“….The search continues” bit on my blog header page is not supposed to suggest that I’m a miserable old boot, or that I don’t find any joy in my life as it is right now, because I do, I consider myself to be a very lucky girl, there’s wishful thinking for you, …woman?…lady?… female..?… fuck it, a lucky human!!!
It refers to dealing with the whole middle age and breast cancer bollocks, the many ups and downs I’ve had, self-help techniques and outside-help techniques that I use or have attempted to use over the last few years. Sometimes my life just feels like a continuing mission to achieve my ultimate goal, not wealth, not fame, not power, not the unachievable constant happiness we often foolishly seek … but contentment, the simple joy that feeling at peace with yourself brings.
One of the key words that comes up time and time again in my many “outside-help” activities… counselling, yoga therapy, hypnosis, physio appointments and doc’s visits, is balance. If it were possible to take a word and put it on the ground and jump up and down on it until it was smooched into an unrecognizable pulp then this one would be the first to get it. Is balance ever achievable, can we ever get to a point in our own life where we feel that we do all that we can to be the best possible us, to look after our physical bodies with the respect they deserve, to sufficiently attend to our mental health, to treat all those around us with love, consideration and compassion? How do we let go of what we perceive to be others expectations of how hard we should work, how much money we should earn, how much time we should spend with our kids, family, friends, exercising or cleaning? Can we ever really come to terms with the fact that we may never be a Rock-star or superstar DJ, may never write an international best seller or be forever remembered by future generations for our outstanding contribution to science?… Is this just pressure from todays media madness to live the most amazing Instagram worthy life, or the age old self imposed burden of keeping up with the Jones’s, or even some desperate longing to leave your mark on this world and render yourself immortal?
So in the search for the illusive “balance” it seems that the pressure to do so can, if incorrectly sought out, cause a whole heap of unbalance… what I often refer to as a wobble, or on my less balanced days… a shit storm!
Firstly I’m usually hard on myself for being lazy, antisocial, drunk, not exercising or eating an entire packet of biscuits, then I’m hard on myself for being hard on myself as I’ve been told being hard on yourself is not helpful, and then I’ll probably be hard on myself for not getting my shit together enough so I can justify not being so hard on myself… do you see my problem?
I first became aware that the emotional bit of me could majorly malfunction when I decided I was fat. I was around 23ish and had piled on a few pounds, probably due to an office job that involved a load of sitting on my arse, cakes, biscuits and long pub lunches. I decided enough was enough and started the Atkins diet… 3 months later, after getting a tad carried away, I ended up just under 8st (well skinny for me) and signed off work with fatigue. It was at about this time that my much-adored long-term boyfriend decided that as he was now the newly appointed front man with a band that he might want a little “me” time. Whilst weak from excessive fad dieting, it seemed getting dumped tipped the apparently delicate balance and I had my first experience with anti-depressants.
Eventually life got back on track, I started eating something apart from cocktail sausages, my boyfriend saw the error of his ways and I got off the pills.
Round 2 came about 18 months later, I’d split with the boyfriend, moved out of the family home, Mum was on her second bout of cancer treatment, Dad had developed a heart condition, I’d just started a new job and was living off Shreddies, white wine and roll ups… not entirely unexpected huh!
Round 3 has been a whole other level, recovery from treatment for primary breast cancer, a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer, more chemo and a mahoosive operation, and worst of all, spending (wasting) life waiting for it to come back. I’m textbook, every ache and pain, touch of indigestion or constipation, cold, backache, toothache, toe ache, tiredness or hangover… have all definitely been cancer. After being prescribed 2 different anti-depressants, 2???!!?, and feeling so guilty and ashamed of my self pitying behaviour that I had to run home to my Dad for a month to withdraw from morphine and cry, I began on my mission.
And my discoveries so far are…
Yoga is great medicine for the mind and body, as long as you haul your backside to a class and don’t just buy a mat and some colourful leggings.
Meditation is really hard but life changing when it clicks… just shut any pets out of the room, they don’t help!
With the right counsellor talking therapy is magic.
Hypnotherapy is relaxing, personally I’m not sure if it did anything else, but it was a pleasant experience.
Eating well makes you feel better and quite smug.
Addressing health concerns as they come up is best all round, denial is a head fuck at best and at worst, well you don’t want to know…
Fresh air and exercise helps loads (and I really hate exercise).
Being creative can help stop that monkey brain running rings around you.
Family and friends make it easier to live in the moment, as do Dave, Rita and Moog!!
Joy?…. It’s a work in progress, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one on the mission, good luck with all yours x
https://www.thefmlystore.com (for fab jumpers and stuff…and there’s a blog too)
http://www.theyogaroot.com (for a little bit of me time)