Tonight, I failed

Overwhelmed with anger, resentment, pain... I neglected the most important thing in my life.

I had work to do and Oliver was in a particularly sooky mood. My tolerance was low, I just wanted him to play quietly and leave me in peace. But of course, he had other ideas. I looked at the time. Just past 6pm. Usually he would have been walking through the door around now. His arms would have wrapped me up, instantly easing my stress, then scooped Oliver off the ground, occupying him, finally giving me a break.

But, no matter how long I looked at that ticking clock, the bitter realisation no one was walking through that door meant the bubbles of anger started to rise. This was my reality. No one will be walking through the door to save me. I'm doing it alone, and I better get used to it quick smart.

I felt like I wanted to hunt him down in that moment. How dare he do this to me? We were supposed to be a team. And when the chips are down, you stick together. You don't wipe your hands, throw them in the air, and desert your team. That's not how life works… in fact, how did he manage to walk out so easily!? 

So, without him being here, I took it out on Ollie, raising my voice, asking him to PLEASE STOP! Of course this only worked him up even more and mummy guilt gave me a swift kick to the guts. I deserved it. This was a harsh lesson from the universe. Yes, right now is shit. But, it's my reality and I have a little person who relies on me for everything. It's time I sucked it up and got on with it. At least while Ollie is awake and watching my every move. Once he's in bed, then by all means break out the chocolate, box of tissues, and the voodoo doll (kidding).  

From here on in, it’s crucial I stop the anguish I’m experiencing in my personal life from seeping into mum life. I’m a big believer in the power of energy, and although Oliver hasn’t got a clue what is going on, I have no doubt there have been a number of occasions over the last few weeks where he has picked up my on my stress and anxiety. It’s not fair for such a young, innocent, perfect baby to absorb that negativity. He deserves to believe the world truly is a place of beauty, kindness, and love.

So, to achieve this, I have to find a way to channel these toxic emotions. Anyone experiencing emotional trauma can attest to how utterly consuming and soul-destroying it is. And, if you let it, just how easy it is to let negative feelings control and destroy you. What I’ve quickly learnt is these heavy emotions serve no purpose. It’s stagnant, toxic, bitter energy clogging up your mind, heart and soul. It stops you from moving forward, seeing the big picture, and allowing your spirit to compassionately heal. It’s like chaining a stone to your foot and expecting to run a marathon. You won’t get anywhere. You’ll be weighed down. And you’ll end up with a nasty gash around your ankle. How do you possibly expect to overcome this obstacle when you’re the one holding yourself back?

To prevent a repeat of tonight, I need to look into ways to keep my mind and body busy. This is what i’ve come up with so far:

Good for your body. Even better for your mind. Adrenaline runs high during emotionally testing times, yoga helps to balance those hormones. It also helps to see the bigger picture. Sure, times are tough now. But they will get better, as long as you love yourself, and allow yourself time to heal.

One morning, my mind was so cluttered with incessant thoughts and chatter, I actually had to physically yell “STOP” to quieten my mind. When we are a slave to our mind, we stand no chance. Mindfulness and meditation helps to silence that chatter, reassess what’s important, and stay in the present, rather than get caught up in stressing about things you cannot change, and worrying about the future. The Smiling Mind app has been my saviour.

Keeping busy
Think about your hobbies/interests/passions and do them. Even if it’s as simple as committing to a long walk every single day, or going to the gym. As that old saying goes: an idle mind is the devil’s playground, and it’s true. You might THINK all you want to do is sit on the couch all day curled up under a blanket, but whenever I’ve done just that, I always finish the day feeling so much worse than if I’d kept myself busy. Don't let your bored mind fester on things you no longer have any control over.

Regular sessions with a psychologist has been my godsend. She listens to me without judgement. Lets me talk through every issue until it becomes boring. And helps me see things I may not have seen before. Therapy is imperative for anyone going through a tough time. 

Book a holiday
Even if it’s just a day-trip down the coast. Get out of your environment. Go somewhere different. Allow yourself to breathe.

Surround yourself with friends/family
I’m not sure what I would do without my closest friends/mum/sister/mother-in-law. Being surrounded by company keeps the loneliness at bay. It’s also nice to have an extra set of hands to help with Ollie’s bedtime routine. 

Although these tactics help, it's true that time is the only healer. The journey towards acceptance isn’t easy. But I realised when I was stressed out of my brain, and Ollie was crying, that I am the only person with the key to unshackle myself and move forward. And while following the advice of a cliche is easier said than done, it’s crucial to understand that no matter how bad everything seems right now, one day I will wake up and I will forget to shackle my ankle that particular morning. Sure, it might be the first thing I think about the next three mornings, but suddenly the days I forget to shackle myself will outweigh the days I remember. And that’s when I’ll know true healing has begun. 

It’s a slow and steady race. I am quickly learning fast forwarding the process with alcohol, late nights, and “band-aid boys” only inhibits healing. They’re superficial coping mechanisms, and you’ll notice people who have lost control of their situation will reach for them as easy, quick fixes to numb the pain. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. They never get anywhere or make any meaningful progress. The only way to move forward and evolve is to work from the inside out, and that starts with putting yourself first. Understanding your circumstances are temporary. And letting yourself heal, with some gentle guidance along the way.