So she has left …

According to everything that I have written down and read this morning it was 12mths ago today that my mind started to unravel in earnest.  The quick rundown is I ended up in our local hospital on 17/2/15 transferred to the rehab unit 24/2/16 and discharged home 23/3/16.  Since that time I have been slowly working (and by slowly I mean I have been trying very hard, progress is not a straight forward upwards trajectory to wellness that is all,) on getting well or better, whatever well or better will look like.

On 26/3/15 I met a lady who has been pivotal in this recovery process and that was my psychologist.  It was a strange relationship because it was a situation (and still is for me) whereby I honestly cannot tell you what she looks like, I cannot even remember her voice and I know her name only because I have read it on a report this morning.  All of that said when I read some of the things I have written it is a relationship where I clearly trust her, through my writing I can tell that we have a connection and she has most definitely been a guide.  Much like a travel guide to help me find my way through the quagmire of the mud, dirt, darkness and suffocation of crap that I found (and still do find) myself bogged down in the hole under.

Source:  Mt Everest, Photographer AH taken 11/01/1997
The journey/road to recovery is not an easy one because well for me at least before I could even begin that process I needed to realise and know where I was.  I say journey/road because I think that last year I was on a  journey to find the road and now I am getting closer to the road.  The journey that I took last year could be best described like climbing Mt Everest alone, carrying all your own baggage and at times struggling to feel your arm or leg or both at the same time and lots of the time not feeling the air filling your body and the only way to get down is with your guide (who is waiting patiently for you at the bottom but at the end of the line anytime you need them) but ultimately it was a journey that only I could take.

What I know is that for a very long, long time I have had the heaviest weight all over every part of my body and mind.  I couldn’t in the before and really even now put into words why I feel this, none of it makes any logical or rational sense.  Equally the messages that my brain gives me are very different to what I know in a rational sense.  It is hard to say but some of the messages I hear are that I am not worthy, have no value, everyone would be better without me, I am needy and as such no-one wants to be my friend, I am useless, hopeless daughter, wife, mother and on.  You get the picture the things I hear in my head are really awful and negative.

I have heard these things for honestly as long as I can remember.  As such I have always been striving to fight against these voices.  Which in some cases actually made things worse, I have always tried so hard to be the best at everything I am.  The perfect daughter, sister, wife, mother, in-law, friend, work mate, student etc.  The problem with striving for perfection is that it is actually impossible to achieve, perfection is not a realistic or tangible measure for anyone and by even a reasonable measure of good enough no-one can be all of those things all of the time, which means that I set my self up for constant failure on a very regular basis.  Even if I could find my crazy idea of perfection in one or two of those areas I was surely dropping the ball in another.  Part of my cycle has always been in my head that if I am not perfect then I am not good enough and if I can’t be perfect then I may as well give up altogether.  Setting up a very difficult tug-of-war in my head.

Last year through a series of very dramatic events landing me in hospital and then a whole series of other issues that arose from that I was extremely blessed to have had this amazing travel guide to help me make this journey into the unknown and find the road again.  I honestly can’t tell you anything tangible about my guide what I can tell you is that I have a strong feeling when I think of my guide.  I feel sad knowing I have a new guide, I feel sad that my old guide has left.  This feels quite illogical to me because on a logical, rational level how can I feel sad about someone I don’t remember.  However, what I understand about the brain is that even though I might not have a recall of tangible memory and continuity in the day to day, these things are still happening and the emotional brain is a different area.  So I can still feel emotions like sadness, guilt, shame, occasionally happiness, joy.  When I read my story (which is the best way I can describe my journals like reading a story about someone else) I have quite an emotional response to things.

Many of the feelings around changing my guide have to do with change and fundamentally change is not something that I cope with easily!  My guide tells me that I have done the really hard work, I have always faced the challenges whether I understood, could reconcile those with who I am or not I have faced them head on.  I have owned things I have done but I have done that with the safety net of my guide.

My guide has left, she had an opportunity to travel a new road herself, which has meant that she has had to pass me over to a new guide.  I am sure that this new road that I find myself on will be fine, well too be honest I am absolutely not sure of anything.  But I am sure that she would not have left me in the hands of anyone that wasn’t going to be able to help me along this road.

Here is a little ode to Dr Seuss using my most favourite book ever.  A book that I gave many of my students when I was teaching because I really feel it is a great guide to life.  I only wish that I had read it much earlier and taken more notice.  I think though sometimes we just can’t take the journey until we are ready to find the road.

Oh the places I will go! 

Last week I was off and away to meet my new guide.

My first guide is sure that I have got what I need to keep going,
she told me that I have brains in my head, feet in my shoes
she knows that I can steer myself in any direction I choose.
She tells me that there are places I will go
she tells me that I am off to great places,
I am off and away.

I had to climb that mountain
I had to have the bang ups and hang ups
And get stuck in a lurch and come down with a thump
I needed to find myself in the slump that was not much fun.
It was hard to un-slump but I had a guide to point me on my way.

I still have places to go where the streets are not marked
with some windows are lighted but most of them darked.
Do I dare to go in, do I dare to stay out.
I have a guide to help me,
because simple it is not!

But sometimes along the way I will still have the lonely games to play
games that I won’t win because I am playing against me.
For those times my guide has left me with another guide to help me along between hither and yon because there are with no doubt places that will scare me so much that I won’t want to go on.
She tells me though I will go on though the weather be foul
Onward up many a frightening creek and my arm may get sore
and my sneakers may leak.

She is sure that on and on I will hike
She knows I will hike far
and face up to my problems whatever they are.

I know I will get mixed up
this I already know,
I need to be sure when I step to step with care and great tact
She has left me a guide to help with Life’s Great Balancing Act.

She is sure I will move Mountains one day
because I am off and away.*

I am eternally grateful for meeting this wonderful lady and helping me find my way and pointing me in the right direction to be off and away.  Thank you for everything you know who you are.

I wish her every success and I know that one day our paths will cross again one day and that she will also move Mountains because she is off and away.

Twelve months is such a long time but so short in terms of where I have to go.  Thank you to everyone else who has walked along side of me and continues to be there for me.  I will continue putting one foot in front of the other to find my way with the help of my guide.

love always 
Cathy xoxo 

* My eternal apologies to Dr Seuss for Destroying your wonderful book Oh, The Places You’ll Go

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