After reading my previous post, my Cousin, who also happens to be my best friend, decided we needed to sit down together for an hour and attempt to unravel the huge, impossibly entangled, ball of wool that has become my life. This sort of conversation between us used to be commonplace, but circumstances (that she knows I wouldn’t change for the World), and some other ongoing family issues (that she knows I would do anything to change), make that a bit tricky at the moment. However, not to be outdone, we took advantage of what is usually a busy hour for me on Thursday evening and sat down with a piece of drawing paper and a grey felt-tip pen (the first thing to hand/lying around, and part of the circumstances I wouldn’t change for the World!).
The first thing we did was write a list of things represented by the balls in my juggling analogy of a previous post. With this ‘complete’, the thing that struck me was that there were many more balls in my attempted juggling stunt than I thought; no wonder it was an impossible task!
I also quickly realised the main problem/item/ball, was one I hadn’t acknowledged, but that my Cousin (independently of me) put quite high on our list – ‘keeping people happy’. I spend a disproportionate amount of my time worrying about what people think of me, and how my actions are being perceived. I can sit while someone else cooks a meal, riddled with guilt that I’m not helping (despite having had diagnosed Eating Disorders, in various forms, for about the last five years), and I keep mental notes of things like who did the dishes when to make sure I, at the very least, take my turn. If I exchange cross-words with someone, I immediately start to catastrophize, and worry it might be the last exchange we ever have. So, with this in mind, I go back grovelling to someone who doesn’t even remember the ‘cross-words’ ever being exchanged. Like I said, the ball of wool is impossibly entangled…
Anyway, we sat, and we talked, and we drank tea. And we somehow reduced the number of balls from thirteen (I know, right, only I could have a list of problems with thirteen items on) to four, a nice, even, square, number. Don’t get me wrong, a couple of those balls are quite big – football sized, maybe. But a couple are pushing it to be classed as tennis balls.
How did we achieve this? We disposed of balls, we used some balls to cancel others and we amalgamated balls that represent activities that, when all is said in done, are meant to be enjoyed, things I do to relax or for enjoyment. We even parked something for now; namely the state of my living space. We did this on the basis that I am about to be relocated to the upper floor of the house, which will be mine and mine alone – one large bedroom and an ensuite bath/shower room. This should be much more comfortable, light and airy than where I am now, and also gives me a chance to start afresh, to create and maintain a space of my own, with a spot for studying, a working TV (there are two in my current bedroom and neither work!) and a comfortable chair in which to sit and watch said TV. At the moment, everything I do in my room I do in my bed: eat, sleep, read, write, study…
I’m also going to dig out some blank activity planners I know I have somewhere and try scheduling my days without becoming too obsessed, or hung up on ‘unexpected events’ that might affect my planned activities…I’ve never managed to do this before, lol.
The entire time I’ve been writing this, I’ve been trying to come up with a conclusion, or a message of some sort. I guess all I have for now is that it pays to sit down and write whatever mess is in your head, and to inadvertently share it with someone you know can help. Recently, I’ve been questioning my decision to break away from the CMHT, and I’m still not sure how much longer I’m going to continue to manage without them. Sometimes, when I can’t control my thoughts and emotions, and therefore my actions, that is in danger of being taken out of my hands anyway. But, for now, I think I’m ok.