Monday, February 7, 2011

Today I went for a walk...

...and it changed my life...
Doesn't that sound like the first line of a song or maybe a poem?? 

I have to admit I had a bit of a bad day today. Well...really it started off pretty well, I got up early started to do some work to get on top of the day, noticed a lovely comment on one of my posts that really made my day (thanks Holz!!).

Then I started to feel a bit crappy and I saw a great post on Facebook that helped me feel better. Then I lost sight of that and then...

Then...well then it got shit. Like totally fucked up. And I use that strong language because that is how I felt. I think the last few days and the things that were coming up in my subconscious started to catch up with me and I was on a downward spiral. Feeling out of control and anxious. I stopped functioning properly and the bodily sensations that I know as panic filled my pores and took over my rational mind.

And I knew I couldn't keep going like I was for the rest of the day. It was time to...well, it was time to...

STOP! I HAVE TO DO AN INTERVENTION! (and not the kind that involves friends and family members ambushing someone in their home about the 20 empty bottles of vodka in the recycling).

I knew I had to change the mood, change the tone. I knew some things would help me. I knew getting outside and getting some fresh air would be good. To stop focussing everything inside and start to look around me. I know that if I fight the sensations, they can get worse in the warped mind state of the moment (as the saying goes, what you resist, persists), so I tried to invite them in and say, hey, I'm taking you out, be there, but we're going for a walk together and we're going to see some beautiful things...

I called my friend Z and said I had to take the afternoon off and after a little wah-wah boo-hoo I'm feeling like crap and scared of it tears that needed to come out, she suggested something. Take each action, every little task, one step at a time. Tell yourself to open the door, then open the door. Tell yourself to walk down the stairs, then take each step down. Break things down into little tasks and do them one by one. It helps you feel a little more in control of what is in front of you. I guess that's what mindfulness is. Paying attention to what is here, present for you in the moment. Anything beyond that (well, maybe besides the box in the middle of the stairs down!) doesn't matter.

That made sense to me so I told myself to get my bag (I got my bag), I told myself to get my phone (I got my phone, I told myself... well, you're smart people, I'm sure you can fill in the step-by-step blanks...and I got into my car and drove down to the Bay.

I intended to take a few photos so I could focus on the details around me, rather than focussing on the details inside me. So I stepped out of the car (open the car door...put legs outside of car...) took some deep breaths and started to look at the vista surrounding me.

And this is what I saw:

 I looked at the boats and then I looked at the surface of the boats, and I looked at the stick laying on the pier and I breathed. I took pictures and fiddled with the effects and I breathed.
 I looked down at my feet in the sand and noticed the beautiful colours I was wearing compared to the awesome natural colours of the twigs and grains of sand and I breathed and I put a smile on my face.
 Then I looked at the empty benches facing the water and imagined people sitting there and laughing and dreaming together and enjoying the calm of the water as the breeze ripples over the surface.
 Then I sat on the bench and it wasn't empty any more and I sat and smiled and enjoyed the calm of the water as the breeze ripples over the surface.
 Then I looked at the stones that made up the rock wall and admired the tiers of colour in them.
 And I wondered how a huge palm tree like that could still be an oasis in the sprawling city.
 And if I could get the horizon, well...horizontal in the picture.
 And how the colours of the water, the pavement and the rock stairs all complement each other.
 And then I wondered if that stick would fit in my car. And then I laughed at the thought of me walking back into the house with it (it would have been taller than me...more than 175cm long) and The Man going WTF?!
 And then I noticed that my sense of humour was coming back. And that looking at those empty oyster shells left of the rocks was making me hungry
 And that that pile of rocks was quite beautiful (then thinking about who did it, then thinking about Pet Cemetry)
 Then noticing the birds - can you spot two of them in the pic?
 Then I saw this on the ground and went...That's me! I'm going upwards. Well, maybe my legs are a little longer and I've got longer hair.
And I recognised that I have come a long way from the crippling times when fear and anxious bodily sensations would get the better of me. I know I need to look after myself and master more techniques to handle stress, but I already know a few and I know how to use them.

Look at me, I'm feeling so much better now, because I knew what I needed and did it...I'm not chirpy and care free but I'm okay. Well at least a little better. There are a few twinges here and there but I can say that it was just a bad day. Like everyone has. We need to accept the great days and the not so good ones. No matter how wonderful our lives are and how much we improve them, we can't have this un-real picture that everything in every moment will be fine and dandy forevermore. Because it won't. It doesn't mean that our lives will come crashing down and that we need to expect unhappiness, but I may have a few more bad days like this. It just means we have to be realistic in our expectations. That we will have fabulous days and probably most will be fun or even neutral. But then some days might be a bit bleh or the period will be coming (that may be another factor of today).

And it's another learning that I need to look after myself. Eat well. Exercise. Write in my journal. Put it in perspective.

So make it as you wish SSSs

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