Absence and attention
This week has been harder than the last few. The difficulty is different to those I experienced when I was in treatment in the Therapeutic Community. I haven’t been getting infuriated by others’ behaviour or feeling intensely wound up by situations, nor triggered by my own therapy. Instead, I have found it difficult to just be around myself. I have been battling intrusive thoughts as a result of an environmental trigger and have struggled to manage them on my own. I have managed them but it has taken a lot of energy and as a result I have been feeling quite low and unmotivated. In essence, I think I am really missing having a therapeutic space to explore things, talk about them and what they mean or how they affect me. It took a while for me to get accustomed to sharing everything with my therapist in the early days at the Cassel but now I realise that I had not only got used to it but relied upon it by the time I left. As such, I now feel bereft without that someone to share with. I know that whether or not I get offered therapy at my meeting next week, there is always a break between seeing one therapist and starting with another and for reasons that make sense. However, it is so hard to suddenly have to manage all my thoughts and feelings alone again. I guess that’s what I mean when I say it has been difficult to just be around myself - those thoughts and feelings are there battling for attention all the time, alongside the ‘what shall I have for breakfast’ and ‘should I go for a run today’ etc. There isn’t a safe place where I can bring them out and leave them so they torment me continuously. That is hard enough with distractions and for people who don’t question every little decision or thought a thousand times but when I have had a quiet week in terms of social engagements so distractions have been minimal and I am one of those people who ruminate over everything, it has been both demoralising and exhausting.
That said, objectively and practically, I have still managed to meet my basic targets. I have eaten three meals every day, I have been running twice, I have walked the dog every day, I have bought my food shopping (and shopped adequately) and I have kept my appointments. Why then do I feel so sad? I think if I’m honest, it probably comes down to a lack of attention from others. Not only do I miss being able to share the load with someone (or several people as it was in the Therapeutic Community) but I also miss the fact that people were there, involved in my struggles and helping me with them. I miss feeling like people care. That sounds harsh - like I don’t think anyone does care but I know they do. I just find it incredibly hard to believe that people keep me in mind when I am not there in front of them. And to me it feels like I’m only receiving the care and attention I physically ache for, when someone is with me. Why I yearn for such attention is yet another area that needs more exploration but I can at least acknowledge that I do and do so desperately.
On a more positive note, I have done things recently which have contributed to improving my mindset a little. I have been on a trip to the garden centre and bought some lovely spring flowers to plant in the window boxes on my balcony. They have yet to be planted thanks to the perpetual rainy weather but I am looking forward to getting them in this week and spending some time out in the fresh air. Also, I attended a workshop for members of the choir I sing in (and other local branches) yesterday, which was all on songs from The Greatest Showman. It was fantastic! There were 350 of us altogether and the sound we produced was magical, alongside the live band too. Music is a real positive influence for me - particularly performing it, either by singing or playing my clarinet. Both of these activities have reignited my belief that life can be beautiful, even just by taking pleasures in small things. I need to work on my constant need for attention and my ability to manage my own company but I also need to stop and smell the roses from time to time. I am doing ok.
P.S Art is another activity which brings me a sense of calm and joy and as today is World Art Day, I have included a piece of mine that reminds me to be grateful of the small things