I hate cold, rainy days. They seem to cast a layer of sadness over everything, and challenge my ability to put the new tools I’ve learned at ‘save my life school’ into practice. And now that we are finished week 3, the number of new tools I learned in weeks before are not as plentiful. I can see that I’m now at the stage where I need to remember and use my tools. I find myself reviewing my notes and making sure I haven’t forgotten any of them. And now when I’m in a negative situation, I have to dig through my tool box, choose which tools I think will work best, and use them; trial and error at it’s best. For example, this morning I was painfully sad because I miss my family and my home so much. I felt lonely, frustrated and confused…feelings which normally make me hibernate and avoid things I had planned for the day, but shockingly I saw it as a perfect opportunity to practice using my tools. Think, think, think…what should I do? Should use my positive self-talk first to try and zap-out this pain, or let this distressful feeling ride it’s course so that it doesn’t just reappear later on? One thing I did know was that I would definitely need to force myself to not hide in the bathroom, and to continue going to class and participate. Deep breath…you can do this! So as I stood at the hall intersection forcing myself to do the right thing, I made a left-hand turn down the hall to my class, rather than a right-hand turn to the bathroom. Relationship day…perfect. Let’s rehash how my family fell apart again. One foot in front of the other, I walked over and sat with my classmates (on the brink of tears) and let the distressful feeling ride it’s course. Over the hour I mixed the ‘ride’ with a bit of positive self-talk, and even used my anxiety distraction tool to get the butterflies out of my stomach. And what do you know, as the class progressed I started to feel better! I made the right choice to push myself, and I used my tools better than Mike Holmes.
The day reminded me of an analogy my brother Mitch told me about a week ago. He came to visit and expressed honestly that he was still confused as to how to help me. He said he knew I had so much support, but that I of course needed to do the work myself; I couldn’t agree more. The analogy went like this: He pictured me alone, and sitting on the bottom of a dry lake. I couldn’t move without support, so the water (being my friends and family) rushed in to start to make me move. They were always there and always all around me, but I needed to swim on my own, and more importantly I needed to realize that I would eventually get tired and sink without building a boat to sail on. So along comes school giving me the tools and wood I need to build the boat, but no one could help me, I had to build it alone, with the support of my family and friends surrounding me and keeping me afloat. At first I would start out with enough pieces of wood to build a raft, but if I settled for that, the wind would get strong and blow the raft apart. So I would need to keep gaining more tools and wood in order to build a ship strong enough to brave the strong winds. Once I had built that ship over time, I would be able to confidently challenge any fierce storm, knowing that even if the wind blew some of the wood off of the ship, it would still be strong enough to stay a float, and I would still have all the tools to repair it.
It was definitely the best analogy yet! …And you all know how I DO love a good analogy. (AB your snow-globe gets an honourable mention!) 😉 I think I was on the raft today. The winds got pretty strong and tried to sink me. But I kept building with the tools I had and maybe added a compass to guide me through the small storm of loneliness. Heaven knows there will be more storms ahead…and I should probably prepare for a hurricane, but I can’t sink anymore…I just can’t! Not when everyone is still there holding me above water and cheering me on.