Monday, 10 June 2013

X) Out of focus

I wanted to get a little more personal, and talk about something I am struggling with as an individual, something that is a major part of my journey in life and I am really fighting hard to come to terms with and understand better, so that I may harness it and use it as a tool to get me through the tough spots that come my way.
This is, Finding Focus.

A condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived

Typically for me, when things in my life turn to custard, the easiest way to fight my way through, is to latch on to some idea of hope. If I can visualise something in the near future I am aiming for, it's like I can push the bad stuff aside somewhat and just tell myself "You've just got keep going until you reach that next point". 
But often in life, the things we have to live for, to fight for, don't get given to us in bite sized pieces. It's not like a job where you get a weekend, and you just have to get through the working week. There is no beacon of light, or a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow, giving us direction and a sense of purpose.
No often what you have to live and fight for is an idea of something so big, that you feel lost and confused about how you can make a difference or what you should be doing, or how you can keep positive about what you are doing - while you are doing it. Because sometimes these things just don't give out obvious rewards to get you through, or the work and effort required is so onerous, that you feel like you will burn out before you ever get to the finish line.. if there even is one?


Okay metaphors aside, all fa├žades dropped, let us be frank. 
I struggle with my depression, my bipolar, my anxiety, all that jazz. I struggle with being alone. I miss my parents, I miss having them just down the road, and I miss knowing that no matter how hard I might fall, I always had a partner to pick me up.
It is hard seeing him happy with someone else, and it is hard feeling like I am going to be alone forever, and that I can't seem to make a genuine connection with anyone new like the one I had with him in the beginning. It is hard knowing that the one person (besides my besties) that I feel any kind of connection with, isn't obtainable, and that I shouldn't be focusing on that anyway, I should be focusing on healing myself and being okay with being me and myself again... if I ever was.


It is hard day in and day out trying to be the best parent I can for my children, and dealing with the reality that sometimes just loving them and caring for them emotionally isn't enough... not when you don't have someone else there to do the practical stuff like school runs and making lunches etc. 
It is stepping up to do those things that I am struggling with... trying to not let my own weaknesses, weaken me when I need to be strong, and not having someone to turn to for comfort, even for those small comforts that you didn't realise were such an important thing for you in your life. I miss cuddling so much... I cuddle my friends, family, my children as much as I can. Heck I would quite happily cuddle strangers too! But I miss that feeling of being safe as long as you have that person you are holding onto. Now I have to be that safety, I have to give my children that feeling that I got from someone else. I have to be the rock, be the strong one. And that is where I am struggling. 


I am forever told I am so strong, that I have been through so much and yet I still do so well. I don't feel it. All I see is that I nearly died last year because of my weaknesses, and I am trying my darnedest to never get to that place ever ever again. I write this with tears streaming down my face, because I KNOW I am never ever ever going to let myself get to that place again and that I will fight tooth and nail to be stronger, be better than I feel. It is all just about figuring out HOW.  Sometimes the hardest part, is knowing you have to WAIT, that you can't just work really extremely hard for a short amount of time to get to where you want to be. Sometimes you have to face the fact you have to let go, and just be okay with things being out of your control for a while.. just try and find that reason to believe it will all work out! and then latch onto it!

Most of all, I am trying to focus on what is most important in my life. The thing that keeps me grounded, and gives me a reason to live, to fight, even when I feel like I can't go on a minute longer, like I have run myself ragged and I am going to disappoint everyone I ever associated with, like I am getting myself into a bad space and saying and doing the wrong things with the wrong people. It is important to forgive yourself for needing others. For needing friends, for needing help, for needing to feel wanted and needing to feel loved. But just remember, the most important person you need, is you.


I have been getting a lot of good advice from people over the last 6 months. One person in particular has been helping me a lot when it comes to pushing through the negative feelings that still linger on 6 months after separating  I think that's the hardest part, being this far down the road and feelings like these just don't fade, it doesn't really get easier, not really. It hurts less, and you can feel better about some aspects, and maybe even move on with your life in several ways.. but it will always be hard. Really hard. And it's not until you can really embrace that, accept it, and find a way to be okay with that, that it will ever change.
I don't think everyone really understands that, that what you don't need to hear is that "It will be okay " because, lets be honest, it might not... especially if you just sit back and wait for things to get better..that it will magically happen if you just grit your teeth and hope it will stop sucking, stop hurting so damn much. It won't. It probably won't.
Sometimes the best advice a person can really give you is;

                                  Find something that makes you happy and do it.

Because really, it is down to you, it is about finding out what you need, what is something you can PHYSICALLY do to make yourself happy? 
So that's where I am right now... I am teetering on the edge of letting go. I am trying to find that focus, that way to power through and really just accept that this is my life right now, and introducing a bazillion new factors into it is not the way to get by, no I have to instead change my thinking so that all this, all this I have right here, right now, is okay. I can do it, and I can push through the pain and I can push past the exhaustion, and the banality of some of it. And I can just be ok with being me. And when I can do that, then I can find that one thing that I can do to make me feel that little bit better about life.


For me obviously my focus is my kids, and I am told over and over by anyone and everyone that I need to do it for the kids. And they ARE right, I know they are, I agree. 
But it is such an intangible idea. 
It is frustrating to try and put this into practice, because don't get me wrong, I love my kids from here to the stars and back, but a child is not always going to be grateful for the hard work you are putting in, not right then and there anyway, some days they are just going to drive you mental and you will feel like you can't stand it a minute longer! (but then they go to bed and look like angels when they are sleeping and you feel bad for getting frustrated with them in the first place!)
Some days are going to be easier than others, and although you can find fulfilment in your children and just spending time with them, seeing them happy and fulfilled, you are also going to hit bumps and come up against walls.
If your well-being is directly dependant on the job you are doing with the kids, then if you come up against a bump, such as problems at school, or a patch of problem behaviour, then you are probably going to crumble. 
Because suddenly you are not doing enough or you have done it all wrong, and although no-one has SAID those things to you, that is probably how you are going to feel. Helpless, because you are ultimately on your own... despite every ones good intentions, despite the practical help others may offer, you are the grown-up now, and these little people depend on YOU.


So how do you find focus in all this confusion? How do you get your head around it all, how do you stop yourself from looking for love in the wrong places, and looking for comfort with the wrong people? How do you respect yourself and trust yourself and like yourself, when you feel like you are the weakest link, and you are supposed to be the strongest?
How do you not feel frustrated when you see others having a seemingly easy time of it, while you struggle to get out of bed in the mornings?


You just have to find that thing. That thing to be focal point of all your efforts. Maybe even those THINGS. 

I want to study psychology, I want to study psychology, live it, breath it, and find a niche in the world where I can use all my pain and past, all this stuff that makes me feel so WEAK and HELPLESS and like a giant FAILURE to help and better myself and others.

I want to be able to say that even though I wasn't amazing at getting the kids to school on time, even though I really should have got off the friggen computer and gone and done my dishes instead... that I always addressed the pain and the problems that the kids and I have come up against, and tried my darnedest to push through and learn from it. That I never swept feelings under the table or treated any grievance as irrelevant. I turned every hardship on it's head and tried to find a way for us to grow from it. 

I think at the end of the day you just have to look at what you are doing right, and say "keep on doing that" - don't beat yourself up for not being infallible .. because as long as you aren't compromising those few really important things, then you can always say "I was true to myself".


And so that is my goal. My 'soul' is not for sale. I need to learn to love who I am and what I have got. I need to believe that what I am doing is enough, and that although I am capable of much more, when I push myself... If I can't always achieve that, it's okay.


But most importantly, I have to remember that all this pain, all this hurt and frustration and feelings of inadequacy are just giving me the drive to LEARN and to make a difference in this world. I will never stop caring, I will never stop wanting to help and change the way other people think and feel about mental health and topics such as suicide and mental illness. And if I never stop caring, then I can never stop living.... because I have a place in this world. A place for myself, and to be here for my kids.. and hopefully one day, a place to be here to help others.

Keep your head up, and keep your heart strong - Ben Howard.
- Sarah


  1. I love this post. I was welling up reading this and you are so right about changing your thinking and focussing on what you have here and now and being content with that. I love this - "I need to learn to love who I am and what I have got. I need to believe that what I am doing is enough, and that although I am capable of much more, when I push myself... If I can't always achieve that, it's okay."

    - and you're right!!

    I wish I had the right words to express how reading about your journey and vision makes me feel.

    1. Love you Shanny <3 means a lot that you bother to read it at all :) miss you x

  2. That was so very moving miss. Lots I will say, but not here.. As Hawk would say "you're on the path... You don't need to know where it leads". Keep going!

    1. Thanks Dan Dan x love that quote too.. so apt!