I’ve been ooooop north more frequently of late. This most recent stint has seen me up here for the past week (and staying for one more over half term) which only really ever happens around Christmas. For the past 11 years of living down south, I have mainly only popped back for the random weekend or the longer, much awaited, Christmas break.
During this stay at my parents, whilst doing our norm as a family of eating lots of food and chatting over glasses of red wine and warm fires, my Aunty Julie (who lives just down the road… come on, this IS Yorkshire for goodness sake) introduced us to the Freudian Wood. Based on Psychologist Sigmund Freud’s work, its a tool in which you visualise a walk through some woods and what you come across symbolises certain aspects of your psyche.
Now I won’t spoil it for you and tell you what each section of the wood symbolises, in case one day you want to take a walk for yourself. Much of it was pretty accurate and quite telling of how myself and my family all approach and view different parts of life, but one stuck in my mind, probably because it is so relevant to my life at the moment. At one point in the woods you meet a bear. You then talk about what the bear is like and how you get past it. My bear was a big brown bear. We caught each others eye. I felt shocked to see it, my heart stopped and my breath catches. Then I averted my eyes away and walked in the opposite direction. The bear doesn’t disturb me or I it.
The bear represents a ‘problem’ and how you get past it is how you deal with the problem. The realisation hit me. That’s exactly what I do… out of sight out of mind. The distraction that comes with exercise, work or play is often welcome. Now, I realise this may not be the healthiest way to ‘deal’ with a problem. But in all honesty, I don’t know how to do anything else. I always acknowledge the problem is there and I like to think of myself as a solution finder, a fixer. I’ll try my best to fix the problem, but if I don’t know how, I let it lie and distract myself with other things.
Which brings me to now.
I’ve batted back and forth with wondering whether or not to write this post as I don’t want it to look as though I am ‘offloading’ or being overly emotional. But my wonderful friend Emma. D sent me a message recently which made me think… if someone is going through a similar thing in their life, this may somehow help.
I don’t have a ‘problem’ as such. More of a difficult, out of the ordinary kind of ‘time’. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my mum is terminally ill. I’ll give you a quick, medical low-down in numbers to get you up to date.
20+yrs, 1 brain tumour removed 3 times, grown back 4. 1 stint in chemo, 2 bouts of cancer.
That’s the long and the short of it really. It, of course, has involved SO much more and I have missed out plenty on purpose because I don’t want it to feel like I’m laying down the sob story thick and fast. The point of this post is not sympathy but in fact empowerment. Anyway, the reason for my longer stay at my parents house at the moment may now be clear.
I won’t go into any more detail but to say, we have now come very close to the end of the journey.
She’s literally amazing. Throughout this whole process, even right now today, I have NOT ONCE heard her complain. It’s made me think twice about feeling ‘tired’ or having ‘a banging headache’ – I can show you what that looks like…
People have commented that ‘life is shit isn’t it?!’ or I get the odd look of sympathy or sometimes people, understandably, don’t know what to say at all. Don’t get me wrong, I went through an angry stage and a sad stage. I was sad that my Dad was losing his childhood sweetheart. I’ve been sad that my mum won’t pick out my wedding dress with me or rub my pregnant tummy when I have my first chid. I was angry that the gentlest, most positive person in the world still got this lot in life. But I quickly came to realise that being sad or angry doesn’t change the outcome. It just hangs around like a dark cloud.
And it’s really, really not all doom and gloom. I’m not saying its a picnic (there it is, my obligatory reference to food) and although the sadness is deep within, there have been so many more positive things to come out of this than negative. Here are just some of the positives; My already close family are even closer and we got so much more time together than predicted, many don’t have that luck. Through my Dad, a true hero, I have seen how selfless, loving and generous someone can be. Life is incredible and exciting but fleeting, so I want to grab it with both hands. I love deeply and I won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t do the same. I completely understand and want to look after myself; body mind and soul. Positive thoughts simply do effect the world around you. Human beings are wonderful. From the angelic nurses, hospice carers, my family, friends, colleagues to complete strangers – the love, affection, strength and general good vibes have been somewhat overwhelming and completely beautiful.
So if you are going through a ‘thing’ (and everyone is going through something) , or a ‘difficult, out of the ordinary time’ in whatever way it presents itself to you, here’s what I have done to help;
- Get outside. Run and show yourself how strong you are. Honestly, nature and exercise are so much cheaper than therapy
- Eat well and look after yourself. Your body needs as much help as it can get to keep you feeling on top
- Laugh. All the time. Its so important. (I’ve GOT to tell you the joke about the baker with brown hands…)
- Surround yourself with support and strength. I’m the luckiest person alive to have the most wonderful support network. (Thanks you lot x)
- Do what feels right and be gentle with yourself. If you want to be quiet, do that. If you want to talk until the cows come home, do that.
- Don’t stop. Life isn’t on hold. It’s right now. Its going on all the time and you’ll miss it if you don’t keep going.
So there it is. Maybe my bear isn’t interested in me because I’m trying my best. The bear doesn’t disturb me or I it.
Apologies for the heaviness of this post. I promise I’ll provide some light relief soon (I made some chia seed energy balls recently which looked like turds.) and I hope this hasn’t left you feeling down but in fact feeling uplifted with the knowledge that no, life is definitely not shit.
In the wise words of Dumbledore (oh yes. I’m a HP lover)….