Although I haven’t really been away. But I have been distant. Working in the background, keeping everything on track…and I did well…until I didn’t! And I don’t mind sharing this, because I feel these things aren’t shared enough!
I don’t hide that I suffer terribly from anxiety, I wear it on my sleeve where I can see it, where it can’t sneak up and bite me on the bum! Sometimes it pokes into every soft vulnerable part of my life, creating uncomfortable sores and occasionally paralyzes me in a way that I know is ridiculous, but have no way of countering. I’m an expert at managing it mainly…but, too many little things happened in quick succession which turned into a big boil of panic and strain, and I really wasn’t managing as well as I usually do. There had been warning signs previously, tiny blips where I retreated for a moment then came back, managing to leap frog over without twisting an ankle…but it was just a matter of time before I was going to miss my stride, I knew it.
This is why working as I do, from home and alone works perfectly for me, it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure…but for me, it works – until of course…it stops working! I sought help, and got it – but with that came medication that I really wasn’t prepared for! Designed to quieten an over-busy mind, the medication did its job, and I slept…and then I slept some more…and I kept on sleeping until all I could think about whilst I was awake was how and when I could go to sleep. I slept at the dinner table, in the shed, if I dared close my eyes for longer than a second, I slept – and boy did my brain need it! The sleeping was bliss, I could feel it helping…allowing me to focus on one thing at a time and not allow the automatic opening of all the thousands of tabs that are normally active in my head! Trying to stay awake and be a functional human being during the day though was a battle.
Sleepy Bee - drunk on nectar
A mind that has been overwhelmed for years will eventually give way. It will eventually burn out. It will inevitably need some help at some point. I’m very good at pretending things are OK – I’ll counter the overwhelm with funny drama, this allows everyone around me to say “Oh, she’ll be OK.” But, I wasn’t OK, I couldn’t stop panicking, and I couldn’t stop thinking! Not being able to switch off is exhausting…not being able to switch off for years is frankly torture. So, I took the medication.
It slowed my brain down whilst allowing me to get on with my orders, and the very bare minimum to keep things going…and then, when I needed it to…it allowed me to rest.
Instead of trying to generate new work, I took the risk of taking some time out in between orders. This wasn’t easy…of course, my panic fuelled tiredness affecting my business was simply not an option - the bills need to be paid no matter how brain-tired you are and relying on people to seek you out and spend their hard-earned money with you, without actively been present isn’t how to run a business, but, thankfully, you all did seek me out, kept me ticking over, and that allowed me to take the risk and time-out myself. Thank you :)
I picked up my hobby of studying wild flowers and I took Harvey out and we walked, and we took photos, and we spent time doing things that help heal tired minds. Like breathing in the forest air, and sitting under trees that filter dappled light through their leaves. I threw sticks and stones into the river and watched Harvey dive and rise, like a velvety seal retrieving pebbles from stream beds. Self-care is so important. Whilst I wasn’t quite in a time of crisis…I knew had I not stopped when I did, I would slowly veer that way…those little things you do to make yourself feel better are worth their weight in gold and so often extremely understated.
I took thousands of pictures of flowers, and gave myself a new title of Amateur Botanist along the way!
And things started getting better. My confidence slowly came back… there she was…sassy Cora on her return journey! Still anxious, still a bit silly, still not knowing at all how to be a proper grown up…but she was coming back –stronger in mind. All together the struggle has been 6 months, the healing has been a little over 2 months so far, and I’ll continue to be an Amateur Botanist, getting names of flowers wrong but continuing to be utterly amazed at each and every new one (to me) I discover…but hopefully now the door is open again (properly) for the creativity to flow and Iceni can continue its evolution with the launching of the new Iceni Tokyn bracelets – The Runes. I’ve adopted Rune Isa for me and my current journey – a reminder that sometimes we just have to stop!
I share this because I know I’m not alone, and I know some people don’t like talking about vulnerability and feelings, it makes them cringe and retreat at the very thought of asking someone for help…alas, I’m not so stoic! I not only wear my anxiety on my sleeve, but my whole heart. We have collectively been through the most weird, life-changing crazy few years. So many of us are trying to navigate a whole new way of living…a way that was forced upon us and it’s difficult. Life is just bloody difficult at times, and sometimes we need to stop! If sharing my little story can help someone else reach out for help…then it can only be worth it can’t it :)
That face...it's a woe destroyer!