Monday, June 10, 2019

Hello anxiety...

I seem to be getting more anxious lately - which is a total bummer. I'm worried it's the start of menopause, because I keep reading that anxiety is one of the symptoms of menopause, and I am (gulp) getting up to that phase of life.. turning 48 this year!

All I need is the slightest thing to be worried about - a tricky work meeting ahead or a dissatisfying interaction with someone - and I'll suddenly be on edge. Sometimes I'll forget what the thing is that's making me uneasy, I'll just spend the day feeling nervy and then I'll have to stop and ask myself, "why am I uneasy right now?". And then I'll think, "Oh, it must be that email I got", or "It must be that meeting I have to attend next Thursday". Sometimes I can't pinpoint anything! But then again.. there's a LOT going on.

I'm busy writing my new book, and I am a bit nervous about that because I'm going to be bolder than ever before about the state of our drinking culture and the impact it's having on women. I'm also working part-time running Living Sober and have two other new work things bubbling away in the background. Then there's parenting our 3 sons, one is now a teenager and another will be soon. Plus our parents are getting older and we've just lost one - my beloved, amazing mother-in-law died unexpectedly last month.

So yeah - it's all a lot.

But who's life isn't like this? Aren't we all just bloody busy all of the time? I mean, it's no wonder people turn to drinking and eating and shopping and many other things to help them deal with the stresses and strains. I keep talking to Mr D and my girlfriends about how we feel this stage of life is the most pressured. We're all run ragged parenting our teenagers, worrying about our ageing parents, juggling job pressures, exploring our own health niggles. Sigh. So what to do?

Well for me it is involving a lot of mindfulness. Contantly being aware of the workings of my mind and catching myself when I'm lost in thought, working to ground myself in the moment & my body by concentrating on what my eyes can see, what my hands can feel, my breath in my body, the calmness of the exact moment I'm in. Because when you look at it, most of the moments in our day are lovely and calm and straight forward, it's just our thinking, worrying, planning, regretting etc that is making them not so.

Gratitude is another biggie. This is a really underated habit! I often remind myself to look at all the things I have to be grateful for. There is always plenty and when I focus on them, no matter how small of a thought it is, it makes a difference.

And I also really work on putting myself in perspective. I am one of many, many people in the world. No-one is as fixated on my life as I am, they're all fixated on their own. Everyone has concerns and worries. No-one feels like they're on top of things 100% of the time. We're all muddling through, sometimes feeling insecure, sometimes feeling anxious, sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling worried, often feeling tired and stretched (also happy, joyful, glad, contented, appreciated etc etc, let's not forget the full gambit of human emotions!). Feeling like a tiny part of the entire human race does work to calm me somewhat.. and that's lovely too.

So yeah, muddling through as best I can is my game right now. Trying to keep up with my wellness habits. Trying as always to avoid flour and sugar (and achieving it probably about 70% of the time right now).  Trying to stay mindful and grateful and in perspective. Trying my best to be my best self. Practice not perfection. And as always - staying sober!! My numero uno winning strategy for life. Because even with this anxiety that has landed in my chest, I am not tempted to numb it away with booze. No way Jose. I'm here for the full, unadulterated ride.


Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Love will conquer all...

Oh my goodness it has been a loooooooong time since I wrote on this my trusty old blog. Apologies trusty old blog and anyone who might still be visiting here despite my absence. Or, if you subscribe to my posts by email, wondering where the hell I've been ... sorry to you too.

I have been around and I am still very visible on my social media accounts and of course Living Sober where I communicate in the Members Feed many times a week and also publish lots of posts.

Things aren't great here right now with a beloved family member being terminally ill and a terrible, awful, horrific terror attack in my home town of Christchurch. It feels like just such a hard time right now and I am very unsettled by all the emotions and sadness and pain.

BUT none of it is enough to send me back to stupid alcohol of course! No way am I ever touching that shit again! Rather I am stepping up my self-care, listening to lovely Tara Brach talks, doing yoga, walking the dog, crying, buying flowers and facemasks and magazines and treaty herbal teas, looking for the beauty in nature. It all sounds so wah, wah, woofty, namby, pamby but if there's one thing I've learned in my 7 1/2 years of being sober... it is that it is PRECISELY these sorts of gentle nurturing actions that soothe my way through emotional pain.

And of course I feel very connected with my feelings which is actually super lovely. It makes perfect sense that I'd be sad and grieving now and anxious and unsettled. PERFECT sense. My goodness. Major, major tough things are happening in my world. Of course I'm going to be uncomfortable and emotional! But I'm feeling the feelings fully, letting them out and pass through me. I know that in six months.. one year.. I'll look back at this tough time and won't feel confused about or disconnected from it.

I know now from 7 1/2 years of sobriety that tough emotions are there for a reason and simply feeling them fully and not seeking to numb or avoid them makes them easier to manage. And especially in the long run when more beats of life have occurred.. they're easier to understand.

But for now, despite all my self-care techniques I'm still incredibly watery with tears popping up at unexpected times. And I am aware that I've got a knot of angsty pressure on my chest. But I'm breathing through it.. remembering to practice mindfulness and ground myself in my body and not get lost in my (unhappy) thoughts.

And the main one of all - hugging the ones I love very, very tight. Because love will conquer all.

Love, Mrs D xxx