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13.06.2022- Hello from an *unexpected* hiatus

Well then, that was a little bit longer than expected, wasn't it?! Nearly a whole year has elapsed since I hit publish on my last post, and to be honest I'm not really sure why. I suppose other things have rather taken priority over the last eleven months, and rightly so. I found myself in a place where I was spreading myself much too thinly, like butter scraped over too much bread (thanks to J.R.R Tolkien for that spot-on analogy). In trying to do too much, I was in fact not doing anything particularly well, or with my full focus- and recognising that has been a big thing. Eeking out little pockets of time here and there to think about posting has, for the most part, felt a little bit futile over the last few months, and in a world where absolutely everything seems like it's got the potential to be 'contentified', I honestly don't know what more I could have added to the mix, particularly with world events being what they are at the moment too. 

So, what's new? Really and truly, not that much. 

In my last post I wrote a little bit about my mum's cancer diagnosis, and I'm delighted to say that she got the all-clear at the end of the summer. All-clear feels like such a relief- until, of course, you realise that it's all-clear until the next set of tests, when you'll undoubtedly feel even more anxious about the results than you did the first time around. For the time being, at least, that scenario is parked firmly in the 'cross that bridge' section of my brain, and I'm sure I'll be crossing fingers, toes and anything else too. 

Other developments- I'm learning to drive at the age of 32. Not confident I'll ever crack clutch control, but we shall see. I think my biggest problem is other drivers, but I'm sure everyone says that. Work wise, I was promoted last November which was nice, and something which felt like a big confidence boost given the absolute furlough/redundancy/rejection headache of 2020. I finally made it to Cornwall at the start of last month and had the best time with the best company and the best pasties. If there's anything better than watching The Two Towers on a Sunday evening with scones, HobNobs and a view of the sea then I'm yet to find out what it is. Essentially, a very on brand trip for me. 

Taking the time to reflect on the last couple of years has been a bit of a rollercoaster at times- and using that tired old cliche feels like an enormous understatement to say the least (sorry Ronan). Having the time to just be with my own brain has been a bit like being in a never-ending boxing match with someone who is not only throwing a stream of punches towards your face but is also determined to undermine your self-worth every time you let your guard down. I think we've all felt the pressure getting to us in different ways of late, and learning how to acknowledge how I'm feeling rather than trying to gloss over everything and plough on regardless has probably been one of the biggest shifts for me. It's been a relatively recent thing too, but I've been lucky enough to access an NHS therapist close to home, and the tools and techniques I've been working on with her have without question changed the game. Recognising and reflecting on how I feel is something I'd never really thought about before, but now it's become more than essential. 

Living with lots of stress (and, let's face it, the last two years have been a living, breathing stress-fest for all of us) has meant that I've not really felt like I've had the time to prioritise my own mental wellbeing, but getting to the point of going beyond burnout really was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. CBT has been a complete game-changer in that respect; I'm now able to throw punches straight back, let my beach ball float to the surface (if you know you know), and stop anxiety spirals in their tracks before they cause a full-blown collision. I said in my first therapy session that I felt like an enormous fraud for taking up such valuable time and resources, but now I can look back and say that the person who started those sessions back in April (complete with their 20/21 score on the anxiety matrix) was in real need of some support. Now I'm feeling less like butter that's been spread too thinly, and more like a well-filled M&S meal deal sarnie. Hopefully I'll get to 'delicious artisan baguette' at some stage soon. 

This little period of reflection has also been a good opportunity to pause and think about more than just the practical events of the last twenty four months. Emotionally, I've been here, there and everywhere. Flakier than a Cadbury's flake. Lonelier than I think I've ever felt in my life. Disinterested in the things I used to absolutely love. But- and this is a big one- thinking about the person I was two and a bit years ago and the person I am now. They are 100% not the same sardine. More jaded, sure. But more acutely aware of how resilient I am. Less reliant on other people for support and validation. Grateful for the people who have been there consistently with their wholehearted understanding and unforgiving of those who have been conspicuous only by their absence. In the immortal words of a very wise person- bye Felicia.

So, that's me. For now anyway. I'm not sure how regularly I'll be posting on here, or whether there is any appetite whatsoever for long posts in the era of TikTok. But, remembering why I started this blog- as a little outlet for my own interests- I hope I'll be back soon, restored and rebooted like some sort of C3PO (hopefully with just as much sass.)


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