That sinking feeling

Weekend number two and a weekend of rather mixed fortunes from a mental well-being point of view.

It started badly – I was suffering from my first hangover in ages, so not only did I have the usual residual feeling of self-loathing to deal with I had post alcohol self-loathing to throw into the mix. I woke late, and spent the first few hours of Saturday pacing around with that familiar sinking feeling persisting in bringing itself to my attention.

Thankfully, the memory of my achievement last weekend (I seem to recall saying I enjoyed it) was a potent one and I became quite determined that a repeat of that success was within my grasp. I left the flat and took a walk down by the river – one of the best things about my flat is that it’s a stone’s throw away from a particularly pleasant part of the Thames – in attempt to clear my head.

When I returned I donned my trusty elastic band. I wear it around my wrist when the thoughts are coming thick and fast and I don’t have the capacity to deal with them. Every time a thought comes in I snap the band (gently) to banish it. There is something about the action and noise combined that I find useful. The point is that whilst I can’t stop the thoughts from coming, I can choose what to do with them and when I’m feeling overwhelmed the best thing for it is to send them away for a little while.

With a strategy in place for dealing with the thoughts I felt able to tackle the challenges I had diligently listed out for myself. As I’ve already said, it’s not about big things at the moment, but about building up layers of small things until I’m ready to move on to some of the bigger challenges ahead. On balance, and looking at the lists, this weekend has been another success, despite the shaky start:

The process of splitting up my tasks in to the categories of need, should and could has been positive one for me. In the past, after I’ve unravelled, I’ve always tried to put things back together starting with the easiest and building up to the most difficult. Whilst this has worked, to some extent, it has always left the worry and guilt associated with past ‘failings’ hanging over me. Tackling things this way allows me to get into routines, whilst also dealing with the anxieties.

So after weekend number two, I’m pleased to say that things are still getting ticked off, one by one, day by day, and in dealing with the practical and habitual I feel much better able to hold on to myself. Long may it continue…

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