Archive | June, 2012

To Cope or Not to Cope

30 Jun

So this post has been a long time in the making.  I have been thinking about it a lot and wondering if any one will even read it, being as it has taken me so long!

So, life is busy…

It’s crazy…

As I write I’m aware I don’t want this to sound like a sob story I’m aware that I am a very lucky person with lots of things to be grateful for…

But I am stressed!

I am writing a Thesis, which should have been finished months ago,  this is largely out of my control as I wait for data to come in.  Deadline is end of July.

I am planning a wedding,  Did I mention we are getting married? No?  End of August!  This was meant to allow plenty of time between Thesis and Wedding as Mr Thesis was due at the end of April.  I was meant to be spending this time solely on WEDDING PLANNING  sadly, it didn’t happen, now I am doing both.

D and I are buying a house, In Rochester… This is awesome… We both have jobs to move into and are finally going to own a house together… but…. see above(!).

I am also holding a full case load on my new placement.  My current clients either have a Dementia, Huntington’s Disease or Brain Injury.  I like them. I like the placement.  I just don’t have the time or the head space for it!  Some of our clients have forensic (i.e. offending) histories so are in locked or secure wards, this doesn’t bother me. However, my supervisor and her colleague are both pregnant so are no longer allowed on the wards.  This means that I am taking on (some of) their case loads in addition to my own.

So… Something had to give….

It’s ended up being my evenings.  After a period of dread, followed by a period of bereavement.  I have gotten over this.  I realise that if I’m going to work, write my thesis, plan a wedding and sort stuff out for buying a house as well as the usual housework, dog walking, cooking etc there is NO space for anything else.  There isn’t really space for all of the above.

And that’s where the Coping Question comes in.

Can I cope?

I have historically had  a belief that my ability to cope was somehow inferior to that of others.  I would become tearful, depressed, stop eating, maybe hurt myself and ultimately STOP doing the things I was meant to be doing.

This changed during my degree,  I realised, somehow that, if I kept going, ate what I needed to, resisted hurting myself and was relatively kind to myself I could keep going, and going, and going.

This was a useful lesson. It taught me that for me, coping was a choice. Jung  (I think) once wrote that mental illness was an escape from legitimate suffering.  And in my own personal (not professional) experience it has been.  and here we have the difference (for me) between Stress and Depression.

At the times I have become depressed, the suffering has not been worth the end goal.

At the times I have been stressed, the suffering may have been just as bad but there has been a tangible end goal that looked worth the bother.  This has kept me going despite the suffering.

And this is why I chose to cope.

Because if I get through this I will have a proper, well paid job, doing something I am passionate about.  I will have a beautiful wedding. I will be married to the man I love, who loves me for who I am, despite my current foul mood.  We will have a three bedroom house near the river, a reasonable income, maybe some foreign holidays. We will have a guest room , with no other purpose other than to always be ready for house guests, there will be matching towels and saucepans with copper bottoms. We will walk the puppies on the nearby nature reserve.  I will make the garden beautiful. I will plant a magnolia tree.  I will crotchet dog coats and lace curtains.  We will stroll down the river in to the town, where there will be proper pubs serving real ale, Pimms and bar food.  I will cook delicious, nutritious meals, bake cakes and brew beer.  We will try for babies, we will decorate a nursery and enjoy our time together.

And this is why I am lucky, this is why I chose to cope, because any amount of suffering is worth it for those things.

I am mindful that I also have more support now than I ever had in the past.  My family, D’s family, my friends including my course colleagues are fantastic. D is a rock.  The puppies are so beautiful I could cry.

I chose Life, I chose suffering

The two are not exclusive.

I chose, one day soon, just to be. To hold back on all this ‘striving’ and be in the moment. Not living for the future. For things that might happen.

But for now I need to look six months ahead to an easier time.  I need to take the small stuff where I can. I need to do whatever it is I need to do to make it.

I need to remember:

Crying at work is OK! Psychologists aren’t meant to be scared of emotions! Just having them and carrying on.

Letting D do whatever he is able to take on around the house.

Not being perfect. HELL – my mind is on so many things I’m barely in one place at a time, I’m not going to be my best.

Not caring what other people think (today I ran down the street in my pyjamas after the post man).

To eat! whatever it is! Without worrying about it… there are more important things.

To have compassion for my self and for everyone else.

To plant some daisies in the back garden.

To walk the dogs.

To drink some Pimm’s (just not during the day).

To keep dreaming about the wedding, the house and the future. Just for now.

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