas and inspiration and letting them percolate.

The colon is all about eliminating waste.  Eating well and being nourished with more root vegetables excites me, no more salad, I love meals made in one pot and feeling the embraced with a tickle of new flavours. I’m sure my body responds better to these kinds of foods. Now I struggle with cold water and have to make myself drink a glass every time I make a cuppa.

By releasing and letting go, I can ensure that my mind doesn’t become clogged and cloudy.

The emotions are sadness and courage.  Connecting to the sadness or grief and acknowledging that this is a part of me, will give me the courage to discover more of my worth and reap my value.

Be aware of what needs to be let go as you enter autumn and set in place, a space for you, remember to stay grounded, listen to the earth and your divine inner wisdom.

 

World mental health day, Prozac, writing and me

Every year World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th October. One day to highlight a massive problem. There is often no visible signs that someone is suffering until their body complains, they do something because they can’t cope and then it is too late.

Anxiety and depression can affect anyone.

When I was in the corporate world mental health was not discussed, but as a manager, I was acutely aware when people around me were not coping. Many a private conversation, a cuppa and a walk in the fresh air has helped someone have the space to be heard and to be empowered to take some other action towards better health. I am proud to be a listener without judgement.

This is not always the case when you work alone, or you are living with others whose needs always come first.

A few years ago, I found myself in front of the doctor complaining that despite the many miles I trudged every day with my dog, I couldn’t breathe. He asked me some questions, and suddenly there was a space to be heard.

We talked about who I was living with, what the relationship was like, work and general health. I explained that for the last two years I’d struggled with sleep and had tried everything I could think of. He laughed at the comprehensive list I handed over. He glanced over it and said quietly ‘you have anxiety and it is no wonder.’

Walking away with a prescription for Prozac felt like the end of the world. Having been a party animal I was used to abusing my body for fun, this felt very different.

Now I was a failure.

Two days into my new drug habit, I was ringing the doctor. ‘I feel weird this is happening.’ I was panicking that this ‘stuff’ was destroying me. She calmly explained that I probably have a virus.

I felt a fool.

Before long I was sleeping, and a calm descended. Deep inside I was ashamed of giving in, and although I didn’t want anyone to know, I found myself sharing with two friends. Never before had I sought external validation, but now it was vital. I wanted them to tell me that it was ok.

They did, and it was, I was ok.

At the start of taking them, I had an exit strategy. Changing my diet and writing as ever helped. Pouring my heart into my writing and writing creative short stories was fun.

I was a bit silly with my diet and cut practically everything that could possibly be an allergen to anyone, ever. Losing vast quantities of weight did nothing for my skin, and my skinny legs looked more match like every day. I didn’t love me so I couldn’t and didn’t look in the mirror. I tried but to no avail.

I was ugly.

Christmas came, and we were going to Spain to work on my house. Shortly into the holiday I took my daily pill and vomited. Staring into the bowl, repulsed by the small and what I had become, I decided no more pills; there had to be a better way.

Back home and I thought I could cope.

By February his almost 90-year-old mother who needed help with everything and had dementia came to live. Two months passed and living with a bully and this woman who appeared to hate me was taking its toll. ‘I’m going to take Prozac again, I told him, I can’t cope.’ He couldn’t care less. As long as he could do what he wanted he was ok.

His bullying never stopped, passive aggression should have been his middle name. I explained several times that he was a bully and that it needed to end. All he did was to turn the tables and call me a bully; he was a lost cause when it came to empathy. He was the sort of person that if you said something one day, he would go on about it for days. He was like a dog with a bone.

He told me he enjoyed finding someone’s weak spot and turning the knife. I decided to try and ignore him and his silly behaviour. Every day he said something about sucking his cock or some other inane sexist comment. He was driving me nuts. I found that I was losing my temper because of his endless berating. When I did sit him down to tell him that I was unhappy and felt unloved, he managed possibly a day and then was back to his weird self.

It was another year and another Christmas, and we decided to take his mum to Spain. More importantly, it was decided that I would take her on an economy class plane (old women, wheelchair, dementia and poor toilet habits) and he would drive with the dog and his son. I coped because she couldn’t have done it without me and I wanted this sad old lady who hated me to have some happiness.

The apartment we’d booked fell through, and so we stayed with my mum while he caught up with us and then we all went to my house in the hills.

A house that was not ready for us.

Lying awake one evening staring at the ceiling I knew it was time for me to die. While everyone slept, I Googled ways of killing yourself. They all looked painful. What the fuck can I do I screamed silently into the slumbering beams?

I wasn’t meant to die, but I was dead inside.

Not long after and following his mother’s death, I decided to wean myself off Prozac (again) and try to get back to some normality. I had a business to get back up and running, for what it was worth and products to create and launch. Nothing worked, my time was (again) not my own, I was utterly disrespected and unable to get my work done. I couldn’t work out how I was not able to work and why he thought it was acceptable to interrupt me constantly. Everything seemed so far away and unattainable.

One bright point was that a visit to the doctors revealed that I’d had an overactive thyroid and through dietary changes, I had resolved it.

I felt vindicated, that’s why among other things I wasn’t sleeping.

If hindsight were a currency, I would be rich. Slowly but surely over just a few years my sense of self had been eroded and despite the freedom, I thought I had, I had become incarcerated and controlled, and I let it happen. I can now see that the stress from previous unresolved issues, looking after his mother, the Prozac and my endless romantic dreams of being in love (as it turns out with the notion of love) had kept me diluted. Without Prozac to blunt my senses I was starting to realise that this might not be the ideal place to be, and that scared me. Apparently not enough to listen to my inner voice. I remained loyal, loving, kind and blind.

The Universe has other ideas about my blindness, and when I discovered he was and had always been living a highly promiscuous double life, I was catapulted into a new life and a way of being.

Writing for my soul

Through all of this, I wrote, and I wrote and did it a bit more, I still do.

I won’t lie, writing hasn’t always been easy.  I have cried and cried as I have journaled. Equally, I have screamed with hysterical laughter as I have re-read my creative life stories and plotted the demise of others who I felt had hurt me.  

Throughout all of my journalling, reflecting and other kinds of writing, I never expected to be pushed into a pit of hell, I thought I was ok to tackle big subjects – me.  Writing has taken me into some dangerous places where I have I rested letting the poison spread.  I have continued to push my pen more and more learning to connect to my heart. And then it got easier, the pain in my chest eased, and the path ahead began to shine.  

Writing is a journey with your soul, writing can and does help you to heal.  Everyone who writes does at some level move on. You may be writing about an adventure, crisis, a life changing event or a single fleeting moment in time, but in the setting out of your personal story, you are connecting to you at a deep level.

Writing is an escape and a safe passage into a new life and the next part of the journey.

Start today, get a journal, put it beside your bed, write when it suits you. Let it flow. Write anything, one word, just start. 

So while World Mental Health Day is focusing on what is happening in the workplace, which can be like being thrown into a vipers nest. Please look around you, one of your friends could be where I was. You might be there now. How I wish I’d known how to ask for help and have had the courage to leave sooner.

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