I had to use a spice girl lyric as it popped into my head when I thought about this subject.
So, the past week has been full of family and friends and it has made me realise how far I have come ( I had no panic attacks…. WOOOOHOOOO!) The only thing is after they leave and I am back to my life of recovery, I can’t help but will things forward. I want to be better and getting on with my life.
Before I became ill, I thought that things were on track and I was heading in the direction. I can’t help but feel frustrated at times, but I know that it is OK to feel this way. This made me think about plateaus.
At the moment, I would say that I am plateauing. There are activities in the pipeline that will help to move me forward, but I am in the in-between stages. I am far from where I was, but not quite where I want to be. This is when I have to gently remind myself that it is OK to be experiencing a plateau. Plateaus are a time to take stock of how far I have come and to practice living in the moment, instead of trying to race to where I think I should be.
I have high expectations for myself, it is not enough if I am being good and kind, I must be successful in all areas of my life. This means that I am constantly chasing something that isn’t achievable. I can’t be perfect in every aspect of my life, perfection in itself isn’t real. No one is perfect, no matter how they may seem to be, we are all flawed.
I think chasing perfection just leads to a gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction, which is difficult to shift. If you think of the people that you love in your life, they will all have different strengths and weaknesses but you love them for who they are anyway. Yet, finding that same love for yourself can sometimes be a struggle.
I have been thinking of ways of being comfortable in plateau and have compiled a list of things that help me, hopefully, they will help you too.
Keep the faith– Life is full of twists and turns. Sometimes you are taken in a direction that you maybe weren’t expecting, you may lose a job or a relationship may break down. In the moment, it can seem catastrophic, but you don’t know what is around the corner. I have, at times, felt that my life is over, but I have been shown so many wonderful things and met many amazing people on the other side of that. Things may not be where you want them right now, but they will get better.
Talk it out- Frustration can be a bitch. It can sit in your stomach or chest and just peck away at you. Sometimes, just getting those thoughts out with a friend or someone you trust, can help you to see that they bear no weight. It's OK to want to move forward, it is what keeps us going, but patience is key. You wouldn’t tell a friend to ‘hurry up and get better’ so why use those words on yourself. We all need a good moan sometimes, its healthy to get it out.
Plan ahead, then put it aside- Writing down how you feel or what you want from life can be really cathartic. I follow a Psychologist on Instagram called Dr. Nicole LePera, under the Instagram name @the.holistic.psychologist . She posts a lot of useful tips that have aided my recovery. Something that she has promoted, which I have been doing recently, is a future self journal. It is a tool that I use in the morning before I start my day. This helps me to set an intention for the day and manifest my dreams for the future. She describes it as a way to shape the person that you want to be and if you sign up to her newsletter, she sends instructions on how to do this. For anyone who is a fan of the book ‘The Secret’ By Rhonda Byrne, you will probably find this useful. Once you have written it all down, allow yourself to put any worries or frustrations aside and get on with your day.
Being in the moment- Unfortunately, we have little or no control of the future. Of course, we can put things in place and set goals, which can be really helpful, but life has a tendency of knocking you off course. The only thing we have for sure is this moment right now. Worrying and willing the future here, just takes away any chance of happiness right now. I know that this is extremely difficult, especially when struggling with a mental health condition, but with the right help, you can do it. Again, if you are unable to stop worrying and it is having an impact on your day to day life, seek help from your GP or local IAPT ( Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service. There isn’t a one size fits all approach for your mental health. People find different things helpful, just have faith that you will find yours. Even if you think that you have exhausted all options, there are always more.
Remember that this is a chapter in your book- Just because you feel like your life is on pause, it doesn’t mean that it is. So many valuable lessons are learnt through the times that seem like annoyances or frustrations. Patience being one of them. Try to be patient with yourself and kind always. Aim to treat yourself how you would treat a loved one and accept yourself at whichever stage you are at. You are perfectly imperfect and that is what makes you beautiful. Wouldn’t life be boring any other way?