Emotional Decluttering – A List of Things To Try

Well, I survived the weekend.

Just.

The one year anniversary of my miscarriage. The 2nd birthday of my beautiful boy. The socialising with family who drive me crazy, yet I still can’t help but love.

I am exhausted.

Seriously.

This has been the hardest week for me, mentally, in probably 10 years.

I feel as though I hit the bottom. I cried floods of tears. I yelled at my husband. I yelled at the kids. I sat with my head in my hands wondering how the hell to escape my own thoughts.

But now here we are. A new morning. A new start. All those milestones are gone now.

It’s time to start making myself happier.

Here are the things I have planned over the coming weeks and months, in no particular order:

  • Keep running (fitness and stress reduction)
  • See craniosacral therapist (let go of miscarriage)
  • Have stone massage therapy (stress reduction)
  • Daily meditation – at home and maybe join a course/class (stress reduction)
  • Reading list: The Power of Now, You Can Heal Your Life, The Emotionally Absent Mother (deal with emotional issues)
  • Try to be more mindful, spend time each day in the moment (stress reduction, emotional clutter)
  • Take turns with DH for 3-hour block of children-free time at weekends (stress reduction)
  • No alcohol (alcohol is a depressant)
  • Stop reading miscarriage/infertility forums (emotional clutter)
  • Stop mindless surfing online (emotional clutter)
  • Get hair cut short! (new start, no hiding behind my hair)
  • Cancel social engagements for next two months (stress reduction)
  • Record daily stress level (stress reduction: baseline and peak, each day, scale of 0-10)
  • Keep my house in order (calm clear environment)
  • Be a patient, happy mummy. Be present with my boys (happy boys = happy mummy)
  • Get the toilet, cupboard door, shelves and skirting board fixed upstairs (calm clear environment)
  • Take more time to look after myself and my appearance (care about my body)
  • Try not to spend all my time thinking about having a third baby (easier said than done)

Phew. I’ve already booked appointments here there and everywhere, and next week preschool starts again so I’ll have a little more free time – blogging and keeping up with the blogs I love has fallen by the wayside slightly over the summer.

I’ve been recording my stress levels for 6 days now and boy – I am WAY more uptight than I realised. I am literally in a state of permanent red-alert. Not sustainable and so bad for my body.

I did my first guided meditation last night and it immediately made me feel so much better. Just hoping I can fit everything in.

Random Release of Stuff 6 (and a Pause)

Oh I’m quite excited to share with you all the things I’ve got planned!

The house is pretty empty (well, compared to what it was), so after this post I’m going to hold off on the physical decluttering for a while and instead do some serious soul-searching and clear my mind of clutter.

I genuinely think I’ve reached a kind of critical mass (if that can even apply in this case) of stuff going out and my mind and spirit are now crying out for some attention, instead of my house.

I’ve compiled a reading list, with a few recommended books on it and I have a list of other things I’m going to try to incorporate into my life. I’ll blog about it all, as in a way, this is as much a part of my minimalist journey as removing all the physical things from my life.

One final thing – after a bit of an emotional meltdown yesterday I have picked myself up, scrubbed down the kitchen, bought party supplies, a lovely cake, balloons and drinks and I’m focusing on celebrating my little boy being 2, instead of thinking about the baby I lost this time last year. I’d like to get some nice pictures tomorrow and after this milestone weekend is out of the way, I want to move on.

Hopefully with a little more grace than I’ve managed so far.

So here is the last of the random objects to go for now…

  • 1 squashed toy car
  • 2 pillows (we have downsized to one each in our bed)
  • 1 set of hanging storage pouches
  • 1 bookcase!!
  • 1 teflon saucepan
  • 1 wooden spoon

Out today

7 items

Ongoing total

707 items!

PS – I know I promised new, minimalist house pics. They are coming soon, I’m just waiting for a handful of repairs to be done so we can put a carpet down in the hall!!

Emotional Clutter and My Own Personal Pity Party

Feel free to join me!

Yup, headline news in our house is that this morning I am at the point of total emotional meltdown and have completely LOST my ability (not that I’m even sure I had it in the first place), to be calm, rational, kind and measured.

Well lets begin with some facts – much easier than writing it all out for you and getting lost in paragraphs of my own anger/sadness/grief/despair.

  • DS2 is turning 2 on Saturday
  • Exactly 1 year ago, on the morning of DS2’s first birthday party I ended up in an ambulance, on my way to hospital, miscarrying at 13.5 weeks (great timing, huh?)
  • Exactly 1 year ago, DH cancelled the party we had planned for family that afternoon.
  • Exactly 1 year ago, for the three days I spent in hospital not one family member visited me. And not one family member helped DH look after the boys (who were 2 and 1). In fact, the only contact we had with anyone in that time was my own parents who I called from the hospital bed to tell them I was alive.
  • For 3 months following that day, DH’s parents did not phone or visit. At all. They reappeared in November, when DS2’s birthday came around.
  • All of the above family are due to visit us on Saturday afternoon. Just like last year.
  • I took a pregnancy test this morning and it was a Big. Fat. Negative.

So, can you begin to imagine what my current state of mind is?

Aside from the fact that I had high hopes (as hard as I tried not to think about it) that I would be pregnant for DS2’s birthday (I’ve waited long enough and it would help soothe the wound of of his first birthday), I actually have to act all happy and entertain two sets of parents over the weekend when what I really want to do is shout at them and cry and sob and throw things at the way life has been for the last year and the way I feel I was wronged by them all.

In fact, I’ve even been imagining an alternate birthday party, where I stand up to give a little speech when everyone is here. Kind of like this:

[Stands up, sways slightly from the half a bottle of wine consumed]

I’m so glad that you’ve all turned up today to celebrate DS2’s birthday even though not one of you fuckers came to visit me last year when I was bleeding to death in the hospital and DH was on his own here with the two kids. Thank you.

How would that go down, I wonder.

Sigh.

So, this morning.

This morning, I took a (ultra sensitive 10miu) test and it was negative. I’m not due for a few days but I knew I wasn’t pregnant anyway. As usual any hopes were dashed on the sharp rocks of unexplained secondary infertility.

So I came downstairs with a sore throat, a headache, an empty uterus, and sadness in my heart for Saturday (which should be a joyful occassion – it IS a birthday after all) and the kids are playing up and DH is just standing there doing nothing, waiting to be given instructions (I swear, it’s like having 3 children already, why would I need another anyway?) and my voice starts to wobble and the tears come and then before I know it DH and I are waist-deep in an emotional dissection of last years hospital saga and the lack of support from either of our families.

Which of course, is neither of our faults.

I cry and cry and cry and in the end (because I really do deal with things better on my own), I send DH to work and try to compose myself for the day ahead.

I am so close to calling everyone and saying:

Sorry, no visiting this weekend. I can’t do it. I’m still not over my miscarriage in August (do you remember it? The one where I spent 3 days in hospital and had to have a blood transfusion?), let alone the three chemical pregnancies I’ve had since then, and I’m still upset that none of you were there to help either of us, so sorry, Saturday is cancelled.

But I don’t.

Because it would kill my parents (who are emotionally fragile themselves and god knows they have already been through enough in their own lives) and because if I make a stand against DH’s parents, I will never let them back into my life again, which is the wrong thing to do for the children.

So instead I cry and cry and cry and cry.

And DS1 brings me some Maracas and DS2 tries to climb on my back for a piggyback ride.

And then I realise a few things.

  1. What if someone told me today that this time next year I still would not be pregnant. That there would be no third baby. Ever. What would I start doing differently, right now, today?
  2. That I am blaming EVERYONE for what is going on in my life. I feel such anger and rage at other people over the things that have happened to me. On the surface it’s because they weren’t there for either me or DH, but on a deeper level I’ve always known that my own family was dysfunctional and unable to help others, so why do I still expect it after all these years? Why does it suddenly hurt so much now when it’s been this way since I was a child?
  3. That I need to stop blaming others. Full stop. It’s a horrible, self-pitying way to think and I don’t want to be that person.
  4. That I need to clear out the emotional clutter. My physical possessions are so much less now and my head feels so much worse. I’ve got to start untangling what’s in there. 

It’s not just about this weekend, or last year. It’s more than that. It’s ghosts in the nursery, unresolved issues with people, bad friendships, bad choices, old hurts, traumatic life experiences. My personality needs stripping down the the basics and rebuilding. I need to clear it all out. Get it all out. Start again. Grow myself or grow a tumour (so they say).

How the hell do I do all of this?

I know it’s all about baby steps – just like with physical clutter – you can’t get rid of 38 years of emotional angst in one go without having some kind of lobotomy.

But at least with physical clutter you can make a start anywhere and see immediate changes.

Changing the way you think, reconciling the thoughts that are ingrained in your mind is a little more challenging.

So.

I’m off to research exactly how to do this. How to ‘fix’ myself.

Or at least how to make myself feel happier, more of the time.

My ultimate goal would be forgiveness, but even the thought of that right now makes my stomach turn (that’s how bad it is for me I’m afraid).

I’m going to get a notebook, read read read. List out my issues, work through them. If necessary I’ll see someone else for therapy, whether it’s talking or alternate or conventional.

I’ll probably write it up on here – I apologise in advance for dragging you all through the mire with me 😉

And finally, I read a couple of things this morning in the great wordpress community that are so relevant to me right now I wanted to share them.

Firstly, Nancy over at My Year of Sweat said:

Magic happens…change happens…when we decide to take control of our outcomes. And yes, that involves work. Get over it. Stop blaming your parents for your bad genes and start making lifestyle changes that will improve your life.

Secondly, Ginny over at My Simplicity Quest said:

The older I get, the easier it gets for me to forgive… – mostly because l have much to be forgiven for. 

And so do I.

And I’d never thought of it like that before.

Wish me luck with this one. I’ve known it was coming and I’ve put it off for so long.

I can’t give you numbers and stats and before and after photos, but I can tell you if my world tends towards more sunshine and less rain on this journey I’m about to embark on. Thanks for reading.

Running Away Anger | C25K Week 3 Complete

moon
The moon during my cool down walk

And in the blink of an eye I’ve finished week three!

Tonight’s run was medicine of the best kind.

DH was late home from work (after being rear-ended at a roundabout!), and then had to spend ages on the phone to the insurance company. I was totally exhausted after a trying day with the boys, but took over Daddy-duty of a game of bowling on the xbox with DS1 (it’s their nightly man-ritual, I don’t question it), and then reading bedtime stories, and trying to get DS1 into bed, all the while watching the clock and getting more and more irate that I couldn’t get out for my run and stressing about how late we would end up eating dinner, etc. etc.

And as you can imagine, as soon as DS1 realized that Daddy wasn’t available and Mummy wanted to go for a run, he slowed down to almost a complete stop. After the third time DS1 stuck and unstuck the nolvelty sucky-feet on the bottom of his toothbrush to the sink I grabbed it from him, put toothpaste on it and shoved it back in his hand.

Result?

Massive crying.

You’re being too rough Mummeeee!!!!

Which, of course, only served to make me feel awful and yet more angry all at the same time.

By the time I’d calmed him down and done a special carry to his bed, even more time had been wasted and I was a boiling pot of rage on the inside (yeah, I get like that – I blame my parents), and it was probably a good thing that DH was still on the phone and not actually able to speak to me, else he would have suffered a rant on the impossibility of getting a 3 year old into bed at a reasonable time and the unfairness of someone driving into him at this time of night.

I dashed out of the door and spent the first five minutes stomping along the pavement thinking Oh for god’s sake, how long is this warm-up going to last, I need to RUN dammit!!!!

And then, at last, podcast-lady tells me to run at a ‘steady pace’.

I sprint off as fast as I can, feet pounding, arms pumping, angry thoughts streaming through my brain about every time I’ve ever been wronged and how much crap I’ve had to tolerate in 38 years of life… (yeah, I get like that too). And it felt GREAT to run. I mean it! GREAT GREAT GREAT!

It was like all the adrenaline was getting used up, firing up muscles, powering me along the road. Just awesome.

I killed every running interval tonight and at the end of it I felt great.

My overall average pace was slower because I did a longer warm-down walk (I figured I needed it, even though by that point I was feeling all calm and serene again), but I loved tonight’s run.

And I came home and was nice to DH, and we had dinner, and everything was OK.

So there we go – two lessons:

  1. Running washes your anger away like paint in a fast flowing stream.
  2. There really is no need to get so worked up about everything in the first place 😉

Quitting Facebook Part 4 – Life After Facebook

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

quitting facebook

The first time I went back to my news feed after unfriending everybody (I logged in to check for final messages), I was stunned.

No stories.

Suddenly it hit me in full force – I actually had no way of knowing what anybody was up to unless:

a) I texted/emailed/called and asked (a bit odd), or
b) I suffered the humiliation of admitting I was returning only 48 hours after announcing my intention to leave.

But actually, later that day I noticed a new feeling settle in. It was… relaxation.

I couldn’t find out what was going on. So I didn’t need to. And suddenly everything seemed much easier and freer and I realised that I might actually start looking forward to meeting up with people more. As I said in lessons learnt, meeting people in real life gives you a much truer picture of who they really are.

Two Months Later

The funniest thing about walking away from facebook was that as part of quitting I exchanged contact details with a lot of people that I only spoke to via the site, but I haven’t contacted any of them (and they haven’t contacted me) since.

I fully believed I would keep in touch with them. They were all geographically distant friends from the past that I had reconnected with, but as soon as facebook was out of my life, they literally faded back into the past.

And I realised that actually, that was really where they belonged.

On the other hand, I have had more contact with other friends – it is almost as though facebook was a poor substitute that was hindering the emails, texts and even letters – yes handwritten letters – that mean so much more than just status updates, likes and comments.

Basically, my social relationships feel more meaningful now.

Facebook and Happiness

One of the reasons I wanted to leave facebook, was the fact that you inevitably end up comparing your real life to everyone else’s edited highlights.

This is also reported here after a study was published that suggests that using facebook really does make you feel worse.

I can completely understand why this is the case – seeing the fun, exciting, entertaining, non-stop activity from a large news feed is obviously going to make your own life seem quiet and mundane on multiple occasions. Every time you log in, someone, somewhere has done something exciting while you’ve just been watching TV or cleaning the bath.

I don’t think it is healthy to frame your own existence in the same light as the 75+ new status updates that have appeared since you last checked your feed.

Missing Out?

A few times now I have been out with a group friends and had a conversation that goes a little like this:

I thought that picture was so cute/funny/awful that Edith posted. Oh you’re not on Facebook are you Faye? Here take a look… (smart phone appears).

Or like this:

Did you read about Delilah’s nightmare with her doctor? Oh you’re not on facebook are you – let me tell you the story… (big discussion follows).

So I guess I’m not missing out. Or if I am, it’s only by being late to hear the news. Something I’m quite happy with. People do love to tell a story and I am now an even more willing audience 🙂

Less Pressure

The other thing I have noticed is the lack of pressure to like, comment, support, enthuse and applaud other people ALL THE TIME.

If you have close friends on facebook (and I have done this myself), you might feel a bit put out, or worried, that they haven’t commented on your latest status announcement that’s been up for 24 hours.

24 hours!! Where are they? Do they not approve?? Don’t they CARE?!?

If you’re not on facebook at all, no one gets offended that you don’t adore their new kitten the second they get it, agree that their landlord is an arse in the middle of a deposit-dispute, or congratulate them on their niece’s friend’s mum’s new painting sale.

It’s OK.

Happy them, happy you.

Wrapping Up

I’ve probably gone on about leaving facebook enough now – enough to bore you all to tears and incite stories of missing people being reunited and old sweethearts finding each other and getting married.

No, it’s not all bad.

No, I don’t think you should quit.

Not unless you want to 😉

I was surprised that in the end, after 6 years, facebook disappeared from my life silently – within 24 hours I wasn’t even thinking about it any more.

For all my fears – of whether I would be lonely, have to go back, miss out on things, whatever – none of it happened.

For me, life is better without it.

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