Self Development

Sertraline

I have written my fair share of blogs, dripping with the sadness, despair and suffering that anxiety and its subsequent depression left me with. Today’s post isn’t another one of those. Whilst those fragments of written thought have their own part to play as a release valve in those dreaded moments of angst, today’s piece comes from a place of greater peace and more importantly: acceptance.

Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that another eighteen full moons have graced the sky since my first visit to the GP with absolutely no understanding of why my emotions spiralled into anxiety a month before my finals. Maybe it’s even more to do with that fact that with finals over, those obstacles surpassed and all those moons later; I’m still not “over it”.

The time elapsed between then and now have been ridden with moderate highs and exquisite lows. Throughout it, I’ve felt like a woman fighting hard for better mental health, the goal of getting ‘better’ at the top of her to-do list so that once it was all ticked off, she could move on. In previous posts, I have spoken about how I, quote-on-quote “do not wish to make my sadness clinical”. I now see the ways in which that mindset was pure ego screaming, “I can do this! Take that, anxiety! You’re not an illness, you’re just a manifestation of my ego and I will fight you (with even more ego)!”

I was desperate. Desperate for every problem to have a solution. As if happiness was a goal and if I really worked hard enough with my therapist, doing loads of CBT; I’d get there and then that would be it, I’d never ever look back.

As a matter of fact I did work hard enough with my therapist to get there. I reached my goal. For a while, I was elated and deluded enough to believe that was it. My ‘old self’ had returned and now I could walk out into the world, armed with skills that meant anxiety and depression would never come back again.

The universe had other plans. Plans involving another downward spiral. A return to therapy after being discharged, calling in sick twice at work because I couldn’t fight the anxiety, more self-loathing, more self-criticism and more self harm. But as I mentioned at the start, this post isn’t about the sadness. It is born out of a quiet desire to be pragmatic in the face of turbulent emotion.

Fighting ego with ego hadn’t worked. Thus; encouraged by my therapist and by my loved ones, I did the thing I was so afraid to do. I made my sadness clinical. Driving to the GP practice on a day I should have been on the ward, I parked up and walked in, heart racing, palms sweating and ego broken. I sat before the doctor, running her quickly through the circumstances leading to my current situation as she turned to face me, eyes widened in shock, uttering the words “I think we need to start you on some medication”.

I know this is not an approach that works for everyone. For over a year, I myself had fought it. I told myself I was better than medication and I turned it into some kind of philosophical debate about how much inner strength I possessed.

Driving back from the pharmacy, a paper bag of prescription drugs riding along on the passenger seat next to me, I realised I had returned to the familiar place of rock bottom, this time with eighteen full moons’ worth of experience and wisdom on my hands, which was at least enough to realise this wasn’t about inner strength or fighting a battle towards better mental health, about a checklist or getting discharged from therapy being a goalpost to wellness. This was about acceptance. This is it. This is simply where I am.

I was always afraid of calling anxiety an illness because I feared that it would make me lazy or I’d start using it as an excuse. ‘Oh I can’t do that today because of my anxiety’. I would judge people who talked like that, blogged like that or felt like that. I separated mental illness from physical illness because to my jaded mind, anxiety was a part of my personality whereas a broken leg isn’t. The ultimate fear however was that the minute I saw my anxiety as an illness, I would lose my desire to fight it.

So what happened?! Well, the long and short of it is that I have lost my desire to fight it. I was tired. Living with chronic anxiety makes each day so tough that those thoughts scuttle over into thinking that life isn’t worth living anymore. The more I introspect, the more I realise that I have had anxiety my whole life; ever since I was a small child. It was born of and exacerbated by poor self esteem, made worse by moving places, by childhood bullying, by medical school and by coping in the wrong ways and by not realising it was there or dealing with it until I hit my twenties. That is all okay.

It’s okay not to have a burning desire to fight it because it has been instead replaced by a much calmer, quieter and more powerful desire to live with it. Making my sadness clinical has made me see it as a lifelong companion. The desperation has settled. Anxiety has been there all along and it’s there to stay. So rather than fight it with an ill determination to get better and stay better and never be anxious again- I may as well accept that it’ll be there for a long time coming. Anxiety is my baseline and it always has been. Whilst I can work with it, it won’t just go away. Baselines take years, even decades to change- not months. And sometimes we can’t will things into action; they simply get woven into the fabric of life with the cumulative experience and wisdom that manifests with each passing full moon.

Love to all

G x

Self Development

Opening up

Something exceptional has happened recently.

My entire mindset has seen a shift towards good mental health after having come from a place of poor mental health. In this newfound space, my whole life has exposed itself with more awareness and clarity than ever before.

Today, I wanted to write about one of the biggest changes I have subconsciously been moving towards and that is: openness. Particularly openness in my relationship.

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for just over a year. He is undoubtedly one of the most important people in my life because from day one, we made it clear to each other that we wanted to spend our lives together and make this thing work. And let’s face it: dating in this day and age takes up so many different forms that relationships do require that level of clarity. In the past, I’ve been with people where the focus was more on having fun in the moment than about a lifelong partnership so opening up and sharing our problems almost wasn’t necessary. That’s cool too. But in the context of this relationship, opening up has been key to its quality and to my happiness… and I didn’t even know how to do it until very recently.

Growing up as a woman is difficult. It is pleasing to see that sexism is dying out as each generation is made. However, most women are still shaped from early childhood by the beliefs of their mothers who may not have been subject to such female liberation. I come from a family of women where our strength is defined by our ability to put up with things and not make a fuss (as I’m sure many women are). Putting up with things can often mean not showing our emotions, not being allowed to be upset because we have to be seen to be putting on a brave face and ‘holding it together’ for those around us. Many of us have seen our mothers hide difficult emotions from our fathers because that’s what it means to be strong. I have found myself growing up with this same belief: don’t share it, just keep it inside and ‘deal with it’. That’s how to be a strong woman.

Moreover, being a woman in 2018 can sometimes mean we are taught to overcompensate. We are encouraged to flaunt our independence and wear our singledom like a badge of honour. Things like living alone, travelling alone, not being ‘tied down’ by relationships and being sexually liberated are all associated with this notion of the ‘independent woman’. Whilst I believe that all of these things are important (especially as I’ve done all of them), it’s easy to start thinking that we should be independent all the time, even in our relationships, whereas in actual fact interdependence (where you rely on each other for support but are both able to effectively stand on your own two feet) is much more constructive.

In essence, I’ve always seen opening up as a sign of weakness. Being vulnerable and sharing my insecurities have always been a source of paralysing fear. I’ve grown up thinking that if I don’t have the ‘upper hand’, in a relationship with a man, I am the weak one. I thought that in order to be strong, I wasn’t supposed to show my emotions. Instead, I had to be confident and secure in myself all the time. This is literally an impossible task.

So you can imagine that when I became anxious and depressed it always felt like there were ten million things going on in my head but I couldn’t even really get them out because of the shame, guilt and fear associated with being emotional, upset or insecure.

Many of us live with this feeling every day and one of the greatest places where it manifests is in our relationships because that’s where we are most vulnerable.

For instance… I felt incredibly insecure about the fact that my boyfriend’s dating history was way more colourful than mine. The fact that he’d slept with more people than me used to make me feel inadequate because a) I never got that opportunity and I resented him for it and b) what if these girls were hotter than me, smarter than me or more fun than me? The thing is, whenever it came to trying to tell him this, it was like someone had petrificus totallused my entire body. I was literally too shaken with fear to tell my boyfriend that I felt this way. I didn’t realise that it was okay, normal, even to experience these emotions. I thought I had to hide them and act like I was completely fine because that was the strong woman’s reaction.

I used to feel stupid about the fact that I was a less rational and more emotional person than my boyfriend. I thought of myself as inadequate because I couldn’t logic my way through situations like him. This meant that every time I experienced unhappiness, jealousy or anxiety over anything related to the relationship, I convinced myself it was my fault because I wasn’t chilled out enough or cool enough like him. So consumed was I by my own judgement of myself that I couldn’t even bring myself to talk about how I felt, for fear that it was irrational or dumb.

One time, he did something that really hurt me. It took me three whole weeks to muster up enough courage to tell him that. All the while, I felt miserable and berated myself for feeling that way. The worst part was that when I spoke to other women about this (close friends of mine) they didn’t even particularly encourage me to stand up for myself… perhaps because putting up with certain things is how a lot of us are taught to approach life. (Needless to say when I did tell him how I felt, he understood immediately and it was settled).

It took many months of working hard on myself to move past these old habits that weren’t serving me. Where self criticism and judgement ruled me, I replaced it with compassion. I became understanding of my emotions and kind to myself instead of constantly putting myself down. This didn’t come easily: it took masses of time, effort, patience and practice.

Through this practice of self compassion, I realised that holding all this crap inside me just wasn’t serving me any more and one by one, I let things go. And that hasn’t been by holding it all together, overcompensating or pretending to be the ‘strong woman’. It’s been by opening up, taking each insecurity I have and laying it out on the table before the two of us. As each one hits the tabletop, it seems to lose its power over me and I seem to be able to move on a little bit more with my life, one insecurity at a time.

Three weeks ago, I told him one night, over the phone that I needed him. By that I meant that I hadn’t opened up to him before and I had finally realised that I needed to. And I needed him to be there for me. He got it.

Yesterday, my boyfriend had plans to see one of his really good friends… who he also happens to have got together with a few times. I trust him implicitly and he’s a seriously good human being so he’s never given me reason not to. But this doesn’t mean I never get jealous either. So when I turn to him and say ‘Babe, I’m kind of insecure about you going to see her tomorrow’, and he goes ‘See who? You’re literally the only person in my life’, and then we talk about it and he validates my feelings, I get to move on and he gets to go see his friend and we both get to be happy.

Today, I brought up a five month old wound that I was too afraid to talk about five months ago. We talked a lot. I cried a lot. We both left feeling like we’d got something out of it. The five month old wound healed faster than I’d ever let it heal before.

Opening up like this still isn’t easy but it’s a hell of a lot easier than it was when I first started doing it. Self compassion was the game changer: the catalyst that made me realise that by holding things back, we are doing a disservice to ourselves. I plead to all you women out there, we have to stop thinking that being strong is all about putting up with everything and that our feelings are worthless and stupid. Our emotions are powerful and our vulnerabilities are strongholds when we’re aware of them.

Strength doesn’t lie in our ability to paint on a brave face. It lies in owning our insecurities and our flaws so they stop having power over us. Happiness lies at the other side of that fear.

Hope you all enjoyed the rant. Stay compassionate. Love, Gowri xx

 

 

Self Development

The Chinese Cat

It is way past my bedtime. I’ve thrown one window open and the fresh December air is washing out the stagnant remains of the day from my room. I can hear the rain outside. Its notes are super soothing. My eyelids are heavy with a welcoming exhaustion. I can barely type but much like the green tea leaf scented candle flickering by my bedside, I too have been burning with a three day long itch to pen something down.

Two days ago, a parcel arrived in the post. Inside it was a gift from my medschool sister- Rhi. She bought me a graduation present. This graduation present was related to a story I told her, well over a year ago when we were on elective together in Samoa. I have to admit, I don’t totally remember the exact details of the tale but it goes something like this. A friend of a friend got a chinese cat. You know the tacky, golden battery powered cats with the creased eyes and the single arm that oscillates. Myth or legend or whatever has it that a person writes a wish on a piece of paper, puts it under the chinese cat and then has to think about the wish all the time. The wish is supposed to come true. And for the friend of a friend, there was an elaborate story, laced with romance and theatricality and sure enough, her wish came true. Like I say, the details are patchy in my memory. Three such wishes exist. But the catch is this: you can’t buy yourself the chinese cat. Someone else has to buy it for you.

So on Tuesday morning, chance would have it that this was the last day of my first job as a doctor… in Psychiatry. On the cusp of what the doctors call ‘changeover’, the dreaded Wednesday that rolls round every few months, where we all rotate into new jobs, I receive an adorable, tacky, golden wish machine. My first feeling is pure delight. Fucking hell, Rhi. As if you remembered that anecdote from all that while back and ordered me such a thoughtful gift, you incredible human. The second thought was… what the hell do I shove under my new cat?

And it dawned upon me quite instantaneously that the cat might not be able to give me what I want because I don’t want much that I can’t get without the cat.

What do I want? I want to be happy. No, it’s genuinely that simple. I really want to be happy and do as much good as I can for other people. If I had a mission statement for my life it would be that. Any cat-wish will only bring me temporary happiness that fades with time. I mean, temporary happiness is great but what about the deeper thing? Fulfillment? Lack of fear? Living a life driven by love? Is it just me that feels like I’m on a constant search for something real to fill a void that can’t be filled by the love of another person, the fun of intoxication and nice things exchanged for little chunks of my bank balance?

The being happy part, I’ve had to accept, doesn’t come that naturally to me. I care about lots of stuff- mostly other people’s opinions. I also worry. When I was in primary school (one of many), I once told a teacher about how I always think of all the poor people in the world who don’t have as much as me and I worry about them. I was told by said teacher that I worry too much. Or care too much. I am also extremely self critical, but in ways that aren’t totally mentally healthy. So yes, being happy is somewhat of a challenge. And in order to face that challenge, I’ve set apart a small portion of my wage and am engaging in weekly sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy. Appealing to my analytical side, CBT has turned out, so far, to be scientific and effective. I have begun to understand how I have become the way that I have become. Accepted that it’s not really anyone’s fault. And I am in the process of learning how to, quite honestly, let go of some of that shit and become happy. I have words for everything, most of the time- but I don’t have words to tell you, reader, how badly I actually want this. It took me a very long time to realise that wanting to physically hurt yourself simply for being yourself is drastic and unhealthy. The moment it clicked was, for me, the moment I stopped feeling empty. CBT empowers me because I do not want to make my sadness clinical. I don’t want a diagnosis or an excuse. I just want to be happy and I wish to do whatever it takes to get me there. I would move mountains to feel good about myself and to like myself, hell, even to love myself. If I was flexible enough, I’d bend over backwards to feel confident in who I am.

Can I fit all that under the cat?

Gowri xo

poetry, Self Development

Writing myself better: Chapter 3

If you know me… try and read it like I’m saying it. No. Performing it. Love, Gowri x

The voice without words

This is not a poem
or a piece of spoken word
or a shard my heart
penned down to be heard
by you
for you
about you
or any of the others
who cracked me open
‘til composure was broken
These words are the crumbs
that have fallen off my soul
so the universe may fill
the remaining hole
with light.

 

It all starts with love
which flows as rivers, doused
in your essence
and yours… and yours
through my infrastructure,
sheer pressure of its tears
forcing out my eyes
until I am blind
and I fall to the ground
on all fours, feeling
for whatever is around
to help when I am helpless
and whilst on my knees
I stay
I pray
and receive nothing short
of clarity, solidarity
and the deep seated knowing
of my inner guide glowing
what Rumi called
the voice without words
was no longer quiet
she screamed.

You are whole
you are one
you cannot break
they cannot break you
they have never come close
they never will
you great thing of beauty
you phenomenon of love
you model of integrity
you are what is right
you are the light
they only see your worth
when you are gone
they crave your presence
when they’re crushed by your absence
it’s your calling, my dear
to see it now
revel in it
live in it
love in it
do not apologise, my dear
for you are so strong
so very complete
that another repeat
of life’s rock bottom
is a place of peace,
of pure release
where the outcome of surrender
favours you above all.
Go forth without fear, my dear
for there is nothing to be afraid of.

 

-Gowri Nair

 

Self Development

Writing myself better: Chapter 2

After coming back from holiday in Cyprus, I made the decision within myself to turn things around for the better.

Last night, we landed back in Manchester and my eyes were glazed over with a happy exhaustion. When we got home, I ambled into my bedroom, unpacked a few clothes, lit up some incense, took a hot shower and sat in front of a small station that I’d had set up on the corner of my desk with a scented tealight and three small idols. I sat in quiet stillness for several minutes.

As the gorgeous silence washed over me, I felt much anxiety come and go, in and out of the pit of my stomach. I slowly started to release some of those feelings in the tranquility of meditation. When I cleared the space of fear-driven clutter, I asked my intuition a question, something that I was wondering about on the flight home. I asked “How do I keep someone interested in me?” Context: I’ve spent the last three months treading an ocean of my own ‘not good enoughs’ and chasing opportunities to prove myself to everyone. To my boyfriend, my friends, my colleagues and worst of all: to my denial-drowned, ego-traumatised, reticent self.

I felt a peaceful awareness rise from the bottom of my chest, like a phoenix from the ashes. I got my answer. It was authenticity.

As the day has gone on, I started remembering more long-forgotten facts, all related to authenticity.

I remembered how I like to watch the same movies time and time again. How I will probably never get into Game of Thrones. How I want to throw fairy lights on everything. How I read lots of Sophie Kinsella as a guilty pleasure. How I absolutely love writing and it makes me feel at one with the universe. I remembered that there was a time when I was vegetarian and spent my spare time looking up reports on the internet of where I could shop ethically. I remembered the times where I spent days in a row in solitary confinement, studying relentlessly for pre-clinical exams. I remembered when I fell recklessly in love with a person from a different religion. I remembered that I quite like alcohol but don’t really like drugs. I remembered that my whole life I’ve surrendered to a God of my own understanding. I remembered how I love indian clothes more than any other clothes because they make me feel so feminine. I remembered how I love to dance even though I’m so un-coordinated. I remembered the time when one of my patients, a gorgeous, old lady hugged my arm tightly and shouted ‘I’m so happy to see you. Keep me warm!!’ and how I felt such incredible, profound joy in that moment. I remembered how the single thing that lights me up more than anything else is caring for someone like that and just being appreciated in return. 

These are all things that made me ‘interesting’ in the first place and I totally turned my back on them in a fixated attempt to be more fun, cool and interesting for other people. I think it’s true that sometimes you need to really lose yourself to find yourself again. I recall writing in a previous post that I’m jealous of people who are unafraid to be unapologetically themselves. When I was unapologetically being myself, I attracted things into my life with such ease. I was more relaxed. I was happier.

I let go of all of that when my ego led me to believe that everyone else was better than me. I felt that people whose personality traits were opposite to mine were better than me because my personality traits sucked. I felt like opinions that I had were of low value and the opinions of others had to be the ‘right’ ones.

I already feel a massive weight lifted off my shoulders. In fact, today is the calmest I’ve been in a very long time. Just knowing that it’s okay to be myself is such a step in the right direction.

As the journey continues, I hope to draw in on this feeling more and more. There will be times where being authentic feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yet, I trust that faith and love will allow me to soulfully navigate my way through the obstacle course of life until it gets easier and I stop doubting who I am.

Furthermore… this internal commitment, the one I made to write myself better means I get to keep coming back to these chunks of my mind that I’ve bled out through a computer keyboard and remember authenticity all over again.

 

Self Development

Writing myself better: Chapter 1

It has reached the end of a week long holiday with my family in Cyprus. I’ve eaten well, slept well, read well and been… Alright.

Of course it would happen in this way. After six nights of undisturbed sleep, I find myself jostled awake by my subconscious on the seventh night, only to feel restless and out of sync. So I get up, make my way into the kitchen, tablet in hand, put the kettle on for a brew and park myself on the sofa at the foot of the cosy little apartment we’re in.

I’ve found myself on this sofa every morning with a cup of tea, lying eyes closed with devotional music filling the room and Pinterest open on my lap. What a sweet way to ease myself into each day. I could get used to this. I should get used to this.

Guys, you were there for The Breakdown Chronicles. Months of me revelling in my own pain and darkness and genuinely unfathomable misery. After that, I spent lots of time away from my writing and especially writing here. Why? Because I couldn’t actually face the inner turmoil. Writing is my god given route to healing and I chose to ignore her because I didn’t even know where to begin. I was so caught up in this vicious cycle of ego driven fear that I had turned my back on a connection I previously invested in: a connection with myself and with a greater power of my own understanding (call it what you will: intuition, the universe, God, love). I would spend time meditating and tuning into the voice without words that has guided me to fulfillment and inner peace. I would invest time in reading books on self improvement to try and deepen this understanding. This faith was at it’s peak a couple of years ago and it meant that where difficulties arose, I could consciously navigate my way out of them, fuelled by inner wisdom.

I neglected this part of me a few months into my final year of university and in trying to reaccess it when I needed it, nothing really resonated with me anymore. So I decided to hate the self help industry in favour of my five senses, choosing to experience only what’s in front of me and to stop turning inward.

The result? Looking outside of me for sources of instant gratification and finding them, revelling in them for as long as possible so as not to feel the emptiness in the space beneath it. I ignored deep seated feelings of poor self worth and unhappiness. I looked to my relationship for comfort, leading to me putting my boyfriend on a pedestal and feeling permanently unworthy or uncool in the face of differing opinions. I looked to getting drunk as a way to be present and savour a good time. I looked to television as a distraction from the shitstorm. I took to working out all the time and focusing on the external picture more than the internal one.

One morning I woke up and was making headway through a list of mundane tasks when I went online to cancel my ‘audible’ membership (a pay monthly service for audiobooks) I had two credits left so I bought two books. One was on my ‘suggested’ tab and it was called ‘The Universe has your back’ by Gabrielle Bernstein. I had previously listened to Gabby’s lectures and I found her, for some reason, fake, pretentious and capitalising on the self help industry, much like other so called ‘spiritual’ gang members (aka people who sell dreams and are full of shit). But the previous week, a friend whose book choices I respect actually recommended it. So I thought, why not? That night, I listened to it for the first time and I was hooked and moved all at once. As I listened intently, Gabby’s words resonated with me so much that my entire body shook, my heart rate soared and I cried tears of relief, sadness and joy. I remembered after months of forgetting, a lesson so pivotal to my life that it shocked me, the degree to which I had forgotten.

Happiness comes from within. It can’t be found anywhere else. No romantic relationship, no friendship, no alcohol, no party, no food, no gruelling workout guide with a promise of abs and no amount of binge watching TV will ever fill you up the same way that a spiritual connection will.

In realising this, things have begun to fall into place. More books have fallen off the shelves. More moments of clarity have presented themselves. I feel the desire to meditate again. To write again.

I even decided to put a chunk of my wage aside to invest in a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help me redesign the hazy neural connections that have led to automated cycles of negative thinking and resultant beliefs of poor self worth. There are some dark places I would rather not go back to.

I want a life full of self love, compassion and alignment with my purpose. I want happiness. Real, deep seated, internal happiness. I want inner guidance in difficult situations. I want to connect again and more deeply this time, more lovingly with a view to long term inner contentment. I want to heal.

I want to write myself better. 

Self Development

Sky high

Hello people on the internet who read things I write.

Let me say it how it is. Today, I am writing a blog post on the expectations I set for myself.

The reason? Because I’m actually experiencing a real moment of clarity and acceptance right now and truth be told, I’ve not felt like this for a while. I thought I would utilise this time to its maximum potential so you, dear reader, and I can both laugh (and say a bit of a fuck you) to the ridiculousness that is me. They say the truth will set you free. Here are some of my truths:

I must be okay all the time.
If I am not okay with something, there is something wrong with me. Especially in relationships. I was having a conversation with one of my close friends the other day (kind of the male version of me but with better fashion sense, hair, career choice etc, I’m into promotion. Find him here) and we were talking about how we are in such good headspaces when we are not in relationships. It seems counter-intuitive… but really what we meant was that when we are alone, there is no longer a constant stimulus there that challenges us. It’s comfortable because we know we’re okay by ourselves. We’re both givers, so we love relationships for the focus they provide to channel all this wonderful love and energy we have but they can really wear us down sometimes too because we expect so much of ourselves.But really… what’s the worst that could happen if we are not okay with everything? Sure, you feel a little hurt. But it’s nothing drastic. We don’t have to agree with the people we love all the time. If the disagreements become so difficult to handle that that a given friendship or relationship stops becoming worth the difficulty… it’s in your better interests to leave it anyway. A better balance might be trying to understand another person’s perspective but not pushing yourself to be okay with something when you’re not. Broadening your horizons and opening your mind but not constantly putting yourself down because you have to be Miss/ Mrs/Mr/ Dr/ Lord/ Reverend Perfect and be okay with everything. I’m writing this for you as much as I’m writing it for me, lovely reader. Let’s both learn from my mistakes.

Not only must I be okay, I must be happy all the time.
I’m going to take a moment to do a massive Derren Brown and shit all over the self help industry. Fuck you Rhonda Byrne, Gabby Bernstein, Oprah, Abraham Hicks, Tony Rob… (no never, I love you Tony Robbins you freaking rockstar legend, I would never berate you on a blog, you gorgeous soul). I’m going to take a moment to point out how utterly stupid it is to encourage this notion that we need to be happy all the time, feel good all the time, generate good thoughts and feelings and they will manifest in your life. So let me get one thing straight: I believe in the law of attraction. I believe that whatever you give to the world, you attract back. I truly believe that if you give love, love will come back to you. I believe that reality is something we create and it’s important to see the good in life and focus on those things. I believe that if I think I’m good enough to achieve something, that thing will come to me in a seamless, resistance free way. However, I do not believe that you should ever force yourself to be positive because you think that’s what you need to do to be happy. It’ll backfire on you. It’s backfired on me so much that I’ve ended up in some dark places, drowning in my own self-loathing. And reading about the glorious universe wanting me to be happy has made it worse. If you feel sad, just be sad goddamit. Being sad is so much more satisfying when you allow yourself to revel in your own misery, cry like a baby and validate all those feelings that are begging for your attention. It’s so much better when you just decide, in those moments to be your own best friend rather than your own worst enemy and hug yourself instead of hurt yourself. It doesn’t come easily to perfectionists because our expectations of ourselves are sky high all the time. Although I love reading about the mind and the universe and their interaction, I’ve learnt, the hard way, to take this all with a pinch of salt. The Secret might be a world best-seller but it wasn’t written for people with more than a milligram of intellect.

I must communicate really well all the time.
This is a good one. Let me tell you about me because I’m very self righteous and this blog is all about me. I’m intensely emotional: my highs are high and my lows can (as I have recently discovered) get very low. I’m very sensitive to other people’s emotions. I take criticism really personally. I will give until I’m drained from giving. That’s the basis of my drive to be a doctor. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than another person appreciating me for who I am and what I do. I have a tendency to overthink things because I have this need to be perfect so I tell myself that if I think about something over and over again, I will solve my problems and be ‘okay’ and ‘happy’ like I’m supposed to be. I write my feelings on the internet and in thick paper diaries and I have a compulsion to talk to people in order to feel better. I am better at talking to people who are detached from my life than those who are deeply embedded within it because I tell myself that fewer consequences exist if people who are detached from my life judge me for not being perfect (though in reality, the only person who judges me for not being perfect is me). There is so much going on in my brain at once that even though I’m actually a good communicator… I need to mull over things. I need to write things down a lot. It is hard work for me to wring the emotion out of a situation before I can allow my rational mind, my frontal cortex, my better self to articulate what this grand concoction of emotions is actually trying to tell me. So lovely reader, in the hypothetical situation that you and I have a heated conversation, let me tell you now that I will be overcome with emotion and I won’t be able to tell you there and then what I’m feeling because I need to figure it out first. So this sky high expectation is a deeply personal one. I expect myself to communicate well at all times. Given the right headspace, I can do it too. Just look at the way I write: language is my ultimate strength. But sometimes I can’t communicate well. Sometimes it takes me hours, if not days or even weeks of writing to learn what’s going on so I can communicate well. My issue is that I expect this to be instant. I’m actually in the process of learning how to do rationalise better in heated moments but it’s spectacularly tough and it’s tougher if I expect myself to deal with everything perfectly and then communicate it even more perfectly.

I must be more: rational, efficient, smart, disciplined, positive, open-minded, spontaneous, relaxed and free thinking.
People can change. But if I became all those things that I think I should be, I wouldn’t be me anymore. Being overly rational means I might lose touch with my sensitive, empathetic, emotional side, but I’d like to be rational enough that I can cope with hardship better. If I became even more disciplined, then I’d be boring as fuck because I’m disciplined enough (do you know how hard it is to wait for Fridays before you pour yourself a glass of red? I do.) If I became more positive, as I often force myself to be, I would end up in a far worse place because I’d be suppressing my real emotions and honestly, I’m positive enough anyway. If I became overly spontaneous, then I’d lose the responsible, sensible part of me that’s going to make me a good doctor, a good parent and the owner of a tidy house (cleanliness matters). When I write all this down, I realise that I don’t actually hate myself. I’m quite fond of myself. I think I’m alright. 

Self-acceptance is a rough ride for me. The truth is… it’s especially rough when I’m with someone, even if it’s someone I love right down to their core and want to spend eternity with because I revel in self doubt. Perfectionist tendencies have me always comparing myself to other people. Therefore, the next natural step is that I compare myself to the one person who I think is the absolute bees knees.

Ridiculous.

Humans. What we feel is not who we are. There is no such thing as ‘an angry person’- merely a person who gets angry at a lower threshold than what humans have dictated to be a normal threshold for anger. However; we all have a tendency to think and behave in a way that is dictated by evolution, genetics and conditioning. We call it personality. If we want to change our personality or aspects of it… we can. It takes a whole re-wiring of our thoughts but it’s possible. But 99% of the time- we are confined by our personality. The next best thing is to accept it and work with it.

So, gorgeous reader… you’ve come this far. Someone said to me the other day that they like my blog because I write what everyone is thinking. If you find yourself relating, then let’s do something for ourselves today.

Let’s give ourselves a well deserved fucking break from these sky-high expectations.

G

xo