There are days when the devil is inside of me. I sweat and I can feel myself in a constant state of anxiety.  

Memoirs of a Phoenix: Diary Entry ~ January 2016

Do you ever have the thought, “I just want to get through today.”? Or as the day draws to a close and the feeling of crazy is still with you, “I just need to get through this week!” Or is there a moment when you snap at a friend or family member? An overreaction.  Today I have tears for no obvious reason.  The type of tears that turn into uncontrollable sobs which leave swollen eyes and burning tracks down my cheeks. 

In these moments, I don’t understand those that say, “Enjoy the journey.” For I am not enjoying the constant state of misery, unfairness, poverty and illness. I am instead, I realise wishing my life away one moment, day or week at a time. Just getting through this day or this hour is surviving! It is not living and is not a journey I chose to go on. I try to pinpoint the cause of my unhappiness and my anxiety. When did I not last feel like this?

A lot of the issues centre around money, or the lack of it; demands to pay the electric, the credit card, the tax and the home loan. The need for a break and the inability to say, ‘no’ to colleagues, clients and family members when they make demands on my finite time and energy, and when doing things for them does not serve me well. At these low times, I have to remind myself that I should be grateful. I am not just a single parent. I am a parent with a gorgeous child, I am mostly healthy and working towards happy, and I am surrounded by people who love me.

My problems are first world problems, so now knowing that there are others worse off than me, I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself, but the thoughts won’t go away. Yes, I have a roof over our heads, which is nearly paid for. But the reality of my investment of twenty-odd years working hard to pay a mortgage is what it takes to provide my retirement income as I become less independent with age and need to downsize. Yes, I have a car – which is great, but it is in need of repairs before its next MoT.

The moth-infested bedroom carpet

As I sit here in my dusty bedroom, writing and crying – I realise that the jumbled mess in my bedroom resembles the mess in my head and my heart.  I have so many bits of stuff leftover from the past that should have been thrown out long ago. Stuff that is broken or in need of washing. Things that are worn out and need replacing. There are no doors on my wardrobe, bits of the unpainted plaster are falling from the walls, and the bed is just a mattress on the floor of a moth infested carpet! The room is freezing as I cannot afford the electric to heat it. The curtain remains drawn keeping the room in darkness as the rail falls off at the slightest touch. It is the middle of winter and I have no idea when the last time was that I opened a window and let the fresh air in.

I eat for comfort and have put on almost a stone in weight since Christmas. My plans to see my daughter whom I have not seen in eighteen months have been scuppered by the local education authority’s rules, in refusing one extra day’s leave from school. The credit card to borrow money to pay for the trip to see her has been declined. No holiday since 2012 and only the reality of depression to look forward to. 

This is not a good day – but I will get through it by responding to clients’ email demands and copy deadlines. Working on someone else’s business and doing their accounts, book work and general admin that they don’t want to do. Only doing it as it detracts from and delays doing my own.

I have given myself permission to be sad about all the plans I had. Visiting friends and daughter and investing time and money in myself is quite clearly not going to be realised today, this week, this month or maybe even this year.

These peaks and troughs in my mood are probably attributed to my peri-menopausal hormones mixed with over-tiredness and anxiety over doing my tax return. On the plus side, I haven’t turned to drink or drugs. I have to remind myself that these highs and lows of life are normal. Without the dark, we would never get to appreciate the light. But as there is no control to the dopamine dosage or lack thereof, I will just have to suck it up and resign myself to the fact that for today at least, I should focus on my survival, but there will be better days. Sleeping is for the dead and living is something that few people I know can do well. I want to be among those few and in order to do so, I will get up and make a new plan. The first one will be to sort this mess of a bedroom out!

Dorset Phoenix Blog Signature

Get inspired with a Vision Board

Some days sadness or depression will come over you. Just like it did to me that day. Life is full of ups and downs. It just is. Doesn’t mean we’re broken. Doesn’t need us to feel guilty or punish ourselves for feeling that way. Life is not all rainbows and unicorns. It helps to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Not because you want them to fix it but just to hear yourself identify the issue that is causing anxiety. 

I mentioned the state of my bedroom in passing to my eldest daughter, the one that lives in the next town, explaining that I had had a bit of a tidy up but was feeling completely uninspired. Several weeks later, I was away with a client at an exhibition, and on my return, I discovered that my daughter had let herself into the house, re-made the bed with a new duvet cover, changed the curtains and added some cushions. I felt so happy. I cried again. Tears of joy this time. Sure there was still a lot that needed doing, but now I felt inspired.

The thing that got me out of my funk was to start becoming more self-aware. In this case, I began to collect little snippets of things that inspired me for my bedroom. Items, colours and design that would match with my new duvet cover. I piled up the ripped inspirational pages of magazines on a messy shelf and then, one miserable rainy day. I decided to cut them all up and creatively make a vision board. They were just aspirations. I was prioritising my cash flow, and a fixed car was more important than a new bed frame. Even so, I began to get this idea in my head. The romanticised version of my new bedroom. All the things I would like, whether I could afford them or not. Eventually, a theme took hold, and it matched the age of the house and the glamour, practicality and chic that I was hoping for.

I am not a woo woo kind of person, but I do think that there is an energy that makes everything function – call it fate, call it God, call it the power of the Universe. I like to think that making that vision board sent out my request for what I wanted to the Universe. For those that don’t think this way, then call it a goal. When it’s written down, it is more achievable. I didn’t do anything special to make the vision board a reality, I didn’t chant any mantras but little by little, I worked on my bedroom, and as if my fairy magic, the right items kept presenting themselves.

It was about a year before I got to sort the bedroom out and even then, the timing of its transformation was only due to the prospect of having a man in my bed that made me up my game. I will be forever grateful to him for giving me the kick up the ass I needed. I love my new tranquil place of rest and can make my bed every morning in the knowledge that no matter what sort of day I have, good or bad, I can retire to somewhere I can relax and recharge.  And as for the cold. My lovely children bought me an electric blanket for Mother’s Day!  It is one of the warmest gifts I have ever received.

So if you’re feeling like all you want to do is cry and wallow, maybe visit Pinterest, or pick up a free supermarket catalogue or flick through the local magazine. See if you find any pictures that resonate with you. Let your soul out to play. Let it be creative. Add emotion to your vision board. Instead of focussing on what you don’t want, be inspired by what you do want. And when you are done with your vision board, know that the Universe will go to work and deliver in ways you won’t expect, at a time you have long since put it out of your mind.

Decorating a bedroom
Redecorating using Annie Sloane paint

Do please leave a comment below to let me know how you get on. And if you would like more inspiration, join us the Women After Divorce private Facebook Group where you can see more.

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