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The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly. A Really Overdue Update.

Ok, so it’s been more than a month since I last checked in with my Wil Wheatonesque life-reboot. I know I might have vaguely promised more regular updates but, if you’ve been following this blog (and let’s assume you are all avid readers and I am not a voice crying in the wilderness) you’ll know things have been a little rough. Since mid-March I’ve been on a self-imposed creative break and am only just starting to fit things back into my life (you can re-read my discussions thereof here, here and here). Having just started back at school following the Easter break it seems a good enough time to assess how well my secondary reset went and how it has impacted my main reset, if at all.

The Good.

I did several things over the Easter break which helped to change my perspective on things. First off I started to cut refined sugar from my diet. I’ve read a lot about the benefits of a sugar-free diet and figured it wouldn’t harm none to try. So, after eating almost all my Easter chocolate by the evening of Easter Sunday, I was ready to start cutting sugar out of my diet. I’ll admit, on one hand, having eaten all the chocolate, I was quite keen to turn things around, on the other, as I dearly love a cup of sweet tea in the morning, or at any time of day and don’t get me started on my love of sugary syrupy coffees, I was dreading it. Turns out, tea without sugar is not so bad. In fact, it’s nice to actually taste the tea. Even more of a surprise, coffee without sugar is not actually like drinking hot mud. Actually, coffee minus sugar and milk (an accidental discovery made at work) is rather quite pleasant. Who knew!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve not been completely strict with this. I’ve not cut out natural sugars like fructose or lactose and I’m not overly worried about carbs that sugar as I need to keep up my carb intake when I’m running and training. I’ve mainly focussed on not adding sugar to anything and not buying anything with sugar in the ingredients, as much as possible (I’m making a Thai Green Curry later this week and the paste has sugar in but I’m too much a fan of the dish to avoid it completely.) I’ve also treated myself to a little nibble of dark chocolate now and again. Fortunately, Gin and Tonic still qualifies as a sugar fee drink so I’m obviously all over that.

I did deviate quite a bit from my sugar avoidance when I visited the Bear a couple of weekends ago. I stuck with no sugar in tea and coffee but wasn’t too worried about foods with added sugar. For two reasons, one I didn’t want to be the guest who turns up and then can’t eat anything and is really difficult to cater for, two, I didn’t want to give Theo any reason to be any more difficult than the average two-year-old. I figured if Auntie Charlie started saying ‘oh I’m not eating that’ he might try to follow suit. Instead, I concentrated on spending time with the most beautiful, brilliant toddler there ever was. Visiting the Bear and Theo was probably definitely the best thing I could have done. Watching him play and thinking about the way children see the world without judgement, without worrying what other people think, just by being, made me realise how hung up on things we get to be as adults. I came away with a different perspective on how to rediscover my balance and thereby my happiness.

Other things that I need to include – taking myself to the cinema on an impromptu afternoon cinema date to watch Batman v Superman, D&D Skype, actual D&D, running and more medals, gifts from lovely friends and refocussing my energies with yoga and meditation.

The Bad.

I’m still fighting anxiety, work related, people related, body related. Although it’s not enough to drive me out of a lesson to lock myself in the loo, it rears its head at the worst times. Earlier this evening I was discussing training for August’s Tough Mudder with my sister. She was explaining how she’s getting on with her training plan, how they’d lent the Tough Mudder training guide to another friend to up her training, how they’re all going to go for the occasional long run together. As before instead of being happy I instantly felt sick and panicky because EVERYONE is doing better than me. Yeah, I might have smashed out my fastest 5k on the weekend but I’ve not started strength training and I can’t run a 5k without stopping. Clearly I’m going to be a big fat (literally) let down. This resulted in a slightly tetchy conversation in which I lashed out at Kat for my own feeling bad.

I’m not confident in my teaching although I know I’m being ridiculous. My classes work well, kids are making excellent progress and, when I wrote a personal statement for a job application I had loads to talk about because I am quite good at what I do. The thing is there is a huge gulf between knowing and doing. For example, I understand the theory behind warp drive technology but I’m not going to build a starship anytime soon. The same goes for my writing. Book 2 is still no closer to being published and the longer I leave it the more afraid I become.

The Ugly.

Despite all the positives and the changes I’ve made I can feel my brain still trying to buck me off. When my temper flares it’s bigger than ever, I’m still not managing to be kind to myself, I have no motivation through fear and I’m still bitter about practically everything. I’m almost through the woods but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still hiding, avoiding people that might be able to help, lashing out at those who care because their care reminds me of all the stupid things I perceive as being true and probably my fault. I’m getting there, I know I am but I’m also aware it’s going to take time.

Overall, I’m doing better than I was but not as well as I could be. The important thing is that I’m moving forward, albeit slowly, and that’s all I can do. Turns out kindness to myself is one of the more difficult things I’ve had to learn. Especially when I’m really good at sabotaging myself at every turn. I’m gonna give myself a B- and a gold star for trying because this is really hard and I’m doing OK despite my brain attempting otherwise.

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