Tag Archives: mental ill health

I Can’t Do This! Yes You Can!

Sue Curr Speaker Empowerment Coach

I Can’t Do This! Yes You Can!

Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, some people make it happen – Michael Jordan

 

We have to believe that we will!

Against all the odds and despite all the obstacles that we may face, we have to believe that we are going to make it, otherwise what would be the point?

The choice to do so together with the inherent power we have which allows us to make it to wherever we need or want to be in life is ours alone

It could be that we want to make a lifestyle change or rise above historic emotional issues. It could be that we know deep down that we are stuck in a situation which has long since served to be of any positive use to us that we want to be free from

Whether the place we need to get to is physical, emotional, or that of a shift in mind set it is almost irrelevant because if we’ve reached the point where we are questioning ourselves as to whether or not we will make it then we know deep down that the time has come for a change and more importantly a change for the better

If we are determined enough we’ll get to where we need to be

Yet sadly the need to change means little unless we actively want to do something about it and therein lies the crux of the matter.

At times of crisis or indecision the paths of need and want are simultaneously intertwined and yet are also polar opposites. In simple terms when we need a glass of water it’s usually because we are thirsty and yet when we want a glass of water it’s also usually because we are thirsty!

Doesn’t that mean the same thing?

 

No! If we  need something it’s essential in the great scheme of things

But when we want something it’s an object of desire, something that would be nice to have but it wouldn’t matter if we didn’t get it

‘Making It’ is influenced by the power we have to choose what we want in life

It’s when we couple it with an actual need to do so that the chances of actually achieving it become much improved

How can I possibly ‘make it’ when I’m gripped by mental ill health?

Well the short answer is that anything is possible. When we not only want to do it but believe that we can (and that includes our mental health) then we can take the responsibility to choose to be proactive in the way we approach it, for instance…

On September 26th this year it will be five years since I was admitted as an emergency to hospital. It will be a day I not only thought, but was told I would never see and yet here I am!

I tell you this for no other reason than to define how powerful the combination of need and want are as we strive to ‘MAKE IT’ in life hopefully you’ll see what I mean;

For the majority of my adult life I’ve battled with varying forms of mental ill health but very late in the day (I was in my late 30’s at the time) it was confirmed that I had a pretty disastrous combination of anxiety based issues, Psychosis and Bi-Polar Disorder for starters but despite struggling to both cope and accept my lot (denial can be very persuasive) I finally began to not only address the situation but take responsibility for it as I commenced a long and lonely journey through the battlefield that is Mental Ill Health.

One which very nearly saw me lose my life!

The finer details for the under laying reasons (reasons as opposed to excuses) are for another time, but suffice to say that in the course of my denial I frequently refused the help, be it medical intervention, or otherwise that I so desperately needed. I started to self medicate with my drug of choice, that of alcohol and not unsurprisingly over time my problem drinking  morphed into alcoholism. It was the biggest open secret around except that the only person who didn’t know or rather refused to accept it was – ME!

Let me take you back in time!

Because frankly we can only ever connect the dots by looking backward!

So on September 26th, 2012 I’m in my Doctors office for the blood test results I’d been waiting for. At 52 I’m obese, bloated, jaundiced, have delirium tremors and am taking 17 different prescriptions daily which include 44 tablets for everything from depression to acid reflux and high cholesterol.

I WAS A MESS!

The Doctors face is grave but she cuts straight to the chase.

”Susan I’m calling an ambulance right now, your liver is failing”

I actually laughed (even at that point I was still in denial) and she proceeded to do just that.

The last thing I remember is being put into a hospital bed and my husband tearfully giving the medical team my details. I woke up 5 days later with absolutely no recollection of what had just happened to me!!!

In short, I had spent the previous 15 years subconsciously trying  to drink myself to death largely because I couldn’t accept or cope with either the under laying cause of my illness or my subsequent behaviour and being brutally honest neither had I wanted to because the thought of making it anywhere, let alone to the other side of my mental ill health issues or anything else for that matter just wasn’t on my radar.

That is until I came round and I was visited by my Consultant who told me point blank without ceremony that ‘I would be lucky to have 5 years left to live and although he hoped I’d walk out of there on my own two feet, he didn’t actually think I would be going home’!

The bottom fell out of my world that day!

But in the split second it took for me to register what had been said I instantly knew that it was the catalyst I needed to help me ‘MAKE IT’.

Being faced with my own mortality had in a split second forced me to accept the fact I had been denying for so long – I was an alcoholic – and that if I was going to make it; physically, emotionally and mentally I not only needed to, I had to want to more than anything else and that included being anywhere near the demon drink!

The point behind all this is that whatever the circumstances causing you to feel as though you need to make it are – YOU HAVE TO WANT TO DO IT!

When our should becomes our must things finally begin to change!

My need to make it through to the other side of both my mental ill health issues and my alcoholism turned around in an instant because my desire to live became stronger than the need for that which I had taken solace in to mask my emotional and mental anguish!

We face many  battles to get to where we want or need to be in our lives, many of them the result of external influences but we also have to take responsibility for the part we play in things.

It’s so much easier to hide behind the facade of blaming someone or something for the situations we find ourselves in and that’s where, certainly in my case the downward spiral begins.

Be it the opinions and actions of others bringing pressure to bear whilst trying to mold us into something which we aren’t or the historical feelings of guilt, inadequacy and low self-esteem we experience borne on the back of things said or done. The point is they all lead us to feel as though we’re lacking in some way. Unworthy. Not good enough.

They are learned behaviour patterns which can and do impact massively on everything in our lives. Relationships. Careers. Mental as well as physical health and it is the struggle which we have with every single aspect of this which ultimately leads us to want to make it

What we lose sight of, if we ever had it to lose in the first place, is that with a little courage and determination on our part we have both the power and the choice to change things for the better. If we’re lucky – I truly was – we have the support of our loved ones along the way. The bottom line is it’s our responsibility to do what we have to do, in order that we can get where we want or need to be.

How do we do this?

Find a starting point, your catalyst, the thing which will finally galvanise you into action and then understand that you have to unlearn everything that has gone before.

We have to accept that we cannot change the past but in order for us to change we must forgive it. Let it go. Move on. This becomes so much easier when we consciously decide to act based on the combined need and desire to move forward.

When we sow the seeds of change within ourselves then the hard work can begin

Having forgiven our past we then have to do the same for ourselves. Forgive yourselves for the mistakes you made along the way. In doing so learn from  them and watch how you grow! As we start to grow we come to understand that as a person regardless of what others may think of us we are enough just the way we are, no excuses, no justifications and very definitely no apologies for being who we are.

When we accept ourselves it brings with it an increase in confidence and the self esteem to enable us to have the courage of our convictions. We no longer feel the need to be a people pleaser at the expense of our own self worth. We come to know that we can and should stand up for ourselves and we come to understand that we don’t have to succumb to abusive, manipulative or emotionally and mentally draining people ever again!

It’s not an easy journey and there’ll be days when we feel lost or hopeless and panic will set in as we fear a return to our previous negative, unhealthy or destructive ways but that’s OK we’re human. It’s not realistic to expect ourselves to be perfect. On occasion when this happens and it will, forgive yourself, draw a line under it and look to tomorrow because it is not only another day, it’s the first day of the rest of your life.

Your new life and if you’ve reached that point you really will have made it.

Is it worth it? Yes it is!

There are massive steps along the road to making it but they are so worth it, especially as we feel our resolve grow ever stronger.

The hard work, the trauma, the emotional and mental upset, all of it pales into insignificance when you suddenly understand, probably for the first time you’re living life to the full on your own terms, comfortable in your own skin and despite everything that has happened along the way you realise that not only are you grateful to be so, you no longer feel guilty because;

You MAY have wished for it, you MAY have wanted it but you MADE it happen 

YOU MADE IT!

 

It’s OK To Be Sad – Isn’t it?

It's OK to be Sad Living Life From The Inside Out

The fear of what others think or say about us often cause us to pretend that everything is OK when it’s anything but


It’s okay to be sad!!

Sadness just as much as any other emotion is and indeed should be equally as valid as any other; happiness, anger, jealousy and joy and as such it’s OK to be sad as and when we feel the need

Isn’t It?

Yet the fear of what others think or say about us often cause us to pretend otherwise because we don’t want to worry them. We don’t want them to think we’re weak or can’t cope for instance or worse that we’re an attention seeking drama queen!

But life isn’t a performance!

However pretending to be OK when you feel like you’re falling apart is. It isn’t your job to smile or hide your authentic truth purely to serve to make other people feel more comfortable

So if things become awkward let them

It’s not okay for others to undermine or gloss over your feelings, to try to silence your pain by telling you to get over it or cheer up because you’re no longer fun to be around. They like you need to understand that you are perfectly imperfect and as such are entitled to have times when you no longer wish or need to perform for anyone’s benefit except yours

There’s no need to push away your sadness

You should always honour your feelings and understand that you don’t need permission, approval or validation to feel what you feel and more importantly is very, very real

Self care is important and we should never neglect it for the sake of others. Especially those who may only want you around when it’s easy & comfortable. Their discomfort isn’t about you, it’s about them, their limitations and their own issues

No matter what they think or say, you should always to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel.

You’re allowed to show your feelings honestly.

You’re allowed to talk about your pain and reach out for support if you feel you need it.

You’re allowed to scream and wail and cry.

After all there’s a saying ‘it’s better out than in’ meaning in terms of our mental health that the sooner we acknowledge, accept and validate our emotions then the sooner we can work through them and let them go having learned what we need to from the experience

On a personal level recently as a family we had (and in some instances continue) to deal with some pretty traumatic circumstances each one which in their own right were enough to cope with on any given day but when combined, served on several occasions to almost completely derail our day to day lives and yet from my perspective they didn’t (though to be honest it came close at times) because I’m human and I now understand that as such we have the power of choice

Let me explain what I mean …

Just a few short years ago the stress of the chaos unfolding around us, let alone my highly charged emotional state caused by recent situations would’ve been enough to see me heading for a bottle or 4 of wine per day just to keep on an even keel in terms of ‘keeping it all together’. Anyway despite the emotions, chaos and drama which has continued to plague us these last few months and without burdening you with the finer detail, I’m happy to report that I’m still well and truly sober. YAAAAY!

Yet there have been several times where I’ve been so sad, so overwhelmed and so bloody frustrated I thought I would implode!

Why am I telling you this?

That’s easy because as I’ve pointed out previously life isn’t a performance and I know that now, but the old me?

The old me would’ve carried on stoically, pretending to the world and his father that everything, including me was fine. That I was despite everything happy. That I could cope and that they didn’t need to worry about me. All true – in the story in my head – and which was one of the reasons my life previously took the turn it did

However

The new me (I’m still very much a work in progress mind) knows better, so very much better and these days…

If I’m sad or overly emotional? I let it out. I sob, I cry and most importantly I’m getting better at doing it

If I’m angry?  I let it out. Even (and I have) if I have to go outside and scream at the moon and trust me on this when we release our anger healthily we instantly begin to feel better!

If I feel overwhelmed, hurt or confused? I let it out. I work through those feelings as best, as soon and as thoroughly as I can. Writing everything down is a good venting strategy as well as the more obvious one of talking it through with someone who’s not only supportive but objective (for my part thank you, you know who you are) and whilst ALL of the above and more constitute the menu which is sadness, they by the same token are all of them much easier to overcome, move through and grow from when we deal with them head on and don’t bury them, along with our heads in the sand.

But Do You Know What?

When we allow ourselves to feel, truly feel our emotions and at the same time allow those around us who matter; partners, family, friends etc, to see it then we very importantly take the first all important step in allowing ourselves to be seen to be vulnerable.

It’s not easy. It’s scary and it hurts like hell and is why allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is something that many of us (mental health issues aside) find difficult because in doing so we’re also allowing others to see that not only is everything not well in our world but moreover the picture we’ve painted for them of our being ‘superwoman/man’ is a myth

Guess What? – They Already Knew That!

No one is perfect but often the pictures we paint, the facades we build to protect ourselves from too close a scrutiny by others can be. This does both us and those we care for a disservice. Simply because in our determination to be seen to be constantly happy or always able to cope, we take away their choice in the matter and in doing so deem them either not able to cope with our weaknesses (for fear of upsetting them) or have unfairly decided that they wouldn’t care, have time or be interested if we did

The thing is, that’s not our call to make, it’s theirs!

Five years or more ago I made that same decision. The one to shield those I love and they me, from my pain and sadness. It’s one of the few things I regret today because in trying to shield them I certainly took away their choice.

The choice as to whether or not they would simply watch as I imploded or step up and help me to recover and live if they wanted or were able to

But that choice would have been theirs to make not mine

So is it OK to be sad, angry, upset and emotional especially without worrying about what others will think, say or feel about you?

YES because …

As Dr Seuss so succinctly put it ‘Those who matter don’t mind whereas those who mind don’t matter’!!

So…It is okay to be sad!! – AGREED?

Sue Curr is a Speaker, Empowerment Coach & Writer who in combining her professional background with her own significant journey along lifes loneliest of roads that of Mental Ill Health & Addiction today serves to enable others to see and understand that whoever and whatever we are?

It’s Enough!

 

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Dont be so POST

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

Lucille Ball

I have long struggled to reconcile myself to the fact that practicing Self Care  as opposed to being Selfish is not only ACCEPTABLE, it’s NECESSARY! Whilst for me at least being selfish has never been an option on this journey through life, the alternative and far healthier choice of caring  positively and in a loving manner for oneself, I have for a very long time mistakenly believed to be the same thing. In fact NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Self Care;  Looking after ones self in a healthy manner be it physically, mentally or spiritually
Selfish;  lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

When you look at the definitions side by side the difference in meaning is CLEAR for all to see. Yet in my minds eye the fact that on occasion when I chose to utter the word NO in response to say a request to do something for another the guilt and anguish I experienced at my own PERCEIVED selfishness  simply because I had ”refused to help someone” in some way, knew absolutely no bounds. Unfounded guilt, coupled with  equally unfounded paranoia that they would deem my negative response to their request as me being SELFISH fueled a self perpetuating decline overtime into the unrealistic realm of me responding with a compliant YES to requests REGARDLESS of whether I needed to do something different at the time or not!

In real terms what that meant on the most basic of levels is that in the great scheme of things when asked to do……..(you fill in the blanks)….and regardless of circumstance, situation, time constraints, personal commitments I would more often than not be heard to proffer an enthusiastic YES (when actually feeling anything but!) and usually at great personal expense in terms of the impact on both my physical and mental well being. Simply put I had done an OUTSTANDING job of convincing myself that without doubt to proffer an equally firm but polite NO would mean that I was SELFISH personified!

In essence I had decided at an extremely young age that I would in no way become a SELFISH person,  A noble premise but one in which aiming to achieve, I had unwittingly applied a totally unrealistic set of principles for negotiating the minefield of life. Principles which would see me time and again put the needs of others over and above those of myself regardless of personal cost. In all honesty the cost incurred was probably an equal mix in terms physical, emotional and mental decline. The concept of SELF-CARE never having even been allowed the opportunity to be considered. In my ”quest” to become ”all things, to all people” a modern day mix of Mother Theresa & Nelson Mandela if you will, my default setting had turned me into a somewhat substandard version of Mary Poppins as I had very definitely become ”practically IMPERFECT in every way”.

The pressure I had put myself under by striving to reach the unattainable saw me buckle under my PERCEIVED FAILURE to be the person I THOUGHT others wanted me to be as opposed to the person that I ACTUALLY AM! Such was my physical and mental decline that I was the last  one to realise just exactly what my self imposed mindset had cost me.

Almost too late I realised that those who I loved and who loved me in return did so simply BECAUSE of who I AM and NOT because what I can do for them. All they wanted (had EVER wanted) was for me to be HAPPY, HEALTHY & WHOLE! Were I on occasion willing and ABLE to help them out in some way then that would be ENOUGH.

I WOULD BE ENOUGH!

So late in the day I came to understand the concept of SELF-CARE! Together with it’s implications and benefits. The outcome for me (and hopefully those of you who may also lack self awareness) is such that as a matter of priority I  now strive everyday to seek BALANCE in life: a healthy, balanced diet, quality sleep and enough of it, to spend quality time with loved ones and above all else to make time to relax and just ”be” – whether sitting, reading, meditating, essentially doing something where I show MYSELF the love I now know I DESERVE and which without forethought I make so readily available to others.

When you truly come to understand AND practice the art of SELF-CARE, see it in action for yourself AND THEN realise that life as you knew it has not only NOT ceased to exist BUT in fact IMPROVED BEYOND MEASURE then you will know without a shadow of a doubt that to;

”Love yourself first and everything else falls in line”

……..probably number amongst some of the truer words ever spoken! Never lose sight of the fact that when it comes to being loved then you are right up there at the top of the list so remember going forward

”Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!”