Monday, 22 November 2010

My head, my prison

You might be wondering, "What's happened to Grace?" "Why don't we have regular blog posts anymore?" "What is she doing, where has she been?"

While my physical body has been frolicking about with friends, learning what it is to be a Thermomix consultant and hosting Patrick's grandmother for a week, my mental self has been in a dark, self-imposed prison.

Since writing 'The Blues Strike Back' over a month ago, I haven't managed to shake them off. There have been moments of glee, but mostly it's been very unpleasant living with the contents of my head.

This morning I woke up and asked myself "Why am I like this again?" What happened on the 10th of October that has taken me from feeling happy for weeks on end, to feeling chronically anxious and despondent?

My first answer: I do not know.

Then I took time to reflect...

I noticed how my hectic schedule with two trips to Adelaide, a trip to Bali, a wedding, 3 significant birthdays and my upcoming 40th translated to blog posts becoming increasingly shallow. This has happened before, but I've been slow to recognise the pattern... and the impact.

The initial plan for Project Grace 2010 was that November 3rd (my 40th birthday) would mark the completion of the project. Yet it has been and gone and I feel completely incomplete. I've been hovering in shallow conversations and uncertainty for weeks, and it's only making matters worse.

Then last week, I had a meltdown. My anxiety levels had redlined and I rang a girlfriend in desperation. She called back when the household was asleep, so I tiptoed to the bathroom and spent over an hour atop of the toilet seat talking at low volume so Pat and Gran couldn't hear.

Releasing rancid thoughts had an instant calming effect. Though I'd been harbouring so many for so long that it took several conversations with a number of friends over a few days to liberate me (thank you Marsie, Special K, Tarls and mon Cherie).

This morning I felt lighter and more optimistic. As I roused from bed I had the biggest 'aha' moment...

Remember the post titled 'Virtual Shrink's Couch'? Well that's essentially what my blog is for me. Sure it's had a fair share of being a quiz corner, travel diary and fun house, but essentially it's a place where I can 'talk' about things as they occur, thus releasing it from the confines of my torturous head.

What an incredible insight.

I recall many moments of feeling instantly and permanently better after having written things that had plagued me for years, like:
As soon as I had externalised what I was feeling, I was free. Amazing. I've learned that keeping poisonous thoughts in our heads is toxic and can cause self harm - which can be in the form of drinking to excess, eating illicit foods, taking mood altering substances and even go as far as self mutilation and suicide.

So in order to maintain my sanity, I am back.

When marvellous Mikey McCorry (who has been blogging for over 10 years) responded to 'I am Revolting' by saying "the only really important stakeholder is you", I now concur.

Having once thought it was self indulgent to dedicate time into making myself a happier 'me', I realise that other people benefit from my state of being. When I am happy and in a balanced state, I am a significantly better wife, daughter, sister, aunty, niece, friend and colleague. In order for me to be that way, I need to continually invest time into 'me'... and Project Grace 2010 is that investment.

Society is quick to slap the term 'self indulgent' on anyone bold enough to take time out for themselves. Yet the same society is bewildered over people abusing themselves and, or, taking their own lives. The fact of the matter is that we are humans and we need connection. Sharing ourselves - good and bad - is not only for our well being, but for others. When we share, we not only provide opportunities for insight, but we encourage and inspire others to do the same.

For me, my blog is my life saver. I make no apologies for being 'indulgent'. I am, at the end of each day, the most important stakeholder.

Until tomorrow, take stock of your life, be indulgent and set yourself free.

Grace xx


  1. I completely understand what anxiety feels like and have also had bad experiences with anti-depressants. Over the last 20 years, I have found three answers to anxiety that work in varying degrees and for varying times. 1) spend time with people who don't judge you and who are easy-going, optimistic type people 2) "let go" the tension by doing Bollywood dancing or jogging or walking the dog or singing at the top of your voice and 3) try to find employment that you really like (and that's the hardest one). I find your blog inspiring and "real" and am personally glad that you are continuing. I think you know yourself very well and that is not all that common in today's world. GOOD FOR YOU. xxx

  2. MtbSkillsCoachPat22 November 2010 at 03:26

    Fantastic to have you back on our channel.
    Project Grace 2010 is great and am looking forward to Project Grace 2011 the blog.

    Perhaps a good time to head back and re read your first blog post [I just did] and acknowledge how far you have come since starting this in March.

    God job.
    Back to boot camp tomorrow, the fans want to know some stats for Wednesday weigh in ;-)

  3. I love all of the incarnations of your blog. Your sharing is an inspiration to me. x


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