Spring is finally upon us and I have been spending some time out in the garden. It amazes me the amount of weeds that grow over the winter. If there was a competition for the garden with the most weeds, I think my garden would be in the running.
I have been spending a few hours a week out in the garden fighting with the weeds. Some come out very easily, some come out in clumps, and some like the creeping ranunculus,-otherwise known as creeping buttercup-spread and dig in and are very hard to get rid of and if left unchecked take over everything.There are the scotch thistles that have shown up in my garden over the last couple of years, I think they like it so much they have invited all their family and friends. There are a great assortment of weeds in my garden, some I can pull out with my hands, others I need various tools to help dig the roots out. The weeds are flourishing and if I don't take care of this, the weeds will take over the garden and slowly smother the flowers.
Last week as I was doing this, I was thinking how weeding the garden, for me, is much like weeding my mind. What I mean by this is that I have had many issues that I have had to work on. Some issues were easy to work through, others were more difficult, and some where unbelievably hard. Some issues I could deal with on my own, some I needed some help and support, and others I needed tons of support and hospitalization. And like the weeds in the garden, some issues will no longer bother me, and others will always be there and creep back. My job in both the garden and for my mental health is to be on top of the weeding and be very aware of whats going on.
As I was thinking this, it also came to me, that keeping an eye on ones mental health, does not have to be for only those with a mental health issue or illness. The well being of ones mental health should be important to everyone and should cover all age groups. This should be as important as having a healthy body.
I hope that one day, through education and respectful dialogue, the stigma of mental illness will cease and society will not only know the importance of good mental health but be willing to put the resources to make this happen. I hope that one day children will be taught the importance of a healthy mind along side the importance of a health body. This will probably not happen during my life time, but that does not stop me from being optimistic.
Until then I will continue with my weeding. While in the garden last week I came to the conclusion that gardeners must have been the worlds first optimist!
Those are my thoughts for today..
Until next time happy and healthy weeding!!!
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Getting In Touch With My Core....
These last couple of weeks I have been getting in touch with my muscular core and it has been an interesting journey. Since doing my somatic exercises-(as mentioned in my last blog post)- it has been an interesting discovery. Having spent most of my life disconnected from myself, it should come as no surprise to me that I am still somewhat discounted from my body, but it does.
It is with surprise and wonder that I discover, or I should say rediscover these core muscles. I wonder if this is what it is like for a child when they first discover that the little digits (hands and feet) that have been entertaining them all this time actually belong to them.
I have been dragon boating for about 8 years now, and one of my issues has always been that I tend to stay down too much, and not get the full advantage of my core when I pull back on the paddle. My coach has mentioned this to me and it has only been in the last couple of weeks that I get what she is talking about. I now sit up more when I pull back and low and behold I not only engage those core muscles, but feel them like I have not in many, many years. Every once in a while I will go back to the old way,-(usually when I am tired) - but the coach reminds me and I’m back to doing it the proper way. In time it will be ingrained in my muscle memory and I will be able to do it without thinking. This is a much more efficient way to paddle and uses less energy for better output.
As I write this I think about the beginning of my therapy and the energy I was using on a daily basis to try to keep my life together. I think about the energy I was using dissociating, to distract myself from the reality of all those pesky emotions and feelings, as I had to keep them at bay. I think about the time reality hit me in the face when I crashed and burned and could no longer run from myself. I think of the time I stood outside the door of my psychiatrist office.
“My hand trembled as it rested on the door knob; there was bile in the back of my throat that left a metallic taste in my mouth. I was light headed and had spots floating in front of my eyes, and my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. I watched my hand as it grasped and turned the door knob and opened the door as if controlled by someone or something else. At that very moment I could think of a million other places I would rather be and for a fleeting moment I thought of turning around and going for coffee and never coming back……”
But, as afraid as I was, I did go through and my healing journey started. It was not easy, but I knew my life was spinning out of control and I had to do something. I had a husband and son that I loved and my issues were affecting them also. These issues affected my life, my self-image, self-worth, my family, my friends, and my career and my future. I was exhausted and had nowhere to go but up. All these years later I am no longer running from myself and I am embracing life. It has not been easy, but it sure is worth it. And my energy output is a lot more efficient.
For those of you out there who are resisting, or still afraid to start your healing journey, I understand. I understand the fear and terror you feel at the thought of looking at the issues, I get that. But I also know you, like I, survived what happened to us. We have been through the worse; we owe it to ourselves to heal.
I also know that no one can do this for us, we have to do it ourselves, there is no “quick fix” and there is no one else that can do the work. As much as I wished someone else would fix this, or do the work, it never happened and as much as that reality sucked, I know it’s the only way. Having said that, this does not mean we have to do this journey alone. I remember a time I was talking to my family doctor and he said.. “I have been told this work is very much a solo journey,” My reply was “yes, but I don’t want to be like Amelia Earhart and go down over the central pacific ocean and disappear.” He assured me that I was not alone on this journey and that supports were there for me if I wish to use them, and I did.
As I have said before, it has been a long haul, but very much worth it. I look back and think of the energy I was using and how exhausted I was. Life is so much different now. When all that energy I used to distract and dissociate is freed up, wonderful things can happen and life, like my new dragon boat stroke is much more energy efficient.
It’s going to be an interesting dragon boat season for me.
Those are my thoughts for today
I wish you all well and great courage on your healing journey.
Cheers and be well