Letting go: 5. Happiness

Letting go: 5. Happiness

Admittedly, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom this last year, there have been moments when I have felt so happy, nothing could touch me.  That happiness has come from different areas of my life, and it has spurred me on.

It is what I am ultimately seeking, a life that is calm, peaceful, nurturing and relatively stress free.  I don’t think it’s really too much to ask for, but in order to achieve it, I know that I must address the balance and rid myself of the negative factors first.

The first step to that, is to stop taking the responsibility or blame for other peoples’ actions, and to leave them where they belong.

It is also fundamental that I don’t accept people disrespecting me, because it leads to my disrespecting myself, which is definitely wrong on all levels.  As they say:

“Happiness is a state of mind, and not a destination”. 

So, I am going to promise myself that each day, I do something that makes me ‘feel good in my soul’, which can’t be a bad thing!

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31st December 2016)

 

Update:

Since the decision to shield myself or walk away from negative people and situations, I have felt some real differences in my day to day life.  In spite of health not being on my side for most of the last 2 years, and having many emotional issues to deal with, I have battled on in search of this one thing.Find yourself

But, I am pleased to report that now at least my frame of mind is in a good place.  I would also say quite whole-heartedly that I am happy.  Many doors were closed at the end of last year.  Since then I have managed to somehow maintain this upbeat attitude and mindset since then.

I know that I still have anger within me.  But I also know that I am right to feel that anger. 

No longer will I make excuses or be quick to forgive other peoples’ shortfalls.  Especially if they know, they should really know better.

I have finally realised my true worth, after years of being made to feel worthless, .  And no one can take that away from me.  Never again, will I allow anyone to question my own integrity or make me feel bad about who I am as a person.  Sx ❤️

Artwork by me: I am enough

Poetry: I keep that beast inside

(Tues 26th February 2019)

 

 

 

19. Time… Changes everything

Eleven years ago, in Aug 2003 I had my breakdown.  It is only now that I actually call it that.  I never really had a word for it before, but it was the biggest turning point in my life.

And a break down it was, a complete and utter break down of everything.

I had seen it coming.  I had felt the vibes in me.  I knew something wasn’t right within my soul.  So, it came as no great surprise that Monday morning, as I walked towards my office with the usual sense of foreboding, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heavy breath, and anxiety… to find myself 30 minutes later in a heap.

Having sat down at my desk, I knew I had to see my doctor urgently, and within minutes of making that call, I was struggling with life itself.  I remember the day so clearly, from the panic around me, to the fact that my team leader drove me home, rather than call the ambulance that I so desperately needed at the time.  It had felt like they just wanted to hurry me off the premises, to no longer be their responsibility. Truth is

After a few weeks of being completed drugged out, Occupational health stepped in, and organized 6 weeks of counselling with a local practice.  That woman did more damage than good!  She opened up a whole can of worms that should have been left well alone, as she could not deal with the contents.  She spent more time talking at me, than to me, telling me what I should do, and so on and so on.  I couldn’t wait to finish the 6 weeks with her.  It felt like unfinished business, and I had had no trust in her to truly open up.  But at least one thing I did learn was that I was indeed depressed.  Just as my doctor had told me.  Initially, the very idea of depression, was something I had been bemused by, but it soon dawned on me that I was suffering, and as time went by, I realised just how bad I had it and for how long.

I was appointed a psychiatrist, who I still see, and went on to attend other types of counselling.  But I didn’t really have the same issues as some of my peers, so I never felt that I got anything out of it, except understanding the different degrees or levels at which people can suffer.  More importantly, I learnt that depression can last for years and years, and some people don’t ever really get over it. 

The darkness i know so well

Being myself, I had thought I would recover in a few months, that all I needed was just a break, and here I am eleven years later, still not out of the woods yet!

I have always very open about my illness.  Many people have thanked me for my candidness, and for being willing to talk about it. I described depression like falling a series of steps; and acknowledged that we all suffer from it at some time in our lives, but for most it will last for a very short period of time i.e. falling down to the first step.

But, for the unfortunate ones, they fall a lot further down, maybe even hitting the floor hard.  And that’s when the true problems can arise, that’s when we need the help of medication, to pull us out of it and up again.  I placed myself somewhere near rock bottom, but not quite.

It is after all a chemical reaction within our brain and body, there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves, so there should be no shame or stigma just because of people’s ignorance.  I became quite good at seeing it in other people, and my honesty was always welcomed and appreciated, because I understood.

A doctor once said to me, that he best cures for depression are:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Exercise
  3. Laughter

Three things guaranteed to boost your mood, and help make you feel better…  If only it were that simple.  Depression usually means that you have been robbed of the ability to enjoy doing things, or you no longer feel pleasure in anything, because you feel so flat and so low.  So how do you summon up the energy to get yourself motivated?  When it takes all the “feel good” emotions away from you?

Don't depend too much on anyoneMany people were shocked in the way I had changed, I was no longer chatty or humorous, I was very, very quiet and withdrawn.  Basically, I became a shell, the complete opposite of the person I usually was.

People questioned how I could be depressed, with having the nice house, a good job and a lovely husband to boot, (all the material things that allegedly make people happy), because they simply could not understand how it could happen to me.  After all, if I could get knocked down by it, so could they.  I came to recognise who my real friends were, and undertook a major housekeeping exercise, ridding myself of negative forces around me.  Cutting off people who thought they always knew what my problem was, and had a cure for me, in fact it pretty much affected anyone that didn’t listen to me.

About 18 months into my breakdown, I was assigned a Psycho-Therapist, and this was the first step towards my recovery, and me getting my life back.  This amazing woman named Margaret, held the keys to so many of my internal locks, and bit by bit she encouraged me to match each key to a lock, to discover what was hiding behind.  It was then that realisation finally took control.

I began to accept just how broken I was, but I always had it in my mind that one day I would be healed again.  Even though I knew it would take time for that to happen, that thought kept a positive light burning inside of me; in spite of feeling like I was surrounded by darkness.

I am so proud of myself, because I never lost my free spirit, I have maintained my focus throughout this illness, and I have emerged so much stronger than ever before.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(2nd December 2014)

Update:

It’s hard to be believe that was me 4 years ago.  What I didn’t know then, was that I was on the brink of a major transitional period, that would once again rip my life inside out.

I am fully aware and accepting of the fact that depression will always be a companion of mine, whether she lurks in the shadows or walks by my side.  I am also fully accepting of the fact that I will always be on medication for it, in spite of being discharged from my psychiatric service.  But in truth, I never really believed that I got the support or the service I should have received from them; because there were so many important issues that were left undiscussed.  So, a lot of the time I felt very much alone and like I was left to flounder.

But in the end, over the last 4 years I have addressed the main factors that had brought me to that place, and at least now feel like I’m holding the steering wheel and I’m back in the control seat of my life.  I had very few people I could confide in, who had some knowledge and understanding of what I was going through.  So silently, I got on with the task of picking myself back up, dusting myself down and getting on with the process of properly mending and healing.   Stop looking for the light

I keep that beast inside“, came out of this transitional phase, when I wrote it not only did I feel angry, I knew I had every right to be.  My creativity and my written words, have empowered and driven me so much, I no longer seek validation from people close to me, who seem quite happy to disregard or ignore my talents.

But, this matters no more as my confidence and self-belief are growing daily, and I feel truly blessed by that.  Sx ❤️

(Saturday 16th February 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting go: 4. JOY

Such a small word that has a huge meaning!

Joy is something else I always strive for.  I find joy in the simplest of things, whether it’s a pretty creation I’ve made, a piece art I have done, or just spending time doing anything that makes me feel uplifted.   Just doing the things that I enjoy, makes me feel good about myself, and it’s something I can’t get enough of, it makes me thrive.  Another thing I always say is:

“Out of my misery something beautiful is always created”.

Because it’s often at these times that I am most imaginative.

So, I am going to promise myself that I will make more room in my life so that I have the proper time to follow my heart.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31st December 2016)

Update:

I am pleased to say that in spite of having such bad health over the last couple of years, I have at least continued to be as creative as I can be.  After this entry, I began creating a scrapbook full of the inspirational quotes and words, many of which had been previously stuck to my walls as daily visual reminders.  It has been a labour of love creating this book, as each page has been hand-decorated in a variety of different ways, making it a beautiful book to pick and browse through.  I still have several more pages to do, before this first book is completed, it is not something to be rushed, and If I’m honest I will have many more of these to do.  If you would like to see some of these scrapbook pages I have added some photos under my lovely creations tab.

The other positive thing that has happened, is that I have taken up my writing again, something that has been dormant for quite a while.  I was inspired to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and I haven’t looked back.  So much so, it’s what brought about “My kind of beautiful”, and for that I am very thankful.Word art: JOY 4

I have bottled up so much up over the years, not realising just how fundamental it was for me to write my feelings out.  It was also the inspiration behind the word art “Joy” that I did, because the word itself is important to me.

It was such an important reawakening for me, to once again have an avenue to channel my thoughts and emotions.  It feels like finding an old friend again…

It gives me great joy to see the words I have strung together and the creations I have made on my website and other social media.  It is even better knowing that I have the courage to put myself and my truth out there, and that I am touching so many strangers who are responding back.

I don’t feel unheard anymore, and whatever else may still be lacking in my life, at least joy is not one of them.

Sx ❤️

(updated Weds 13th February 2019)

 

Letting go: 3. LOVE

For some time, I have felt this air of woefulness about me, along with an emptiness when I realised that I have gone through this entire year ‘feeling’ so very little love.  It saddens me greatly, when I think of all that I have so freely dispersed to friends, (in particular) and family, and how little I have actually felt coming back.  It has left me feeling quite lonely and isolated, as I fear, giving out anymore to anyone who doesn’t appreciate it, for what it is. bb5ea-to2bremember2bwho2byou2bare

Knowing that I’ve been on someone’s mind, getting a quick message to check on how I’m doing, spending time just catching up, talking on the phone, being told that I’ve been missed by someone, makes me feel loved.  All these little things don’t really need to take much time or effort at all, but somehow everyone’s been too busy, or they just want to talk about themselves.

I have felt quite hurt by the lack of that kind of love.  So much so, it has caused me to yet again go through the ‘life laundry’ process of re-evaluating some of the people in my life.  A process I seem to go through every few years, which has finally taught me that I am spending too much time, energy and effort on the wrong people.

I am naturally a kind and giving person, it goes against the grain for me to standby and do or say nothing, when I recognise pain in someone, especially when I know I can be of help.  But it would seem that’s just how I need to be, even though it’s going to be a hard habit to break.

46933401_203824973879851_3954533898762846208_nThe lessons I have learned from this have broken my heart at times and left me completely confused, trying to understand why things had gone wrong.  It took a while before it hit me that it wasn’t even my problem, it was theirs and the way they chose to see things.  But one person’s discontented whispers can travel far, and I wonder to myself, ‘Was I like this at their age?’ and then I hope to God that I wasn’t.  Perhaps having reached the age of 51, I can see their insecurities and lack of confidence quite clearly; maybe that’s why they just don’t get me.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through, to achieve that beauty”.

Maya Angelou

I often say to people that

“The only reason we get hurt by other people, is because we care for them”, 

and

“We are not betrayed by our enemies, but by our friends and loved ones”.

Both statements are very simple truths, so I guess the question I need to ask myself is:

  1. Why do I care?”.
  2. Why do I continue to give time and show kindness to people, when they have systematically disrespected or abused me?
  3. Am I that desperate to be with them, that I will accept anything?

The answers to these questions are:

  1. I have absolutely no idea
  2. Sub-consciously maybe I am hoping they might change
  3. Fuck no

Now I know the answers, I realise that I have been incredibly fucking stupid!44953681_2063941743917987_7052957489741955072_n 46933401_203824973879851_3954533898762846208_n

Stupid in the sense that I had been sucked into and absorbed by their bullshit antics and immaturity, just because I had foolishly made myself believe that they actually gave a shit about me.

But I have distanced myself from those kind of people now, I really don’t want to play their silly games and I certainly won’t share my private life with them.  All they know, is that each time they see me now, I always look better in their eyes and they need to press me to know why.

To me, if they aren’t bothered to know about my everyday life, why should they be interested in my private life?  So, fuck them, I’ll keep them guessing!

I am not afraid of removing or losing people from my life, if they have shown themselves to be unworthy.  I have made progress by stepping away because by not giving my time and love to them, it means I have more time and love to lavish on me, and it really has been quite liberating.

I know I have been stupid!  But not anymore, I have now drawn a heavy line underneath all that and moved the hell on.

Sharon carter-Wray

(31stDecember 2016)

Update:

What can I say?  All I know is that when I initially wrote this, it was coming from a place full of pain.  But I am pleased to say that over the last 2 years I have continued to re-evaluate the people in my life, and what they really do for or mean to me. It has given me so much clarity, and I am fully aware of where I stand within my close social environment.

Where once I might have internalised all questions and feelings of self-doubt, I am now empowered enough instead, to hold a strong belief that if someone has an issue with me, which they can’t discuss with me… then it really is their problem and not mine… 🙂

Sharon

(Updated: Tuesday 5th February 2019)

7e0d4-1939978_725772217442728_937133909_n

One of my favourite quotes.  Sx 🙂

18. Oh give me a break!

Don’t really mean to have a rant, but have you ever had a time, when you felt your brain was just so addled, you felt completely lost within yourself?

Or felt enveloped by some thick fibrous tissue of someone’s life, that you felt like you were suffocating in them?

Well, that’s been me, these last few weeks!45148043_10160875251795005_2443880444903555072_n

I feel utterly exhausted by the stress, caused by someone else’s agony and frustrations.  I cause no real stress to myself, it is always someone else’s.

They bring it to my door like bunches of flowers, down the phone line, by internet, and in the case of my ex-husband – from very close quarters within the home.

But I don’t want to hear it!  I just simply don’t want to hear it… anymore.

I keep myself away.  Quiet and unnoticed.  Just calmly trying to deal with crap that’s already in my life, my health and again ex-husband, but that’s not enough.  Doesn’t matter how many times or ways I try to say ‘enough‘, the words, fall, on deaf ears.  I can never get my head round that!

They can see I am mentally drained, and so, so tired.  But it would seem that I’m the ONLY one to know the solutions to their problems.  As always.

They don’t have to think, why should they?  They have me, at the drop of a hat, first person to call.  I never proclaimed myself to be the Oracle, and neither do I want to be, it sounds like a bloody hard job.

37671334_2145716445665726_381903269280088064_n 37987924_817059122018685_2662990348992643072_nI just wish that just every now and then, they could come to their senses, and for a change just stand on their own two feet for a while. Just try it out.  See how it feels, and get used to the idea!  I know it would be a huge relief for me, because right now I feel like I’m being crushed, struggling to breathe.

Just a breath of fresh air, a breath of sweet, quiet harmony, would be enough to recharge my batteries, so that I can sparkle again!

Sharon Carter-Wray

(26th November 2014)

Update

At the time when I wrote this, my divorce had been finalised, but I still had to live under the same roof as my ex-husband.  It was not the happiest of times, as he demonstrated how vengeful and vindictive, he could be on a daily basis.  Sometimes in ways, that I cannot fathom why he would choose to behave in such a manner.

I guess he was hurting because he knew he had already lost something, that he’d finally recognised the value of… and there was no chance of ever getting it back.

I am not making excuses for him, but I suppose as the time has passed, I had more time to reflect on it.

In those few months before our house sold, he made my life absolutely miserable, in any way he could.  To the point that I anticipated his actions, and most times they backfired on him.

During this period of my life, I had little support from anyone.   There were many, who thought I was wrong for doing what I did, many who criticised me.  And there were many more who simply could or would not believe, that he was anything but this mild mannered, chilled out guy.  He’d never dream of hurting me, because he knew I was more than his match.  He dare not lay a finger on me.  It was one of those things that I’d always warned him about, because even I don’t know how I’d react if someone ever struck me.  But I know I would be worried, I don’t take to that kind of thing kindly.

People knew little or nothing about what was really happening.  He took full advantage of tainting my name and good nature, whilst I said nothing.  Whether those that listened believed him or not, I don’t know, but their eyes can’t deceive them, or deny what a ‘better’ man he’d become, because of me.  But I never heard another word from any of his family of his shared friends.  So, may be they did.

Little did they know, how in an instant he could transform from a gentle being into a raging lunatic.  Throwing things, kicking things, causing damage, (in particular to my belongings), shouting at the top his voice, like he was some caged animal.  They didn’t know this side.

Or the guy who would also be broke, never have a penny to spend on anything, had fallen behind on all his financial responsibilities, but like magic could come up with cash to disappear for a week to go sailing.  Knowing that he’d not paid the mortgage, or put money on the electric meter to last his absence, and never once checking to make sure I had money.  They didn’t know this side.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter what other people may think and feel, it wasn’t their life, and they have no inkling of the real issues I had to deal with.   All I knew is that I had to leave and be as far away from him, as I could.37987924_817059122018685_2662990348992643072_n

In truth, as with many things, I didn’t do it for them, I did it for me.

And thank goodness I had the sense to do what I did, when I did.  I had to save myself… simple as that.

Sharon

(Monday 4th February 2019)

 

 

Letting go: 2. Life

Letting go: 2. Life

It’s been two years since my divorce, the best, the most significant and most life-changing decision I have ever made in my life.  And more importantly I followed through with it until the end.  There is no denying that little piece of joy that flickers in my heart.  It happens every time I think of my ‘lucky’, if not timely escape, from the beast that had done nothing but devour me.

I know now, that if I had let things go on, today, I would have absolutely nothing.  Probably not even my sanity. 

He knew no end to draining me of all my resources and emotions.  Every day I am so grateful and thankful for my resilience.  My inner resolve and free spirit, gave me the will and the strength to save myself and set me freeUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_d7

When we think of erosion, we can imagine pictures of the sea stealing back land by gradually wearing down the cliffs.  But what’s not so easy to comprehend, is the same erosion happens in an abusive relationship.  One person always gets worn down, whilst the other continues to be relentless and strive.

Memories

Memories keep flooding back, causing shudders to run down my spine.  Ones that are constantly flashing up reminders different events and situations, that have been locked away like time capsules in my head.  Thousands of tiny fragments, made up of images, conversations, arguments and feelings of real discontent.  They burst like fireworks in front of my eyes; bringing on pangs of silent agony.

Each time it happens, it is a painful reminder of how much and how deep I let him cut me.  His sharp words, his attitude and his appalling behaviour hurt me.

But now, each little nugget makes me question why I took on the responsibility of his actions, rather than blaming him.  Maybe, I thought it was easier to do this, just so that in my mind I could be free.  But in actual fact, I have been punishing myself by taking on his army of demons.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_59Jekyll and Hyde

I see him now for what he really is, not that I had had any clouded ideas beforehand. And I accept that he was a master of disguise and I was drawn in.  Jekyll and Hyde  was the nickname I had for him, as a joke.  But in the end it was a very accurate description. I had enabled his capacity to feed, and I gave him a good food supply…  But that’s all I’m guilty of.  I didn’t make him the person he was, or make him do what he did, or think the way he thought.  He did that all on his own.  Driven by some incredible greed to swallow up anything that was good.

He did not want to fight for me.

He already knew he had lost me way back along the way, so there would be no point.  But he simply could not control his urges to hurt me more, by any means he thought he could get away with.  However, I played his game better than he did.  So, so many of his antics backfired on him.  I foolishly allowed the blame rest at my door.  I did not speak out or voice to anyone, how he had literally driven me to that point of no return.

He was a very cruel and manipulative man, a true narcissist through and through.

It took a long time, before I finally labelled it for what it was… mental abuse.

Mental abuse

How stupid I have been.  Stupid for taking the blame for his actions.  It was mental abuse, and it had started from pretty early on.  For ages I have been giving out the impression that I was ‘okay’ with this, but in actual fact I was totally churned up.  I was incensed by the sheer fact, that someone would want to treat me so badly.  Someone, who was forever expressing his ‘love’ for me!  A man I asked nothing of, but took so readily…

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_93Only now, do I really view that period of my life with real clarity.  I thought I had done so before, but now my eyes are really seeing things, for what they were and are.  Now I fully appreciate the damage, that his persistent chipping away had done to my confidence, my trust and my self-belief.

So much so, that I not only felt it, but I believed in my own unworthiness, instead of questioning his.

This has got to end.  I am still allowing him to destroy me from within.  I am letting all those negative memories and images from that life invade my daily being.  It has soaked up so much of my time and energy, battling with negative thoughts and reliving bad experiences for more than just the second time.

I have continued to emotionally beat myself up on his behalf, and by opening that door, I have enabled others to think they can do the same thing.

The damage

There is no doubt of the damage he has done.  He has left me deeply scarred with many insecurities, weaknesses and fears deeply etched in my mind.  He has damaged my belief in men, being who they say they are, and saying exactly what they mean.

This last year I have forgotten how to celebrate and enjoy my newfound life and liberty.  I have stayed being caught up in the past.  Somehow, I let his demons in and they took over and took a firm hold.  Of course, no good has come of doing this or being this way.  But at least now I can openly admit, that I have just successfully managed to further maim and cripple myself.  By holding to things and memories, that have no place in my present.  I must forever remind myself when these thoughts appear, to acknowledge that that was my old life.  I am a survivor and not a victim.

This mental and emotional intrusion, of my past into my present day has got to stop.  It will always be where it is now and where it belongs… in the past.

Yes, I have been incredibly fucking stupid…!  I have been struggling with this pain for far too long, and now I need to let it go.

It is time to forgive myself.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31stDecember 2016)

 

Update:

I am pleased to say that part of my ‘life laundry’, included virtually eradicating any evidence of my ex-husband from my life. I was brutal, I had to be.  Even things that I loved were gotten rid of, if they were tainted with any negative connection to him.  It took a while to go through everything, but it was not only necessary, it was essential.

White acrylic on canvas, with black ink

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 4 years since my divorce, and almost 4 since I started my life over.  I am also very conscious that it’s all part of my incredible journey.  It was just a very long pitstop.

Thankfully, I recognise that I have already come a very long way and my story is not over yet.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(Updated Monday 28th January 2019)

 

 

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