Crashing or floating

Sometimes we just don’t realise how stressed we are. I certainly don’t. Suddenly I find myself gasping for breath, drowning, going under and it’s all a bit too late to save myself. I can sense something is off kilter, I know things are mounting up and I can feel the pressure build but I don’t see the wall until I am about to crash into it. And about a week ago … I smashed into it pretty badly.

However, here I am, just a few days later and it’s like a weight has been lifted. A little battered and bruised but the air is flowing back into my lungs and there are no serious injuries. A few years ago I just couldn’t recover like this. It spiralled into chronic depression. Complete wipe out and long term after effects, including excess drinking. So what was different this time around?

In all honesty I don’t know, other than the major difference of not pouring a poisonous depressant into my body. I guess that has a huge impact. Don’t get me wrong, on Saturday, in the eye of the storm, I thought … here we go again. Disengagement, switch off, dysfunction and months of recovery. I did nothing all day. I did however take the proactive move of turning my phone off. I allowed myself a day of sleep. I set myself a target of getting up to make a cup of tea and eating something. I succeeded. Sunday, I managed to get out of bed and took a walk with my mum. I still didn’t do any yoga, any house jobs, anything much really, but I fed my family, I read and I did part of a jigsaw puzzle. On Monday, I remained under water and I kept sinking. Each time I started to float up, thoughts dragged me down again. When I am very stressed and about to crash into the wall I ruminate. I dwell on situations and circumstances I can’t change and worry about what lies ahead. I attach a story to these thoughts. This stops me hitting those brakes to avoid the wall. It prevents me reaching for my life float before I drown.

On Monday evening I chose to not drown. I chose to avoid the wall. I’d crashed just days before, I couldn’t do it again. I didn’t think I’d survive this time. I had to give myself a break and some time. More time. I did my yoga session (thanks to the encouragement of my lovely yoga buddies), I made some decisions about how best to reduce the spiralling thoughts and how to stop the endless stories dragging me into places of darkness. It’s not easy for me and there is no magic wand. I have realised that too much stress is a huge trigger for my depression. Work, relationships breaking down, parenting, a pandemic, lockdown …. it was too much. If I don’t learn to reduce the pressure I am going to forever be driving into walls or being sucked under the water. Only I can do this. I have the power to say enough is enough. I am not a passenger in my life. I have choices and I need to make better ones.

15 months ago I made a choice to remove alcohol from my life. It was the of the best decisions I have made. Now, I need to continue to make more good decisions. To say ‘no’ when it’s needed and to reduce stress where it is preventable. I am not out of the woods, not by a long shot. I am however driving more slowly, looking out for trees in my way and using my brakes to avoid any walls. And if I do crash, I can survive it. Here’s to floating and not drowning.

Claire x

34 thoughts on “Crashing or floating”

  1. Sending so much love and strength Claire ❤ This is amazing: the intensity and triggers re still here (i.e. life still gets really really hard and stressful, and we still get down), but look at how different the reaction is now, compared to, say, a couple of years ago: even when we sink super low, we are able to quickly reajust and float again, instead of letting things spiral out of control. To me this is key. it is the Ultimate test = how do we react when shit gets really hard ? To me you are demonstrating that you have gained tremendous new strength and coping skills, even if it feels like crashing. It's what comes after the crash and how we react to it that counts 🙂 Sorry for being so absent these days. Gonna make an effort to come and spend more time here ❤ xoxoxoxo Lots of love ❤ Anne

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    1. Don’t apologise. I haven’t posted in ages and I have been remiss too. You can always message me via Instagram. I’ll send you my number and we can what’s app too. Thanks for your comment. It’s true. It’s accepting that we will hit rough ground and even crash from time to time but it’s what we do then that matters. 😘❤️😊

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  2. Hello my dear friend!! 😘😘😘 I think what Anne said above is absolutely perfect! So awesome it’s been 15 months sober for you!! Imagine if we were still drinking? Instead of cautiously avoiding those trees, we would be repeatedly crashing right into them. You continue to inspire me Claire! Love ya! ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. Good morning Claire! I am so glad to see you in my inbox again this morning. I have been missing you. There are days where I have a friend who bans me from reading news headlines or news. Those are the real hard core me days. I am finding myself a little a loose ends lately with my inability to write weighing the most heavily on me. As well the 12 year old is beginning to turn into a surly teen and apparently his lack of motivation is somehow my fault. We are battling over showers. Chores. Myself I just want to be able to fully relax. With Covid am in a constant state of flux as I deal with schooling for The Beast (my nickname for him) the way work is and the changes. Also there is the fact that I am a huge klutz and seem to have gotten worse of late with the hurting of myself.
    Hugs to you darling Claire. You have this. I have this. We are just rolling down the hill at warp speed right now and dizzy from everything going on around. It will settle some time most likely not when we want it to but when we are on that last straw everything will break.
    Have a good day. 🙂

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    1. I’m with you … it’s so tough at the moment and I feel like I’m always doing something wrong. Relaxing is hard but I have managed it this past couple of days and it’s helped me get back up again. That’s all we can do. Keep rolling down the hill, getting back up, dizzy but ready to keep going. Hopefully forwards, sometimes sideways and occasionally backwards … but moving. Xxx

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  4. Amazing post, Claire. Full of wisdom! I am so sorry you were having a hard time, but I think you are so right that you are giving yourself the tools to recover much more quickly. Too much stress is so terrible for all of us!! Please reach out anytime you need to. 🤗❤️🤗❤️

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    1. I will, I know you are there leafy and I really appreciate your friendship and support. I also know I am not alone in feeling this way and that does help also. Thank you so much my lovely friend xxx

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  5. Big hugs to you my lovely yoga sober friend. I’m so sorry the tremendous pressure and stress you’re under. I know you don’t feel it, but you’re doing so so well. You’re practicing self care, making small changes in the moment to protect yourself and you’re 15 months sober which is inspiring. Always here for you 🤗🤗🤗🤗

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    1. Thanks to you. So grateful to have you around. I am doing ok, I know that. I am learning what I need to do to help myself and I am doing it. Just sometimes don’t see the wood for the trees right? Taking this week off was such a good thing for me. Thank goodness I did it! ❤️❤️😘

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      1. Well I had a week booked but then they told me I didn’t have to take all my leave so I cancelled a couple of days … I’m now debating whether to take the whole week off again. It’s been so helpful to step away for a while. Xxx

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    1. Thanks Anne. I was frightened. I think once you know what it’s like you become anxious that you won’t get yourself out. Luckily the fog seems to have lifted and each time I come out the other side I learn more about what triggers it and how I can help myself. I hope you are doing ok. Being gentle is so important xx

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  6. Reading some of your posts Claire and I can relate. I have popped my head up from the ‘wine fog’ and am realising that I need to move the goalposts in my marriage a little. Our habitual roles and responsibilities within the home and family are not balanced but I used to let that slide and try to keep everyone happy. I’m hoping it’s not too late to set the balance right and take some pressure of me. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot at the moment and the pandemic just polarises everything even more. Be kind to yourself, you are amazing to have gotten to this point xx

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    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes there have been lots of changes and upheaval during the past 15 months and I’m sure that’s set to continue but I make the changes and the decisions from a place of control rather than in a drunken temper or mood or alcoholic daze. It’s never a bad thing to move some goal posts around. It can be a shock for the other people involved but sometimes it’s important to stand up for ourselves. Keep going. Xx

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      1. Doesn’t always feel that way but I we are always too hard on ourselves aren’t we? At least now when I lie down to rest it’s actually to recharge not to try and recover from a god awful hangover and blank out what I might have done it said the night before!! 😂😂 x

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  7. Claire, I so agree with you on quitting alcohol being the best decision. It can be pretty frickin rough facing days without the fog, but from within our soul tells us this is the real path to follow. Checking out and burying my head under a pillow to escape it all is still a practice of mine when life becomes too much. This quote often helps me pause and reconnect. “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” —The Talmud. For me it’s a call to slowly find my way back to the Light within and around us. Sending hugs🤗

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    1. Hey Dwight. I actually thought about you. I was thinking whether I should check out of word press for a while. Just shut down my phone, social media (not that I use much) and hide away for a while. I never really understood why people did that but I now do. I can see how it helps to just hit the pause button. Take a breath and go again when we are ready. I thought about how you do it sometimes and I could really connect. The couple of days off the phone etc really helped though. Hugs to you too xxx

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  8. Big hugs, Claire. You got through this recent episiode, by hook or by crook. And yuou didn’t drink. So proud of you. Well done for identifying the link between your stress and depression, that feels like a huge milestone. You sound aware and in control… you’ve got this. Hugs.

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    1. Hey Rob. Lovely to see you here. Each time I go though it, I find a new understanding and build on ways to deal with it. I don’t think I’ll ever not have episodes but if I can manage them and live with it then that has to be positive. Hugs to you too x

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    1. Thanks Jim. I suppose it’s about trying to understand the triggers and work out how to help myself when I start to feel like this. Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it x

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  9. I can feel your struggle but even better, I can hear the strength, resolve and perseverance! Recently, I too, had the same experience of starting to fall into the abyss… it’s so scary but I kept myself in my body and “out of my mind” – journaled and tried to just observe. Came through and back out in about a week and a half with some solid revelations and greater understanding. Victory feels awesome……. you are awesome. More than you know….💜

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    1. Hi Elizabeth. It helps to know others have similar experiences. Victory does feel so awesome. Thanks for your lovely words. I truly believe if we can hold onto the knowledge that it passes it doesn’t suck us down quite so far! Love you you ❤️

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      1. I learn more from my struggles than from my times of peace. My goal is to not be attached to either state- just try to appreciate whatever is happening in the moment. Having someone to work with who is familiar with trauma has helped me immensely and given me some great tools to work with. Her ability to be present with me and guide me through some stuff that may not be obvious to me (our blindspots-we all have ’em) has been priceless. Just knowing she’s available if the fear begins to overwhelm is so reassuring. It’s always the spinning of fear and self-judgement and comparing myself to others (along with the isolation of the pandemic) that will cripple me if I don’t recognize all those negative thoughts for what they are…..a big pile of💩 ! ps forgive me if I’m repeating myself.💜

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