All my life I have been blowing in the wind, bending this way and that, adapting to my environment, trying to establish a control over all my relationships so that I wouldn’t get hurt. At school when I was teased I pretended I was OK, I was tough, I didn’t need anyone and shut everyone out. I tried to be ‘good’ and not upset any of the teachers.
Recently I fell into a whole self–created story around my worth and my competence in relation to my work as a nurse. This happened because I assumed something and reacted.
I used to consider abuse as something that wasn’t part of my life. I saw it in the news, films and read about it in papers. Abuse to me was extreme: extreme cases of violence, beheadings, bombings, attacks, rapes, fighting, shootings, stabbings, war, domestic violence, shouting, swearing and attacking people, someone physically self-harming or cutting themselves. Never once did I consider that abuse – which we all normalise and make okay, which we turn a blind eye to daily – is in all our lives.
We have all experienced anxiety at some point in life, some more than others. It can be a debilitating condition that creates stress and affects us in many ways; in our ability to relate, to work effectively and to be in the world in a confident and calm way. I know the times in the past when I have experienced anxiety I have felt overwhelmed and powerless, unable to feel clear or be at ease with myself.
I recall experiencing panic attacks and anxiety so badly at times that I felt I would be unable to leave home for fear of not being able to handle the situations or people that I would run into. I felt totally immobilised and would start to get hot sweats, feeling like I couldn’t function properly if I saw anyone I knew, and if I did speak with them my face would go bright red making me feel even more anxious, compounding the stress I was already feeling.
Love was always an important subject in my life, because I’ve been missing it so much. I’ve always been a bit shy and I had no circle of friends like everyone else around me seemed to have. I thought I was just not fitting in, too boring for others to be interested in me, so I gave up trying and settled for isolating myself more and more. I can see now how I got trapped in a mindset of anger, blame and judgement.
First, I blamed my parents for my perceived inadequacy – wasn’t it their genes and the way they brought me up that had produced this lacking person that I was? Then I blamed everybody else for not loving and liking me as I was – turning it all around. Now something was wrong with the world, not with me, and I could feel angry instead of sad. Finally, I blamed God for creating this whole mess where there is this good but helpless me, surrounded by a loveless, hard world. Continue reading “Love is so Much More than I Thought it Was”
There is a breed of people swimming in the ocean of life called the ‘Gotto fish,’ though it is best pronounced “Got to.”
There is always something for them to do; there is always somewhere they need to be.
“I’ve just ‘gotto’ do something for work” one would say before running off from his wife and children.
“I’ve just ‘gotto’ get this done around the house,” another would say before they might actually stop for long enough to deeply connect with others or themselves. Continue reading “Life of the ‘Gotto’ Fish”