Identity

img_0706

An easy question to ask “What is your identity?” But is that easy to answer? Not for many people. How do you measure identity? What is the process by which you state your identity? Is it in what you do or how you are? Who are you? What do others think you are when they see you? Do they measure you by your looks or what you do?

So what is it precisely that defines you? Is it what you do, where you live, how you look, or what you really are? In fact, it is all of that and more. You are not a human doing but a human being. What you are and how you behave to others is important, where you live is not really important. You can be the kindest person living on the street and the rudest person living in a palace. Place in society does not define you. Beauty is not the be all and end all of existence, especially if you are inconsiderate and uncaring of others.

Identity is all of that and more. Sometimes we get caught up in ourselves being a doing person and our job/role in life that we forget who we actually are. The role becomes what we are and we lose ourselves in the process. We need to look at ourselves in ALL of life and what we are not really what we do. I am a wife and mother but write blogposts, poems and am a creative artist. Not one of my roles defines me specifically but they are all a part of me.

What about the things you enjoy in life? They are also part of your identity. For me, I love horse riding and watching cooking and restaurant programmes. What do you enjoy? I think we tend to lose ourselves so easily and don’t focus on things we enjoy. Our roles become all our life and nothing else is part of us.

Finding ourselves again is not an easy task. I can testify to that myself. When I left England for Scotland, I had no idea of what I liked or who I was. It has taken me 8 years and more to begin to find myself and who I really am. When I first met my loving husband, I just agreed with everything he said because he seemed to know what to do and was so secure in his belief in himself. After 8 years, I am finally finding out what I am and what I can do and what I LOVE to do.

Whether you are part of the way in discovering yourself or at the end point where you are secure in your position in life, it doesn’t matter. This is a never ending journey and I don’t want to reach 50 exactly the same as I am now. People develop and improve as they grow older. The basic element of who are is the same but the knowledge takes time to discover.

I would love to hear from you, no matter what stage of the journey you are at. For myself, I don’t want you to view me as a teacher in this process but as a learner alongside me. Do you know your true and full identity or are you still in the process of discovering? That’s ok. It has taken me 8 years to begin to find myself. How long it will take you, I have no idea but we can take this journey together.

Advertisements

A Roadblock or a gift?

The other day someone posed a question about what roadblocks you have/had in your life. I thought it was quite a fascinating question and replied that for me it could have been said that spending my time in bed last year was a complete roadblock BUT it made me concentrate on writing in a way I haven’t done for years so you couldn’t really say it was. Then I was asked if this was a roadblock or a gift.

You know what? This got me thinking. If you looked at how empty my life appeared last year you would certainly have called it a roadblock. There appeared to be nothing good in spending time in bed. In fact, at some points I got really down about the whole thing and angry that my body had “betrayed” me and kept getting knocked back every time I thought I was improving with yet another infection. I was lucky if I had a few days where I wasn’t spending the majority of my time in bed.

So was there a silver lining to the cloud that was totally overshadowing me? Actually, yes there was. I formed new friendships online and was able to concentrate on my writing because I found I couldn’t do anything more physically taxing. I tried to do some knitting, some cross-stitch, some artwork but every time I would lose count or get something spectacularly wrong so there was no chance of retrieving it. So it ended up that my only creative outlet was writing. And I couldn’t even grip a pen so physically writing was not an option.

The fact is, in the past I have always needed to have a pen that was flowed well and would move across the paper easily. The paper had to feel soft as well or I literally couldn’t write. Inspiration wouldn’t come if I didn’t have the right tools. I only used an ipad for writing messages to friends or putting things on Facebook. But here I was without my normal ability to use paper and pen so I was forced into a position where I only had my ipad. That was all that I could use successfully.

At the end of the day, when you are a creative person, that is what you want to do – create. I felt like there was nothing I could do or produce because of the situation I found myself in. The strange thing was that I found myself thinking of a line of poetry lying there in bed – exactly how it always came. But I couldn’t use my normal tools. In the end, that wasn’t important. I was able to produce poems and type them straight onto the ipad. This was quite a shock to me.

Was poetry the only thing that I was able to do? As it turns out, no it wasn’t. I was also able to start writing more and get more inspiration and am now in the position where I am writing regularly on my blog – the output has increased to twice a week at least. Not only has output increased but the quality of my work has gone up.

So was this a roadblock or a gift? Actually it was a MASSIVE gift for me. I can produce work on the ipad and I don’t actually need physical tools to be able to do so. Yes, I will always prefer pen and paper but if all I have is a computer that can do as well. You can look at the positive or negative in every situation. Honestly my life is still not at a place where I want my health to be but that doesn’t matter. And yes, if you ask me to remember something, I will most likely forget. Anything that causes me to stress, my brain still turns to mush. The “active” part of my day is still only a short time, but the gift I have received of being able to really write again after so long not doing so is wonderful.

Now let’s turn to you. Do you have what appears to be a roadblock in your life? It doesn’t necessarily need to be health like mine is. If you look and analyse the situation, what has the roadblock led you to? How has it made you view life differently? What has changed in how you achieve things since that roadblock became a part of your life? I would love to hear from you.

Self care

img_0670

As you have probably noticed, this week I am focusing on depression – well, not depression itself but different things you can do to help yourself not be quite so depressed. Of course, the most important thing you really need to do is visit a physician. I cannot emphasise this enough. You have a valid medical condition that needs medical help. Please don’t feel ANY of these things I am suggesting would ever be sufficient without seeing a doctor first and getting professional help.

Self care is something that is highly valuable when you are depressed but is something that can easily be put to one side. You feel so terrible the LAST thing you want to do is take care of yourself. Feeling worthless and depressed why on earth would you think self care is a positive thing to do? You don’t want to think of yourself at times like this but it is the best time to take care of yourself and not just let life pass you by.

For me, self care has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to face as my disability has taken a real hold on my life. Most of last year, for example, was spent in my bed and quite frankly the mere thought of emerging from under the covers was more than I could contemplate. Taking five steps to the wheelchair and getting to the bathroom was about my max so self care went by the window mostly.

However, if and when I DID make the effort to allow my carers to either give me a shower or help me wash what a difference it made! I felt clean and that I was useful to the household again. No, it wasn’t easy and I could have given up and got dirtier and smellier but that would not have been right. My family still needed me. Giving in wasn’t an option, although it was one I wanted to take.

So I had to fight. Fight to make myself get out of that bed and get clean. Fight to stay out of the bed to give the carer enough time to change the covers and have fresh bedding. But I love my family and they needed the best me they could have. And that was it. I had to look after myself first in order to be able to have time for them.

Self care can look like SO many things. If you are like me and have been brought up believing that doing anything for yourself is selfish it is very hard to put that to the back of your mind and understand that you are doing this for others, not just for you. If you have ever been on an aeroplane, you know you get the instructions for what to do if anything goes wrong in the flight. In that, you have the best example of self care. The information given is that you put your OWN oxygen mask on first and THEN help others. Because without oxygen you will die and if the person next to you is panicking and fights you attempting to put their mask on, both of you will die.

I’m not saying anyone in your family will die if you don’t take care of yourself. That is only in extreme situations. However, it shows the need for self care and its importance. For me, self care is taking care of myself, eating chocolate, having cups of tea, reading, writing, playing with my son, creating, going for drives and looking at beautiful things.

For you self care could look entirely different to me. Maybe you drink coffee. Maybe exercise is caring for yourself. It could even be time away from the family. Or watching particular tv programmes. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. If it is important for you, try to ensure you include it as part of your week.

I would love to hear what self care looks like for you. If it’s different to mine, that’s ok. We are not the same people and never will be. Everyone is an individual with their own needs, wants and tastes. What is something that delights your soul? That makes you feel better when you do it? Will you include some of it in your week? I would love to hear from you.

Blue Monday

img_0673

Well, I had no idea that was what this day was called and that it was the most depressing of the year. Having lived with depression on and off through my life, I was thinking it might be a good thing to discuss. Today I haven’t felt that great physically but that is based on the fact I have been on and off poorly for nearly a year. I saw my main consultant this morning and she is going to change some of my medication.

Anyway, back to the topic. Actually depression can be very debilitating in that you can get to the stage you don’t feel capable of anything. An ex-boyfriend of mine reached that stage and thought there was nothing left in life for him so took what seemed to be the best way out for himself. There was nothing anybody could have done, but it does leave people filled with guilt that they could have prevented it by all sorts of things. That is not true.

Depression is a horrible thing to live with but there ARE things you can do to help yourself. It’s not just a question of you feeling terrible and that nothing can be done. The first and BEST thing you can do for yourself is go and see a doctor. This is highly important. It is not a bad thing to go for help. You NEED it and the doctor can help. If you broke your arm or got cancer you would go to the doctor and get treated. Unfortunately because it is linked with the mind people look on it as a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with getting a medical condition looked at and dealt with properly.

Gratitude is something that helps you to feel better. It can be hard some days to find something to be grateful for. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. One thing I have been doing is trying to find something different to be grateful for every day and put it up on Facebook. Some days it takes me quite a while to find something to be thankful for. But I do make the attempt.

Writing is also a good way to help yourself. Some people say writing about everything in your mind is a good thing. One suggestion is that you can put all your worries down on paper and it will help you. You allot yourself a specific time to worry and write it all down and try not to worry the rest of the day. Personally I have never found this helps me but that doesn’t mean it won’t for you. Everyone works differently. I find writing a journal more helpful. You have to find what works for you.

Trying to find the positive in situations or looking for the silver lining in the cloud is a good thing to do and another thing that is recommended to help you. What I find is that the people around you make a difference in this. They can either help you or drag you down. Sometimes I need others to help me see good in my life when I find it hard to myself. Friends are an important part of life and can be a positive or negative influence in your life. Find the ones who lift you up, believe in you and help you to see the positive in your life.

Self care is also important. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you don’t have the energy or capability to help others. You need to do things you enjoy and pick you up. Going outside and sitting in the sun/fresh air even if you can’t do exercise is important. Make sure you make time for yourself in life. This will help your depression because you are doing things that are enjoyable.

Exercise is another good thing to do. If I could find the right exercise for myself I know it would help me. However, I have been so exhausted with different illnesses over this past year it hasn’t been possible for me to actually do any. As I begin to pick up, there will be the opportunity to try to find something suitable.

So there are things you can do for yourself. If you are feeling depressed and need help, please do go and get it. Talk to the doctor first, find gratitude, write, have good friends and try and do things you enjoy and do some exercise.

THINGS THAT CAN INSPIRE

img_0711

My last post I was talking about inspiration and now I thought it would be worth considering things or people that inspire you and why. There are so many different things or people that can inspire and for lots of different reasons.

For myself, I think my most inspirational person I met is the lady that encouraged me to send my poetry into competitions in my late teens and early 20s. With her support I was published in 4 different books. She also showed me the value of hard work and how you can do the right thing even in the face of other people’s disapproval. I have no idea how she managed to stand strong in the face of much judgement and condemnation but she did and I admire her greatly for that.

People and their actions aren’t the only things that provide ideas or inspire you to do things. Sometimes books or the written word in an article or blog can provide that small yes or set your mind racing along lines you had never even considered before. This can be quite fascinating to see where you end up.

There are other times you see a video or presentation on how something can be done. Maybe it’s a craft you hadn’t previously conceived of working in. Or it could be how to access different things on the internet. Whatever you are interested in, I know you can find SOMETHING about it online either in written, photographic or video form.

We all have different things that inspire or move us to action. But that’s ok. If you asked me to sort out anything on the Internet or you wanted to know anything about Apple products I would point you towards my husband for the answers. He has extensive knowledge in that area, I don’t. It isn’t something that inspires me – in fact, quite the opposite.

However, if you asked me to bake a victoria sandwich cake, I would be able to do so because I know how to. My husband doesn’t. It’s not something that fills him with excitement and satisfaction but it does for me. What inspires you is most likely different to my husband and myself but that is part of the fun of life. Looking at other people’s inspiration and the skills they have in certain areas. They can be better than you at other things and that’s ok.

So tell me, what inspires you? Do you like architecture, painting, drawing, nursing, teaching, exploring? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you love and what you hate to do. As long as it provides you with satisfaction and joy that is the main thing. Don’t focus on areas you don’t find inspiring. Look at things that you enjoy and want to learn more about or have better performance in. That is what you need to value – not a focus on what you personally hate.

Inspiration

img_0739

i was thinking about the word itself and how to be able to do what you love inspiration is one of the keys to helping you enjoy activities. We all have or display inspiration in different ways. I suppose the question is, what IS your inspiration? Where does it come from? You can’t be inspired by something you find boring. The subject has to be something you love.

Thank God everyone is different because if we were all only inspired by one thing, it would be a very boring, one dimensional world in the sense that inspiration would only be focused on developing one thing in the world. In fact, it would be so boring and you wouldn’t be able to look at other aspects of life which would need development. Just think, if we all found computers fascinating and were working on improving the structure and ability of any computerised function yes that would be ok, but then who would do the cooking? The inspiration and passion for cooking wouldn’t be there and so we wouldn’t survive. If you think about it, whatever the one ability was, everything else would suffer.

For me, inspiration and passion have been found in my writing. i know that I am a creative person but wasn’t entirely certain exactly where my skills lay. in the process of finding myself, I was surprised that writing came to the forefront. Not only have I been developing and building my skills in blogposts, I have started writing poetry again. Years ago I wrote poetry and had some printed in different books. i also sent a poem to the Queen on her Golden Jubilee and got a letter back from one of her ladies in waiting thanking me on her behalf.

When I left England and came to Scotland, I had no idea of my inspiration or passion or how I would develop the skills I had. in fact, I couldn’t even tell you what they were! I knew I liked beautiful scenery but that was probably about it. it was weird starting a new life because I had no idea where to even begin. As the years have gone on, it’s been something I have wondered about and what direction to follow.

This last year, when I was so poorly, I was tied to my bed and needed to find something I could do that wouldn’t use too much physical energy. I haven’t been able to count properly to complete any cross-stitches, keep getting knitting wrong and found that my arms were just too sore to do a lot of things I used to enjoy.

Basically, I was tied to my bed and couldn’t even write using a pen or pencil and the only thing I could use was my ipad. I could type on it and have enjoyed developing my own style of writing on the blogposts and improving the way I create my poems. I am not putting any poems on my blog yet because I am sending them off to competitions and if I do so, cannot have them published in any way – not even on a blog.

So bizarrely inspiration and creativity has come in a way I didn’t anticipate and I have ended up moving into an area of adaptability in a field I never considered using in my youth. What do you find fascinating? Have you found inspiration from an area you didn’t expect? Which field do you work in? Is your inspiration/passion/excitement for your expertise there or do you need to go looking at what you do and find what really makes you tick and focus on that? Please do let me know. i would love to hear from you.

Enjoyment

img_0032

I wasn’t really expecting to have anything fun or enjoyable to share today but found something unexpected turned my thinking around. Today is a bad pain day so not much is amusing when your body encounters that much pain and you are just wanting to stay in bed and do nothing.

There were a few things that changed my thinking today. One was looking at how our animals behave. Maisie the dog LOVES the cold weather and being outside sniffing the air while playing in the garden. In fact she runs up and down and round our garden in great delight. But when she comes in there are different things she will do – run and chase the cats up and down the house or come and snuggle with Kevin or I. So she enjoys being inside and out and running and being cuddled.

The cats also enjoy coming for attention – especially when they can have a quiet time with us. They like calm and sedate cuddles and to spend a wee bit of time with Kevin or I. Generally they spend more time with Kevin because Maisie tends to enjoy spending time with me and she is usually not totally still and quiet.

It’s not just the animals that find this fun. It is good to have cuddles with them and to see their fun and enjoyment when they play in their own way. For me, charging up and down the house is not my idea of fun, BUT it is amusing to watch the animals do so.

Today I wanted to get the Christmas tree and decorations down. They needed to be packed away. My carer was going to be doing this with me watching and checking everything was remembered. We had a box out to put all the decorations in and Johnathan immediately went and sat in the box, pretending he was helping and then that he was having a nap in it.

You know what? When I thought about all this, I realised that you can have fun not only in small things but that you can enjoy your animals doing things as well. This can take your mind off the pain you are in and it gives you something to laugh about.

Has this ever happened to you? Did you find something small fun? Or have animals or children changed your mind and remind you life is to be enjoyed? You can find pleasure in small things – it doesn’t have to be something big and exciting like going on a roller coaster ride. You can have fun in your own home in lots of different ways.