But it’s a negative concept?The act of surrendering or giving up on something is often percieved and portrayed as negative. You’re quitting after all, but its that whole perception that’s part of the problem.
Bit of a mind-teaser huh? The pereception of something that you’re doing that’s perceieved as negative in itself is the issue. Not the act.
Yeah, it took ne a while too.
Sometimes though, you just have to give in and surrender to the process. Especially when meditating…
The act of surrender as an act of compassionI’m still wrestling with this now myself, and I’m still working on it myself, so if you’re not quite sure about this concept, trust me, I get it, even though I’m talking about it myself. But sometimes surrendering and letting yourself go with the process is absolutely the most compassionate thing you can do, for yourself and your mental health.
It goes for almost every area of life too. If your friend isn’t respecting your boundaries, it might be an idea to give up on the closeness of that freindship, and recategorise them. If you’re struggling to get passed a behaviour, or reaction, finding out what you’re holding on to – even if that’s ‘I’m not ready to address that’ – is an act of surrender and compassion in itself.
My biggest ‘surrender’. Asking for help, or telling people I don’t know.
Turns out that my reaction to fear is almost identical to anger, because that’s what I was taught. You don’t show weakness, you don’t give people an in, you’re not vulnerable, they can’t use that to hurt you. So. You show no fear. you instead make yourself as intimidating as possible (I am completely aware that this may or may not be your experience of my personality, and if you’re really close to me you’ll have seen both, and it may have given you whiplash. Sorry about that).
Surrendering the idea that ‘weak’ = ‘bad’I’ve been working on this because it’s no good for people that don’t know me to see a small tazmanian devil of rage when she’s just desperately afraid, and quite honestly, I’m lucky I haven’t gotten into more trouble in certain settings. I’m giving in on that idea and trying to be more open about it. But it’s not easy. But if I can help someone else see that sometimes, it’s ok to ‘give in’ and reframe that as ‘going with the flow’ then, that’s good enough for me. Because quite honestly, though I’ve always believed that meditation was about building resiliance and learning to focus, and working through becoming a more present person, some of that really is about letting go of ideas that are getting in the way of doing better with practices. Some of it is definitely about asking for help and letting of the idea that I’m showing weakness and arming other poeple. All of it is about growing and becoming a better person, I hope. What do you think? Is giving in good, bad, or does it depend?
- My AtoZ blogging challenge reveal 2021 #AtoZChallenge
- A for ‘are we there yet?’ #atozchallenge
- B is for Books – Walking off the earth #Finalchapterinthisbook #newbook #atozchallenge
- C is for Can do #atozchallenge
- A day in the disordered #atozchallenge
- E is for “eeek, I overdid it!” #atozchallenge
- F is for f*&k and other profanities #atozchallenge
I wanted to get your attention – what I actually want to talk about is language, but profanities, and our use of them, apparently dictates how linguistically intelligent we are.
Not quite yet…I don’t quite buy into the studies that suggest that if we swear, we’re more intelligent. What I do agree with is if you can express yourself in varied and interesting ways, you are probably more intelligent, so it’s possibly a false indicator, as it was suggested in a 2016 study there was no correlation between profanity and the use of cussing and intelligence, but instead, it’s to do with the wish to extend vocabulary. I’m really interested in linguistics, so I thought that this was a phenomenon I wanted to start talking about it more. So, my quick post today is about swearing, and asking you guys what you think. Do you think it’s a sign of intelligence on it’s own, or do you think it’s more to do with whether you’re working on extending your vocabulary and finding different ways to express things? (also, I’ll be re-releasing ‘The Secret Language of Fiction’ edition 2 soon, watch this space! – well, actually, watch my book announcements page!)
PrologueAfterwards, the clear images were shards, splashes, and strips of confetti – long, finger length pieces of cloth, a small lump and tufts at one end, that shimmered in the lights, all over the floor. Hours later, he finally realized they were the hairbands from her pot by the door. But, in those first moments, all he could think was “confetti; all elastic and glass”. The wall at the bottom of the stairs was splashed and spattered with blood. There was one pool, a small one, three steps up, along with the detritus of resuscitation. A failed resuscitation, his traitor thoughts insisted. Confetti, shards and masks. A larger puddle was staining the floor. His brain kept stuttering, eyes bouncing from the shimmering fabric strips, the size and width of a plaster, reflecting back the swirling blue lights outside as if they were silvered, the glass in constellations of portended violence, and the discarded gloves, mask and boluses. The smell got him next. Copper sickly sweet, stinger than the lilacs over the door. Then the cardamom in the chai tea she offered, over the scent, the breath of her. The copper top and bottom note obliterated everything. “Sir?” a voice said, behind him. He turned. “She died on the way to the hospital. They restarted her heart, but…” he closed his eyes, as the words washed past him. “Does the director know?” He said, finally. There was a mild tremor in his voice, and he had locked his knees, hands rammed in his pockets. “Yes sir,” the quiet, calm voice said. He spun on his heel, turning his back on the tableau, which was now burning in his mind, igniting anger, grief, and something…something else. “Doxxies only,” he said. “Full record mode from arrival at boundary gate,” The soft-spoken man seemed to go blank, and swiftly, stiffly spun, and he and two others left through the gate, paused, turned and then, re-entered. He walked to the nearest one and said “DTC Marcus, going to London House. Doxxie only command issued at….” he stopped. “It’s logged. One confirmed death, three missing. Reporting for the Flag, The Priestess of Care expired on the way to Nightfall Luna.” She was such a good woman. And all that’s left is stains, constellations and confetti. He was still seeing the shimmer, gleams and highlights as he got into his car and headed towards Vauxhall. Stuck there, the savage, alien beauty. The last of Maehb.
My name is Kai, and until two years ago, I wasn’t very good at knowing how to breathe. Odd isn’t it? I’m admitting that I didn’t know how to breathe to calm down. Because of that, I had a lot of issues with my meditation practices, which isn’t as uncommon as many people think, but I do also think, it’s not something people often admit to. I’ve talked more about it in one of my new books, but here I am, holding my hands up to practicing meditation, but not actually knowing how to breathe and calm myself. It sounds oversimplistic – if all you need to do is take three deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth if possible (breathing out through your nose can cause backflow into your lungs and you might not get the ‘full deep breath’ treatment if you breathe out through your nose, but I’m not actually sure and I’m researching now why all meditations start with an in through the nose, out through the mouth. If anyone knows why, I’d love to share.) I’ll be talking about more of this in H for Headspace (the app and the actual thing), and M for mindfulness, meditation and me, but I’ll be honest, learning to breathe has been a revelation.
What do you mean by learning to breathe?I ‘found my way’ to this technique simply by giving in and stopping arguing. Y’see, I’ve always been able to meditate – I don’t actually worry about my ability to do that, but it turns out that I wasn’t ‘doing it’ right, if there’s even that concept when meditating. I guess the video below (which, is, ironically from Headspace), explains how my meditation actually looked before. (hint, I’d go out and chase my ‘traffic thoughts’). So, here I am, learning to do everything I needed to do, but breathing was a huge issue.
Why pausing and taking a deep breath is almost always goodI gotta be honest, I used to side-eye my pysch nurse when she said that one of the major things I could do is just breathe. I was the sort of person that counted out of order, that snapped a band on my wrist, or…I’ll be honest, I’d just melt down. I’m a 42 year old woman and I’ve cried in public more than the average toddler. I might be one of the few adults that freaked the hell out in Disneyland, to the point that my family had to make a ring around me while I sat and sobbed.
In the last few years though, especially since the lockdown, I started committing to refreshing my meditation practice. I was lucky enough to get access to Headspace (no they don’t sponsor us, I just adore them), and I work with their stuff to get through. And just going back through the basics, I have to say, I might go sharing out after the traffic of my thoughts far less, and while I still deal with a lot of distress, just three deep breaths not only gives me the chance to stop and focus on something other than what’s triggering me, but warns my family that I’m struggling. If that doesn’t work, I default to counting odd numbers out of order, or snapping bands or whatever, but seriously, take a few deep breaths. Things might look different afterwards!
I’ll be honest – you may want to avoid this post if you’re not interested in a rant on various things, and my perspective (which is both personal and anecdotal) on EUPD, aka borderline personality disorder.
This post is under a read more because it’s got triggering topics.
A history of being a person with a border
I was first diagnosed as depressed in 1997/98. Even back then though, there was an odd one or two days of the year where I was totally out of control. I wasn’t sleeping for days at a time, I was taking stupid risks and I was not the person everyone knew. I did a couple of really stupid things back then – the biggest one of course was leaving the military. I was diagnosed as depressed because the periods of depression were far longer than the mania, and that continued until I had my son. Then, there was a bit of a shift, and some of those caring for me thought I might be bipolar. Which made sense, but I resisted meds for as long as I could. I took the positive as far as I could with it, obviously, because part of it was this site.
But, after being on antipsychotics in 2011, and then going back at the end of 2014, and discovering all support has changed, and slowly but surely, I started encountering psychiatrists I just didn’t agree with.
I have to say from the outset, I respect the professional effort, education and care that goes into becoming a psychaitrist or psych nurse or anyone with care of people with mental health. I just had a run of really bad luck. So, while I’m criticising the people that cared for me between 2014-2018/19
And this is where the rant starts.
I do want to say though, there is a happy ending to this story. Firstly, I was taught CFT, at least, the beginning of it, and that and the people caring for me now have made a *massive* difference to my outlook. I still struggle, but I’m doing better than I was, for the most part. My current team are amazing. We work well together, and though this year has been a challenge with Lockdown in the UK and CV-19, and trying to avoid making more work for them, we’ve managed. And I now also understand some more of the motivation of why I was labelled as I was.
I’m sorry to say, I still don’t agree.
I don’t live on the borderline
Over the following five years, I met one psychiatrist twice. That psychiatrist decided I was borderline, not bipolar, and when asking for opinions, only took them on board when they agreed with him.
Of the psych nurses and psychiatrists, I passed through in this time, advice ranged from ‘practice abstinence to prevent miscarriage, and we didn’t give you permission to have more children anyway’, ‘have a glass of wine before bed’, ‘if you have side effects from meds, it always means you don’t need them’. I was bullied, and at the core of it, was a refusal to reassess or explain the assessment fully of why I was changed from bipolar to borderline personality disorder.
Over the years I’ve tried to work out what diagnosis criteria they were using (the honest answer to that is basically all of them), and how to deal with them, but every time has left us with more confusion. And I gotta be honest, there’s been a tonne of things we’ve had to discuss with them, we’ve not been able to get to the bottom of it. But one thing I did do, is that I had to move to another county, and got to the place I needed to be, and with therapists I’m dealing with, and they’re wonderful.
One change – wide-ranging repercussions
I’m not sure how many other people with mental health problems know the stigma of having issues like mine first hand, but for the three years directly following being diagnosed as borderline, every single time I ended up in A&E, whether I was vomiting blood or had cellulitis, three questions always started most conversations about pain meds, all centring around whether I’d done it to myself, whether I was faking and was I drug-seeking. We discovered in the following few years after having it changed from EUPD to CPTSD, that the difference in how I was handled was stark. I’ve been in hospital within six months of the change, and even my partner was stunned at the differences.
No one asked me if I was attention-seeking when it was mentioned I had CPTSD.
No one took my meds off me that I’d brought with me to stay on schedule, and in fact, because I was badly triggered and wasn’t feeling my best, a nurse went out of her way to help me. Six months before in a similar situation, I was told to stop being a crybaby.
CPTSD isn’t something that everyone agrees is a diagnosis that can co-exist with bipolar disorder. We’ll see.
So…that’s my rant.
(backdated, sorry I was late! It does mean I get to use pretty photos I got on Sunday though!)
Well, sort of.
I’m actually more of the ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” which is another truism I believe in.
But, when it comes to my mental health, I can’t make excuses. I have to keep healthy boundaries, and work hard. There is no ‘try’ at living after all.
But it’s not easy…
The thing about trying to have a ‘can do’ attitude, in the context that I use it, is that it’s almost always about protecting myself. And it’s all about protecting, I guess, the spoons that I have. (In case you’re not sure what the spoon theory is, here’s the woman that wrote the base idea, and I am republishing my spoonie’s guide soon). ANd not always having the energy to do something is not the same as ‘there is no try’, and I think that’s the mistake many people make about what I mean.
If I can’t do something, I’ll wait. Unless I have no choice.
One of the things I started noticing about a year and a half ago, when I started having a few of the things explained to me that made no sense in my life while asking questions and hitting issues with my therapy, that I’m very much of the mindset that (probably unfairly) that if I say no, that my friends won’t like me. I’m very much a people pleaser, to the point that I often do things I shouldn’t. And it’s gotten me into a really difficult pattern to break.
So, my ‘do or do not’ is a complete sentence now. I will do, or I won’t. There’s no emotion attached to it if I can’t do the things I’ve had asked of me. I might feel guilty about saying no, but I can’t always do everything I want to (and as I’m actually writing this on my E day, I’ve already talked about planning fails, I know this). And if they don’t like it, I guess that means my friends aren’t actually my friends. And that might make me sad, but I’ve got to accept that. Luckily, it means that I’ll be ok.
(again, as this is backdated, I’m writing this with the benefit of hindsight).
I did actually have this rather neat post about ‘a day in the life’, but, the last few days led to a bit of an epiphany.
You know there’s an Instagram bubble? I think when we write ‘days in the life’ that we sometimes make ‘blog bubbles’. So, instead of talking about what my ideal day should look like, and what it does when I’ve planned it out, I’m going to write about what my day actually is. And for the first time, I’m even going to include some of the mental health stuff I deal with – so this post could be mildly triggering.
I’ll be possibly alluding to self-harm, definitely talking about psychosis and depression and anxiety and insomnia. And I have a favor to ask at the end of this post.
A day in the disordered
I fell asleep at 11:30pm – a year of training and working with an app called Headspace and other meditation apps (honourable mentions to Digipill and Let’s Mediate (I have them on Android, they may exist on iOs), alongside my partner, which is now 80% of how my sleep works out.
Unfortunately, about 1:30am, I wake up again. I wake up to a voice, that I always hear. She’s my constant companion, and she’s very hurtful. If I’m lucky, I take a sip of water, I go to sleep again, and I might get to stay there for a bit. Most nights lately though, I’ve been waking up and finally falling asleep again at 5am.
The advice is, of course, if you’re not able to sleep in bed, to get up. But if I do that and she starts causing trouble for me. At her worst, she can trap me in the smallest rooms in the house. She’s the reason that I can’t get out of the house alone. She’s the thing I’m fighting back with my favor, but we’ll get there.
If I don’t get to sleep until 5 or 6am, I’ll either stay asleep till 8am, or 11am, or sometimes, I’m asleep till 2pm. And because of that, my day is always harder to plan for. How do I plan to be up at 9am, and exercised and ready to work, if I’m not getting to sleep until 6am? The answer is I don’t.
Insomnia is a difficult and hard to live with disorder – couple it with anxiety and psychosis, and though meditation helps, I’m frequently operating in arrears of sleep.
And that’s why I can’t talk about a day in my life. I have half an hour when I wake up that’s a set routine (get up, unplug and box tech coming downstairs with me, plug in anything, such as my Bluetooth headphones or spare batteries that need charged, wash face, rarely moisturise (I’ll be talking about that in S for skin routine, cause apparently, I’m annoying as all hell about that), meditate for ten minutes after making the bed, then come down. At night, I either go up before Tempus and grab a bath, then make my juice/waterbottle for my bedside, plug everything in, brush my teeth, get my Bluetooth headphones connected so that I can meditate, set up the book we’re listening to on Audible. Depending on how I feel then, I either read for 20 minutes, then meditate, or lately, I’ve just meditated, and used a sleepscape to go to sleep to. And then wake up again at 1:30am.
I can’t talk about this really here, but there is going to be an I for Insomnia over on bi-polarbears (the link won’t work until the post goes live )
And that brings me to a favor…
As many of you may or may not know, I’m an author. My major project this year is to talk about the fact that I live with a pretty severe (though not the worst, by a long shot) psychosis. I think I’m probably at the end of the ‘living in the community level of it,’ though, she’s quite hard to deal with. As an author too, it becomes difficult. I ‘hear’ my characters, and I don’t like that I hear and see things as well as part of my mental health.
On my birthday, I’ll be releasing a collection of mental health books. I’m not putting up the pre-orders yet, but I am asking people to subscribe to my newsletter, so I can start talking about the run-up to releasing them.
There may be a Patreon, there may not.
What I want to do though, is to remove some stigma surrounding both hearing voices and other psychosis, but I also want to acknowledge that authors do hear voices, and that *is not* as far as I’m concerned, is a psychosis. But I guess that’s between you and your healthcare team.
What I do know is that she’s stolen five years of my life. I’ll never get them back, and while I’ve done some things in there, I’ve not gotten everything that I wanted to do, done. There are other things, of course, that got in the way, it’s not just been mental health, but if I can remove from the whole concept of ‘we don’t talk about this, we’ll get into trouble’, then I will.
And I hope you’ll help me.
If you’d like to, ALL I need you to do is to sign up for my newsletter and join my mental health street team. That’s it. If you also want to share this post or the post about the project, I’d be delighted.
I’ll be talking about about this at P for Psychosis, because it’s important to me. Here, and at Bi-polarbears. I’ve avoided telling people I have issues such as psychosis for so many years, that it’s a bit uncomfortable for me, but I also know I’m in a good community, that accepts me for who I am, and knows me as I am, psychosis or otherwise. I hope to help others like me – because I think in the coming years, as we come out of lockdowns and the shadows of what we did to deal with the pandemic, that mental health is going to be a major issue – more major than even now, and I want to help people that need help. So I am.