I recently realised that my blog has been rather serious of late. To combat this, I am going to endeavour to reinstate #ThankfulThursdays, i.e. the one day a week where I share five things that I am grateful for.
Side note: I actually have had a daily gratitude practice going for about a year now in my bullet journal (OMG, what? I haven’t mentioned it yet? Oh, don’t worry. I WILL.). Evidence below:
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GRATITUDE | I have been keeping up a daily gratitude practice in my #bulletjournal for the best part of a year now. Keeping a #GratitudeLog is a brilliant fast and simple way to incorporate #selfcare into your daily routine. I now consider it as part of my medication for #chronicpain, to offset the side effects of #anxiety and #depression that a life with pain can engender. Plus it's a great excuse to whack the gel pens out. Forever a 90s kid at heart! 🖍️📒🖊️ ✴️✴️✴️ #bujo #bulletjournaljunkie #gratitude #dailygratitude #thankful #thankfulness #selflove #perspective #wellbeing ✴️✴️✴️ @boho.berry @tinyrayofsunshine @painpalsblog @chronicpaincouple @lauras_pen @theartofbroken @chronicloveclub @selfloveclubb @chronically20something 🌈
So without further ado, this week’s Top Five:
1. Scented candles.
First things first: this week my Mum found a load of insanely posh, expensive scented tea lights she bought to give as presents years ago and clearly never did. (More on that story as it develops.) Anyway, guess who now has the choice of ‘birthday cake’, ‘brandied apricot’ and ‘frosted pine’? Spoiler alert: it’s me. I cannot overstate how much comfort I get from snuggling under a blanket and taking in the soft flickering light and subtle sweet scent of a seasonal candle. Does that make me basic? Who cares. PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES FOR EVERYONE.
2. My dog.
I’m getting this out of the way now as I will have to veto this for future #ThankfulThursdays, because it’s going to be very boring and repetitive otherwise. This little ball of fluff saves my life over and over again. This week’s been another slightly tough one with pain spikes and metamorphoses (yep, it’s changing, and not in a way that, shall we say, makes me want to punch random inanimate objects less), plus a lot of chasing doctors to no avail. Tottie brings me obscene amounts of joy when I think nothing light and cheerful can penetrate the sadness. When I was in a big flare and crying out in pain a couple of weeks ago, she jumped up from the bottom of my bed, without being prompted, and padded right up to my face to lick away my tears. I mean, I know she was probably going for taste variation, but I’m choosing to believe it was her wanting to relieve my suffering. Okay, I’m done now.
… I lied. I love my dog.
3. The kindness of an old friend.
This week, I received an unexpected parcel in the mail. I knew it wasn’t something I’d ordered, as I had gone a record of two weeks without ordering a self-help book online (LOL no but seriously send help). I opened the package to find this incredible hand-drawn quote.
Any Potterheads will recognise this quote from the screenplay of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The beautiful artwork also came with a precious letter, which I am not ashamed to say made me do a small cry, and is now firmly Pritt-Sticked in my bullet journal (OMG did I mention I have one of those??/?!?!1!).
The lady who sent it was an incredibly important friend to me at age 14/15. We bonded over our love of Harry Potter, amongst other things; our plan was to have a joint wedding, where she would marry Daniel Radcliffe and I would marry Rupert Grint. We are such stuff as dreams are made of. Anyway, the point is: even though our lives took us in different directions, especially geographically, we have never lost touch, but it’s also been a long time since we have hung out in person. So to receive that encouragement and beautiful token of care from her meant a great, great deal to me. The frame now sits pride of place on my dressing table.
4. My new car [and being able to drive it]
As any diehard fans of my Instagram Story will know (please note the unprecedented amount of irony in that statement), or if any of you read this blog either here or on The Mighty, you will know that last month I wrote off my car. My parents were incredibly supportive in taking the reins on sourcing its replacement, as they saw I was going to take a while to get in a position to do this myself. I won’t lie, I had put off stepping back in the driver’s seat; the crash had already been making me a bit of a nervous passenger, and I’ve only just stopped having semi-regular car accident themed dreams. Plus, the new car is an automatic, and my old car’s clutch and I had formed an amicable bond. However, I am now a Lady of the Road again. All you pheasants better watch out.
5. The courage and resilience I have developed.
Last week, I had a very tough therapy session. We discussed a lot of core beliefs that have developed out of my childhood experiences, and the hypnotherapy part where we revisited one particular memory was so uncomfortable that it left me tear-streaked and exhausted. Luckily, one of my best friends was staying, and he let me hold his hand while we watched Hercules, so honestly the day ended pretty well. But as this Thursday rolled around, I feared I would have to endure something similar all over again.
Turned out, this week’s session was a lot more relaxed. We talked through some more thorny stuff, sure, but in the hypnotherapy part we focused on a technique to get rid of issues and unresolved stress, like throwing sandbags out of a hot air balloon to make it rise. I was grateful for this slower pace and the emphasis on building up my coping mechanisms, as it is becoming increasingly obvious that getting to the core issues is going to be tantamount to a complete mental overhaul. I will talk about this more another day because it’s ridiculously interesting (especially from a chronic pain, mind-body perspective). But for now, the thing I am most grateful for (and honestly, quietly stunned by) is my resilience to keep putting myself through this.
I am so grateful that the hardships I have encountered, and moreover have had to deal with on my own, which have made me much more courageous than I ever imagined I would be. I am in awe of the fact that I keep going a lot of days, let alone still find it in me to be creative and kind (most days). This therapy is extremely painful and yet I do not shy away, because I am resolutely clinging on to the end goal of being pain-free and healthy, in mind, body and spirit. I am currently in the throes of a significant self-esteem low, and am thoroughly fed up with my current self. Even more in times like this, I am so grateful for all the work Past Ros has put in to help me become so strong; strong enough to pave the way for Future Ros to live the life she is meant to live.
And I remind myself as well as you: it’s okay to big yourself up! Be proud of who you are, especially when you’ve worked hard to become that person. Recognise the ways in which you are bold, creative, brilliant, assertive, kind, resilient and courageous. These are invaluable traits, and yet we cannot rely on the people around us or our circumstances to celebrate us when we exhibit them or ‘level up’! So may I take this opportunity to say: