#metoo

I can hold your hand

And tell you that it’s all OK

But is that really any good?

What is needed is a friend

Who has felt what you have felt.

One who’s been through something tough

And understands how hard it is

To live a life the same as you,

A person who can truly say #metoo.

Ooof! Things are just getting more and more intense as we go through this together. However, we all have our other struggles that we are battling and when you pair those with the virus, it’s enough for people to overflow with anxiety.

I’m hearing some terrible stories about people getting ill or having relationship problems during this crisis and they all must feel so lonely at this time. And what most people need in these times is someone to say the most powerful words we have at our disposal, me too.

It’s great to offer support to someone who is struggling but we always feel so much more comforted when we know that someone else has been through what we have and that they can truly identify with us. I don’t know why we are wired this way, but it almost feels soothing to know others have felt the pain I have.

I am going through a difficult time with my mother and just going on YouTube and reading some comments written by others whose relationships have broken down eased some of my pain. I think that I need to know that other people can go through the pain that I’m feeling and make it out the other side. Whatever the reason, I know that reading random comments was more soothing than talking to one of my close friends precisely because we could say me too.

So, if you are struggling with anything try and find some people that are in the same boat. I don’t really think that YouTube comments are always the best way forward but today it helped me! Some of the more helpful places would be support groups and the like.

Stay safe and fish out those people that are just like you, they’ll make you feel sane in a really crazy world.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we need a little faith, a faith, a faith

Lean,

Lean on something big,

Bigger than you.

Some may say it’s evil,

Tears the world apart.

Some may say it’s woo woo,

Just a hippy thing.

But I for one,

I need to lean

On something big

In scary times like this.

In the words of George Michael we need a faith, a faith, a faith. This whole situation that we find ourselves in at the moment is just too difficult for our human minds to comprehend. So it only makes sense that we find something bigger than ourselves to lean on.

I know that there are a lot of people out there that are extremely resistant when it comes to religion. There are wars fought over it and blood shed. But in everyday churches around the world a lot of people find a lot of peace and solace. There is community there and love and compassion. These are all things that we need by the bucket load at this moment in time.

And even if organised religion is not something you are willing to participate in, it’s so helpful to have something bigger than ourselves to lean on. We are all still like toddlers and we need a parent figure and God is that!

In addiction recovery, finding our own higher power is such an important part of keeping sober. We have proven that human power cannot rescue us and many will attest that handing everything over is so important.

And in the world today, so much control has been taken away from us. We can fight it and get angry and stressed, or we can hand it over and just accept where we are. It’s hard but it’s a beautiful process. We constantly slip and start to fight life again, but take notice of it happening and then get back on the right path.

Stay safe and love each other hard.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

i’m evil, right?

There are some dark and dusty corners

In the recess of my brain.

It is a room where devils live,

Whispering fatal words,

“You’re evil and you know”.

But devils can be trained and tamed

Like climbing plants that overrun.

Give some care and perfect love

And angel wings will always sprout.

So I went to have an assessment with our local mental health team today. I wasn’t holding out much hope for any help because I’ve already been told I have an anxiety disorder. As far as I was concerned, they had given me medication and a course in CBT and then I just had to manage it.

However, as the lady went through the questions she said that it was a possibility that I had Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. She wasn’t a doctor so she couldn’t diagnose, but she said that it was a real possibility.

Now, I don’t really like labels but this one helped me ‘get over’ something that was really quite frightening for me at the time. I was struggling at work about three years ago and I was offered CBT for depression and anxiety.

Long story short, the CBT made everything worse to the point where I ended up with psychotic symptoms. I went through a long period where I really believed I was evil. Even recently, I have thought about that time and felt like it all happened because I’m a bad person. I have felt like the therapist was trying to help me and my evilness was what stood in the way of success.

I got a bit tearful today when the lady told me that people who have EUPD can have trouble with CBT because it makes them aware of all their faults but then doesn’t give them any coping skills to fall back on. It was a huge fucking relief.

So, I just wanted to write this to get it off my chest and to get it into my own head that I’m not evil. I tried one type of therapy that really didn’t work well and that doesn’t make me a bad person. We all have a little devil running around in our heads and we are all capable of training him. I just need to try something different.

I repeat, I am not evil.

Much Love

Rachel xx

just hang on

fingernails are used to dig

in the soft and fleshy ridge,

the final place to get a grip

before the long descent.

letting go is tempting me,

to land in soft and springy grass,

a place where I can fall asleep

and follow rabbits in my dreams.

I hate the phrase ‘trigger warning’ but I think that I need to put a little warning here as I want to write about the horrible thought processes that I used to slip into when I was drinking (and I still do fall into these patterns, even now).

I remember when I was coming to the end of my drinking career, I could feel that my liver was starting to hurt and I was really worried that I was going to die. But I couldn’t stop so I just prayed each day that I could live until my son got married.

After that point, I didn’t care. As long as I got to see Noah paired off with somebody lovely, I was quite happy to then go and drink myself to death.

Although I don’t ever want to drink myself to death anymore, I can sometimes run the risk of falling into the same pattern of thinking. It’s when I get stressed or upset of tired, I find I can spiral.

The last few months have been really hard with my mum kicking dad out and then turning on Noah and I. I feel like I’m bereaved as she has cut off all contact with me. And so, I have found myself occasionally thinking that I’ll just hold on until Noah turns eighteen and then I can take my own life.

I promise that I won’t do it, but it just goes to show how a few knocks can put us in a really vulnerable place. I know that there are a lot of people who are going to feel stressed over the coming months and I want you to stay strong if you feel yourself wobbling. I’m not telling you I struggle for sympathy, but to show you that we all like that from time to time.

Stay safe and talk to somebody if you’re not feeling good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

glimmer

there’s always a glimmer

of hope in every day,

even when the world tells you

that you need to be slimmer,

your light needs to be a bit dimmer,

need to be a goddamn winner.

I can’t be half these things,

but I know for sure

that there’s always gonna be a glimmer

of hope.

We’re going through a bit of a rocky patch at the moment and it’s all doom and gloom every time we switch on the TV. It’s enough to put anyone in a dark place because it’s downright scary.

But, we have to remember that in any bad situation there will always be a glimmer of hope. There will always be some good news somewhere, or something to make you smile. And we need to hang onto this tightly.

I interviewed for a new job on Thursday and they rang me back within a couple of hours and offered me the role. It was so exciting and it offered me that little bit of hope. I hope that there are some good things that are going on for you to help you through these tough times.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

loneliness

Inside the curvature of glass

The outside world is warped and out of shape.

Images are upside down and inside out

While sounds just bounce against the dome,

Coming neither in nor out.

I have been shaken up and down

And tiny flecks of plastic snow

Are choking lungs and stick to skin.

Infuriating,

To the point of making

This girl want to end it all.

Just save me from my tiny globe

And let me live in holy commune

With my fellow man.

We are living in really scary times at the moment and a lot of people will be struggling with loneliness as we all start to retreat and isolate. Older people are the most vulnerable and they are the ones who are going to be feeling the effects of being alone.

I don’t know anything about the science behind what is going on, but I do know that we need to be thinking of people who have nobody around them at this stressful time. Loneliness can play with people’s mental health and the effects can be devastating.

Also, I think it might be worth mentioning that panic buying is doing nobody any favours. There is no toilet paper anywhere and I can’t understand why a household of two people need 27 loo rolls. Let’s try and share our resources and make sure that nobody is going without.

Stay safe guys and keep talking to each other (nicely) over the internet, because it might be the only human contact that some people are getting. A nice message might feel like a life line to some.

Much Love

Rachel xx

slowing it right down

The brain is quite mechanical,

All made up of turning cogs

That clink and clunk as thoughts pass through.

Sadness slows the churning down

But happy news can send it into overdrive.

The pieces start to let off smoke

And with no help they’re known to jam.

There is a way to slow it down,

It takes some effort on my part

But take a breath and fill my lungs,

It’s like a smudge of oily grease

On overworked and rusty parts.

It slows the thoughts that run away

And eases painful broken hearts.

When I first got sober somebody told me that it’s easy to get complacent and find yourself relapsing because of a happy event. After all, I didn’t just drink when I was sad; I also loved to drink to celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations and…… well, Tuesdays.

I don’t think that I’m at any risk of relapsing at the moment but I have received some happy news today and I can already feel myself getting a little bit overexcited, and it’s at times like these that I need to be at least a bit careful.

The happy news is that I have an interview for my teaching job on Thursday! I’m so happy, but I can also feel myself wishing away the time before now and then. And that’s dangerous for someone like me. I need to live in the moment and appreciate each moment.

I have found that CBT techniques can help and I know to practice my breathing work when I start to get a bit carried away. I do feel a bit like my brain is a machine and it can become a bit like an overheating car engine when I get excited about something.

For now, I’m just doing all the things I love to keep myself distracted and enjoying as many moments as I can. And if you’re in a similar situation and wishing time away, just slow down. You’ll get there in God’s time.

Much Love

Rachel xx

just for today

They tell me that I must live in the moment,

Take one day at a time

And forget about that distant future

That could be anything at all.

But I think it’s better to live by the breath

Because each one may be my last.

Breathe in and out and marvel in the fact

That I am alive for this perfectly sculpted moment,

For it was chiselled by God as a gift for me.

I’m thinking of studying again and it will mean getting a student loan (which is scary because I’ve never done that). It’s all very exciting and scary all at once, but because of the person that I am, I am often likely to spend too long thinking about the future, both good and bad.

But I also know that this can be dangerous. It can cause worry if things could go badly. Or it can cause me to rush into decisions if I’m happy and excited.

So right now I am really trying hard to live in the moment. I’m not even living in the day. Every breath is a moment that I should savour. I need to think like this in order to stay sane!

If you are going through any kind of stressful situation then I hope you are able to breathe through it and feel grateful for all the blessings in your life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

progress not perfection

Slow and steady

That’s what my parents said to me.

But I didn’t listen and hurtled on,

And let me tell you, the crash was spectacular.

*

Now I crawl along at a glacial speed

And sometimes *shock* *horror*

I might stop to take a break

Or stumble backwards for a week or two.

*

But that is fine, really it’s fine.

Because after years of toil and trouble,

Thinking I’m fighting a losing battle,

I take a break on the side of my mountain,

Hands on hips and head held high,

And I see that I’ve travelled so bloody far.

There’s more to climb but that’s neither here nor there.

The thrill comes from the knowing I’ve moved

Further than I thought I ever would,

Achieving more than I ever could.

One of my favourite little mantras that I hear in recovery is ‘Progress Not Perfection’. I love it because it’s positive in so many ways.

Firstly, it encourages me to slow down. When I was drinking I always wanted to do everything at a million miles an hour. I wanted that promotion NOW, I wanted that boy to love me NOW. It went on and on and on.

Now, I still feel myself getting carried away but I know to slow down, take my time and enjoy the journey. It doesn’t matter if I’m not at the top of the company that I work for. If I can just turn up every day and do a good job, then that is progress.

It also stops me beating myself up over mistakes I make. I recently got signed off work again with anxiety. I immediately started to beat myself up over it, telling myself that I was still a loser who couldn’t even handle a job in a petrol station.

However, this time around I got back to work after a week and I haven’t made a total hash of everything. Sure, I got signed off, but I have a lot on my plate. The thing that matters is that my behaviour is changing, slowly but surely.

I was told that I should always look back once every so often. Really stop and look at where you are and where you were and it’s normally really surprising (in a nice way)!

Make sure you all give yourselves a break and stop aiming for perfection. Just try to be better; that’s more than enough to ask of anyone.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s the best that i could do

I tried so hard that it hurt my heart

To see the tangled mess I’ve made.

Those bloody books you buy so much,

The ones that should’ve pumped me up

And made me feel just like a queen;

They tell me that I’m meant to scrape

Myself back up from on the floor.

I should be skipping through this life

Like Mary fucking Poppins.

But even Mary had her darker side.

I’m sure she struggled out of bed

On days when kids were little pricks.

*

But really, what other choice do we have?

And who knows what is up ahead?

And so I’ll pay attention to those books,

I’ll push myself to carry on

And find another way.

I did the Enneagram test yesterday and I came out as a Type 6. On reading through the description of this personality type I found that it was scarily close to me.

The type 6 is known to be very worried about anything and everything and they are always on the lookout for perceived risks and problems. If a type 6 gets too stressed they can start to become paranoid and think that they are the problem. This pretty much describes what I have gone through in the last couple of weeks!

Anyway, reading about my own personality type got me thinking about how I deal with failures and big problems. And in all honesty, I have to admit that I tend to just drop the ball and run (mainly out of fear).

I’ve realised that my personality type is known for not having much faith in themselves, they always reach outwards to anything from bosses to spouses to religion. So I’ve realised that in order to strengthen myself I need to have a bit more faith in my own decisions and intuition.

When things go wrong I need to stop running away and maybe find a different way. This sounds so basic and obvious, but when I’m in my reactive mode it’s really hard to override my flight response.

If you’re like me, next time there’s a problem take a moment before you react. Think where you could end up if you actually stick around and try again. I think of all of the opportunities I must have missed because I’ve given up when I feel like I’ve messed things up too much.

The real mistake is the giving up, so give it another go. Try doing it in a different way. The world isn’t caving in because we have done something badly. Us type 6 people can be so reliable and positive and loving if we can just overcome these crushing feelings.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

PS. I highly recommend having a go at the Enneagram test that I used, here. It gives you a good insight into where you can help yourself.

Also, if you are really struggling self help book are not going to cut it. Get to your GP or call the Samaritans. The website I used actually said that unhealthy type 6 people are at a high risk of alcohol and drug abuse. Don’t go down this path because it’s a pretty dark one but I can understand how it happens!