When shit hit the fan I felt as though reality, as I had known it, began to crumble into sand like pieces all around me. I found myself absorbed by a deep level of insistent pain, which left me feeling defeated and clueless. My story was challenged, which was largely based on tolerating behaviors that I secretly loathed, and a new unfamiliar version plot usurped its place. WTF. WTF. WTF. The feeling of unfamiliarity and uncertainty was completely debilitating and I found myself curled up in child’s pose/fetal position for days on end. Trapped in a messy haze of thoughts and emotions, teamed with stories swirling like a vortex in my head, with no end or pause in sight. This was me in 2018. I could no longer be the superglue that held everyone and everything together. Instead my main aim each morning was to push my aching body out of bed and get the kids to school. I’d return and sink into bed resembling a messy heap, and religiously set my alarm for 2.50pm so I wouldn’t forget to pick the kids up from school. Oh shit, so this is what vulnerability looks like… no wonder I had been avoiding it like the plague, aka Corona, for 40 years.
Bruno, my staunch Staffordshire Terrier, was religiously by my side keeping vigil. I had never experienced anxiety attacks, only witnessed them, so didn’t actually understand their complexity until they invaded me daily, like something alien was possessing my body …. like a tumultuous tsunami relentlessly pounding my body and soul. Bruno knew. He sensed when they were about to strike, from changes in my breathing pattern, then he’d instinctively lay his compact 20kg body on my chest, push his bricklike head against my jaw and regulate my breathing. I’d crash back to my comatose sleep. He was like one of those weighted therapy blankets, but even better because he was alive. This went on for what seemed like centuries but was probably more like 8 months. Jim begged me to go get medicated, but in true Stacey style I resisted. In our 25 years he has never seen me crumble like this and he was terrified because he could not fix me. I knew this was my challenge to pursue and part of what I was avoiding for so many years. It was time. I knew that this cathartic purging of old stories and emotions needed to happen. It was what I had been avoiding for way too long and now I was ready. I needed to feel every inch of the deep dark recesses of the purging of old habitual behaviors and letting go of people and their behaviors, which has been on repeat for an exceptionally long time. I was getting ready to blast open the border for my comfort zone even though I knew there would be carnage involved.
I was not invincible, as I had often thought, and now my body and soul were taking time out without my consent. How rude. But I was tired of fighting for my right to be heard, tired of fighting for what I believed in, tired of saying the same things over and over to justify my decisions and tired of trying to prove I was good enough to be treated as an equal. I was so incredibly tired. I remember saying to Jim that I just have not got any energy left to fight anymore. Anyone who uses defense mode as their primary response knows fighting is so draining and spiritually exhausting.
I thought…. I know, I will so some restorative yoga that will get me back into balance. I resourcefully Googled ‘Restorative Yoga Lower North Shore’. Nicole who was a Coach/Healer/Counsellor/Reiki Master/ Legend came up and I checked out her website and listened to some recordings she had for free. It was like an epiphany... like I realized I was not delusional and losing the plot…. I realized that my plot was mine and I could change anything I wanted. I made a small step out of my bed den, okay maybe it was more of a pensioner shuffle, and welcomed a new existence. Getting the validation that I was not a victim and I could control my life by changing MY habits and behaviors was like a revolutionary explosion in my heart and mind. The simple confirmation that I cannot change or control anyone else only myself was instrumental in my healing. Placing blame on others, not only gave away my personal power, but allowed me to dwell in the victim mindset for what seemed like way too long.
I made a booking to see Nicole and articulated my experiences and want for change. She literally said one word that sounded like a symphony for me ‘Boundaries’. That was what I was lacking my new B words, bloody beautiful boundaries. I learned to invite people into my life and energy not have the doors open 24/7 for anything to come in. Trusting was one of my strengths as well as weaknesses so building a more reliable trust-o-meter was also something I did. Yes that is a made up device please don’t ask me where I bought it, or I might just say Bunnings aisle 28.
My life changed, although not instantly but the momentum begun and once I discovered the power of boundaries in my personal life everything changed. It only took 2 sessions with Nicole to change my perspective on how I wanted to live my life and lead my family. I was finally stepping into my power and releasing my grip on the gloves that were now damaged from year of fighting for my right to be heard. To all of you I know how disabling our mental states can be, but with the right support at the right time, miracles do happen.
Like women struggle during childbirth, like the roots of trees struggle to dig for fertile ground, like the lotus flower struggles to live in the muddy swaps so to human struggle is intentionally arduous, gently teasing that on the other side there is reward and growth. Get comfortable with being vulnerable cause it another term for authenticity. Reach out to a friend, family member or health care professional.... there are people just waiting to support you, you have the courage to take the small step towards healing and growing. Likewise if you have an inkling that something's not quite right with a friend or family member reach out.... they're probably waiting for someone to notice and be brave enough to care.