Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Add Meaning

I was thinking last Sunday about how meaningless everything used to seem to me. Now that I know life is made up of lots of important, meaningful interactions, occurrences, failures, achievements and lessons, it is a challenge to remember exactly what I couldn't see in the past.
But, quite simply, I could see nothing. I explained away any trace of what could be called meaning from any activity put before me, whether it was a big occasion or an everyday task. I became quite skilled at this.

It didn't matter whether or not I went for a walk, for example. I could go or not. One walk wasn't going to make that much difference to my fitness level or muscle tone. No one who might see me on the road would have their lives changed even an iota by meeting me en route to wherever they were heading. My breathing wouldn't be changed significantly by half an hour of fresh air and my vitamin D levels couldn't possibly be affected either to any great extent.
So I didn't go.
And it didn't matter.

It didn't matter whether or not I got the bus into town to meet a friend for coffee. One chat wasn't going to make that much difference to our friendship in the grand scheme of things. She was probably very busy and only fitting me into her schedule out of kindness anyway. I didn't want her pity.
So I cancelled it.
And it didn't matter.

It didn't matter whether or not I agreed to be my eldest sister's bridesmaid. She was going to get married anyway.
So I made myself as small and insignificant on the day as was humanly possible and I stayed away from all cameras, except the one photograph I couldn't get out of - that of the whole family.
It didn't matter. It wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't gone at all.

It didn't matter whether or not I got up from the seat in which I was sitting and played with my niece and nephew. I could talk to and encourage them from my seat and it was the same thing as playing with them on the ground really.
So I stayed in my seat and watched.
And it didn't matter.

The list goes on. Some of the people whom were patient and kind to stick around in spite of my constant rejection of the world around me told me I should try and "find meaning" in life. I began searching. I began finding.

But that was only enough to help me remember to hold on. There was no real control or self-empowerment in that.
And then, literally one day after a session with a very helpful and kind therapist, I decided I was going to say "yes" to life.

It was no easy undertaking, after years and years of automatically saying "no" to everything from attending parties to whether I would like a cup of tea. But I worked on it. At first, I didn't get the balance right at all. I ended up accepting invitations and obligations to do things I didn't actually want to attend or do. But after years of not knowing what I wanted, at least I was finding out what I didn't enjoy!

With the changes that came about as a result of my saying "yes" to life, I realised I possessed a very useful and positive power. This power was greater than the greatest superheroes in any comic or film. I had the power to ADD meaning to the experiences that filled my days.

I could decide that it DID matter whether or not I went for a walk, for example. I could go or not and one walk wasn't going to make that much difference to my fitness level or muscle tone but someone who might see me on the road could have their day improved even just an iota by meeting me en route to wherever they were heading, and by my greeting them with a smile. My breathing wouldn't be changed significantly by half an hour of fresh air and my vitamin D levels couldn't be affected either to any great extent, but with each walk I could acknowledge that my health was improved just a little by the time outdoors and that cumulatively, all the walks I chose to go on could make me feel happier and more energetic.
So I went.
And it did matter. And, better still, I realised that I felt I mattered more for the meaning I added to it.

It DID matter whether or not I got the bus into town to meet a friend for coffee. Friendships are made of all the little chats and the small efforts we make to find time for nurturing relationships, despite busy schedules.
So I made plans and kept them.
And it did matter. And, better still, I realised that I felt I mattered more for the meaning I added to it.

It DID matter whether or not I agreed to be my brother's bridesmaid. He was going to get married anyway but he loves me enough to ask me to be a part of his special day.
I made myself as  recognise how significant I was on the day and I smiled for the cameras, accepting my rightful place in one photograph I wouldn't want to be left out of - that of the whole family.
And it did matter. And, better still, I realised that I felt I mattered more for the meaning I added to it.

It DID matter whether or not I got up from the seat in which I was sitting and played with my niece and nephew. I could talk to and encourage them from my seat but playing with them on the ground was infinitely more enjoyable for us all. My relationships with them and with my three other, new nieces are more important to me than any distorted beliefs I may still harbour about my lack of relevance. These thoughts, in themselves, are irrelevant.
So I get out of my seat and I dance and I mess and I wrestle and I run around.
And it did matter. And, better still, I realised that I felt I mattered more for the meaning I added to it.

The list goes on.

And it's a far better list than the first one, I think.

Saturday, 13 June 2015


I am who I am, and who I am needs no excuses!!

 

Recently I have been challenged with many things, health, depression, changes in lifestyle and with that someone has asked who are you.  What makes you, you.  To this I have answered I Don’t Know, I have no idea who I am.  While discussing this with a loved one she asked me what my values are, surely they are what makes you, you!

I have always defined myself by my status in life, as in I am a wife, mother, daughter, niece, sister in law etc. I work at, whatever, before marriage, I was an athlete, I was one of eight children,  I was one of the xxxx family. People never really knowing which one of the family I was.

With my recent health issues, I have gotten totally bogged down.   I have tried to continue doing what I would normally do, at the same pace and with the same expectations, but my body has been letting me down. Or has it?  Maybe this is my body trying to tell me to stop, change, adapt and adopt new ways…..

I love walking as a means of movement, as a means of self care and as a means of enjoyment.  I love being outdoors and love spotting wild life, or smelling a new scent, or discovering a new blossom.  It was suggested to take up swimming again, but that is even more exhausting than walking, it was suggested to go back on the bike, but that causes its own problems with my current issues. I mean what else can I do, I want to do my walking the way I have always done it but can’t and woe is me!! Or is it.

So this weekend I decided to actually listen to my body, but also do what I like to do.  I went for a walk, hubby and dogs in tow, I slowed my pace down, if pain started to creep in I changed my pace, If I needed to stop, I took a break.  I actually went on a longer walk than I would normally go, I was out for a much longer period of time, but it had all the right results.

I was out, I was doing what I like doing, I was happy, I was sharing my time with my loved one, I was enjoying nature, which included seeing squirrels, a pheasant, swans, ducks and a cheeky little girlie dog, pink bow and all, who interacted with one of my dogs and then “blew him off”….. twice!! J

So back to the original question, who am I

I am me, a unique human being.  I have quirks and I have faults.  I am loving and giving.  I am sharing and caring. I can adapt and adopt new ways. I value my time with loved ones. I love nature and the outdoors.  I am sensitive and learning to embrace it. I am a kind empathetic sort of person. I am flexible. I am helpful. I am who I am with many more fine attributes.

I still fulfil various roles in my life, but they do not define me, they are not what makes me, me.

So if life is challenging you at the moment, if health is letting you down or giving you signals of change, then try not let it get you down.  Try to stop and think how you can change your lifestyle to suit the new you.  Your fundamental self does not change, just how you approach things. Don’t let the rat race of life dictate who you think you should be or could be, instead look at your own values in life and live by them. Learn to be flexible with life and learn to be you. 

 

 


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Is being Suicidal an Excuse???



At a recent meeting of Dare to Live SOS a member brought up Andres Lubitz and the perceived justification of his killing 150 people because he was suicidal. It was agreed at the meeting that we would write an article on the blog and get people talking about it.

I initially agreed with the concept and later agreed to write the article, but have subsequently re thought the whole subject.

In the original article I was quite controversial and posed the question – Are his actions excusable because he was suicidal or is he guilty of mass murder?  I likened him to the many suicide bombers who have deliberately taken not only their own lives but those of many innocent people.  I suggested that he is as guilty of mass murder as these suicide bombers. 

But then our blog is about promoting hope, it’s about promoting recovery and it’s about promoting survival over suicide. As a group we do not believe that suicide is an excuse and nor is it the only answer.  We believe that there are always choices, there is always a solution.

Suicide is not an illness, it is the action taken to stop the pain of an illness.  It is therefore not an excuse for taking 150 other peoples lives.

This man, from the evidence that is coming out made decisions, he researched his subject, he ignored medical advice and he was very calculating in the way he ended up in the cock pit by himself.

We cannot judge him as no one knows another persons mind or thoughts.  But also we should not excuse the fact that what he did was wrong and that being suicidal does not justify what he did.

Many of us have suicidal thoughts, many of us have attempted suicide but all of us have sought out the help and support needed to get us out of this frame of mind.  All of us have taken responsibility for our own recovery.  This man knowing he had mental health problems had a duty of care to himself and to others around him, a duty for whatever reason he chose to ignore.

So for anyone out there who is struggling, please reach out, talk to someone, anyone, take responsibility, suicide it not necessarily about ending your life but instead about ending your pain.  This pain can in many cases be softened by getting help and or completely resolved.  Sometimes we need to understand our pain, understand how to deal with it, learn from it, grow from the experience and then let it go. 

 Suicide is a permanent solution
      to a temporary problem.