Day 4


Day 4 #30GratefulDays

Today I went to a show, had a proper date night  with my husband, listened to the incredible word-spinning feminist that is Hollie McNish  laughed till I cried and was inspired to write and write and write some more. The theatre is walking distance to my house and the sea was wild that night, lightening shook the building and the seagulls circled, panicked overhead. We got soaked walking home, but the house was dry and warm. I am not alone. I married my best friend, who gives up his time just to be with me when I panic. Who sits with me and waits till the numbness passes. Who builds blanket forts and sits there with me till the stress in my mind slows down and I find myself again. We painted our home together and I had the energy to join in. Pain didn’t hinder me, I’ve learnt to take joy in household chores, I know that it’s incredible that I can move enough to do them and I enjoy the results of hard work.

via: noelia Va

via: noelia Va

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On Anxiety

Hard to start writing today……………….at least here….in this ‘real-writing’ place. Another label looms. Another word.


I know you. We’ve met before.

You are the space between the words, you are the unsent emails, texts and letters

You jump into my eyes and through my nose, clawing your way down my throat and over my heart.

You leap out of love filled messages, invitations, inclusions, p.l.a.n.s,

You are in email threads full of happiness and excitement

You stalk through crowded rooms and slap me in the face, so hard my nose bleeds

You stroke my hair as I sit on this sofa now. You whisper; Alone. Safe. Alone. Safe…… Alone is safe.

You make me sick. You sink  my feet into concrete shoes and pour boiling oil down my spine.

You prickle the back of my eyes till they water. You spin ice cubes in a glass. You twirl my hair and play with a silent phone just to ‘look-busy’.

You keep me in the same place. You suffocate me and spin me out till all I see is black.

Image credit: Beethy on DeviantArt

Image credit: Beethy on DeviantArt

You whisper that you are my friend, that I deserve this, that it’s better, that there’s no point that I’m not-one-of-them,

you’re wrong you’re wrong I am I know I am……….aren’t I…..where have I gone?

You snake an arm around my shoulders and the world zones out, hard lines blurr and I can’t hear what you’re saying

Frustration and Anger pale into insignificance compared to the rage I feel when I see you.

I’ve beaten you before, so I don’t know why you’re back now.

Image credit: Hito76 on Deviant Art

Image credit: Hito76 on Deviant Art

I know you’re just anxiety. I know you’re  just fear of fear. But still you are here. I know it. So why don’t you leave me alone?

You’re in every invite, every party, every event. Not in my house, not with my family. You’re slimy claws haven’t scraped in there just yet.

But everywhere else, on the bus, in a shop, at meals and friends houses you churn up my stomach and make my heart ache.

I know I’ve lost you before. I can loose you again. I can and I am.

Exposing you is a start.

Today I’ll hold on to that and let go of you.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”  ~Pema Chödrön, from her book, "The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times."

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
~Pema Chödrön, from her book, “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.”

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Bend my mind and break my heart

And then the world turns inside out again and my now familiar ache creeps up into pain and further along my arm as I reach for pills, to my head, in my heart and pours out of my eyes. I am still learning to predict pain, to try to catch it before it erupts. I want to morph my managing into a seamless part of my life, like brushing my teeth, like breathing, that’s my goal. Seamless…… easy…



Sometimes, I think wouldn’t it just be easier is life was predictable?! Then I could KNOW with CERTAINTY when stress triggers where coming up, I could formulate my battle plan, organise my troops, go into mediation-shut-down. If I could KNOW 100% every single second of every day planned out what was going to happen then I’d have my shit together MAN! No surprises. No Pain……but no LIFE too. Real life, living, isn’t like that. Thank god it’s not. That would be D.U.L.L!

There are several things I’ve learnt about living recently;

  1. Absolutely nothing in this world is infinite. That is a fact. We can fight it all we like but it’s true.
  2. We will never fully understand each other. We can empathise, sure, but we cannot know how others really think, see and feel. Ever.
  3. As adults we alone are responsible for our own well-being. Ultimately no one is going to look after you except you. No one can.

Living entails being in constant flux, each millisecond different from the last and each with the potential to totally change your life as you know it. I realise now that this fact terrifies me. Something in me has got hard-wired to the dread, to the worst. In the quiet times, the space between spaces, I daydream of death and pain, of loss and disaster. I pull out of it with distractions, with food, with phone calls and internet searches. Today, I was so scared I couldn’t face it, my hand stalled on my journal, I couldn’t practice, even the yoga matt was hard to unroll…

not alone


I see now perhaps that what terrifies me most is fear itself. I am frightened of being frightened. With fear comes stress and with stress, pain and with pain, fear and round and round it goes. I know there are ways to break this cycle. I know CBT is a good place to start.

fear cycle

credit: Dr Claire Weekes

I want the world to know that I can handle what it has to throw at me. Bring it on. Bend my mind and break my heart. I’m ready. I choose to live and try my best to find silver linings, the good stories, the hope and the Love.



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Anxious Herbs

Anxiety is another issue I have struggled with. There are a myriad of medical descriptions of what anxiety, ‘mediacally looks like’. I am not going to focus on that too much, the NHS has a good general information page on this if you would like to know about it further. Essentially what anxiety boils down to is a fear of fear itself. A vicious cycle which once you are in it, it’s very hard to break. Several years ago I was given a book on Anxiety and Panic by Dr. Claire Weaks. This literally transformed my life. Once I understood what was happening, I could begin to live with it and maybe one day control it. I am not afraid.

Accepting troubles

Since then I have also been storing up some herbal wisdom to help with anxiety and stress. These are my top tips:

1) The trusty Bach Rescue Remedy. As you drop it on your tongue breath in for 7….and out for 11. A neat rhyme and very soothing.

2) Valerian Root. Used for centuries as a cure for insomnia. A tea at the end of the day or after a stressful event is wondrous.

3)Kava. I first had this in Fiji several years ago. It’s hard to get hold of here in the UK and if you find it , it tends to be in ‘party packs’. If anyone knows of a wholefood store stocking it please let me know!

4) Passion Flower. In tea and tinctures. Traditionally used after seizures to calm the body. It is in most ‘calming teas’.

5)Hops, in a tea mixed with passion flower and valerian.

6) Lavender. Helps breathing, encourages rest and sleep and contains anti-bacterial properties. It is commonly used in aromatherapy for stress.

7) Catnip, stimulates the nervous system, balances the mind and encourages rest.

Finally, for any herbalists reading this I am sure many people would wonder why I have left Chamomile out. Chamomile is lovely and many people use it regularly, but I find it gives me a headache. I don’t know why- if anyone has any theories I’d love to know more about it!

Herbal helpers


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