“Evaluate yourself and your calling worthily enough, and be proud of it.”
Even if you only really ‘know’ me through, I’m NOT Disordered or via my social media (@aimes_wilson on Instagram and Twitter), then you will likely be aware of the massive mental health relapse I’ve been going through for around a month. What you likely won’t know – because even those who actually ‘know’ me don’t all know! – is that this relapse is the result of a ‘psychotic episode’ that has mainly evolved around me having these two ‘delusional beliefs’ that have massively impacted my safety on far too many occasions and to far too great a degree of severity. In the last three weeks alone, I’ve had to attend my local A&E several times, have ended up in resuscitation, have been sedated, I’ve also even required surgery because my conviction of these beliefs has been so great, powerful, and overwhelming. These instances – and numerous other situations I’ve found myself in recently – have resulted in me engaging in some very difficult conversations with a variety of people, and it was one of these, that has led to this blog post…
The most upsetting aspect or comments from the conversation that initiated my re-evaluation of my life, were around my pets; my two mini Lionhead bunnies; Luna and Gracie, and my latest addition, my Maine Coon/Rag Doll Mix kitten; Ruby. You can probably guess what this means, but in case you can’t – in this conversation – it was basically suggested that I seek temporary foster care for all three of them due to the opinion that they currently weren’t being properly cared for by me – mostly (as I understood it) because I was having to leave them so often to attend, or be admitted to, hospital.
Now, it doesn’t really matter how long you’ve known me nor how well you do, you’ll likely be very aware that these three very fluffy little ones, mean a great deal to me and that they hold such an important position… in my mental health – never mind my life on a whole/in general! Each of my pets hold a special, important place in my heart and my recovery – they each seem to symbolise a particular point in my journey that has come to be so incredibly significant.
When my mental health first became poorly in 2009, I used to hallucinate rabbits… But not in a good way. And professionals believe this was due to my memories from when I was younger of when the two rabbits that we had killed their babies seemingly because we (obviously without knowing or recognising) interfered with the nest too often when we wanted to look at the little ones. Being so massively, negatively impacted by these hallucinations, in September 2017, when I was in Pets At Home shopping for my first cat (Dolly who I had gotten because at my Mum’s, we’d had a family cat for ten years so I was fully used to – and enjoyed – having a cat around!), I randomly decided to ask the staff if I could hold one of the bunnies they had for sale… After crying when I felt the very real, warm, furry, little head under my chin and realised that this bunny – Pixie – was the key; that she would be the one, best, solid and confirmational way for me to have the ability to recognise reality; I returned the next day to buy her!
That significance Pixie held in my mental health recovery meant that when she had to be put to sleep in April 2021, within days I found myself on a bridge over a dual carriageway shouting at the Police that I just wanted to be with my bunny. And, unlike when Dolly passed away and I got my new cat (Emmy) within a week, it took months before I finally decided to get another bunny – and I fully believe that complete difference in attitude and thought process, was because of my special connection to rabbits and the meaning that having one, has on my mental health. And so, around five months after losing Pixie, I finally got my first mini-Lionhead, Luna, and – almost instantly – she bonded with Emmy who, I think, had seriously really been missing having something little and fluffy to follow around and to play with.
Unfortunately, their relationship didn’t last too long because the following year, Emmy became poorly and was put to sleep in October 2022. I think the largest upsetting part to the loss was the recognition that I had to go home to Luna empty-handed and tell her that neither I – nor the Vet – had been able to save her best-friend. I felt inadequate. I felt like a complete failure and as though, in Emmy dying, I would fully understand Luna thinking of me as being absolutely useless. And so, I decided that rather than rushing into getting another cat, I preferred to try to build a better bond with Luna and so, for the following three months, I became more easily able to stroke her – to the point where she actually started jumping into my lap on the armchair – and gradually, she allowed me to stroke her for longer and longer. Then, she started taking this crinkly tunnel (typically for cats) and pushing it around in circles and everyone (including me) used to laugh at her and think it was just this new, cute, and funny habit; but I came to realise question it and wonder whether it was the complete opposite…
When Emmy was put to sleep, I had asked the Vet what the best thing to do would be for Luna and she had immediately replied “get her a friend.” And so, when I started wondering whether her new thing with this tunnel was actually about wanting some stimulation in having someone to play with, I decided that getting a new bunny would be much easier to introduce her to than a new cat and so, in January 2023, I got my second mini-Lionhead, Gracie! Literally within hours of being introduced, I found them cuddled up together with Luna licking Gracie’s fluffy head and lop ears and I felt a sense – or a notion – of peace in the home; something that I realised had been missing and I hadn’t experienced it since losing Emmy.
Luna seemed so much more settled and content too – the thing with the tunnel completely stopped and everything seemed sort of… resolved? As though this was how things were meant to be. But after just a month or two, I was realising that for almost 100% of the day, Luna and Gracie were sat together in a different room to whichever one I was sitting or working in. They were always snuggled up together either sleeping or just sat there (often Luna had a lop ear across Gracie’s head as though it were an arm cuddling her closer), or they’d be washing each other, eating together, or – on the rare occasions they were moving around – sniffing and exploring (still, side by side at all times!). The happiness I was filled with in seeing Luna so excited and comforted with her new little companion was one of the greatest, more powerful feelings I’ve ever experienced; but I began to feel a sadness too… A sadness and loneliness that came the recognition that yes, the addition of Gracie had given Luna company that meant she had no real reason to come into whichever room I was in, but it seemed that Gracie’s nervousness had also influenced Luna by way of her becoming increasingly less and less great with being handled… So, finally, a month or two later, I made the decision to get Ruby!
Regardless of the fact that my mental health started to deteriorate in February 2023, I paid the ‘deposit’ for Ruby (as she was advertised before being at the right age to leave her Mum and siblings) and when she was finally old enough to come home in the May, I found that whilst I was still experiencing strange (though professionals labelled them psychotic) thoughts, they had become less scary and less dangerous – to the point where I felt sure that I was well enough and fully capable of committing to having another furry responsibility. I was also convinced that getting Ruby could only help anyway and this was proven when my mental health and safety levels stabilised for a good few months following Ruby coming home.
In all honesty, when my mental health began to decline again around six weeks ago in the beginning of August, I didn’t put a great deal of thought into how it – and the things I did in response to it – would impact Luna, Gracie, and Ruby. But I think that this illustrates two important things perfectly:
1. Just how poorly I have been: anyone who knows me, and my pets will confirm that they’re my everything and that they hold such a massive importance to me and my life, and so to recognise that I wasn’t even thinking about or considering them, is a huge indicator that my mental health really was very unwell.
2. The nature of the deterioration: when my mental health first deteriorated in 2009 and I was diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, I could quite easily either choose not to consider the impact my behaviours were having on my loved ones or deem that impact to not be significant enough to stop me from continuing with those behaviours. With these psychotic symptoms though… it’s just not the same – it’s like I’m so deeply overwhelmed by the strange thoughts and beliefs that nothing else even exists.
This was actually such a difficult position to be in because whilst I recognised that having not previously thought about my lovely pets and how my frequent hospital admissions would be affecting them showed my mental health really was poorly; I still felt a sense of guilt for this. I still felt terrible, and this leaned itself into the re-evaluation process when the difficult conversation that inspired it seemed to not only remind me of my pets; but it was also as though this reminder meant I had to be soccer-punched in the chest so hard that my heart physically hurt…
The fact that my levels of risk were high wasn’t because I was suicidal or feeling deserving of self-harm/pain in any way as they would typically when the Personality Disorder was the largest challenge. With the psychosis symptoms, my safety was compromised purely due to me testing out the ‘psychotic beliefs.’ So, there was one about me being invincible and so I made the decision a handful of times to do something that would prove – or disprove this. The other belief was a little bit stranger… it focused on the idea that there was magic in my wrist that had been ‘put there’ during one of the three surgeries I’ve had since breaking it last year. This belief led me to hurting myself to try to ‘see’ the magic and to ‘show’ all those who wouldn’t believe me, that it really was there.
In all fairness, I’m very much someone who has to learn things the hard way in general, and so I think that’s why, when this conversation came up and the person voiced their thoughts on having Luna, Gracie, and Ruby fostered for a while, I was affected to such a degree. Because it was like a startling reminder of reality, and it really opened my eyes to just how much I was struggling and just how much that could affect my little ones. And often – well, a lot of the time, actually – when my mental health is poorly, the most dangerous part of it is that I don’t think about my own safety and wellbeing, but being reminded that by doing that, I was affecting the wellbeing of my pets?
Well, that was a hugely difficult notion to come to terms with. I say ‘difficult’ purely in terms of how upsetting it was; in terms of how straight forward things were, it’s pretty damn simple. I could never do anything that would harm any of my pets in even the most remote of ways – including them not spending much time with me due to me being in and out of hospital! But that said… Well, when I was self-harming due to the traumatic memories of the abuse and the symptoms related to the Personality Disorder diagnosis, it felt more like a choice or an option. In so far as, I – even before having Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and starting my road to recovery – recognised that self-harming was mostly a result of my decision to do so. Don’t get me wrong – I 100% felt backed into a corner and as though any other action or option wouldn’t be ‘enough’ (with the definition of ‘enough’ really being dependent upon the actual situation I was in where I was faced with – or influenced into – having to make the decision).
With this Psychosis though, and the belief around the magic; it meant that I felt more certain that this wasn’t anything to do with choice, having options, making a decision… It was something I simply had to do if I wanted to prove my belief. And so, recognising the impact this and my hospital admissions were having on my pets, was challenging because my conviction that I would never do anything to harm them? Well, having that didn’t mean that suddenly the magic belief was gone or that I could cope with it in a different way. It’s like… When I got put under the care of the Crisis Team a few weeks ago, and saw their psychiatrist who increased my antipsychotic medication, and someone said to me “I don’t understand why you’re still struggling when you have those two things.” I was honestly a little bit speechless because I was sure that this person would have already known what I had now realised I was going to have to point out; these things aren’t miracles – simply having these two aspects in your mental health care doesn’t just miraculously or instantly make you feel better!
This fact, has ended up being one of the most recent challenges actually… Because when I was put on the medication increase, the psychiatrist said it could be up to three weeks before I experience any benefit from it and that it’s typically four to six weeks for it to be at its fully therapeutic level in your body. This was actually a terrifying notion at the time, and I ended up having multiple conversations with the Crisis Team about the possibility of being hospitalised (in a psychiatric hospital) for the duration of the time it took for me to start feeling better. But I was worried that I might end up hating being in there so much that I’d lie and say things were improving just to be discharged and that I’d still be unsafe.
What’s obviously so much more important than that reason not to be admitted though, was the thought of Luna, Gracie, and Ruby… I mean, how would the three of them be looked after if – worse came to worse and I needed to be in the hospital for the entire three weeks before I felt better? How would they cope without seeing me at all for that long? Would they forget about me? Would it be fair to keep popping back to give them food and water but then have to go straight back to the hospital? How much would our bond change? Would it be repairable if it did?
Fortunately, since around day 6 of the increase of my medication, things have started to improve and I’ve found myself becoming safer to the point where, finally, being admitted to a psychiatric hospital is totally unnecessary! And it feels like such a huge achievement to have not needed that intervention – to be able to say that I’ve managed to get through all of this without needing to rely on professionals to such a massive degree as to be admitted against my wishes and then be surrounded by them 24/7. It’s also been really helpful in my relationship with my pets because I feel that they’ve been such a huge influence on me experiencing this sense of accomplishment. It’s left me 100% convinced that I genuinely wouldn’t be here without the three of them – or, at the very least, I wouldn’t want to be here – if it weren’t for those three. And so, the way I’m looking at time now, is that I can use it to make the most of being with my pets in spending so much time playing with them and stroking them and talking to them. And I can use the continuation of our relationship, as time and opportunity to show them my eternal gratitude for their presence in my life.
In the conversation that influenced this re-evaluation of my life and therefore this blog post too, I was asked “what are you gaining by doing these things?” (‘These things,’ in this instance, meant self-harm or me committing actions that could lead to my death.) And I think this is one part to this post that’s going to sound like utter common sense, but which was actually a really big and massively helpful lesson learnt… In one of the four modules taught in DBT – Distress Tolerance – you’re taught the skill or tool of ‘Pros and Cons’ which is where you’re encouraged to properly weigh-up a decision to do something in an aim to minimise any/all of the impulsive behaviours (which are typically a symptom of a Personality Disorder). In this tool, you’re advised to consider the benefits and the drawbacks of an action or decision so that in acting upon things, you are less likely to be regretful and – the main intention – have a higher chance of staying safe.
That’s in so far as Personality Disorder though… So, with these unsafe acts being related to the Psychosis, and my DBT skills already failing with this anyway, I felt sort of hopeless in terms of how I would stop acting on these ‘psychotic beliefs.’ Fortunately, though, this question around why I was doing ‘these things’ was the key – well, that and the fact that the increase in my antipsychotic medication that the Crisis Team had done was starting to work! – because it led me to start asking myself that very question whenever I was coming close to hurting myself by proving that I was invincible or that I had magic in my wrist. I began thinking ‘what do I actually want to happen from this?’ And the possibilities or likely results were never anything I ‘wanted.’ Hospital, needles, Doctors, being sectioned, sedated, a visit from the Crisis Team, surgery, restraint – and, more importantly and more powerfully – time away from Luna, Gracie, and Ruby… And it was like, what else did I expect to come from doing these things?! And if I didn’t want any of these things to happen, why go ahead and act on these beliefs?
Aside from my safety though, this question also triggered me to re-evaluate my thoughts and actions around the three largest commitments in my life right now; my book (You’re NOT Disordered; set to publish November 18th 2023), my blog, and my job as Head of Marketing and Communications for Time To Inspire.
So, firstly, my book. I’ve been writing You’re NOT Disordered for over a year now as it had the original publication date of April 20th, 2023, but when I was sectioned in February, that put a spanner in the works. I found that I was starting to feel stressed at the thought of trying to get the entire book finished and put together in time for that date, and stress was the last thing I needed considering I was already admitted to a psychiatric hospital! So, even though I had arranged a publication party and had announced the April date to everyone, I recognised that I’d sooner feel the notion that I’d let people down than risk the impact that the stress of desperately trying to still finish it in time would have on my already vulnerable and unstable mental health. And boy, am I glad I made that decision!
The next stress to come with writing my book has been regarding the proofreading of it – I’m taking this book so seriously to the point where it’s beginning to feel like my baby! – because looking into having a professional do it, it can be so expensive. However, I recognise that it’s helpful to have an outsider do it because I might read it the way I believe it’s written rather than how I’ve actually written it, for example if I’ve missed a word out or phrased something the wrong way; I know how it was meant to be so I might not pick up on the fact it isn’t! Ironically, though, upon finally accepting I was going to have to read all these pages I’d just spent ages writing; I was voicing my concern to someone who is massively ‘high up’ in the communications industry and she offered to have her team proofread it for me!
The only downside of this, has meant that I’ve had a hugely difficult deadline to meet so that the team have the time to do this task in addition to their usual workload. I found myself becoming so stressed and anxious about the fact that as the deadline grew closer and closer, I didn’t feel as though I was actually getting any closer to finishing the book for it. So, I ended up emailing the communications person to say that I was at the point where I was no longer enjoying the process of writing the book because I was getting so concerned and worried that I was going to miss the deadline. And, in all honesty, having fun and not resenting the idea of writing You’re NOT Disordered is a really important quality that I want this creative and developmental process to have. Of course, the comms person – being as amazing as she is – reassured me that they could even extend the deadline to so far as the end of September if need be because she agreed, it was important that I enjoy what I’m doing or else, why do it?
In my re-evaluation of my life, obviously writing this book came up as a commitment to put some time and consideration into whether I was doing the right thing in creating You’re NOT Disordered. The two largest arguments defending my decision to continue writing the book were:
1. How far I’ve already come with it – I’d say that I’m just over ¾ of the way finished in writing it! In the Word document I’m actually writing it in, I have notes and headlines for parts I’m yet to write, and I thought that there was an enormous way still to go. However, I wrote the headings down in a list all together – because they’re in different places in the document e.g., some headings I need to write about are before bits I’ve actually already written – and was pleasantly surprised to find that the list wasn’t all that long! In weighing that up, it felt more justified to finish what I’d started than to give up now and admit defeat because it would mean considering all my hard work, all the time I’d spent writing as much as I had, a waste and really, completely pointless. And I wasn’t prepared to do that.
2. How beneficial I think it could be for others – with the subtitle to the book being ‘The Ultimate Wellbeing Guide for Bloggers’ it’s pretty obvious that the book has a very particular target audience – bloggers (of any industry/theme/topic). And my idea for this book came from the number of times I’ve searched Amazon wanting/needing an item just like this: a book or journal which was specifically around blogging and the particular challenges and instances that need some serious navigation that can come from it and threaten or somehow compromise your mental health and general wellbeing. Eventually, I got so sick of trying to find exactly what I felt I needed from this Guide, that I began to wonder whether there was anyone else out there going through the same frustration… And so You’re NOT Disordered was born and with it, came the hope that it will provide help, support, and advice for anyone else who might find themselves struggling through their blogging career. The world needs more bloggers!
One particular comment in the conversation that triggered this blog post that was made was when the person said she had been wondering whether blogging was keeping me stuck in everything that has happened to me… Because I’m constantly writing about these things… The abuse and the rape, the suicide attempts, Ambulances, being hospitalised, being on life support, Police, being sectioned, self-harming, hallucinating, medication, Crisis Team visits, therapy…
So, to go a little off-track here – there’s this episode in Grey’s Anatomy where a girl runs away from where she’s been held captive for years. And she’s talking to the Doctor in hospital about how she came back from the hospital cafeteria and there was a movie on TV that her kidnapper had once let her watch with him and this leads her to go on to talk about how when she was with him, she couldn’t talk about her family and friends from back home and now that she was back, she felt that she couldn’t talk about the abuse without repercussions of concern and judgment etc. And I feel like this is really applicable here…
When I was going through the abuse I experienced for six months – for so many reasons – I couldn’t tell anyone about it. At that time though, it was the most important thing to be happening in my life; it was the biggest, most influential aspect of my life. It was impacting absolutely everything – particularly who I am from my very foundations up! It was like it shaped me. Defined me. And yet, I couldn’t tell anyone at all why I was becoming this completely different person. I couldn’t explain why I’d become rude and rebellious at school (it was partly to get someone’s attention to ask why I had changed and partly because my teachers were respectful of my abuser). I couldn’t tell someone why I had started drinking alcohol and smoking two years underage and until the point where I didn’t know my own name never mind that I couldn’t remember what was happening/what had happened (because I continued to do this after the abuse) to me.
Now that abuse and rape are becoming more talked about topics in the media, I recognise that the six months my abuse lasted for don’t amount to a whole lot compared to those who have gone through these things for years and years, but believe me; it can feel like forever when it’s happening to you, and I won’t let this factor dismiss just how powerful an event it was on my life. And, of course, in addition to the six months of the actual abuser were the two years immediately after where I stayed silent. Prior to the abuse, I wouldn’t have said I was outspoken exactly, but I can’t remember ever feeling silenced, ignored, or disregarded; so – with all these reasons not to speak up and report what had happened – circling around and around in my head like vultures, well it added to me feeling even less like myself.
When the three years following me finally reporting the abuse in 2009 showed I had been hospitalised on over 60 occasions before finally making a suicide attempt in 2012 that left me on life support; I was hospitalised for 2.5 years and after almost one year – in 2013 – I created I’m NOT Disordered. I had felt as though I was starting to make progress and wanted to record my recovery, and the psychiatric hospital I was in was over 100 miles away from home so I hoped that my blog would be a more efficient and affective form of communication with my loved ones. So, from Day One of my blogging career, I have vowed to always be open and honest no matter what. No matter how difficult it is. No matter how it will affect someone else. Why?
Because I’d spent too long either telling lies or staying silent. Either way, I needed the release. I needed a loudspeaker so that I could tell the entire world what had happened to me and all the things I had done to cope with it. Why? Because our brains are like pressure cookers. Silence and secrets build up and up and up until we explode. Or implode. And I felt like all the reasons I’d stayed silent were due to the thoughts and feelings of others. They were nothing to do with actually what was best for me and what would help me. Now it was time to think of myself and recognise that being honest and open would be a relief. A release.
I’ve honestly tried my hardest to still keep my blog’s content balanced and to not concentrate on all the negativity and hardship that has come with having a mental illness, being an abuse/rape survivor, and – as I was for the first year and a half of my blogging career – being a psychiatric hospital inpatient. Thing is, there’s a ton more minuses that positives to each of these situations – never mind them all happening at once to one person! And so, yes; a lot of my content has been emotional, full of anger, anxiety, tension, and a whole ton of general suicidal thoughts and feelings. When I’ve felt well and happy and recovered, however, I’ve created content then too. I’ve talked about what has been helpful, the people and things that have saved me, the ways in which I’ve saved myself – all in the hope that in doing so, it will provide a number of positive affects on my readers. I hope that it’ll encourage them to cooperate with professionals, to take prescribed medication, to engage in recommended professional therapies, and to never lose hope or determination by developing the conviction that they might never recover or improve in even the remotest of ways.
To be completely honest (again!), being told by so many readers that this mission to instil positivity and hope in them has been successful for such a huge percentage of my audience, has honestly kept me going through some really hard and genuinely life-threatening moments. As has the equally enlightening notion of readers getting in touch to say that reading my sad content has actually been helpful in a way too by it instilling a sense of comradery in them by reassuring those struggling with their mental health and/or memories of abuse etc that they aren’t alone in doing so. And that’s a hard one sometimes… Because on the one hand, it’s kind of nice to know you aren’t alone and the fact there are others out there who might have even the more remote idea of what you’re going through can be incredibly comforting in a way. However, there’s also the very obvious downside to this – that others going through these things mean that there’s at least one other person in the world who feels as terrible as you do. Who have gone through/are going through the dramatically challenging and almost impossible-to-overcome-hardships that you have experienced/are experiencing…
Another factor in the re-evaluation when I began thinking about my
blog, that came into my head, was that being a blogger has become a ‘bit’ of an
enormous definition of me. I mean, if I’m asked to introduce myself – no matter
what the situation or my position/role in it – I often have to stop myself from
just almost automatically blurting out “I have a blog…” or “I’m a blogger…” And,
in all fairness, having a mental illness and being a survivor of rape and abuse
means that I’ve seen the massively different (mostly in a negative way) the
definition of me can be. Also, you don’t have to be a long-time reader of I’m
NOT Disordered to know how proud I am of my blog and how honoured I am to have
so many readers and to be offered so many incredible opportunities. So, I
absolutely have no problem in defining myself with this and with that being
said, how could I stop blogging… just yet (because I recognise the time will
come that I do stop)?
In May 2023, I landed a dream job as the Head of Marketing and Communications for a Community Interest Company (CIC) named Time To Inspire (I actually blogged more about it here: 5 THOUGHTS IN MY NEW JOB | I’M NOW HEAD OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS FOR TIME TO INSPIRE!!! | I'm NOT Disordered (imnotdisordered.co.uk)), who provide help, support, and guidance to struggling parents – mostly those with a mental illness and/or going through family-related legal proceedings. So – despite it not requiring the dedication of a huge number of hours – it’s still a hugely important commitment at the moment and so naturally, it came up in this re-evaluation.
In making the decision to apply for this voluntary role, I did so with the establishment that my mental health was well enough to commit to having a job, but at the same time I recognised that it wasn’t stable enough to have a full-time or – to be honest – even part-time, paid role. I knew that a more formal job would be too structured, and I’d feel so much more pressured to be well enough to complete every single shift. That’s not to say I couldn’t do it – just that I’m not confident that I’d be able to and I’d rather not risk applying, being offered an interview, starting a role, and then ending up having to quit because that would go down on my CV and it would really stand against me when I felt much more able and confident to apply for a full-time, paid role.
From my interview for this position with Time To Inspire, I’ve felt some sort of natural, special connection to the company and to its Founder and Director (who interviewed me); Alen Tomasic. It’s meant that when he pretty much immediately offered me the role at the interview(!), I needed no time to consider or to hesitate and think about the interviews I had lined up for other positions. This one felt ‘right.’ It actually gave me the notion and left me wishing this all could have happened sooner – even though that would be pretty impossible since the company was only recently founded/created!
My gut instincts with things like this (and around my health and the behaviours or health of my pets) is usually pretty accurate and so when I found myself thankfully still learning a lot in this role and having responsibilities that I’d always dreamed of one day having; my instinctual passion was proven correct. I say ‘thankfully’ with the part about learning because there are some people out there who might think that to have such a senior role in a company/industry should mean you know everything because how can you lead a team of staff when you’re still learning yourself? But I actually really enjoy learning new things – especially when it comes to the communications, marketing, publicity etc. industry – so it’s important to me that no matter what my job title; I can still have the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. I’m very much a ‘always-on-the-go’ type of person so to just sit still and be comfortable in my seniority really wouldn’t suit me and my work ethic very well. And so, with all that being said, how could I possibly quit?
That doesn’t mean the re-evaluation didn’t change anything or wasn’t helpful with this aspect of my life and my commitments though because from it, I found myself recognising that something needed to change in so far as how I have been managing my time. Every day of the week I have been switching between working on the book, writing a new blog post, and doing my ‘actual work!’ I’ve had no real timetable or schedule of when to do what. I’d just do a few hours of the book and then I’d get sick of that and check my work emails and then I’d go to something else and something else and something else.
So, in this re-evaluation, I made the decision to focus the majority of my weekdays to Time To Inspire work and then in the evenings, nights, and weekends, I’ll do work on my blog and the book. In all honesty, it has kind of reminded me of when I learnt Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and we were taught all these coping skills that were safe alternatives to the negative ones I – and the other inpatients – had relied upon to get through so many horrible situations, thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Finding out about how useful self-soothing and distraction can be for tolerating distress; was a double-edged sword in that yes, it was incredibly amazing and helped keep me safe, but also it left me feeling so incredibly stupid too. I mean, how could I have not thought of these two very basic methods that had the potential to truly save my life and keep me out of hospital?!
So, it’s the same here; how had I not already thought about working during the day and doing these other activities ‘out of office hours?’ Like, surely, it’s a no-brainer?!
This re-evaluation of my life and all my commitments has really been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for my mental health and for my general wellbeing. Anyone who truly knows me will tell you that I’m a bit of a control freak in just about every sense of the word and in just about every instance life can throw at you; and so, when this re-evaluation left me feeling more in control of my life, it pretty much immediately became hugely beneficial for me!
I won’t lie, thinking all these things in my life through to such an intense degree has felt draining, but it’s genuinely been more rewarding and productive than it has been difficult and tiring. And so, I’d recommend everyone go through this process at some point in their life – but particularly for those who are at a relevant and appropriate point in their mental health journey/recovery…