Stuck.

Do you ever feel like you’re not really living life? That you’re more letting things happen and tick along without making any progress – or relishing in experiences that will be the memories you’ll look back at when you’re older? That’s where I am right now. I feel stuck.

Here’s the tricky thing. I know I’m not. I’ve done a lot in the past year: become a freelancer (yay!) working on a long-term contract (boom!), gained the weight I so foolishly starved off (boo), become better at shutting down the negative self-talk when it creeps in (oh yeah!), allowed myself to have experiences my younger, more frightened self wouldn’t dream of (YASSS), and managing to stay in a neutral mood more often (is this what most people feel like?). And yet, I feel stuck.

How you ask? Despite knowing that I’m doing pretty well all things considered, there’s this feeling – like a dull pain that’s not really noticeable yet strong enough to annoy you – that I’m not living the best life I can live. I’m not being the best person I can be.

But what can be done?

Have you ever felt like stuck like this?

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My 30-day Reflection challenge

Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to focus my mind, feel good about life and process things as they’ve come along. It feels I’ve shifted into autopilot – a feeling I know too well from my darkest days. Wake up. Go to work. Check Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Work more. Check Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Oh and what about Tinder? There might be a new match that I’ll never talk to and who will never talk to me… Get home. Feel tired. Go to bed and listen to podcasts meant to inspire. Only to not action on them whatsoever. The only difference is that this time, it hasn’t been accompanied by that deep dark feeling I know from the past The abyss within that’s waiting to swallow me. Not yet at least…

To mix things up, and in doing so, switch off the autopilot of my life and take back control of the steering wheel, I’m intending to write down daily reflections every evening before bed. To consider what I’ve done, said, and felt that particular day. I want to reawaken my thoughts, make them find themselves down onto paper – YES, pen on actual paper. Not tapping things onto a screen.

What will I learn? Time will tell. All I hope is that it’ll break me free from the dreary path I’m on. I’m standing at the cross roads. Ready to narrate my own life. And not simply be a story told.

 

How reading Attached is changing how I look at relationships

Attached. As the title suggest this is all about attachment. More specifically it helps you identify your attachment style – and hopefully finding the perfect match. My flatmate and I are both reading it, she suggested it to me a couple of weeks ago, and seriously it’s one of the better ‘self-help’ books I’ve read in a good while!

Being in a relationship – and becoming attached to our partner – is a perfectly natural thing, and having the desire to become attached shouldn’t be seen as something negative. Yet often we hear about the ‘clingy’ or the ‘commitment-phobes’. So is there more to it?

Well, reading Attached has expanded my mind, and is making me look at past relationships and myself in a whole new way. It draws out the three different, and very distinct ways, people act in relationships: anxious, avoidant or secure. Recognise yourself in any of these?

ANXIOUS people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.

AVOIDANT people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimise closeness.

SECURE people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.

The funny thing – not in the ha ha way – is that Anxious tend to attract Avoidant, and vice versa. This causes a messed up dance of pushing and pulling, which usually ends in disaster – and most likely heartbreak. I’m a classic case of Anxious, sprinkled with a dash of Secure every now and then, only to dive head first into a pool of Anxious again once my gut feeling tells me something is up. And, to make things worse, my two significant relationships in life have been with text-book Avoidants.

Reading this book (devouring it more like) is opening up my eyes to how I behave in dating and relationships, and is allowing me to see how I can react differently, how I should really be with a Secure person, and how fucked up my past relationships have been (at times, not all of the time, but at times). It’s also confirmed that I need to listen to my gut instinct of ‘if something feels wrong’ then it’s probably exactly that. The super Anxious me however will have been too scared in the past to say anything, in fear of rocking the boat.

Now however, when meeting guys, I’m taking a much more open approach. Telling them what I need and how I like things, without dancing around them, too scared of saying or doing the wrong thing, from day one. And it feels great!

I’ve also learnt that I shouldn’t feel bad for wanting what I want. We are all different, we simply need to meet the person who has a compatible attachment style.

 

Listen to your body. Feel its needs. Hear its desires.

I’m on a journey to listen more to my body – the vessel of my self on this planet – and not punish it though diets, silly exercises and plain simple beating it to a bloody pulp with my mind.

For as long as I can remember my body and mind have been locked in a furious battle. My mind wants to improve my body and sends it on a gruelling diet, restricting it from the very source of energy, the fuel it needs – that I need – to survive. In return, my body rebels, throwing off the mind at a time of weakness (when it’s been tired of holding up the force field of being the best), going on an epic binge fest, saying FUCK YOU MIND while devouring ALL of the food its been denied and more, the mind silently allowing this as it tries to soothe emotions it’s struggling with and fill the hollow spaces of the soul.

Having been ok for a month or so now, being more positive, working on reducing the negative self talk and appreciating me for me, the past two days have seen me spiral down towards old habits. I’ve been snacking, eating more than is necessary. Choosing cake (carrot if you want to know) over less sugar-coma-inducing snacks around. I’ve been treating myself as I’ve allowed the self-hatred to bubble up again. And as I’ve hidden away and disliking my body more and more, I’ve heard the gremlins knock on the door.

I know one of the reasons, if not the reason, for this has been that I ran out of my happy pills – something I don’t recommend at all! Not taking these, if only for a couple of days, have seen the gremlins grow stronger, telling my body it wants and needs sugar, fatty foods and other things to feel better. And my mind has not picked up the battle. So I chose carrot cake. And crips.

This affected my energy levels immediately. All I’ve wanted to do is sleep. To get away from the thoughts and feelings bubbling underneath. Today has been much of the same. My body has craved sugar and food. It has wanted chocolate. Sweet fruit. And now I feel huge, like beach ball that’s been filled with too much air. I’m at bursting point.

My mind has been equally frazzled. It’s been thinking about stuff that doesn’t matter.  It’s been easily distracted. Unfocused. It’s engaged in conversation with the gremlins. And it’s become needy. It has wanted attention, from men especially. I’ve felt I needed to know that I am capable of being interesting to men, I’ve needed reassurance they find me attractive. Because my body and mind are both telling me that I am not these things…

I now have my happy pills again, and I know that in a few days time I will be back to ‘normal’ service. What scares me the most is how quickly the gremlins appeared and managed to make my mind and body turn things negative. And it makes me wonder what I need to do in order to be able to maintain a positive and happy me without the happy pills.

For now, I’m going to listen to what my body is telling me right now while I wait for my mind to get back on point. I’m going to rest.