Itemise Your Crap Heap
Things haven’t been great lately, I won’t lie. There’s been a lot of stuff. I think this is when things are at their worst - when things from several areas of your life go a bit shit. It can get overwhelming and feel out of control. Any half-intelligent person will run through all the motivational rubbish in their head. Personally, I hate that stuff. I’m far too cynical to digest it. That said, if it helps other people that’s awesome. For me, the bottom line is, I have to do. Unfortunately, this is something I’m terrible at until things get real bad. I imagine I’m not building shacks and climbing for coconuts here. The thing is, it’s okay. Things go bad sometimes. Sometimes for quite a while and you need to really fight to get them right. It will hurt, and there may be casualties. But, for me, I know it will work out. As soon as I start moving and getting the cogs in my head to turn in the right direction, shit will slowly turn to ice-cream again.
I’ve never been a big one for writing things down (ironic, I know!), like a diary/journal or whatever. There’s only ever been one doctor who managed to get me to do it. She had a mum-like quality and I just simply did it without question. I must admit, it really put things into perspective for me. She told me to focus on anything that sprung to mind that had stressed me in the last couple of years. Within 10 minutes I’d filled about four pages. We never even read through it. I guess I was kind of in denial that I was losing grip. I kept saying it would all be good, but she knew I was just saying the words. She really wanted me to take stock. When she held up the pages (I knew what was in them) the sheer sight of all that stuff really hit me. It will all be okay, but probably not if you’re denying it in the first place. The first step, always, is to acknowledge your own crap heap. Then you know how big the job is and you can start planning the clean up.
Recently, something led me to write some stuff down, and it just poured out. Some of you may never have done this, but, if you’re feeling crap, I urge you to give it a go. It can be very sobering. You may know it’s in there, it may exist as a feeling. This exercise may help to give it form and clarity, perhaps even more. You need to itemise your crap heap. Don’t have any preconceived thoughts of how it should look or be, don’t worry about spelling or punctuation etc. What’s important is uncensored honesty. Scrape out those patched up potholes, dredge those dark lakes. It’s what writers might call free-writing. If you don’t know what to write, keep writing “I don’t know what to write” until something comes out. Give yourself 5-10 minutes. Anyway, I’m going to share an edited excerpt of one of mine with you. Most of this isn’t new for me, but I’m surprised some of it is still bothering me and it lets me know I have more work to do. I don’t feel like this everyday, but I did on this day:
“I’m exhausted from life, from the years of being the peacemaker in my family … from my years as a police officer, from my lifelong anxiety, and from always doing what I think is best for others. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been doing what is best for me. I try, every single day. It is simply not there. I feel I had something to give to the world, but I’ve been spent. And if not, I don’t even know what “it” is. I try to write, and there is nothing. I feel a monumental failure. I feel I’ve achieved only a fraction of what I should have in my life. And now, I’m getting knocked back … left, right and centre. I am fat, broken, and despise every image of myself, yet I have not the energy to do anything about it. Add this all up and I have very little to feel good about right now. I have only … [my family], some friends. If I didn’t have that, I would most certainly be dead. I like being here, I like being away ... I don’t have to deal with it all. I’m just still very confused about the way forward.”
I want to reiterate that everything will be okay. As long as I get myself moving again, it will all work out. This may mean seeing a professional, exercising more, socialising more, talking to someone you trust more, confronting a problem, anything. Remember, itemise your crap heap, then clean it up.
(image credit: Pete Linforth from Pixabay)