As a young pup, I bounded full of energy along the beach. Life was full of wonder and excitement. I was surrounded by people who loved me, my mother and my litter mates. The sand, so soft, beneath my feet and the sun kissed my body with warmth and comfort. I was caught up in the thrill of it all and ran as fast as I could into the big blue sea. Being so small it wasn't long before I was swimming,loving the coolness of the water and the wonderful feeling of complete freedom.
Could life get any better?
The next feeling that swept over me wasn't so good.
You see I had swum so far and so full of vigour that I hadn't taken any notice of where I was. I was out in the water and the shore was nowhere to be seen. I splashed about trying to turn to and look about me, swallowing water and spluttering. Where was everyone? Had they left me? What was happening? I turned around and around, panicking. I didn't know which way to swim to get back. I couldn't see anything. I called out for help and no one heard. I circled frantically so confused and
terrified. Was this it? Was I going to be left to drown in this huge world of water that was waiting to swallow me up?
I remember describing this to a therapist I was seeing many years ago. I was trying to describe feelings of panic and isolation; how I felt about life and how alone I felt with it. I was the puppy that had gone headfirst into something only to find myself stranded and terrified. I didn't know which way to turn to make things better. What should I be changing in my life to lose this terror that seemed to welcome me every morning and tuck me in at night only to sit at my bedside and haunt what dreams I had when I managed to sleep.
What happens when you feel so lost and see nothing that can save you?
You scream, shout, cry, and beg and yet no one comes for you. Your mind plays games with your self-worth by leading you to the conclusion that you're just not worthy enough to be rescued.
Who would want to rescue you you? Aren't you big enough to look after yourself yet? Stop blubbing like a baby and get on with it all, you will be fine! Come on get on with it! For goodness sake everyone has problems so what makes you so special . FFS! You're weak, soft,a lightweight, pathetic, a waste of space, spineless. Get a grip!
Even now I can remember those feelings and it takes my breath away, but thankfully these are memories. I still have times where I feel I have lost my way and the world overwhelms me but I know what to do about it and the feeling is short lived because thanks to a close friend, I changed the picture. My friend's suggested that seeing as I was the creator of this picture I could change it. Instead of the pup unable to see land close by, I could visualise a beautiful island in front of it. A place where the pup would be safe and happy. Seems simple and it is.
Years ago I may not have been able to do this at first but now it happens with ease especially as I found my saviour.
'So who saved you?' I hear you ask.
Well it was something I had heard and yet,never really heard, if that makes sense?
'Hope comes from within,' I had heard over and over and my response was 'but I have none, I am hopeless,' and this is what I believed for several years. That and that hope comes from a new medication, boyfriend, therapist, a stronger faith,a different self-help book or wearing pink socks on a Friday!(obvs the last one is a joke however feel free to try it!😉)
I saw hope as an external thing and was forever reaching out for it like a lifebelt.
So wear dd this hope come from?
It appeared as I released it from within. I found tiny specks of joy within me and I acknowledged them. I allowed them to come to the surface. At first it would mean minuscule moments of happiness only to be followed by the inevitable downer. This is where people can easily be discouraged and prefer the constant of fear or depression to the roller coaster ride back to wellness.
Soon after I began my 'joy diary' and the lists grew daily
See my blog 'What attitude?' to learn more about this part of my recovery with a joy diary.
So I was and am still learning to be my own saviour. Learning to listen to my instincts rather than chasing a new book or healer, learning self-care and most importantly - learning to change the picture!