Archive for #self-help

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Posted in our thought lives with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by Karen unrue

drawings_and_paintings-brains-brains01

I thought my brain was a stone,

set hard.

I thought I was stuck with it

just the way it is.

But hey –

guess what?

Its plastic,

malleable,

and I can,

with time

and patience

make it a shape

that serves me better.

I can streamline it,

make it aerodynamic

so it flies

faster,

safer,

to destinations of my choosing.

Jet-plane-in-flight231

I’m not stuck with it

just the way it is.

Ok!

What am I talking about?

Well,

Our thought lives

determine our behaviour.

Right?

It is our

habitual

negative,

thought patterns

that make our lives

anxious

and scary.

self-portrait-or-desperate-man-gustave-courbet

It was always assumed

that

we are hardwired

from birth.

But now,

neuroscience tells us

we are not

and that we can

Sculpt

our neural pathways,

our thought lives,

into shapes

and patterns

that serve us better

that make life

more enjoyable.

Malvina Hoffman 1885-1966 - American sculptor - Tutt'Art@ (24)

“THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM!”

is not a painful

frustrating,

truth

you have to live with anymore.

you can change who you are

by changing how you think!!

You are not just human beings –

you are human becomings!!

You can become who you want to be.

This is not a glib “power of positive thinking” motivational speech.

This is science

and psychology

and it can change your life –

It changed mine.

In my next post I’ll talk about how how to start this process, and how to keep going until your life is less anxious and negative, better, easier, and happier.

I am talking from personal experience here

and

It can be done!!!!

hope

HUNGRY ?

Posted in feeding the hungry child, learning to love yourself again with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Karen unrue

sap_605x300_baby_012

Parents are supposed to feed their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children eat healthy food.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates a physical effect.

It impacts how healthy you are

as an adult.

This is isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have vitamin deficiencies,

an underdeveloped immune system,

fatigue,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a nutritionist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her supplements,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There is no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry!

gustav klimmt

gustav klimmt

Parents are supposed to love their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children are nurtured and validated.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates emotional effects.

It impacts how whole you are

as an adult.

This isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have emotional deficiencies,

an underdeveloped sense of self,

insecurities,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a therapist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her prescription,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There should be no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry.

 

A therapist is really just an emotional nutritionist !!!!!

It is only ignorance in our society that tells us there is any stigma attached to addressing the mental/emotional needs that arise out of lack in our childhoods.

DONT BUY INTO THAT LIE !

FIND OUT HOW TO FEED YOURSELF NOW !

food

Are you aware of any consequences in your adult life of a lack of validation or nurturing in your early years?

Please share the ways you have discovered to feed and nurture yourself now – it will help others in the same boat.

THE SURPRISE PARTY

Posted in THE SURPRISE OF RECOVERY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Karen unrue
painting by Fahad Hassain

painting by Fahad Hossain

Have you ever had a birthday
when no one remembered ?
A birthday when no one rang
to wish you “Happy Birthday”,
no one at work brought in a card,
and only acquaintances,
and your boss said anything at all?

It sucks right !?
It makes you feel
alone,
unloved,
unhappy,
it can even make you wonder
what life is all about.
Make you
doubt yourself,
doubt your self-worth,
doubt the people you thought were friends,
doubt your judgement.
At its worst
it can even make you feel
depressed,
despairing.

BUT THEN

You arrive home,
the windows are dark,
the house is silent.
You put your key in the front door –
and the moment you walk in
the house lights up like a firework!
A crowd of people
are cheering
and shouting out
“SURPRISE!!!”
as they
jump up and down,
throw streamers
and set off party poppers,
and then they –
run at you,
hug you,
kiss you
with big smiles on their faces.

surprise party 1

Suddenly the sadness is gone.
You know you are
loved,
valued,
cared about.
Loneliness leaves,
self doubt is dispelled,
despair dissipates.
The present,
and the future, look
BRIGHT.

HEALING
is often like this too!

It can seem far away,
even impossible.
We can be filled
with the feeling
that we will never recover.
Pain,
depression,
despair,
self-doubt,
self-loathing,
loneliness,
seem to be our only companions.

depression

I have been there.
I know that feeling.
I wanted to –
give up,
let go,
stop fighting for survival.
stop hoping for a better day to come.
I even contemplated
suicide
at times.

BUT THEN – out of the blue –

RECOVERY SURPRISED ME!!!

Hope lit up the room
and threw party poppers.
Joy ran at me and held me
in a welcoming embrace.
The present
was not so scary,
and the future not so dark.

drawing by holymoocow

drawing by holymoocow

Here’s the thing!!
If I had given in
to the feelings of despair –
NOT kept hoping
for a better day,
If I had given up
and checked out –
even just the day before –

I WOULD HAVE MISSED THE PARTY!

I met a young woman,
in the clinic in Cape Town,
who is 29 years old.
She became a heroin addict
at a very young age
during a time of trauma and abandonment.
She is beautiful,
both inside and out.
When I met her
it was her 21st time in a rehab clinic!!!
SHE REFUSES TO GIVE UP!!
She believes that one day
she will get clean
and stay clean.
And do you know what?
I believe she will too!
I believe she will one day soon
attend her own
SURPRISE PARTY!

drug-rehab-center

The damage
done to me by my loving
but unwitting parents
during my childhood.
The damage
done to me
by an abusive husband
over 10 years
during my twenties.
It has taken until
the age of 54
for me to be really free of it.

THAT’S A LONG TIME!

That’s 24 years!

But if I had given up,
checked out,
at the times I was tempted to
during those years
I would have missed
THE SURPRISE PARTY
of recovery
that eventually came.

So I urge anyone reading this –
If you are tempted
to give in
or
give up.
DON’T !
Keep on keeping on.
Look for people to –
support you,
walk with you,
give you hope,
pick you up when you fall down –
but
KEEP GOING!

Your SURPRISE PARTY
Could be just around the corner!!!

hope

Please know that you can chat to me about any aspect of recovery you like – if I don’t know the answer I will find out for you
DON’T WALK ALONE!

————————————————————————————–

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MAN ON THE MOON

Posted in MAN ON THE MOON with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by Karen unrue

the moon

5.30 this morning.
I go downstairs to the car park
of my apartment building,
(we have no balcony!)
for a cigarette.
I look up
and I see the moon
in all her glory.
I am awe-struck –
as if its the first time I’ve seen it.
I think to myself
that not all that long ago
the moon was a mystery.
Scientists
had not invented a telescope
big enough
to see it properly.
NO ONE
had stood on the moon
and taken pictures
of what we,
the earth,
look like from there.
We had no idea
of what we looked like
in the grand scale of things.
We had no way
of putting ourselves
into perspective
on a universal scale.
NOW WE CAN!!!
earh from the moon
This is important to me
because
I have just returned
from a private clinic
in Cape Town,
South Africa,
where I underwent
a medical detox
for a benzodiazapene,
(tranquilizor)
that my doctor
prescribed
when I experienced
a period of anxiety
3 years ago.
She did NOT make it clear
it was addictive.
The anxiety passed.
The addiction did not!
Turns out that
The National Health Service,
here in Britain,
will give out this shit
like candy
but does not provide an exit strategy.
For the last 3 years
I have been trying to come off it –
without success –
because the side effects are
HORRENDOUS!!
My life was being torn apart.

torn clothing

In the end
I had no choice
but to go private.
I am blessed
that I received a compensation
pay-out at this time,
for something,
that enabled me to afford it.
There are MANY others
who are not so fortunate.

I am home now,
back in London,
CLEAN!

BUT

the on-going side effects
of withdrawal
from a benzodiazapene
are also
HORRENDOUS!!
no one prepared me for this!!
Yesterday
I spent hours
at the emergency room
of a local hospital
having chest x-rays,
and EGC’s
because I thought
I was having
a heart attack.
I passed out for 2 hours
while writing an email to my boss.
Even when sitting still
it feels like a steam train is running through me!!

steam train

Of course
all my tests came back healthy.
This was a relief
BUT
what the F***K
was wrong with me?
I went on a website
http://www.benzobuddies.com
and all was revealed.
It turns out that
that being on a benzo
causes such trauma
to the brain
and central nervous system,
that once a person
has come off of it –
they have to work really really
hard to heal.
Neurotransmitters
are struggling to reconnect –
the brain and the body
are desperately trying to
put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

humpty dumpty

So I looked at the moon
this morning
and thought to myself –
THANK GOD
there has been a man on my moon!
THANK GOD
there are people out there
who have seen the view from up there
and can give me perspective.
THANK GOD
there are those
who have experienced this
and can support
and encourage me.

It can take up to a year
for these side effects
to abate.
But I am not alone!!!!
There are other astronauts with me!

I will be ok!!!

man on the moon

To all of you who have supported me and prayed for me during this time – thank you so much
To anybody who is going through this themselves – don’t give up – stay strong – go to http://www.benzobuddies.com
Contact me if you like – I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

GOD BLESS

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BEDTIME FOR BENZO

Posted in Tranquillizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by Karen unrue

bedtime for bonzo

While I lived in the US
Ronald Reagan,
somehow, managed to become
The President of the United States of America.
I say “somehow” because
in his preceding
career he was
best known
for playing side-kick
to a chimp
in some forgettable films,
which included
“BEDTIME FOR BONZO”.
It interested me
that this same Mr Reagan,
who later rose to
such dizzy heights,
was
while associated
with Bonzo,
ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY.
And that putting
“Bonzo to bed”
was key to him
reaching his
potential.

ronald reagan

WHY DO I MENTION THIS?

Well,
I’m not saying
I aspire
to be President.
but I am sick
to death
of the mediocrity
in my life.
I wish to leave
it behind,
to get on
and reach
my potential –
whatever that might be.
I WANT TO PUT MY BENZO TO BED
But I am stuck,
and I can’t.

question

LET ME EXPLAIN.

Just over 2 years ago I was seeing a therapist who for several years listened, and talked me through the “why’s” of the debilitating “anxiety” that I experienced at times since ending my abusive marriage. She also taught me the “how’s” of managing these times until they buggered off completely. She was terrific and I worked hard.
I have not needed to see her for 2 years now which is wonderful.

HOWEVER

During the time that I was seeing this therapist my well-meaning doctor put me on lorazepam to help ease the anxiety. She did not tell me it was addictive. Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is called Ativan in the US. Benzo is a shortened name for benzodiazepine.

I have, for the last 2 years, been attempting to come off Lorazepam – my benzo.
I HAVE FAILED.
Here is why –

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off……..” Professor Malcolm H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital

Here is a photo I took that, for me, captures how it feels to be addicted to a benzo

IMG_1687

YOU FEEL HUMAN BUT NOT QUITE HUMAN

There is a strong feeling of disassociation, like living in a fuzzy mental bubble.
communication is difficult because short term memory fails you and words are hard to recall.
Also it sometimes just feels like too much effort to hold a conversation.
It is impossible to concentrate for long periods of time.
Fatigue is all consuming.
Muscle aches and cramps, joint pain and swelling are SO painful.
Occasional numbness and tremor in the hands.
Walking is difficult sometimes.
Coordination is off.
Vision is impaired.
Bloating and nausea.
Irritability.
Over reaction to small things.
The need to withdraw, be alone, or sleep is often overwhelming.
All sorts of problems with digestive system.
Bouts of insomnia
etc etc etc etc etc

lorazepam

For the last 2 and 1/2 years I have taken 1 mg of lorazapem 4 times a day because it’s so hard to come off.
I now know that this dose means that I am taking the equivalent to 40 grams of valium each day!

THAT IS A HEFTY DOSE OF TRANQUILLIZER

I asked my GP to see if the NHS provided medically assisted withdrawal.
She looked but could find NOTHING.
I searched the web for charities, support groups etc that would assist me to come off my benzo.
I found ONE and this turned out to be so utterly useless it made you want to take more drugs!!!!!
I TRIED TO COME OFF ON MY OWN –
I followed on-line advice to reduce the dose by shaving minute bits off one pill over several weeks.
I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects were so awful I had to return to 4 a day.
I then tried another on-line method.
My doctor gave me the equivalent dose of valium for the lorazepam I would shave off. The plan being to eventually transfer to valium altogether which is easier to withdraw from.
Again I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects knocked me for six and I had to go back up to 4 a day.

I WAS AT MY WIT’S END

BECAUSE

The symptoms described above were taking their toll on my:-

Ability to reliably turn up to my job and be able to do it when I was there.
Ability to connect effectively with my partner of 12 years.
Ability to turn up to planned events with friends and family.

I eventually had to quit my job.
My partner, understandably, experienced a lot of stress and resentment owing to my behaviour.
It has put a lot of stress on our relationship – and this is not yet resolved.
That is worrying.

another-anime-theories-blog-eyepatch-girl-deaths-parakeet-final-destination

WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?

There are several reasons

This last month I have reached crisis point and have been so unwell that My partner has graciously paid for me to go to a private clinic to withdraw from lorazepam.

Crescent+Clinic+Cape+Town+-76233_l_6fc5a6aec6df1e85a74427e2196f505f

I leave on Saturday 24th August for Cape Town, South Africa for 3 weeks.
It is cheaper than to go to any private clinic of similar quality in the UK.
I am NOT looking forward to it – I understand it is a very unpleasant experience

BUT I LONG to be free of this toxic substance that has me addicted to mediocrity, it is:-
ruining my health
ruining my working life
ruining my ability to be independent financially.
ruining my creativity and ability to fulfil plans
and most of all – potentially ruining my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend.

I could have quietly skulked off and pretended I was going on holiday,
BUT I wanted to be honest and transparent on this blog
BECAUSE
there are loads of people going through this.
It SO important to know that we are not alone.
IF my being open helps someone then that is great.

hug 1

So – I will not be blogging for 3 weeks as I undergo treatment.

But please if you have read this and you too are suffering on a benzo
do get in touch,
share your experience if you want to
and I will reply on my return.
I am not wise
I do not have the answers
but I have been there,
I do understand
and would love to have a chat.

so it’s

“BEDTIME FOR BENZO”

and remember

DONT GIVE UP!

hope

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL

Posted in dry days. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Karen unrue

IMG_2701

During these hot summer months
It’s important
to keep hydrated.
When you travel
on the London underground
you hear regularly
over the platform
loudspeakers –

“IN THIS HOT WEATHER PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER WITH THEM.”

Its good advice.

Do you know what else is
good advice?
Always carry with you
something you can read,
listen to,
or just glance at,
to remind yourself that you’re going to be ok!
That you are strong even though you feel weak.
That you are acceptable,
good enough,
someone of value,
and lovable.
That there is
HOPE,
and to not give up
or hang your head.
That in this moment you are in –
YOU ARE SAFE
and even if it feels like a storm is raging
KNOW
it will grow calm –
over time –
and you will find –
A QUIET PLACE AGAIN.

THIS IS HYDRATION FOR YOUR SPIRIT –

This is –

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL!!!!!!!

OUR INNER CRITIC IS A LIAR

Posted in unhelpful negative thinking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2013 by Karen unrue
The West End. London theatre land.

The West End. London theatre land.

An actress
has just
performed
her heart out.
Opening night
in a west end show.
She was
great, and
received
a standing ovation
from
the filled auditorium.

ovation460

The morning papers
come out.
The whole cast
has stayed up
all night
to read what
the critics
have to say.
They nervously
open the papers
to the
relevant page.

newspapers

As she reads
she sees
that
nine out of ten
critics
state she was
wonderful ,
“Miss Sinclair
brought the role to life
and made it her own.”
One critic
is disparaging
“miss Sinclair
lacked the lustre
the role required.”

SHE IS DEVASTATED.

Woman-grief-painting-640x480

No matter
how much the others
point out
that nine out of ten
good reviews
is terrific
and tell her to
pay no heed
to the idiot
who said
negative things,
all she can think about
is
the negative,
the critical
the disappointed
voice.

negative words sheet

WHY DO WE DO THAT? ALL OF US DO IT!

There is something in each of us, for some reason, that more readily believes the negative thoughts that come at us and fill our heads than the positive ones that get spoken as well.
It’s because we tend to already have distorted perspectives about ourselves and we cherry pick the thoughts that most easily fit in with them.
The negative thoughts are easier for us to believe!!!

BUT MOST NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ARE LIARS.

Even though we are convinced that they are valid most of the negative thoughts that make us feel bad are:-

DISTORTED AND UNREALISTIC

IMG_3445

They are the blah, blah, blah that fill our heads automatically from what we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves.

For those of you who have begun to write down some of your negative self-talk as you have become aware of it– here are some of the distorted thinking patterns they will fit into. See if you recognise any of these in your negative thoughts.

CATASTROPHISING

This is when we take something and blow it all out of proportion.
We make it bigger in our minds that it should be and then usually use the
thought to hammer ourselves with.

“I forgot to invite Emily to my daughters birthday party – OH NO – now her mother will think I’m horrible and won’t speak to me in the playground when I pick the kids up. OH God I bet she’ll even turn the other mums against me. I will have to get someone else to pick up the kids – I cant show my there face again. How could I have done that I’M SO STUPID, SO THOUGHTLESS, SO USELESS.”

painting by Guillame Le Tual

painting by Guillame Le Tual

MIND READING.

This is when we assume we know what others are thinking.

“I can’t go to my husband’s work “DO” because I know that all the other wives look down on me. I know they don’t think I’m good enough for Mike.”

crystal ball

NEGATIVE FILTERING

This is when no matter how well something might be going WE will filter out the positive things and see only the negative.

“was’nt that a great evening. The food was delicious and the music was great.”
we say,
“yes darling but why did it have to be outside? It gets so cold in the evenings this time of year, and did you notice that neither Rose nor Mary spoke more than two words to me the whole evening.”

confectioners-sugar-being-sprinkled-with-a-sifter

BLACK AND WHITE THINKING

This is when we take everything to the extreme. It tends to make us hard on ourselves and come to some harsh assumptions.

“I am ALWAYS the one who ends up washing coffee cups after church. NO ONE EVER helps out. I am FOREVER taken for granted. I am NEVER appreciated.”

BIAS AGAINST YOURSELF

This is when we fail to see the good in ourselves, even when others do, and we focus instead on the negative.

“Thanks for coming shopping with me and helping me choose an outfit for the wedding. You have a really good eye for colours and what things go together well.”
We say,
“Don’t be silly, no I don’t, I just know what you like”

These are just a few of the negative thinking patterns that hinder our enjoyment of life.

Now that we are becoming more aware of what they are we will look at how we can challenge them and exchange them for more rational and positive thinking.

dont listen to negative words

Do you recognise any of them in your own thinking?
How have they prevented you from enjoying life more?

THE VITAL INGREDIENT

Posted in Hope with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2013 by Karen unrue
painting by Rebecca Finch

painting by Rebecca Finch

Recently I was told a about a piece of research* that was undertaken to try and understand why some people with mental health issues “recover” and some do not. A large research group was studied over several years. All the participants received in equal measure whatever therapies their conditions required, including medication. To the researchers surprise their findings showed that the ingredient missing in those who did not “recover”, but which was present in those who did, was – HOPE!.
In my own journey of “recovery”, (I put this word in parentheses because there are various definitions of recovery in mental health) as well as in my work with clients over the years I certainly have seen HOPE as a vital ingredient in “recovery”.

painting by Carol Engles

painting by Carol Engles

What I want to stress though is that hope is not a whimsical thing that some people are born able to pluck out of the ether and some are not. Hope can be conveyed, passed on, taught, learned, absorbed etc.etc. I have worked with people who when they first came to me were despairing, hope-less, and who I had the privilege of watching, over the months, gradually blossom and find the spark of joy re-ignited in their lives.
That’s NOT me blowing my own trumpet.
What I’m saying is that hope is knowledge,
and knowledge is power.

A scholar who wishes to become proficient in a subject will surround himself with books, podcasts, videos, and attend lectures and seminars. He will spend lots of time with those also interested in his topic of study, and more importantly, he will spend time with and listen to those people who have, over many years, become wise in the subject. Then, if he is serious about becoming wise in the subject himself, he will pay attention to what they have to say and WORK HARD at practicing the advice they offer.

painting-of-man-reading-by-candlelight

I believe hope works the same way.
Surround yourself with books
that are hopeful,
people that are
hopeful.
Watch videos
that are hopeful
(“Ted talks” is full of them – google it.)
See a hope-filled counsellor,
key worker.
And work at it –
work HARD at it.
Practice what you hear.
We live in a society that expects instant gratification, a quick fix –
NO!
The old adage still prevails.
If something is worth having
it is worth working for.

To paraphrase a terrible movie cliche –

BUILD HOPE AND IT WILL COME.

building

Here’s a poem I wrote about it:-

HOPE

I thought you’d be a butterfly
and try to fly away.
A thing of fragile beauty
I had to beg to stay.
Something
I had to cling to,
tie a leash to,
slip some cash through
your front door
in an envelope
marked
“there’s more where this comes from – don’t leave.”

Instead you were an elephant,
that was a surprise!
And I could always find you
if i looked through seeing eyes.
But some days –
fear tried to blind me,
it wasn’t always easy,
boy! I had to really
look hard
through binoculars
until
my vision cleared. Then I’d see you, and I’d be relieved!

Decorated-animals-by-Bioworkz3-600x778

——————————————-

and most of all

DON’T GIVE UP!

hope

*I’m sorry but I do not have the details about this piece of research.

THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN

Posted in THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by Karen unrue

young man 2

A lovely young man
came to see me.
A good looking
young man,
28 years old,
with a good job,
and his own flat.
I was
a mentor
in a
mental health charity.
HE WAS TROUBLED.

depression

Recently, his
ANXIETIES
had spiralled into
DEPRESSION.
He didn’t understand
what was wrong.
He’d always found
relationships
difficult, he said,
even with family.
But lately his friendships
had become increasingly
strained.
Then his girlfriend
had left him
and now he was
on medication.

help_pills_c
He said,

“It isn’t that life is hard, it’s that I FIND LIFE HARD!
And I don’t know why”.

Early on
In our sessions
I asked him
a question –

WHAT IS YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

I explained
I wasn’t talking about
the Visible Panty Line
that expensive underwear adverts
promise to eradicate.

NO!

In this instance –

The BOTTOM LINE is the description of yourself that you believe to be 100%
TRUE.

It is indicated in how
you complete the sentence –
I AM…….
when no one is listening.
When its
just you
in
quiet solitude,
being brutally honest
with yourself.

who am i

The lovely young man
thought about it
a while,
then
admitted to me
his
BOTTOM LINE
was
I AM … NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I AM … TO BLAME.

Peoples underlying beliefs about themselves will always impact their thinking and then their behaviour.

I explained this to him and that his BOTTOM LINE was influencing everything in his life, including his relationships, and that only when he changed his beliefs about himself would “living life” become easier for him.

“But how do I do THAT?” He gasped

I said,
“It is possible.
I know because I have done it,
and I will show you how”.

I told him –
Your BOTTOM LINE is a label you wear.
A label you have allowed to define you because you believe it to be true.

So we talked about labels and how we acquire them.
How when we come into this world our label is blank –
blank labels
we have no opinion of who we are – not good or bad.
And that the opinion we will eventually have of ourselves,
our BOTTOM LINE,
will develop over time –
AS OTHER PEOPLE WRITE ON OUR LABEL.

handwriting

What people write on a child’s label varies.
It depends on the environment in which they are raised.

A healthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are lovable,
interesting,
fun to be with,
and you can do anything you put your mind to”

An unhealthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are a nuisance,
stupid,
in the way,
and you will never amount to anything.”

dysfunctional

Yes, it’s a genetic lottery.
We have no say about
the families
we are born into.
And the kids in
unhealthy families
have an
uphill battle.
But even kids
in nurturing families
are spoken to
carelessly
or unkindly
at times.

NO ONE IS IMMUNE.

I explained that children have what child psychologist’s call
CONCRETE THINKING.
This means that children (up to 14 or15) take personally everything that is said to them,
and believe it to be FACT.

They don’t have the capacity, as adults do, to take into consideration the
circumstances or the mood of the person speaking.
Adults can differentiate between the truth and an opinion.
They know that an opinion is often rooted in some issue that the person voicing it is having, and can, therefore, disregard it.

Children can’t do that.
To a child
ugly things aren’t said because –

“mum is having a bad day”,

mum pulling her hair out

or “dad has money worries and is short-tempered”.

finances

NO

To a child –
Ugly things are said
Because
THEY ARE TRUE.

BUT,
I explained to him
WHAT IS ACTUALLY TRUE
is that the ugly things
that are said to us
as children
are NOT facts
but
OPINIONS.

OPINIONS VOICED OUT OF ISSUES THAT THE PERSON SPEAKING IS HAVING AT THE TIME.

The lovely young man
suddenly
straightened up
in his chair.
There was a
light in his eyes.
He had heard
something
that
resonated.

He recounted that one night
when he was
seven years old
he’d been put to bed
by his mother.
She then went downstairs
and soon he could hear
her and his father arguing
in the lounge below his bedroom.

bth_couple-fighting_zpsaf14a3e4

This was nothing new – they argued quite a lot.
But this one escalated
to such decibels
and went on for so long
that he became alarmed –
and then frightened.
He crept downstairs in his pyjamas
and stood in the hall next to the
closed living room door.
SUDDENLY
his mother burst out of the room.
She saw him,
pointed her finger at him
and said,

pointing

“ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK IN THIS GOD-AWFUL MARRIAGE.
IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU I COULD LEAVE AND HAVE A BETTER LIFE.
ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK HERE AND UNHAPPY”

She then stormed upstairs
leaving him standing alone
UNDER THE WEIGHT OF HER WORDS.

The lovely young man
then told me
that from that moment on
he felt responsible
for his mother’s
happiness.
He tried hard
to be good,
to be funny,
to be there
for her.
And felt guilty
when she was unhappy.
It was his fault.
SHE HAD SAID SO.

He said that with every relationship that mattered to him from then on
he felt he had to make sure the other person was always alright.
Their happiness
was his responsibility.
It was a joke at first.
They teased him a bit,
said he should “chill”.
He tried to stop
trying so hard.
But lately things only got worse.
And one by one
his friends fell away.
Then his girlfriend
said she felt smothered
and walked away too.

girlfreind leaving

“BUT IF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TRUE” he said excitedly,
“Then my mother wasn’t speaking A FACT ABOUT ME! Was she?
She was just VOICING AN OPINION out of the anger she was feeling!”

He took a deep breath as the reality sank in,

“And so THE TRUTH IS “ he continued,
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for other people’s happiness – am I !!”

I smiled, and said, “THAT’S RIGHT”.

And he smiled too.

smile

Over the weeks we worked on erasing the opinions he had worn as the truth.
He gradually wrote his own label.
Redefining himself
and learning to
live his life FREE from
THE WEIGHT OF HIS MOTHER’S WORDS.

It wasn’t easy,
but with hard work
and perseverance
he began
breaking the habits
of thinking
and behaviour
that had caused
him to
“find life hard.”

The lovely young man,
a couple of years
after our sessions had ended,
spotted me in a restaurant.
He came over.
He was smiling.
He told me how well his life was going
Then took me to his table
and introduced me to his girlfriend.

I must say –
they both looked
VERY HAPPY INDEED.

_smitten__couple_in_love_figurative__figurative__08959ab3929e456a74457a4d6210735a

Have any of the labels you have been given created problems for you?

If you look back with an adults eye can you see that most likely they were not facts but opinions?

what are some of the opinions you have believed to be facts?

I will discuss in more depth some of the techniques for working yourself free from damaging opinions in my next post.

Do you have any questions you would like me to try and answer?

I would be happy to give it my best shot !

PEOPLE GROW IN THE STRANGEST PLACES

Posted in transformation through trauma with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by Karen unrue

chick and egg
Did you know that you are not supposed to assist a baby chick
as it chips its way out of the shell of the egg its hatched in.
Poor thing looks so weak and helpless.
Looks like he won’t make it.
It looks traumatic.
But apparently
the very act of working his way slowly out of the shell and into the world strengthens him.

Transformation through trauma

Yes it’s a cliché,
but its true!

I never thought I’d be grateful for the shit I went through in my marriage.
Or for the depression and anxiety I experienced
in the ensuing years
as I rebuilt my life.

But there did come a day, some years later,
When I began to realise that all I had been through:
the process of forgiving
both myself and him,
rebuilding my identity
and self-esteem,
learning to live
without guilt and fear.
Had actually caused me to
GROW
as a person.
I had more compassion
more wisdom
a greater lust for life.

I had pecked my way out of the shell.
I was strengthened.

Now don’t misunderstand!
I would NEVER want to go through any of that again!
And it’s been a difficult journey

BUT I LIKE WHO I AM AS A RESULT OF THE JOURNEY I’VE BEEN ON.

journey
It is a strange phenomenon
That people,
like flowers and vegetables,
seem to grow best
in shit!

Here is a poem I wrote about that.

If you could buy what I’ve been through,
I wouldn’t recommend you do.
This is MY life.

The past I’ve had I can’t undo
no matter how I might want to.
THIS is my life.

Not all fairy tale, bedtime story,
or bed of roses always sweet.
There have been times of pain and suffering
that have knocked me off my feet.

But over time as I’ve reflected.
I’ve learnt it’s best that I accept,
This IS my life.

And the question asked, “what might have been?”
Has become redundant now I’ve seen
that by accepting my life is THIS
I get to see what I almost missed –

THAT PEOPLE GROW IN THE STRANGEST PLACES

plant covered people 2

Have you found this to be the case?
In what ways?
What are your experiences?

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