What will you do if the voices inside your head start playing tricks on you?
Treat them to a healthy dose of reality. Fear and anxiety left me paralyzed for years, As a child I was afraid of everything. I was afraid to trick or treat on Halloween afraid to go to school because of the frightful nuns afraid to leave my mother because something might happen to her. By the time I was an adult, it had grown out of control. I convinced myself every little ache or pain I had I was dying. Each time the phone rang if it wasn’t to tell me I was dying of some god forbidden disease it was to say someone else was or had died. I had my mind made up about the fate of the call by the second or third ring.
In 2014 after an unprovoked violent assault there were days I could barely bring myself to leave the house. It was a turning point in my life I either faced my fears or locked myself away forever. When I had no choice but to leave my home I left with all my fear and negative emotions in tow. I was quite certain another day of misery lay ahead of me, and it did! I was so scared and afraid to be happy what could happen I might allow myself to start living would that be so bad….
It is hard now to imagine how I managed to put myself through extensive spinal surgery or procedures for Crohn’s disease. I think I needed to feel the pain I loved it in some sadomasochist type way. If I felt the pain I could reassure myself I was still sick. I had something to complain about I was good at that. I was afraid to get better this was my punishment things were meant to be this way every day I dressed up as a senior woman beyond my years crippled by fear and anxiety and doing nothing about it.
I used to reduce my medication every time the pain numbed a bit I wanted to feel it; I think in hindsight, it was meant to be that way. I count that as my saviour to avoiding narcotic addiction. There I was addicted to pain simple as and living in fear of feeling alive again. Someone said to me Pauline it doesn’t have to be this way, how dare they shut up shut up who did they think they were telling me how I should feel, I didn’t want to hear, let the punishment continue.
But things didn’t have to be this way at all….
Letting go was hard the fear had deep roots inside my psyche attached to every available neural pathway in my brain years of practising “I can’t” made it a perfect breeding ground for self-doubt …”I can’t.”
“I can’t swim I won’t float I’m sinking.”
“I can’t walk my spine will break I’m aching.”
“I can’t get better the damage is done it’s won.”
“I can’t talk I have no voice I’ll stay silent.”
“I can’t be happy I don’t deserve it.”
“I can’t tell my story no one will want to hear”
I didn’t understand my fear, I had to face her head on, feel her and, realize I was her, I created her, I fueled her, I could put the fire out and turn the volume down, I could take control.
What were my options….
I could keep running and hiding, or I could dive in, I could speak with an open heart and mind and tell my story. I could face my reality and walk my talk and realize there was nothing to fear.
In July 2014 I got into a swimming pool, I couldn’t swim. It wasn’t the fear of the water itself but the fear of not being able to breathe, but I hadn’t been breathing for years. I was suffocating, drowning in my pool of self-pity and sorrow. Within ten mins my head was fully immersed, I was breathing under the water and floating two slow but consistent 20 m laps later under the careful supervision of my swimming coach I knew when I came up for my next breath of air it was going to be okay.
I let go of the fear….I could do this; it was like something just clicked two laps turned into 5, 10, 20, 25.
A few weeks later 5 km was achievable a few months 10 km was a walk in the park.
A year later I found my voice I love to talk.
Two years on I told my story I love to write.
I have replaced the sadness with authentic happiness.
People ask me “ how come you are so self-aware/” its simple I told myself the truth. I stopped running away, hiding and lying to myself.
I let go I could breathe. I faced my reality I was getting in my way all along. I had nothing to fear but success.
How can you let it go?
Ask yourself is this my truth
Do a reality check
Stop looking outside of yourself for the solutions; you have them
Learn to breathe
Broaden your perspective
Open your heart and mind
Let it go leave it to the wind