Woke up raring to go today!
Yesterday I hit a real anxiety patch, had a proper skirmish with it. It helped to go into (what I call) 'head down, nerd mode': focus intensely on one tiny business task, breathe deeply, do task, move to next tiny task. If I can't do any task, I move away comletely and ground myself before either coming back to do a tiny task, or wrapping myself in compassion and comfort, reminding myself of how far I've come, and come back the next day. The compassion wrapping has taken some learning, believe me!
Sometimes it's important for me to keep going in the tiny bit-by-bit way, because I know anxiety is telling me "you can't do this, it's overwhelming, it's not going to work, they'll reposses everything, you've got no money other than benefits". It's then I need to push through because I can, and show it that I know my ideas and skills are sound, that I have a good chance of making something work and I just need a bit of time to get it all together. I know how to show anxiety that it's not allowed to get 'too big for it's boots' (yes I did used to work with awesome children and young people if you recognise that phrase).
I discovered a warrior in me when I broke down and lost everything, it took guts and sheer strength to walk through that emotionally and physically, taking tiny steps in an arid desert, pushing hard against a head wind that is determined to throw you off your feet. I have never been so strong as in those desperate painful moments, never so protective of myself when I thought I couldn't protect myself. I discovered a primitive reserve I never knew I had. I fought for everything I had and everything I was, and when I didn't know who or what that was any more, I fought in pure blind faith in the pain storm. With all the help I had, in those moments, when paired down to the bare bones, it was down to me alone, only I could do it, and I found fight.
I've always been a visual person and a lover of metaphor, these experiences had a filmic quality to them, some at the time, some in recall. I use visuals now as reminders of strength.
I thought I had lost everything when in fact, what I lost were things I didn't need anymore, things that were weighing me down, but there was no way I could have known that then because the process was so painful. I realised my breakdown was a huge painful pairing back to the sinew, back to a difficult beginning, and then, a raw rebirth.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. T. S. Eliot
(possibly the first time Eliot has met Star Wars. Also, no apologies for being a fan of the original Star Wars and latest final episodes)
But back to Anxiety (not everyday worry for those unsure), it's whats left. It'll be around to an extent perhaps always, if I ever tell my 'why' story, you'll understand. It has good reason for it's existence and deep wiring with myself. It hangs out under certain circumstances, so we've built a relationship. We're buddies of sorts, we know each other well, listen to each other and work things out together. The more we do that, the smaller it gets. I also need to introduce my anxiety properly to Anna Sicilia, in2gr8's new Director, it won't like that one bit, because her presence with mine will help in2gr8 grow, it's a real boost to it's development targets and potential for success! It's scuppered!
So, back to today and business excitement, because anxiety was yesterday and it's clearly off doing something else at the moment.
Alf (my Jack Russell - possible alter ego BB-8) is being company secretary, and I'll update Anna on Whatspp later.
Today's Line Up of Busy:
✅ Company insurances
✅ Evidence-based models of working
And before you ask, that evidence base is purely complimentary to our lived experience and certainly doesn't trump it! We're gonna bring it all.
How do we do that?
Critique existing models of what were looking at, according to our lived experience and peer conversations about what is and isn't useful.
Reconfigure elements accordingly.
Use data to hone further.
A classic improvement cycle to do things better and better that stays close to the ground.
We can do this. I fight now for this work, and for people Anna and I can help navigate their lived experience as mental health professionals, I've been fighting for it since it's launch in October '17. Stigma in the professions and in the public is a real foe. I don't want to draw too many Star Wars comparisons here (!), but Darth... well, lets understand the power of fear. Those of us with lived experience of mental health propblems know it intimately, and it's that knowledge which makes us stronger.
If you work with children using a narrative therapy model, externalisation techniques, or you're simply a fan of Douglas Adams (love him!), you'll recognise how I have positioned anxiety in this blog :)