I have never been in love

Last night I had an earth shattering moment of complete clarity. I have never been in love. Sure, i’ve liked people, I have felt compassion for people and I have cared for others. But as soon as it steps over into the start of intense feeling, I run a mile. I look for evidence that the person doesn’t really like me… I turn the slightest little thing into proof that they are going to go soon anyway so I should end things now.

Seeing this crystal clear for the first time has left me feeling devastated.

My counsellor has explained to me how lack of love, attention and affection in childhood has left me with a need to learn some basic human skills a lot later in life than most, and I accept that. But how do you learn, from scratch, at the age of 37 how to love and to allow someone else to love me? It feels so overwhelming and scary. Is it even possible?

Mindfulness and photography

I have always loved taking photos and recently have been learning how to take macro shots.

The benefits of this have been far greater than I could have hoped for. Firstly, I get exercise and sunshine walking in the hope of finding the perfect shot. Secondly, I am doing something I love, which brings me a lot of joy and happiness. And finally, I see things that I never normally would notice… I’m looking for the detail in everything instead of walking past things mindlessly with thoughts somewhere else.

I think the focus that macro photography gives me is an example of mindfulness… I am fully in the moment as I search for my shot and carefully focus the camera. And what a series of wonderful moments they are.

Feelings

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I struggle to manage feelings. Once i become vulnerable my feelings fluctuate from really happy and content to anxious and scared within minutes.

I wonder if councelling is bad for me because of this. I am at my most exposed and vulnerable with my councellor and feel happy and supported when i’m with her, and fot a day or two afterwards. Then the anxiety comes… will she suddenly disappear? Does she really care? Do i annoy her?

I woke at 3am with the most extreme palpitations ive had for a long time. I feel scared and low.

My escape is photography. I like this one that i took recently.

Hope you are all having calm days.

Learn to love yourself?

Today my counsellor has given me homework for the week to start to love myself.

I have to do two things:

1. Look at myself in the mirror and simply smile and see what thoughts come up.

2. Ask my friends to text me with a list of my “good points”.

I’m going to give it a go but just the thought of it makes me feel incredibly anxious and vulnerable.

Who wants to try it with me? Let’s see if we can make a step towards being a friend to ourselves…

This is a photo I took on holiday in. Canada. It was such an amazing day and reminds me of how wonderful the free things in life can be.

The calm after the storm

The past few weeks have been tough. I am working through some issues with my wonderful counsellor and realised a little while ago just how reliant I was on her. It freaked me out! After a lot of sleepless nights and anxiety I managed to build up the courage to tell her. She was amazing.

We have started to work through the issues and I now have a stronger understanding of what has been happening. I have never had love or kindness from my mother and now, 37 years later I am still craving it and clinging on to anyone who shows compassion and kindness to me. I felt silly when she explained it to me but now I realise that it’s something everyone needs as a child and I am not to blame for not being given it.

I hope I can move forward and learn to be a bit kinder to myself. As my counsellor says “you are not rubbish or bad… you are unskilled at the moment and you will learn to develop those skills”

I hope you all find some calm in your day today.

Anxiety – what does it mean

I have problems with anxiety. What that means for me will be different to other people with the same diagnosis.

For me it feels like I have a chain around my feet. I can see where I want to get to and I can take a small step forward but I have a constraint holding me back. My enthusiasm says yes and my fear says no.

I fear having eyes on me. My heart palpitations, shakes and sweaty hands are real and debilitating.

What helps the most? Understanding. People who say “it’s OK to be afraid, but I have faith in you anyway”.

Be kind to people always. Everyone has their own battle – it doesn’t make them any less of a person. Maybe your kindness will help more more person to get off the off the big wheel and stop a lifetime cycle of unhappiness. There’s a lot of power in kindness.

Mindfulness

I am trying to incorporate mindfulness into my daily life and have realised how beneficial it can be.

I’m on a quest to improve my photography skills and learn to take good night shots. I realised after I took these photos how completely focused my mind was…. On steadying the camera, on trying to get the best composition I could (which for a complete beginner takes time!!) and on reviewing, retrying and improving.

Two hours went by in a flash and my usual chaotic mind was calm and happy.

What a blessing mindfulness can be. How will you incorporate a bit of mindfulness into your life?