Finding Joy in the Ordinary

The last few weeks I’ve been feeling very ordinary and down to earth; even boring at times. Do you ever feel this way?

After the amazing experiences I’ve had since I turned 40 in March I was thinking that this time I had it sussed…life was good! Reality has hit again though. Now that my GCSE exams are over I’m having to get back into a Level 3 Administration course that I need to finish by January – it’s challenging because it’s boring! Aargh. Also I’m overweight again and have been feeling like it’s impossible to lose anything. I’ve gotten into the habit of comfort eating. Oh, and my many connections that I was having…they are still here, they just aren’t as frequent as they were.

Enter some loneliness, sadness, feelings of “I can’t do this/I’m no good” and even some Emotionsmild depression at times. How do I deal with this? Interestingly while I feel all these things I can still say that I’m not lost in these emotions. I can observe them and coach myself through them. So if I’m feeling lonely I notice that. I accept it. I tell myself it will pass. And it does. If I’m feeling depressed I notice it. Accept it. Tell my husband or best friend about it. Have a nap. And watch something inspiring – like a Ted Talk on Belonging. And it passes.

Sometimes I experience fear. Fear that I’m going to fall into another dark year of depression like I did two years ago. But then I remind myself, that even if I do that it wasn’t all bad. Yes, it was hard; excruciatingly hard. But while at the time I thought I was just surviving and had actually gone backwards in my growth journey, now I know that it was actually a giant leap forwards. I learned so much going through that time and I have a unique perspective on depression that I’ve been discovering gives me empathy for those who are still going through it.

So I choose to have faith and trust that I am safe and I am loved. I don’t need to worry about the future. I just need to have faith and trust in the present. I have all I need within me to get through. I have the unique insight I’ve gained on my journey to coach myself through what I am going through now.

And so do you. We all do. We all have everything we need within us.

One of the Ted Talks I’ve listened to this week is Ingrid Fetell Lee’s talk on Joy:

I watched it again in order to refresh my memory as I’m writing this post, and again I felt myself being encouraged. Ingrid says, “Joy…now that I knew what to look for, I was seeing it everywhere. It was like these little moments of joy were hidden in plain sight.”

Some moments of joy I’ve been noticing today are: having breakfast outside in the sunshine with my eldest daughter, snuggling up with my youngest watching a Barbie movie, listening to my three children chatting and laughing together outside, receiving messages from a wonderful friend. Yes, life is full of ups and downs – it’s just the nature of life. However, joy can be found even in the ordinary. Let’s look for little moments of joy, because they are everywhere!

Happiness

 

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Blooming Together

Tulips

“We are not meant to do hard things in isolation.” Elizabeth Johnsen

This is a realization that has dawned on me in the last few weeks as I’ve been living through another challenging situation.

By ‘another’, I am referring back to my mental illness this time two years ago. Last Wednesday was the two year anniversary of my being taken into hospital under police guard. Yup. Humanly speaking I really messed up back then! I ended up spending a month in hospital and seven weeks in total away from my three precious children. While I recovered fairly quickly from the manic episode, soon after moving back in with my children (my husband moved out on my request), the realities of my life caught up with me and I realized that I had lost almost everything that was important to me.

The love and security of marriage (I thought I wanted to get free of my marriage), my home of 35 years (New Zealand), my established friends in New Zealand, a relationship with my biological father (because of my words and actions in the course of my mental instability), financial security and more. I had thought I was surrounded by friends, and yes, I was, but not to a deep degree. There were wonderful people who were there for me in the ways they could and they helped me to get through that time, for sure. However, as I look back I realize that in comparison to the strength of my connections now, I was really quite isolated two years ago.

On the 28th March this year I recorded in my journal that I was noticing similarities with what happened 2 years ago. In the month that followed I gradually noticed more and more similarities and I became worried and sometimes fearful that I was going to have another episode. My sleep patterns also changed and while I tried so hard to counteract this by having lots of naps (and putting the need for them down to the fact that I am now 40 years old!) it still wasn’t enough. Enter a stressful situation on the 27th April and….

It was enough to push me over the edge into another psychotic episode. HOWEVER! This time most things were different! This time I called my husband Stuart and asked him to come home early. My amazing friend Chantal called Stuart too about what she was observing and he made an appointment at the local doctors surgery. My whole family gathered around me and went with me – which felt amazingly supportive. Yes, the next day I had to leave the comfort of my home and be taken to hospital by ambulance, but my husband had been there to observe my manic state and offer his support throughout.

Last time my family was fractured and separated. This time we are stronger together than we have ever been. Last time my children were at risk, this time I made sure they were safe. Last time I couldn’t get them to bed, this time I made sure they were tucked in for the night. Last time I left my house in a mess, this time it wasn’t too bad. Last time I felt incredibly confused and lost and alone. This time I started coming back to me within 48 hours of flipping out. And the very next day (Monday) I noticed with amazement that the journal entry I was writing was neat and made sense.

Last time I had people to connect to and to visit me, this time I had people telling me and showing me that they love me. I had 5-8 very special friends writing to me, phoning me and video calling with me – AND THIS WAS THE KEY to my speedy recovery! After putting the phone down after a call on the Monday or Tuesday I literally felt physical healing flooding my body! Amazing. So one thing I know for sure about myself is that I need deep and meaningful connections with a number of people in order to be truly mentally and emotionally healthy. I felt so surrounded by Divine love, so supported and held and provided for.

I continued to recover very quickly. The staff at RP Hospital were fantastic and I was there from Saturday to Thursday, then I was transferred to a hospital closer to my home, and the one I was at 2 years ago. I wasn’t even there 24 hours before I was allowed to go on leave for the long weekend. I returned on Tuesday last week to be discharged. The Dr was wonderful. He explained that while initially they were talking about bipolar, if it was I wouldn’t have recovered so quickly. He says instead they believe it was an acute stress reaction. Whatever it was, I am now pretty much back to myself,older and wiser and with even more understanding of myself.

Through my experiences since May 2016 I know that I need to honour my body’s needs AND I need to honour my soul’s deep need for connection. I was doing these two things very well this time round. I now know I need to add two other things to remain balanced. The first one is that it’s okay to ask for help with getting sleep. For now I’m taking a sedative and every night my sleep quality is improving. The second thing is that I need to trust that in doing the three things above I will remain healthy.

All in all, as I’m sure you can understand from above this recent experience has actually been incredibly healing for me but also for my family and my wonderful friend. I’m beyond grateful! And I’m also very aware that it gives me a unique opportunity to speak up for other mental health patients – because I have been there on the inside. In fact I met some amazing people there – there were about 5 of them that I felt were like sisters. They were each incredible in their own way. Courageous young women who are doing their best in the situations they’ve found themselves in. I honour them and I send them my love.

In closing I would like to encourage you to reach out to the empathetic people in your life and push a little deeper into heart-to-heart connections with them. If you are not sure what that looks like, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Beginning again…

20171013_Rose

I’m typing this outside in our little back yard, enjoying a surprisingly summery day in October! I have no idea if anyone who was following me in the past is going to see this, but if you do, “Hello again!”.

Yes, I’ve been away from the blog scene since July last year (2016) due to a rather major life disruption. For some reason, even though I was hiding in certain respects, I never did shut down my blog. I’m glad because it means it’s easy just to pop back now that I’m reemerging into life. Some of the things I wrote may be embarrassing to me if I were to reread them now, but I’ll not be worrying about that. You see, I’ve discovered it really is okay to mess up.

Yep. Amazingly the world didn’t come to an end despite how much mine was turned upside down! And I’m pleased to report that my husband and I reconciled in August last year, with him moving back home in September. Last month we celebrated 15 years of marriage – a miracle considering all I put him through as a result of my illness.

Tuesday this week was World Mental Health Day and I changed my FB profile picture to reflect that. Eighteen months ago I had no idea that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in each year. Last year I was one of those. However, I’ve learned just now that only 0.7 in 100 people will experience the type of issue I did in a year…so perhaps I’m rather special after all! LOL.

Posting again today has been spontaneous and I haven’t given any thought to the direction of this blog as yet. However, in reading the blurb on my home page I still feel the same way. Plus life still has many mysteries I’d love to unravel! So here’s to beginning again and continuing life’s journey after extreme trials.

Blessings!

Elizabeth

 

 

 

I’m Having a Breakthrough…

Brokenness is often the road to breakthrough. Be encouraged. Tony Evans

The last 6 weeks have been intense for me, leading up to and including a breakdown. I’ve been in recovery now for over two weeks and am really starting to feel much more myself. It’s been a hell of a time but also heaven as I’ve been able to slow down and stop and focus on just looking after me.

There are big and difficult changes happening in my life but I’m feeling extremely grateful to be able to say that I’m feeling so very well supported. This year I have reached out to people in a new way and in my time of need I have been surrounded and supported by people who care about me.

I wrote a list on Monday of those who are supporting me and supportive and I reached sixty-two, and these people are in England, Germany, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. My local friends, who I’ve met just since arriving in the UK in August last year, have been a particular blessing. I’m so grateful and appreciative of their loving friendship.

What have I learned through this experience? So much. So much in fact that I feel I need to write a book or two to capture it all! So I’ll be getting to work on that in a while, once I give myself time to heal properly!

Wishing you every blessing, and I encourage you to reach out and build relationships that go two ways – giving and receiving. You never know when you might need them!

Love and Blessings,

Elizabeth

TGIF!

Thank God it's Friday!(1)

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith. Brené Brown

I’m still having to Trust that my husband will get a job soon. He’s made some progress this week…and I’ve just found out today that I’ve got part-time work lined up for the summer. Yay!

When this auto-posts I’ll be on day one of my Counselling Course! Whoop whoop! I’m feeling really happy (can you tell?!) and Grateful!

This week I’ve been Inspired by another blogger to continue going after my dreams. I’ll add a link in my next post.

Faith is a challenging one for me to comment on. Every week I feel stuck. I think this is because my ideas on faith and spirituality have changed so much over the past few years. I’ll leave you with this thought…

Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fears

…and a question! What does Faith mean to you?

Blessings,

Elizabeth

TGIF #4

Thank God it's Friday!(1)

This week I’m still having to Trust that my husband will find work. This phase of our relocation is more challenging than I anticipated!

I’m particularly Grateful for my improved health. I’m not yet 100% but close.

I’m continuing to be Inspired by Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. I’ll be finished the book soon, but have another one of hers lined up to read. So you have been warned! You’ll be reading her name around here for a while yet! 😉

My Faith has been tested this last week. This quote by Anne Lamott is very apt.

quotes-keeping-faith-anne-lamott-600x411Photo credit: Oprah.com

Wishing all my readers a wonderful weekend. Hope you manage to find some balance and experience freshness inside.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

TGIF #3

Thank God it's Friday!(1)

This week has been challenging for me as my husband and I have been adjusting to living under the same roof again. It’s felt like an emotional roller coaster at times and my head space has been rather cluttered.

I am happy to report that we are making headway. This afternoon we had coffee together and came up with a basic routine for the two weeks of school holidays. Already this has helped to clear a lot of my mind-clutter. Afterwards I came home and rushed about sorting some of the clutter pile in our dining area. It all helps!

This week I’m Trusting that hubby and I will continue to find our way back to a close relationship and better communication.

I’m Grateful for the ongoing support of my therapist and my Dad.

I’ve not lacked inspiration for blog posts but have struggled with finding time to write a “meaty” post this week due to the changes in our family normal. I’ve been Inspired by a Blogging University course to sort out a poll for you, my readers, to give me feedback about what you would like to read here at Unravelling Mysteries going forward. Watch this space. 🙂

Our son is still struggling a lot with anger and low self-esteem. The more I talk things over with my therapist the more understanding I gain and the more I realize how much our dysfunctional parenting (thanks to family-of-origin baggage) has contributed to how he is today. I’m grateful I’m healing from my past and learning how to be a better parent now. I’m grateful too because my husband is more on board than he’s ever been and is open to continuing to grow in his role as a dad. I’ve already seen wonderful changes in his relationship with Master Speedy this week and it’s doing my heart good! I have hope and Faith that the two of us will continue to find healing ourselves and in turn will be able to help our boy find healing and peace too.

Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty. Brené Brown

Wishing you all some rest for your souls this weekend!

Elizabeth