In New York

In New York

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

More scribbles

Blog entry 4th June 2012

Today my counsellor and I talked about anxiety and she gave me an equation to work with. Here it is:

Anxiety =      Danger (always over estimated)
            Coping + Resources (always under estimated)

I like this. It comforts me. I have always had a tendency to be over anxious, to face the world with a degree of trepidation. My inner flawed thinking tells me that my coping skills are insufficient, I disregard the resources available to me and I create a monster whose distorted shadow flickers somewhere just ahead of me - the perceived danger or threat. All this creates a level of anxiety which is almost disabling. Well, maths was never my strong point but now I look at this equation and it makes sense to me.

My self belief has never been strong but I have worked on this over the years. We talked about it today because well, I’ve been slipping lately. I tell myself that I am doing a good job here, that I am coping well, that I am doing the best I can. But do I really believe it? If I doubt myself now, what about the future we face? I try not to aim for the impossible standard of perfection that I have so often set myself in the past and failed to achieve. Here my counsellor offers another gem which resonates with me.

“The purpose of perfectionism is to eliminate the risk of being criticised.” - Oh how this struck a chord! I have had to work on this, too! I cannot bear to be criticised and to understand why this is I think we would have to go back a long way and dig deep. I am not about to go into that here (sighs of relief all round).

But here’s the thing for me - it is important for me to believe that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to care what anyone thinks except the people I love. They are the only ones that matter. If they think I’m doing a good job, then that’s okay.

What else did we talk about? I told her that lately I’ve been putting things off.

We looked at why this might be happening. I’m even putting off tasks which might do me some good, make me feel better. Why? She had a suggestion.

“The Purpose of Avoidance is to reduce anxiety.” Actually, of course, we need to face what we are avoiding in order to lessen anxiety. So do things, she suggests, get them out of the way. You’ll feel better. There are some things that we can’t control, some fears and anxieties we can’t do anything
about but sometimes you can choose to take action, even if it’s just in the little things.

The first thing I did when I got home was to enter a poetry competition. Here’s an example of something I’ve been putting off for ages. I marched off to the post box and sent off three poems. It’s an adventure. I felt good about it. It’s disappointing when you don’t win or get anywhere, but there’s always the hope of success and if you’re not in, you can’t win. For an over anxious perfectionist who’s afraid of failure, hates criticism and wastes too much energy avoiding both, I think that’s a pretty good start.

Notes from 2nd June 2012

Ska night at the Irish Centre

We had such a good time last night. We went to the Irish Centre in Hammersmith, to a Ska night there. I surprised myself by dancing! I thought about it before taking to the floor. There was a time when Roch would have been amongst the first to get up and dance (as I write an image comes to mind, a young, blonde, extremely thin Roch, full of wiry energy and the life and soul of the party - dancing til the small hours). It’s a lovely memory and it makes me sad and angry too, to think that for Roch, dancing has been relegated to the country of last times - but he is still the life and soul of any party. Last night he was the centre of our group and when I was sure he had lots of company, I ventured onto the floor. I’m glad I did because it was great fun and I know he was proud of me for getting up to dance, and glad I could do it without him. He’s that kind of guy.
Star trekking at Ska night
"Live long, and prosper."

From my notes

I have notebooks scattered about the house, upstairs, downstairs, in my handbags. Scraps of poetry, ideas for stories, blog entries. Here are some of the recent blog scribblings.  

Blog entry 27th May 2012

What gorgeous weather! Barbecue weather. I think I’ve got the hang of it now. I aim to be the Barbecue Queen, proving that it is not a male preserve. I know Roch would have loved to have been King of the Barbecue but he never had the chance. We invested in a barbecue last year but only managed a couple of uses ‘before the rains came‘ last year. He might not be able to cook the food, but he sure can assist with armchair advice. He can get outside to our garden table using the rollator and finds it easier to sit on this than on a garden chair as he can no longer stand up from a seated position on one of these. Anyway, the garden door open outwards but we need two minor jobs done before the electric wheelchair can make it outside. The ‘lip’ at the threshold needs to go and part of the outer windowsill, too, so that the door can open right back, leaving more space on the ramp for the chair to turn.

This past weekend was the most enjoyable in ages! We had visitors again. This time it was Louis, Roch’s best friend from Primary School (they met when they were four years old) and Joe, his best friend from University (Best Man at our wedding and Kate’s godfather). So relaxing to spend time with them and in such glorious weather. The barbecue came into its own. It felt like a little holiday, eating and drinking al fresco and hearing talk of old times! Roch was in his element. All the old stories got an airing (and some new ones I hadn’t heard before..)

Saturday night was spent with Louis and Joe watching the Eurovision Song Contest. Always good for a laugh. The Contest, I mean. Although both Louis and Joe provide their own brands of very special humour! A good time was had by all.

Roch, Louis and Joe enjoy the sunshine.