TW: very mild reference to self harm.
This morning I received a handwritten letter in the post. It took me a moment to recognise the author of said letter as myself. In it I had written two things I had hoped to achieve by around August of this year. Did I achieve either these things? No, is the short answer.
Allow me to explain. Around a year ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend an 8 week Mindfulness course run by the CMHT. I happened to be well enough at the time that I could take it all on board and put what was useful for me into practice. On the last week, which was roughly Christmas time last year, we were asked to write ourselves a letter containing our personal goals for the coming 6 months and how we might use Mindfulness to help us along the way. These were left with the course leader to be mailed out at some point in the future. Clearly she has recently come upon them at the bottom of a drawer, or something similar, because, as I’ve said, my letter landed on the door mat today.
Typically, I shot for the stars, wanting to:
1. Be a bridesmaid
2. Sit an exam
My biggest regret, the worst thing this f*****g illness has taken from me, is the opportunity to be my sister’s bridesmaid this summer. She was married in Cyprus and I/we was/were foolish enough to believe that I could go. Yes, I was going to: negotiate a check-in desk and security checks at an airport, tolerate the (constant) close proximity of 30 other individuals for a full week, find a dress that would accommodate the extensive scars on my wrists and arms, fulfil the many requirements of a bridesmaid…I can hear you laugh from here (come to think of it, this might be a good subject for a future post).
The exam is a slightly smaller disappointment. I had been working on an OU module when I wrote the letter and aimed to complete it and sit the exam this October. As it happens, I’ve had it deferred until October 2015 – I can live with that.
I had long ago forgotten all about this letter so, as you might imagine, I took the proverbial kick in the teeth this morning when I opened the mysterious envelope and was confronted with two unrealised goals. It was a bit like being mocked by a piece of paper, a hard copy of (some of) my demons, physical evidence of my failures.
What is the moral of this story? We have to set ourselves smaller, more achievable goals – get out of bed in the morning, wash, dress, meet a friend for coffee, read a chapter of a book. Life with MH difficulties is tricky enough – we can’t be adding to that by reaching for the unattainable. We need to learn to find pleasure in small things – a favourite meal, the beach/woods/park (whatever is nearby), playing with children or walking the dog (or both)…the possibilities are endless. So my goal for the next 6 months? Expect significantly less of myself.
Oh, and the letter is in the bin.