We’re a couple months in! I thought it’d be useful to have a look back at my progress thus far, so I’ve just watched all of my videos back.
Here’s todays video (nothing too dramatic!): https://choosetransformation.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/070519.mp4
The first thing I notice, is how emotional I was in the first video! The teary eyes, the negativity, the flat affect- Maybe that had something to do with it being my first time videoing myself, but there is a distinct lack of personality in those first videos. My mood has improved somewhat since then, in particular, my hope for recovery and the future. I was in a bit of a dark place when I started this project and for someone who has been told time and time again, that I a maintain a perfect mask of coping- I’m not convinced I was, judging by that first video!
I have seen an improvement in my mood over the last month and my behaviour; in the middle of a busy shift last week, I felt I needed a break, so I took one. That sounds so trivial, but not too long ago I’d have sat and finished every piece of work I had first, probably not stopping until it was time to go home. Something in my mentality has changed. I’m actually putting myself first and recognising these boundaries that are suddenly coming to the fore, that I have been supressing all this time in the name of ‘diligence’ or ‘professional’. Really, it’s name is ‘unsustainable’, actually, ‘harmful’.
I have re- read parts of ‘The Book’ (Transforming Suffering…), but the middle part I’ve been struggling with again. The concept that there are so many levels of concentration- I can barely bloody manage one at the minute, let alone another 8!
I’ve been practicing sitting quietly or doing a gentle activity and when a thought pops up, I recognise it’s there as if to say, “Hello thought, I know you are there but that you are just passing by”. I then let it carry on through, without engaging with it or making any judgement about it.
It’s actually really tricky, especially when my thoughts are sometimes just one long tangential conga- line of topics. I get caught out occasionally indulging in the thoughts that dance through and have to bring myself back to quiet (I then feel frustrated with myself and say “Fuck sake, Kim”, but I’m working on that bit!)
I’ve also been ‘Box Breathing’, which you do by using a wall to count your breaths. You point your finger and starting from the bottom left corner, breathe in deeply for 5 seconds as you trace up to the top left hand corner. Then, hold the breath for 5 as you trace across to the top right corner. Then breathe out for 5 as you go down to the bottom right corner and then pause for 5. Then repeat as many times as you need (it can be longer or shorter than five seconds, some people use a 4,2,4,2 pattern).
I mentioned ‘Grounding’ in my video, which I adore. I love nothing more than the feel of grass on your bare feet, especially if it’s freshly cut and has that beautiful smell. There are theories that we as humans consist of various electrical systems, as does the earth and, therefore, there is therapeutic benefit to Grounding yourself using the earth, without the interference of material (such as shoes). I don’t know how I feel about that entirely, but I do know that I benefit from the sensory stimulation of just being outside.
I was supposed to start Tai Chi last week but after an emotionally charged week at work, I was absolutely shattered and didn’t wake up in time! I was a little disappointed with myself but then thought, “Meh. There’ll be other days and other classes, clearly I needed sleep more than I needed Tai Chi!” I’m starting to see my body as my alliance… She drives me around the bend sometimes but she always tells me what she needs (in her own way!)
It’s all a work in progress, but it’s a start. I’m open to ideas, if anybody can recommend any Mindfulness or Relaxation techniques that you find particularly useful?
Thank you all for your support and feedback thus far, it genuinely means the world to me.