Health and Wellbeing, My head

Talking to a stranger

July 24, 2015

like yourself

I went for lunch recently with a girlfriend and our first 15 minutes was a furious download session.
Upon explaining what has been going on in my life and in my head she replied –

“But I’ve been watching you on social media, everything looks awesome. I had no idea there was anything going on.”

Never, never, never believe anyone’s social media. If social media was filled with stress, anxiety, fashion crisis’ and food slopped on a plate by people wearing yesterday’s rumpled clothes it wouldn’t be nearly as addictive.

Social media is like the preview for Ted 2.

All of the best bits are right there front and centre, but in reality it’s not as funny, or clever, or styled. Facebook breeds comedians and never shows us when we cry over the shite bits of life. Because crying over shite bits is not ever going to get likes.

For the last year I’ve been in survival mode, and then I got the Mirena crazies, followed by a flattening flu that I’m still recovering from, and in the last little bit I’ve been feeling deeply overwhelmed and the conversations in my head have reached cacophony status.

Although these internal conversations are not evil voices telling me to join the liberal party or anything wack, the self-talk is beginning to affect my life in a negative way. I’ve realised it’s time to bite the bullet and go and talk some stuff out with a professional because you can run as fast as you can but your truck loaded with all the baggage always catches up with you.

This is not the first time in my life I’ve sought professional help, but this time instead of feeling like I was taking the bull by the horns it felt like an admission of not coping.

Some of the conversations I have with myself are due to the fact that much of my life is on social media.

I’m a social media addict and it messes with my brain. Although I don’t physically have more time in the day, I compare myself to people who are achieving more, thought leaders, innovators, clever clogs and stars of social media and I feel like I should somehow be trying to measure up.

Doing more. Being more. Achieving more.

I am not good enough.

As I sat in the brown tub chair opposite my brand new psych she suggested…..

Life is all about timing.

I have two kids not yet at school, and I’m a solo flyer who needs to put food on the table. Maybe surviving is enough for now?

It is enough.

I am enough.

I also project into the future and it makes me very anxious. A chronic over thinker who likes to be in control has no way of knowing what the future holds and that makes me my brain spin out. No one knows what the future can bring so staying in the present moment is very important.

A great way to get in the moment is mindful breathing.

Breath in for 5 and breath out for 4 (I have no idea where that extra second’s breath goes, but it probably turns into a fart.) Feel the breath going deep into the lungs and diaphragm, and then consciously feel it leaving your body.

Doing this 5 times, a few times a day will apparently help me stay in the NOW.

Talking to a stranger is not just about talking, it’s talking to someone trained in dealing with baggage who can give me tactics for coping when life gets a little big and scary.

For some reason I’m hesitant about sharing this post, I’ll talk about my vagina and my periods and whatever personal shit but to admitting that I’m not leaping buildings in a single bound is kinda tough.

I’m seeing someone and getting some tools to help with my overwhelm…. and I’m breathing big deep breaths so often I’m in danger of hyperventilating.

I don’t have an adult colouring in book, which is all the rage for mindfulness at the moment, but I did a Peppa Pig activity book with Kiks the other yesterday and that felt good. I think I’ll do some more ‘Spot the Difference’ and take it a little slowly for a bit.

 

 

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27 Comments

  • Reply jenni from styling curvy July 24, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Yessss! Good on you for sharing, life isn’t always easy. We are all at different ‘stages’ of life and guiding little ones is a very tough gig, THAT is the toughest and most rewarding gig ever. It’s fine to watch what others do and pick up tips or even ooh and ahh over pretty pics but comparison will mess with your mind. It really is the thief of joy. Well done on seeking help and getting some tools to help you through this. Xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan July 24, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Warm hug coming your way! I’ve just read this nodding! My last 2 years have been crap but I kept on “swimming” because.. Well no-one can admit to “not coping” can they? Oh yes they can & I did because I couldn’t bear the uncertainty nor the fear driven mental anguish. My life has been in a HUGE transition for 12 months – retired finally from paid employment but with no golden handshake (long story), sold our Sydney house to ditch mortgage, left my loving family (source of much joy) to move to central coast with my hub to “get on with the next stage of life” … I’d not taken into account that the relief of no huge $ worries would not outweigh the sadness & wrench of leaving all I know. I’ve had high levels of anxiety affecting me via IBS since late last year. Once here on CC I’ve been incredibly lonely & sad despite lovely beach nearby etc.. Things have begun to slowly improve with bumps along the way thanks to: mindfulness & meditation via Hradspace app. Danielle, I recommend it highly . It’s a paid one for year’s sub & not only is it about the breath but it’s about a 10-15 min space in your day to BE… Shoot me an email or even give me a ring if you want to chat more.. I hate social media when it makes me hate me… So I’ve learned to view people’s updates with a healthy dose of scepticism. Take care, always around for you. Denyse xxx

    • Reply Danielle July 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Denyse, what an amazing message of love. Thanks so much for your honesty and your love. I’m totally getting that app the second I finish typing this.
      I need more quiet mind time…
      You are an amazing woman with a great network of people who love and respect you. Remember that you are not alone even if you’ve moved to a new place. Take care xxx

  • Reply Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me July 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Good on you for admitting you’re not a superhero and don’t want to be. You’ve been through some SHIZ MC SHIZ alright, be kind to yourself. As for social media, I’m afraid I put a bit too much on it, not all sunshine and roses in my life and I want to tell the world, maybe I need to do less of it. My big thing right now is trying to find the joy in everyday boring, mundane shit and working hard not to get annoyed at being pulled 35 different ways and no one actually asking how I am or giving a shit for that matter. Being my own cheerleader is tough but it’s the way it has to be right now. Thinking of you x

    • Reply Danielle July 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Finding joy in the every day mundane is a hard ask some days….other days it’s abundant. You’re doing an awesome job. You’re busier than most and more productive than many. And still smiling.
      Let’s be each other’s cheerleaders. I bet you look great in a ra-ra skirt.

  • Reply raphaela99 July 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I love the saying, “If you are strong all the time, people come to expect it of you.” At that point, there is nowhere to go. “Oh, you know Raph, she’s always fine.” Its said almost dismissively. The fact is, we are trying to provide for our kids, be all things to everyone. Not only is it impossible but bloody exhausting! There is a season for everything. At the moment, you are in the season of young motherhood. That is more than enough. Proud of you for sharing. Be kind to yourself, and please know I am here. Would love to share a cuppa with you one day, you incredibly brave, resourceful lady. xx

    • Reply Danielle July 24, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Your message is perfect. Thanks Raph…. You do even more than me. I reckon all the amazing women I know should be running the world!

  • Reply San July 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Well, I think you’re AWESOME and you’re SOOO not here to live up to anyone’s, including my, expectations. As for the flu, well they can take it and shove it up their collective clacka’, tis’ a SHITTY one! Had all the shots, got all the bugs…. THANKS :O( NOT….

    • Reply Danielle July 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      You know, it’s the first time ever I’ve considered getting the flu shot next year. I’ve always been ‘whatevs, I’m tough’ but this left me a whimpering mess!!!

  • Reply redberry July 24, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    OMG this is where I am in my life! I look at all these ‘beautiful people-AKA my idea of happy & successful’ people that they portray whilst my life is cleaning child’s vomit from the nooks of a car seat. Well done on seeking some professional help. Sometimes the mind needs a clear out from those pesky thoughts. Thank you for posting this, we need to hear the real truth not the ‘reality show script’.

    • Reply Danielle July 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Between the vomit and the yoghurt in the car seat it’s amazing it doesn’t get out and walk on it’s own.
      I’m thinking of ways to cut down my FB consumption. Look less, feel better. Or something!

  • Reply Zanni July 25, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Social media is so deceiving! And yes it looks like (and you are) achieving all manner of great heights! Your the sort of person I follow, and sometimes think, crap I am not doing enough! I went through a hard time earlier this year. I stopped checking my phone, read novels instead of the Internet and made sure I did regular exercise and went to bed a bit early. It didn’t take long for my body to recode itself. Social media can be a blessing and a curse for us high achievers who want to be the best we can be. I loved Pip Lincoln’s idea of a To Done list, where at the end of the day you tick off all the things you achieved today, even as simple as folding the washing. I guess it’s kind of similar to a gratitude diary. And yes colouring in and breathing probably help! After reading this yesterday I had a dream about you and I staying at my friend’s farm which had turned into a meditation/ health retreat!

    • Reply Danielle July 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      I just did that for the weekend, and I’m totally going to set some rules for myself about phone consumption. I also think the idea of a meditation retreat sounds dreamy, except I’m terrible at meditating. In your dream I’d be awesome at it though, right? xxx

  • Reply Zanni July 25, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Now I feel a bit braggy writing high achiever but I think you know what I mean ??! Also I love how honest and vulnerable you are.

    • Reply Danielle July 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Ha, I totally know what you mean.

  • Reply Kim-Marie from Kimba Likes July 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I just want to tell you that I love your guts (even with all those extra seconds’ worth of farts) and I’m very proud of you. It’s far stronger to say I need help than to never need help. Well, never admit to needing help would be more accurate.

    I say that as someone who isn’t coping very well with life at the moment. I’m single parenting this week and I’ve got an independent 11 year old. It’s been one day and it’s hard!

    As for social media? I keep it real on some platforms, and I share the pretty on others. Xx

    • Reply Danielle July 27, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      The only way is through, sweet Kimba! You’re doing it tough at the moment, and illness grinds you down further than many acknowledge. Don’t try to do too much at the moment xxx

  • Reply Min (@riteofthemiddle) July 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

    There’s no shame in talking to a stranger (a psychologist). In fact I’ve been doing exactly that for nearly 3 years – ever since the incident that led to me walking out of my previously led corporate life. My world was completely rocked. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I now think that it’s time I stopped seeing her but I put it off because she has become a friend and I always look forward to our appointments. I will miss her!! You’ve had a lot to deal with. I know it would be scary but you know what – you’re doing great! It’s that internal banter that stuffs us up. Up the ante on self-compassion and self-care and try to neutralize the inner critic and self doubter. Social media can be fun and fantastic but it can also be a drain and make us feel inadequate. I have regular breaks from it as I find I need to. Learning to live more in the NOW and practicing mindfulness has helped me greatly, so I’m pretty sure you will find it will be helpful for you. Take care of you! 😉 xo

  • Reply Donna July 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I get this, I really do. That’s why I’ve been seeing a paychologist for well over a year and could not imagine ever stopping doing so. Everyone deserves to have one person who is impartial, wise and wants to help you be the best version of you. I hope yours helps you get your groove back xx

    • Reply Danielle July 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Impartial and wise and wants to help you be the best version of you. I love that….
      I reckon I’m on the way!

  • Reply Glen July 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Be gentle with yourself sweetie. I haven’t been this sick with the ‘flu since the nineties….it is cruel. Just breathing saps all energy. Amazon woman that you are……You are only human and all this anxiety too shall pass. You are amazing, believe in yourself…..and read the Desiderata again honey. Very inspiring.

  • Reply Sonia from Sonia Styling July 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Life really is all about timing… which sucks for control freaks like us who like to get shit done NOW. Keep breathing (and farting) and I’ll do the same right alongside you. x

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