Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Girl, interrupted

Kindred spirits who have been communing with me here for some time will know that I have been struggling a little of late. You'll also know that this took me somewhat by surprise.

I wound up three years of psychotherapy late last year (though not exactly by choice) and was feeling pretty on top of things. Sure the first few weeks with a new baby was tough, but I anticipated that.

I see now that I was resisting admitting that I was starting to struggle. I was particularly afraid that this admission might mean that I had Post Partum Depression and that this would have consequences for me and my baby and my family.

I see now that these fears were not founded on anything but ancient, inherited stories about fear and frustration and losing control. I also see how resisting the admission exacerbated the problem.

The fortnight before I attended the Big Hearted Business Conference, I was stuck in a vortex of the most vicious and debilitating hateful self-talk I have ever experienced. After a gentle prompt, I woke up and made a plan. There was some comfort in this. I felt a little more in control.

Then I managed to bungle the first attempt to connect with one of my lifelines and started to slip again. This lovely lifeline invited me to write about the experience. At the end of a very long and inarticulate rant, these words tumbled out by way of post script:

I'm over it. And feel like I should be able to manage this stuff. It's silly and pointless and untrue and unhelpful. I'm doing really well on all other fronts of my life. I don't want to feel this miserable any more.

Suddenly, something shifted. A tiny space opened up.

It wasn't like an epiphany and it didn't stop the hateful self-talk. But the next time I started to slip, I felt that space again. I was still in the vortex but this time I could see myself in it.

And that tiny voice piped up again: I don't want to feel this way any more.

At the conference, Danielle LaPorte discussed the danger of positive affirmations particularly when in the midst of pain and darkness. She also noted the tendency to spring into "action mode", over-analysing the situation, teeing up a therapist, making plans to attend yoga class, anything to regain control.

Most of us laughed and I'm guessing that most of us, like me, could see ourselves in this.

She then invited us to use our core desired feelings as interruption.

I don't think I could do justice to the concept of core desired feelings here and anyone whose interest is piqued really should buy Danielle's book. (I'd go so far as to say that everyone in the world should buy her book, but I digress.)

What really spoke to me was the idea of interruption, as I was in the midst of experiencing it and it was powerful.

The possibility of an interruption feels like a crack in the armour of my inner bully. The possibility of interruption feels like an invitation to explore my creative dreams in earnest. The possibility of an interruption feels like a safe space to explore how I can scaffold myself more effectively.

Just the possibility of an interruption is liberating. Exhilarating, even. A game changer, for sure. And terrifying, for certain.

For now, just allowing the possibility to marinate feels like an act of the most delicious rebellion.

Stay tuned, my friends!

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