It’s been a while since I last sat down and scribbled my thoughts on (virtual) paper. Truth be told there’s been chaos in my head for the last year or so and making decisions doesn’t come easy for me, which made everything even worse (the global pandemic didn’t help either!) but now things are more settled, I can finally at least attempt to figure out what’s going on.
I loved my year in Italy despite its ups and downs and the incredibly hard work. I met amazing people, I made amazing friends and learned a lot (I’ll write about that soon, I think it’ll be helpful for newly qualified EFL teachers). But I realised I needed to try something different and I was also in desperate need for me time, which was minimal during my first year of teaching. Yeah, it’s as hard as you’d imagine and even worse if you teach for a well-respected, busy school.
I was planning to work part-time for a while and devote the rest of my time on all my hobbies and interests and then a job that seemed perfect for me came up. It combined my love of variety, my urge to help others and my never-ending wanderlust so I thought I’d apply although I didn’t think I’d get it.
If you live in Cyprus you are probably aware it’s almost impossible to land a decent job unless you know someone to recommend you but I wanted to make it on my own. Miraculously, I did. It was painful of course but it was worth it (I wrote about that too a few weeks ago).
So, what now?
I’m certain I made the right decision but I’m also still VERY confused, conflicted and not sure who I really am. I’ve written a little about it before, it’s like I’m two different people , living abroad for years does that to you and what’s worse I miss all my people, my nearest and dearest who know me well and thankfully keep reminding me every now and then who I am. I desperately need it now my confidence has taken a hit. It’s tough to be confident when you are that confused.
The truth is I feel more like an expat now I moved back to Cyprus, more than I ever felt 10 years in the UK.
I don’t know much for now, I have to find the right balance (I’ll start making more videos and posts on English and mental health and travel very soon, as soon as I enlist all my coping mechanisms!) but one thing I know for sure (thanks to my new manager who gave me such great advice during our interview I’ll never forget), moving back home comes with compromises, you’ll have to adapt to the culture again, but never lose your identity and who you really are.
And that’s my advice to you if you are in a similar situation.
I dedicate this post to all my friends who I haven’t seen for months or years (more than a year now). I miss you all and can’t wait to see you and hug you tight one day in the near future.
Happy Easter. I was supposed to be in Vienna today with my little sister, but I spent most of the day with Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre. I was so enchanted by it, I could barely let the book down. I’m not happy about this turn of events, but I’m not miserable either. I guess I’m now more used to spending endless time by myself.
I’ve been pondering for a while about the situation we are in and how our brain copes with it.
We humans have two fundamental characteristics that are perhaps in conflict in some aspects right now. We are creatures of habit, apparently it takes 30 days to form a habit and we are also social creatures.
The lockdown put us into social isolation, yes we face time and text but we don’t hug each other, touch each other, walk together, comfort one another, so at the moment we form habits that perhaps are not healthy to have when this is all over. We socialise and interact differently don’t we?
So my question is, when this is all over, how easy will it be to go back to our previous life? Will we ever go back to whatever ‘normal’ was? Can these new habits be useful in the new normal or will this experience leave us with issues we won’t necessarily know how to deal with or fears we can’t shake off or will our innate social ‘insticts’ kick in?
I posed the very same question to my friends. Some seem to think that as soon as we are let out (which I’m sure it will happen gradually, no country will risk another wave of infections) we’ll be back to our old selves straight away.
Others think that will not be the case, which I tend to agree with. I personally believe we’ll never go back to ‘normal’ the way it was. We will initially be scared of human interaction, shopping, being outside, we might not even crave going outside, since we are now used to keeping ourselves entertained indoors, but at some point our social nature will prevail, and though initially we’ll appreciate every moment we’ll then get used to our new reality again and get close to what ‘normal’ was.
But I don’t think we’ll ever go back to how we used to live. Fear never really goes away. We’ve all been traumatised but also formed new habits, learned to live with less of everything and by we I mean the whole world, how incredible it is that the whole planet is going through the same situation all at once, so we’ll all deep inside have this experience affecting our lives for ever and we hopefully learned a few things about ourselves and our future.
But this experience is not the same for all of us, for some it’s not as challenging or even difficult.
I had a chat with my friend Claire about this, who’s been diagnosed with autism a couple of years ago and I found it incredibly fascinating how her amazing brain which is wired differently to most is coping with this. I asked her if I could send her a few questions and here it’s what she said. I’ve learned a lot from reading it and I think you will too.
1. For those who might know enough if anything about autism and it’s different aspects how would you describe it and how is it for you?
Autism is hard to explain because it is vast and complex (as is everything brain related.) Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference in the way the brain functions. You can’t see my brain functioning, but it affects nearly everything about me. My personality, my sensory experience of the world, my memory, my development, the way I communicate, how I think, how I move.
There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with autism but, because we are the minority our condition is classed as a disability. But that’s just because the social world doesn’t accommodate us yet.
2. How are you coping with lockdown?
Adapting suddenly (well, inventing from scratch) a new routine – making it intricate enough to curb the anxiety of ‘empty’ minutes – was challenging beyond words. But now I am coping very well. The social world, and it’s uncertainty and misunderstanding, is overwhelming for someone like me, and therefore I am a regular self-isolator!
It takes a lot of conscious energy to be around other people. This is partly because I have to ‘mask’ a social and communication disorder, and partly because the worry about what other people think about my ways and responses to our shared world, is draining. People people people. This is not the same as being antisocial though. I love my friends and I value people very much indeed. I’d want to be the one to help someone in a crisis and I’d be the first one to support their projects and celebrate their victories. But the rules of conversations and spontaneous social times are far from natural to me.
3. How is it different for you?
In order to socialise and communicate with a person I need there to be a very clear purpose and for the words spoken to be clear and direct. Even then, I process information and conversation much more slowly than other people because I can’t filter out environmental distractions and because I need to physically see things to understand them. I’m often tired by this (and the subsequent shame) so I need to isolate to get my energy back. This means I very often feel lonely and separated from the rest of society.
Right now EVERYONE is in isolation, and for many active, extroverted, sociable autistics, and especially the non-autistic community, they maybe feeling this type of uncertainty and separateness for the first time. People are inventing ways to stay in touch although they’re not together (like online quizzes and things) and these online social events are accessible for autistics too!
I hope these continue forever, because, it means those who struggle socially can still participate in the fun activity and not worry about the social element – therefore being less lonely.
4. What advice would you give to others? Any tips from your experience?
Generally speaking, non autistic people prioritise communicating and socialising with others, whereas, autistic people prioritise the environment, detail and solitary hobbies and projects. Non-autistic people are sort of being forced to experience the world from the perspective of an autistic person for the first time (they’re just avoiding a virus instead of the social/communication etc.) So, with that in mind, I would advise the following.
Yes… socialising and communicating are valuable to most people, I completely empathise, but when doing those things you miss so much. Now is a chance to focus in on the environment, the detail in rooms and objects, and intricate, time-consuming, all-encompassing hobbies, interests, projects, learning. Not for the purpose of working, or competing or recording, but just for pleasure.
If you think you can’t do it because you have children, let it be your project to encourage THEM to investigate the environment, the detail, the comfort of a new special interest. If you find a nice flower, look at it closer. If you see something interesting, look at it for longer than you normally would, and from all different perspectives. If you smell something lovely, savour and memorise it. If you read an interesting article, research more around it, that kind of thing.
People are starting to do it… they’re posting things about the beautiful places they live near, the weird things they’ve got in their house and they are sharing nature, art and ideas. This should become a habit beyond isolation. Look at things more intricately than you thought possible and awaken a quest for knowledge about those tiny details… then you will begin to experience an autistic-like joy. There is so much joy in the ‘little’ things – and you know … you’ve all got each other again when it’s all over.
Thank you Claire for such an informative and insightful interview!
About three years ago, after I passed my British Psychological Society (BPS) Occupational Psychology qualification exams, I naively thought I’d somehow manage to get a job as an Occupational Psychologist trainee (very few and rare opportunities in Southampton and at the time I so desperately tried to save my already failing relationship I rarely looked for jobs outside the city) so to increase my chances I decided to take the now called Assistant Test User and Test User qualifications which would enable me to administer and interpret Ability and Personality/Motivation tests in an Occupational setting.
I found a consultancy in Brighton, KCP that offered a distance learning option (there were no local consultancies offering this which still baffles me) and they were recognised by the BPS and to cut a long story short after a month, some people take longer but I didn’t want to drag it out, I completed and got both qualifications. I was over the moon as I got great feedback from my trainers Andy and Cathy especially when I went through the Occupational Personality results with my two volunteers. That was a little confidence boost that I needed more than I knew at the time.
Fast forward to today. My priorities changed, my life changed and unfortunately I haven’t yet given the chance to put my qualifications to good use. But every year around September I have to decide whether to pay to keep my name on the Register of Qualifications in Test Use (RQTU) and every time after contemplating for a month or so, I do. I guess I still hope one day I may get to do something with it.
This year I decided to go a step further and refresh my knowledge and skills on Personality and Motivation/ Ability Occupational Testing so I posted on LinkedIn for recommendations of any free but high on reliability and validity tests I can administer to a couple of friends and then feed back the results to them. It’s not easy to find a good, robust, reliable, especially personality and motivation questionnaire that is readily available for free. Most of the free resources are generic and their validity and/or reliability is quite low.
Luckily my trainer Andy saw my post and as the sweet, lovely human he is he offered me a free MAPP questionnaire (the online version) the test I used for my qualification. I actually asked for a second one to administer to another friend with completely different ways of working compared to the first friend who filled it in, just to see how different the results and the feedback session may end up to be, and Cathy and Andy agreed.
I was at the time inspired by the Help me book I had recently read. For one of the self-help books, Marianne the author and protagonist, had to attempt to get rejected as much as possible and notion behind it was to get used to the vulnerability and embarrassment which may come with rejection and that it is actually not as scary as you thought it may be. So I thought I’d ask, I had nothing to lose and what was the worst it could happen? I wish I followed my own advice more often.
MAPP (Managerial and Professional Profiler) is a personality and motivation questionnaire designed specifically for professionals. It’s a great test as it measures a wide range of personality dimensions clustered in three broader categories, People, Task and Feelings and also motivational and values dimensions and what makes it even greater is that the results are compared to a large group of professionals/managers, which contributes to its validity and reliability. If you’d like to know more, you can find all details here.
MAPP can be used for assessment, as a part of the recruitment process but also for development. And that’s how I chose to use it for my two lovely friends who completed it.
What I love most about giving feedback on any test but particularly MAPP is interpreting the results with the ‘assessees’, exploring how self-aware they are of their own work preferences, leadership style, how they work in a team, on a task and my favourite part, making associations between their work style to their motivation and values and discussing these with them. For example both of my friends seem to enjoy working with others than competing and they care about the well-being of their team, which makes perfect sense as they highly value altruism.
I can go further deeper on the many, many connections between personality traits, values and motivation using examples but this post will end up more like a book instead.
Both my friends enjoyed their feedback sessions and they both gave me great feedback, similar to Andy and Cathy’s a couple of years ago. Which made me really happy. I was concerned they may treat this as a right/wrong exercise, but of course it isn’t. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to personality and motivation and values. But it all went well.
They found it useful and quite interesting. And it is. It makes you think and consider things you may haven’t thought about before.
Before anyone else suggests it, as I have been asked before, I tried my workplace’s HR but no luck. Sometimes, after multiple rejections, although of course I know I shouldn’t take it personally and keep trying, one cannot but feel demoralised and question their own abilities. That’s why feedback is incredibly important.
I have tried to offer this as a freelance service but as I work full-time in a completely different job, I don’t have the time or resources to promote it.
If anyone would like to take MAPP or any other questionnaire and would like me to give them some feedback, you can purchase the test from Andy and I’d more than happy to do that for you.
Special thanks to Andy and Cathy for offering me the test for free and my lovely friends Sophie and Chris who completed it for me.
For some is insignificant. Another day, another month.
For others, a milestone. The end of an era. A new beginning.
It’s not just another day or just another month. A moment I’ve been waiting for a year and a half. A moment I thought may never come.
Today I repaid my loan. A weight I’ve been carrying for a year and a half, a weight that’s been pulling me down, forcefully keeping me firmly on the ground against my will since I decided that I have to get rid of my credit card and turn it into a loan if I’ll ever be debt free.
And the reason I’ve had to sacrifice living on my own, which I dearly, painfully miss every single day for the last 5 months. But not for long.
I just woke up and I’m acutely aware I have to get out of bed and get ready for work. But I’m struggling.
Weird dreams, night sweats, stomach aching (God damn you Malbec, I love you but the next day is never fun), lack of sleep. No wonder I can’t move. No wonder I’m still in bed.
‘That I won’t know where I’m going, if I don’t know where I am, but I feel more, I feel more… lost’ The Wind and the Wave lyric that’s been haunting me for a while now… and I can’t stop repeating it… over and over.
7:45am and I’m still in bed…
Was I really in Cyprus a month ago? Was I in London two weeks ago? It can’t be. It’s blurry in my head. Distant, beautiful, loving memories. As if they happened months ago.
I can’t get used to it. The new office, the new responsibilities. I’m still helping out, still doing some of the things I used to do. Some people want it all. There and then. They can’t handle it. Some people don’t appreciate how well and efficiently you do your job, because you make it look easy. My fault?
I miss A101. I miss Donna and Linda and Sati and Sophie and Andy and Sarah and Dave, our kitchen chats, our laughs, our daily fun.
Dave, the best boss and one of the sweetest, friendliest, creative, inspiring humans I’ve ever met is leaving.
Syed, lovely, always polite, considerate, kind- hearted Syed is leaving.
Sheba left, came back and she will be going again soon.
Now I’ll be debt-free I can go anywhere I want. Why am I still here? Should I go? Do I want to go? Where to? Why am I still here?
Ray died. I saw him a month ago at One Sound. But now I’ll never see him again. I’ll never see his smiley face.
What if my grandpa dies? He is the same age as Ray. Oh my God. I will not cope. I won’t be able to fly home on my own to face this. Why am I thinking this?
Change on top of change, on top of change. I love change. But how do you manage all this change?
I tried to make a new friend. And I failed. I failed. Is it me? Is there is something wrong with me? Am I too loud, too chatty, too annoying? Am I boring?
Is it them? Can you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? Should you try harder or give up and let go?
I miss living on my own. I miss it so much it hurts. I miss it all the time.
13 reasons why. 13 reasons why an intelligent, strong, talented 17 year old decided to take her own life. If only one, just one of her friends had done something differently, she would have still been with them. What if any of my friends are struggling and I don’t know about it? How will I know? How can I know? I hope they know they can always come to me. They need to know they can come to me for help.
Bullying in your teens, a trauma you carry with you your whole life. Bullying as an adult, different, but equally painful. Bullying, any form can crush your very soul.
I get why you did it Hannah Baker. Sometimes you feel is the only solution, the only thing that will make the pain stop. I wish you knew you were never alone…
Will I die alone? Maybe I will. It’s very likely. ‘You are too fussy’. I don’t want to die alone.
Why am I thinking all of this?
And why am I thinking all of this in English? Why can’t I do it in Greek?
I promise you, you’ll be OK. You got this.
You are doing awesome. You are better than ever.
I know you feel you were stuck all this time but you’ve been moving. You just didn’t realise my darling. You are now debt-free, you are volunteering for a charity, you are making new friends every day. You’ve been moving all along my dear.
Now get out of bed and call the bank. Repay your loan, get ready for work and go!
Overthinking. My best friend. And worst enemy. Thank God for yoga and my friends, especially Chris, keeping me sane, although I just realised if you are reading this you may think I’m insane.
I’m not. One thing I’m still sure of.
As of today I’m debt free. As of today I’m free to do anything I want. I just need to figure out what it is that I want. Liberating… and terrifying. It makes me smile though…
One of the very few things I vividly remember from my first year studying Psychology at the Uni back home was something my lecturer said that shocked me at the time.
‘You are the only one responsible for your mental wellbeing, you are the only one responsible for your feelings and actions, no matter what life throws at you, no matter how others treat you. Feeling sad or angry or happy is your fault, your responsibility.’
I could not understand why. How? If someone treated my badly, if a loved one died, why is it my fault I’m sad?
It took me years and years to fully comprehend it. It took me years to realise, as Lisa Fieldman Barret, a neuroscientist and psychologist beautifully stated in a TED Talk I recently watched ‘Your emotions are built, not built in‘, meaning you, or your brain to be more precise is the one controlling them, although it may feels impossible.
I co-incidentally watched a Youtube video of Will Smith explaining how what happens in your life and how others treat you it is not your fault, but how you respond is your responsibility. And that’s exactly it.
When you stop blaming others and get out of the ‘victim’ mentality everything suddenly changes. You are in charge, you are responsible. Scary, tough but liberating.
I say that every week since the beginning of the year but last week felt like the longest week of the year so far.
It’s been incredibly busy at work, which I actually enjoy. I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of weeks, I met different people across the University, from students to lecturers to HR experts such as Geoff Glover whose experience is impressive to say the least.
I’m incredibly grateful and honoured he agreed to meet with me and chat over coffee. I’ve learned more in an hour that I learned in a month. I truly admire humble, talented humans who love sharing their knowledge and experience with everyone and don’t let arrogance and success blind them. Geoff is definitely one of them.
But not everyone is nice and getting into arguments it’s inevitable sometimes. I had some of those too this week.
After work I spent most of my evenings writing or catching up with messages and other things I needed to do with the exception of my magical evening at the John Hansard Gallery.
By the end of the week I was shuttered.
On Friday sad news of a friend friend’s death, our age, and one of my best friend’s dad’s death added to my mental and physical exhaustion.
I went to bed at 11pm on Friday. That rarely happens but I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
I woke up early the next morning but I couldn’t get up. I messaged my best friend, my soul sister, my soulmate Happy Birthday telling her how I wished I was there to celebrate with her. And then I went back to sleep.
I stayed in bed until 2pm. I needed it. That meant I had to spend the rest of the weekend cleaning, tidying up, shopping, washing but I needed the break. I need a holiday and I can’t wait for my week off in March but for now that’s the best I could do.
It sucks when people lie to you, underestimate you or undervalue you. It sucks when your near and dear ones are ill, it sucks when they die. And it’s not your fault. Don’t you ever blame yourself. But you are the only one who can change things, you are the only one who can fix it. You are the only one who controls your feelings, your emotions, your actions.
Over the last three years I learned to take responsibility for my emotions and my mental wellbeing and even more importantly, I learned to control them. Not all the time but well enough not to beat myself up and fall back to depression.
Mrs Polikseni I get it now, it took me years but I get it.
Here’s to another week. No idea what it will bring, life is full of surprises lately, but whatever happens, enjoy every moment. Forget about dos and dont’s. Forget about anything that makes you unhappy, worried or anxious. Just live.
Every weekend I facetime my little sis and we chat and laugh for hours, catching up, talking about our week. Something so simple makes me so happy. It’s all about the little things.
I often ask myself…
‘If I die right now, how I want others to remember me?’I want to be remembered as kind, caring, creative, always singing, a tad crazy, obsessed with food and Yoga With Adriene who made others smile and laugh.
‘If I die right now, what I want my last thoughts to be?’ I’m happy and blessed to have amazing, loving friends and family, I have a roof above my head and delicious food on my plate. I do my best to enjoy every single moment. I’m happy.
If I die right now, what would my biggest regrets be? This I struggle to answer but…
What most people dying, the single moment when the clarity of mind reaches extraordinary levels and you cannot but be honest to yourself wished for was that they worked less and spent more time making memories with their loved ones, enjoyed life more, expressed their feelings more and were happier and true to themselves.
Life is really too damn short. I’ve been reminded of it so many times I started to wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something…
Or maybe not…
PS Happy birthday to my little Prince. I promise I’ll teach you all I learned about life, death and everything in between.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Last Friday I attended an inspiring, thought provoking talk on mental health by Hugh Clarke, the Former Head of Counselling services at London Met and counselling Psychologist, as part of the CPD series of workshops run by the Southampton Learning and Teaching Institute at the Uni.
Hugh started the session by guiding us into a three minute mindfulness exercise. I’ll describe how I felt after the instructions below, in case you want to try it, I don’t want to influence you. Read all the steps first as after you close your eyes, you won’t be able to see the rest.
Sit comfortably with your whole feet touching the floor and let your hands gently rest on your thighs.
Close your eyes. What can you see? Now focus your attention on your breath. Then move to the sounds inside the room. What can you hear? What can you smell?
Now focus on the sounds outside the room, what else can you hear?
Now move back into the room and pay attention to your body. How do your hands feel on your legs?
Now shift your attention to your internal body. What did you notice? Your heartbeat?Can you feel your blood flooding through your veins at every corner of your body?
Now gently open your eyes.
How did that feel?
I felt relaxed, calm and fully concentrated, ready for the talk.
Hugh continued with a question, how we thought someone who is about to take their own life may feel.
My first thought was relief. Relief and calmness, as they can now put an end to their suffering. Others said a sense of control, as this is something they have control of. It made us all think.
He then played us a clip of Stevie Smith, reciting ‘Not waving but drowning’, the poem that inspired the title of his talk.
Icarus, based on my beloved Greek Mythology, fulfilled his dream of flying with wings out of feathers and secured with bee wax his father Daedalus made. His father warned him not to fly near the sun, but he ignored him, so his wings started melting and Icarus tragically fell and drown into the sea.
Can you see him in the painting? Maybe not at first. Everything seems normal, everyone getting on with their day and Icarus actually looks like waving, but he is drowning.
And that’s what happens in every day life. Signs of struggling and mental illness are not obvious most of the time.
Hugh went through staggering statistics on student and general population mental health in the UK. Some of the ones I noted down:
-There are over 250 labels used to stigmatise people with mental illnesses. Unbelievably sad.
-27% of students reported they struggled with mental health issues.
-77% of students who reported they dealt with mental health issues were suffering from depression and 74% struggled with anxiety.
-The number of students and the severity of mental illnesses they struggle with it’s been increasing year after year, now at its highest.
-A survey of a major UK university revealed that 40% of their students were ‘detached solos’, students alone and isolated.
The stats for the UK general population are equally sad:
-There’s been a 43% increase of use of anti-depressants.
-75% of people who commit suicide have never asked for help.
-For men under 35, the most common cause of death is suicide.
What’s causing mental illnesses? That’s of course a complex question, is not just one thing, and it’s different for each individual.
But some of the main reasons (other than the immediate family environment and upbringing): society, local economics, fragmentation, helpless resentment, the ‘Buffoon effect’ (e.g. Donald Trump), social media (comparison with others which can reduce self-esteem), tyranny of perfectionism, tyranny of the ‘should’ (we all suffer from this to some degree!)
So how can we help each other?
Develop supportive climates through empathy, spontaneity and equality. Be compassionate and encouraging. The sense of belonging, feeling valued and self esteem are vital. And of course emotional intelligence.
At that point Hugh ran out of time as we bombarded him with questions but emotional intelligence, contrary to general intelligence, can be increased throughout our life. Self-awareness, your relationship with yourself and others, recognising and controlling your feelings can all improve with practice. And that can benefit one’s life in so many different ways, I need a whole post for that.
Hugh intended to finish his session the way he started it. Practising mindfulness.
A 3 minute mindfulness exercise has been scientifically proven, not surprisingly, to significantly reduce stress (which confuses us and doesn’t let us concentrate, it makes everything blurry) as it focuses our attention to ourselves, to the present and our nervous system comes back to a calm, neutral state and we can think more clearly.
What a brilliant talk. I’m sure if we had more time we would have been there for hours.
I hope you enjoyed this. I definitely enjoyed it and learned a lot from it.
I just came back from a run and I feel great. I love the high, my body flooding with adrenaline and endorphin.
I sometimes exercise at home and as you might know, I’ve been doing Yoga every day for the last 20 days and I love it. I’ve recently posted about it if you want to know more. You can have a read here.
Yoga relaxes me, I feel more confident and has already taught me a lot on how to love and take care of myself. But I need cardio in my life. I need the high and I desperate want to improve my stamina and strength.
I love Zumba and dancing. I can’t afford either right now, and when it comes to dancing, there are not many options in town (if you know of any do let me know!).
I love running. I know it’s not for everyone. For me, putting on music (I highly recommend the personal running mix on Spotify, it picks up your tempo first and selects songs based on your pace and the music you love), looking around, enjoying the moment (and often stopping to take a photo to remember that moment) the air on my face, my heart beating fast, is one of the best feelings in the world.
But I don’t go running that often. I often come back from work tired, hungry and I struggle to find the motivation to get out and go running or do any form of exercise.
So I often relapse. As I do with most things.
I eat healthy most of the time but I can’t resist a treat and LOVE a pizza on a Friday.
Some days I struggle to stay positive and I let myself become sad and depressed. And some days I feel like doing nothing at all.
But I promised myself that every time I relapse, I need to get back on it. And since then I feel much better. Because I know a moment or a day of weakness doesn’t mean I should let myself go, I should not give up.
Coincidentally, I recently came across relapse management in a book I’ve been reading on CBT, An introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Skills and Applications (Westbrook D. et al, 2007). It’s a heavy read at times but very educational.
Relapse management is such a vital skill for everyone to develop. Not only in therapy but in daily life. The book suggests to ask yourself the following every time you relapse:
How can I make sense of this?
What have I learnt from it?
With hindsight, what would I do differently?
In this way, you learn more about your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, yourself and also gives you a plan, so after each set-back you can still get back on it and reduce the chances of relapsing again.
So that’s my message for today!
Relapsing of any form does not mean giving up or starting from scratch.
Relapsing means you are a human being and if you look at it as a chance to learn more about yourself and improve your mental and physical wellbeing, you’ll feel much happier and confident.