It’s been a wee while since I’ve been in your inbox.
I haven’t been ignoring you on purpose, I promise. It’s just I have needed some serious time out.
Time out from the crazy, crazy world that became my life over the last 18 months. Most of which I can assure you has not been fun.
I wrote about a year ago, I was dealing with a stressful situation in my life. Unfortunately, this situation did not get better and I was forced to make some seriously humongous changes in my family’s and my life. We eventually got through this challenging time and have now settled into our new life, but once settled, I simply fell in a heap. And I mean a big giant pile of physical, emotional and spiritual heap.
And it wasn’t pretty!
I wish to share this story with you, not to over share my life, but to hopefully demonstrate that stress and trauma can affect us in so many different ways. We can keep being busy, thinking I’ll be fine but eventually it always catches up with you. It should never be underestimated and healing from these traumas is by far, the most important thing you can do in your personal health journey.
So let me back track a little. This may take a while, it’s a long story, I’ll try not to ramble but you may want to grab a strong cuppa….
Now, I can’t divulge all details here, but what I can tell you is this;
I was living with a difficult and crazy neighbour, who had been a problem for several years, but this person decided at the beginning of 2017, that I was somehow the cause of all this persons issues in life and began to randomly, irrationally and sporadically abuse me. Completely unprovoked.
This took us completely by surprise and initially for a few months tried to ignore it, even if very strange and aggressive. But as the year went on, it continued, becoming increasingly threatening, even stranger and more disturbing. We had never engaged with this person or provoked any incidents, which only made it all the odder.
It eventually became so difficult for me on every level, as not only was it a direct threat to myself, it had a huge impact on my daughter, my business’s (I operated both of them from my home) not to mention my sense of safety in my own home.
It bought fear and insecurity to the point that my daughter never wanted to play outside unless with an adult, that I would walk her in and out of the house when going to/from school, She became obsessive about locking doors. I never felt safe or comfortable in my garden/outdoor space alone and it created an instability in my home along with much unwarranted tension.
We were constantly walking on tender hooks, hypervigilant to what and when it coming next. It was so random and so very, very strange.
We had been trying to take steps to deal with it in a peaceful way, as there where children involved and we were sensitive to other issues we were aware of, that I am unable to go into.
None of these channels where working sadly, so we were forced to involve police and legal matters.
This I can assure was something that I found extremely difficult and distressing.
Yes, the police and courts where extremely supportive towards us, this we were grateful for but the reality is, we could get a court order to ‘protect us’ but it doesn’t stop an irrationally disturbed person. It simply gives the police a little more power, if and when things may get out of hand again. So you’re always waiting. On guard. Hypervigilant.
Our home was no longer somewhere we wanted to be. This situation we found ourselves in created so much tension and negativity in our home, it was affecting all of us and it wasn’t healthy nor sustainable.
So we decided to sell up our home and move! Yep, a BIG decision.
I had always dreamed of moving to the coast one day but we’d thought this was something we would do when my husband was closer to retirement.
But what was stopping us? We asked ourselves, “Why not now? What’s holding us back?”
We got to work, very quickly, exploring our options, preparing the house for sale and made the decision, whatever the outcome, we were moving to a better life. We were taking back control!
Now keep in mind, this was no mean feat.
It meant I would have to close down my hairdressing business (30 years in the industry), my coaching business is transient, so that was ok, but it meant my husband had to negotiate some changes with his work in order for it to be commutable. We would be leaving a city we loved, along with our beautiful friends and family. It meant moving away from my husband’s Son, who is now a young adult and our daughter had to leave a school and friends she truly loved. Not to mention the financial risk of this big change.
This was a big decision, one we didn’t make lightly, but one we felt was so necessary for all of us and more importantly we were so ready follow.
It was going to take hard work and stamina but we were choosing to take back the power of our happiness and live by the sea, choosing a simpler more peaceful life.
We were fast forwarding our dreams.
But there were more challenges ahead.
Our lovely home got passed in at Auction. Not one bidder. Even our agent was speechless!
Now anyone who has been through the process of selling and auctioning a home, it’s simply devastating. You put so much effort and hard work into this one moment. It’s emotional at the best of times, but with the constant threat of abuse hovering, it only heighten the stress we were already under.
We remained positive, we felt confident our neighbour was not the issue (her issue was with me remember, no one else), it was just a matter of timing. Our home would sell. It had too.
It did take time.
In fact a lot more time than one would have thought or predicted. There were set backs and weeks that we had not a soul come through our home even if we would exhaust ourselves making sure it was spick and span to present it at its best each week for open for inspections. There was a down turn in the area we lived in, as it became apparent that it was happening to other homes around us. But it did not bring us peace, we were still on tender hooks, hoping and praying our neighbour kept quiet. This went on for a weeks and weeks.
It was tough to stay positive. Really tough.
My husband became very negative at this time, he was losing hope and it was a very challenging for us all. Physically and emotionally it was draining. I carried around a card stuffed in my bra that had ‘Never give up hope!” along with a crystal. I meditated a lot. I manifested and asked the universe for much guidance. I had to keep believing and holding on, that somehow, someway we would be able to move away from the constant threat of abuse. That we deserved to follow the dream that we longed for.
We were adamant not to be victims of circumstance, forging our own destiny. These where only barriers we had to navigate around.
I kept telling myself, that it was going to happen when it needed to happen. Somehow, some way, it would happen. We just needed to trust and sit in this space until it did.
But I started to feel like I was losing hope.
It was nearing Christmas.
Then 2 interested parties came out of the blue and within a couple of weeks, contracts were signed.
The purchaser was difficult.
He made unusual request and demands. We remained strong. I desperately wanted to leave our situation but I wasn’t going to be bullied and manipulated. We stood strong but throughout the whole negotiations, sale and settlement process he was difficult, constantly making us feel unsettled that the sale wouldn’t go through, right up until that final day that settlement took place. That day bought us much relief.
Meanwhile, in-between all this, we had to travel up and down the coast each weekend, trying to find our new home and keep life as ‘normal’ as we could for our young daughter.
It was exhausting. Unsettling. Challenging. So much uncertainty and unknowing. But we stood strong in our perusing of our dream.
Then finally, we found our new home and managed to negotiate a quick sale.
We packed, sorted, threw out, redirected, organised, reshuffled, closed down and moved our whole life at the end of March this year.
Anyone who has sold and moved house would know, it’s a mammoth effort.
One that required from me personally, a humongous physical, emotional and spiritual effort.
Finally, I was able to move into in my beautiful new home, by the gorgeous seaside, with my family.
I felt safe, calm and at peace for the first time in what seemed a very long time. There was much unpacking to do, we were considering some renovations for our new home, a new garden to establish and our daughter was settling into her new school. I didn’t have to work for a while, which took some pressure off me. There was no rush. All in good time. Exciting times ahead!
But every time I tried to do something, anything, I became depleted. I was struggling.
It was like my mind, body and spirit had the chance to stop and completely feel safe and it just went
“Nope, I’m so done!”
I resisted a little.
I attempted to get going. To organise and get on with our new life. Everyone else, my husband and daughter, where going great, slipping into this new life beautifully but I kept getting pushed down. I was constantly having colds and ended up in bed for over a week with the full blown flu (totally unheard of for me). I was suffering with some digestive issues, headaches and some other ailments. I felt physically exhausted. Going for a gentle walk became a huge effort. I was trying to go slow, really trying, yet I was experiencing anxiety if I had to make a decision about anything, even a small one. Mentally, everything seemed a little overwhelming and my brain was very, very foggy. I had been experiencing night terrors for a while that would leave me reeling. I felt the need to keep my world very small, without challenges or without too many people around me. I wasn’t interested in going out or meeting anyone. I was completely and utterly drained. I felt my spirit had left me and I really didn’t know who I was.
It was uncomfortable, scary, unknown to me and I felt extremely vulnerable.
I went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with mild PTSD and adrenal exhaustion.
I won’t’ lie, I was a little shocked, not by the exhaustion part that seemed obvious to me but the PTSD. That really through me. But as I write this post, it’s very clear, but while going through it, I just didn’t see it.
After seeking some help and along with this guidance, I have had to do some deep work on myself and heal.
I’ve realised that all my strength, resilience, stamina and power was needed to be used for the traumatic marathon that was my life for 14 months. That I needed to drive that ship of change away from the threat of abuse, challenge and negativity. That a new life awaited us, but it needed major endurance and commitment to get there. That once it arrived, there was absolutely nothing left in my tank.
I needed to be replenished. To truly heal and recover.
So I listened. Yes even stubborn, controlling me, let go. I surrendered to the process of healing. I’ve attempted a few times to nudge it along a little quicker out of frustration and impatience, but it’s pulled me back down and said a resounding ‘NO. I need time!’
So I have surrendered and given it time.
“Take all the time you need to heal”, I said.
Once I truly did that, slowly I have seen my body, mind and spirit regain and rebuild.
This I have not done alone. I have been seeing a counsellor and healer. I feel blessed also, to have a supporting loving husband and family, to have the space and time, without the pressure to work for a while, to just heal. And to heal by the sea. Not everyone gets these opportunities, choices and support. This I am truly grateful for.
I have been discovering things about myself that I didn’t know, or perhaps even wanted to?
I have accepted that I do have many limitations. That I am really very hard on myself and I need to practice a lot more self-compassion. Something that I have been told many, many times, but not truly heard.
That the situation we found ourselves in was simply ‘shit‘. We couldn’t control what that person was doing or thinking, but we could control how we handled it and made the changes in our lives to better this.
That surprisingly, although I was completely ready to let go of my hairdressing business, it has been also letting go of a huge part of my identity that I have found a little tougher than I thought.
That I need to make changes around how, when and why my work looks like moving forward. This is still a working progress, but that’s ok. I am trusting the process, rather than just focussing only on a destination. And I am removing the pressure of achieving or know how to achieve this right now. To not over think it!
That I have needed to truly practice what I preach! Really walk my talk!!
And for now, just to stop, take some big deep breathes, be gentle, very, very gentle and heal.
Ahead of me is endless possibilities and opportunities that will come my way, but I don’t need to rush it. All in good time.
It’s exciting, but I’ll be honest, was really scary at first.
This is the life we have chosen. I get to live by the sea in one of my favourite places. I get to choose a different life for me and my family and that’s so exciting. Yes, we don’t really know hardly anyone, I haven’t wanted to for a bit, But I am starting to and that’s a really good sign. But I am lifting from a huge dark cloud of total exhaustion and trauma, the next part of my life will unfold and evolve when it needs to.
And I get to choose this life. Not let someone else’s issues and life choices impact or impose on it.
I got to close a very big chapter in my life.
But maybe it’s bigger than a chapter, as I discussed with a close friend recently, perhaps it’s the ending more of a novel in the series that is my life and now the new book in the series, rather than just a chapter, begins?
I sharing my very personal story with you, not to explain my absence in your inbox or to over share my life, even if writing this post is cathartic process for me but most importantly, to share with you that trauma recovery is really hard. Not matter what shape or form it comes in.
And healing can be a little messy.
That it’s different for all of us.
That stress and chronic stress eventually catches up with you.
That if you don’t deal with it, your body will store it and it present in ways you can’t imagine. Physiologically, emotionally and spiritually.
That it’s OK to step out of life for a bit, just go slow and heal.
Healing is so important and should never be underestimated.
Reaching out for help and guidance is necessary. Don’t deny it to yourself or others and you don’t have to go it alone.
It takes time, it can’t be rushed, even if like me, you try to give it a little nudge along, trust me, it will nudge you right back.
And when your mind, body and spirit are screaming at you to stop….listen. Really listen.
A new ‘me’ is emerging and replenishing.
I promise I will be back in your inbox a little more regularly than I’ve been for a while but I feel it will be with a new direction and insight.
Until then, stay safe, happy, healthy and grounded.