Posts Tagged ‘the human head’

The Flipside of Fear

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This is a blurt post.

There’s stuff going on in my head that I can’t quite seem to work out. Passing snippets that have paired themselves off without quite explaining the pairing, and insights that still remain partially hidden. There is one common thread. It is the word fear.


I’m scared.

Belly scared. Paralysed scared. Scared silly….yet not quite sure of the source (there’s so many); nor, if I’m honest, of the emotion (it’s just what I always feel).

Updating My Metaphorical Wardrobe

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I have been carrying around some stuff for a while, without realising that it’s not actually mine.

I didn’t stop to consider where it came from until recently; in fact, I don’t think the question even entered my head. It has only emerged – upon closer inspection – that a lot of the fears and feelings I have assumed over the years do not belong to me.

It has been like getting home with the right black coat – only when you check the label, it’s wrong.

Finding the Spark

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I have been on a mission for the past few days. Been fired up and propelled forward on a burst of energy that has added a spark to my eyes and a new sense of purpose to my thoughts.

I think this is called ambition.

And I am trying not to be scared.

From Talking to Walking…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Things feel a hundred times better now that I have finally started moving. The anticipation is always far worse than the action – and yet each time, I seem to forget.

Change often happens this way for me. The fear paralyses. Then comes the frustration. And, finally, the elastic-band-snap of emancipation and whoosh, I’m free

Come what will.

I went through the same process in my recovery. The same wheel-spinning-yet-not-going-anywhere, until it felt like a miracle that I didn’t implode. All talk, I seemed – and no action. All words – and nothing behind them but fear.

Self Talking

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Thanks to some intensive therapy, I am now queen of self-talk; and, whilst I don’t always feel like “being positive” or “having an internal conversation”, an article last week got me thinking about just how valuable this is.

To emphasise the point, the ‘fact’ on my shampoo bottles (shampoo: “who is the person you talk to most?” / conditioner: “yourself”) have concurred to make the message heard. This is clearly a subject that I am meant to be writing about –

Self-talking is something I now do on a regular basis. It kicks in, the moment my head kicks off – and seems to work through a few key themes:


Permission To Fail

Monday, May 10th, 2010

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

There is a theme emerging in the quotes I keep bookmarking. They are about focusing on the process, rather than the outcome; and, enjoying the experience, rather than only celebrating success.

Making mistakes – so the message seems to go – is part of the learning, and broadens the opportunities for the great things that come next.

Lately, I have become more and more aware that I only do what I know I can do, and only try that which it is safe for me to try. That I am stifled, daily, by over-precaution, and paralysed by the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ –

Which is getting quite frustrating.

So, in the interest of science, and because there’s a convergance of opinion, I am going to give myself (at least temporarily), full permission to fail.

This involves shifting a few of the things that stop me from passing go.

1. The Fear of Reprisal


Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Because it’s a bank holiday weekend and I have been struggling a little, lately; I am going to stay with one of those rare friends who can miraculously reel you back in – when your head is starting to drift – and help you put down the baggage for a while.

I am lucky to have a few of these precious friendships. They are like gold dust. The people that ground us when it feels like we’re being swept away; and offer a refuge when it all gets too much.

Envy, Jealousy, the Eating Disorder, and Me

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

I have known, for a while now, that I am going to have to write about jealousy at some point. I have started, multiple times, in the past year, and then abandoned the attempts in frustration as the words splutter out with no resolution; and, amidst the debris, I can not find what I am trying to say.

Jealousy is something that I struggle with on an almost daily basis. A cruel and angry emotion that starts in the pit of my stomach; winds its way around the object – and then shoots back to me again.

Envy is closely aligned, yet more crippling. It is ingrained and slow-moving, and I often get them confused.

Her job is more interesting than my job; his flat is bigger than my flat; where they live is better than where I live; blonde hair has far more allure that brunette; if only I was as clever – or as beautiful – or as popular – or as slim, as her.

One complaint leads to the next and the poison oozes, insidiously, until everything’s tainted.

For as long as I can remember, I have been like this.

On Rejection

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There was something going around twitter last week about rejection.

I can’t get it out of my mind.

It has struck a sensitive chord that I am almost too scared to write about; and, because the chord is exposed, a wall’s gone up and now I can’t see what’s going on behind.

According to this article, rejection is like a physical pain. Whether you care about who’s rejecting you or they’re hidden behind a computer screen, the hurt is the same –

A twisting in the gut and a bowing of the shoulders and a sinking of the head and the unbearable feeling of shame. Or that’s the imprint that remains for me.

A few weeks ago, I had my own little example.

Back to the Beginning

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I am having a bit of a hard time.

The stuff that I thought I’d sorted out years ago has made a reappearance; and, without the crutch of an eating disorder, I have been caught off guard.

This was not part of the deal and I am beginning to feel a little cheated. “If you lose weight then it’ll all be okay” has turned out to be a mixture of illusion, and blatant lie.

Go Unperfectly

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

I would quite easily identify myself as a perfectionist.

I’m not good with failure and I don’t like making mistakes. I aim to please, am a little obsessive, and like things to be ‘just so’…

Interestingly, if you asked me to define ‘just so’, I’d probably struggle, and if you asked me to describe “perfection”, it’d be equally hard….which is where this post begins.


Sunday, February 14th, 2010

The light was fading and the drizzle still hadn’t stopped as I drove home past a guy, standing beside the A1 with a bucket of roses and a sodden, torn sign.

Sights like this make me sad.

At 5 O’clock on a rainy, winters afternoon, people shouldn’t be standing alone in the rain, especially when it’s Valentines day. It makes me wonder what the point of it all is, really; and whether I’ll ever make sense of what we’re doing here

And then I remembered, as the lights changed, that we don’t really know the answer, and we’ll probably never get what it’s all about; but the thing that keeps it going is a little four letter word called Love –

Because, when all’s said and done, it’s love that makes the futile feel bearable and gives meaning to what’s mostly mundane; and, it’s the human connections that provide an anchor when everything else is a little hard to grasp.

So, instead of feeling sad as I drove past the man in the rain, and rather than feeling sorry for myself, as I headed back to my empty flat, I felt an unexpected kind of connection and a strange kind of peace with it all; because the answers to life might be totally out of my grasp –

But the point of it isn’t.

The Carpet Critic

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

After last year’s bathroom tile debacle, I thought I’d got to the bottom of my indecision; but choosing carpets would suggest that I haven’t got there quite yet.

After a week of yo yo-ing between ivory and almond, and learning the shift patterns of the various Carpet Right staff, I’m clearly still struggling; but, this time, I don’t think the problem is knowing what I want – it’s living with the consequence that’s holding me back.

My head doesn’t do mistakes and it’s certainly not into forgiving.


Thursday, January 28th, 2010

On those rare occasions when the barriers are down and it feels okay to move beyond what is normally said, then it suddenly emerges that we’re all just working with half versions of the truth; and, most of the time, we’re making up what goes in the gaps.

And, when we pause, unexpectedly, to find out whether what we’re thinking they’re thinking, is even close to what’s really going through their minds; and find ourselves, so often, on entirely different pages, then it’s immediately clear that we’re all just trying to make sense of a fragmented assortment of feelings and experiences and thoughts, reflected and refracted in a thousand different ways –

Shoulds, Buts, and the Need To Get it “Right”

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

For some time now, I have become a little anxious about the frequency with which the word “but” is creeping into my vocabulary.

“Should” has always been bit of a problem for me, but I’d kind of prided myself on my ability to problem solve and think creatively and take the initiative …

The realisation that I automatically see objections – rather than possibilities – is a little sore.

Muddling Through

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

With one foot in – and one foot out – of this thing that is life, I am only just beginning to realise the complexities, and the extent to which we are all just muddling along and trying to make the best of what we’ve got.

That we start, not as a blank canvas, but as a sketched outline, already shaded and shaped by the people that went before us – and those that preceded them; and, that the final masterpiece rarely resembles the vision but is, instead, a mishmash of the truths and illusions and feelings and experiences that we’ve picked up along the way.

The ‘Where do I fit in?’ Question

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I have been going round and round in circles for the past month; and, regardless of the starting point, I still seem to end up with the same, unanswerable question –

Where do I fit in?

I am beginning to find the constant side-tracking a little frustrating now. It is rather tiring to keep reaching the concluding paragraph, only to find myself again writing the same four little words. Again.

So, I am changing tact, and moving the ending – to the opening – because throwing ideas around has always helped me to reach my epiphanies; and, hey, I’m going to find myself asking the same question anyway, so I might as well get straight to the point –

And then go back to the beginnings.

Damaged Goods

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Esme Lennox has got me thinking about madness.

We may not be able to lock people up as easily as we could 60 years ago, but the debate around power and freedom and what happens when you’re declared “unstable” still has currency.

I can kind of relate to Esme’s vanishing act.

It is hard to feel like a half person. When the discussion’s going on around – and about – you; you’re not always sure that you’re there and you’re certainly not sure that your contribution would count.

There’s something about mental illness that disempowers you in a way that no other illness can –

Seeking Approval

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

I have been seeking approval. Again.

It’s a habit I can’t seem to shift – even if the guise keeps changing.

Whilst I’ve come so far, in so many respects, people pleasing still seems instinctive; and, the drive for validation that helped me to lose my identity is now making it difficult to work out who I am –

Achilles’ Heels

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

I am learning to recognise my Achilles’ heels.

I have quite a few of these painful sore spots that, previously, would have driven me to bingeing – or some other equally destructive distraction – but I am now becoming better acquainted with.

The eating-disorder-provided relief was evidently a temporary fix and a bit of an illusion: the only way to sort out an Achilles heel is to tackle the source of the pain and work out what’s really going on – which is often something quite small that has festered into something quite big

Life – and Death

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I stopped believing in an afterlife around the time I realised I was far more likely to end up in hell – than in heaven.

We’ve got an eye on death from the moment we start developing a consciousness.

It’s bound up in how we behave, and what we believe and how we live our lives –

There’s no escaping the subject – it’s just how we approach it that determines where the emphasis is.

Thinking about death can either ruin your life – or make it- and, after an evening contemplating the subject with Mark Vernon at the School of Life(!), I’ve decided that I’m going for the latter

“We perished, each alone”

Friday, July 17th, 2009

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;


The Curse of the Over-Analytical Mind

Friday, July 10th, 2009

An analytical mind is an asset. An over-analytical mind is a curse.

It means that you read things in to everything and tie yourself in knots trying to solve questions that can’t be solved.

Some things just are.

Some things don’t make sense.

Most people are far too complex to analyse satisfactorily.


The Dark Side

Monday, June 15th, 2009

My head is tuned in to minor thirds. It resonates with clashing chords. It connects, on some fundamental and physical level, with melancholy despair, with violent lyrics.

There’s a certain type of song that sounds like my eating disorder feels; that mirrors the despair and the desperation of my anorexia; taps into the violence and anger of my bulimia; and provokes an almost physical reaction – a stunned recognition – followed by an overpowering sense of sadness and pain.

I had an epiphany on the way to work one morning. Somewhere between St Albans and Hatfield, when Amy Winehouse had reduced me to tears, I realised what my response was all about.


Negative Automatic Thoughts (a positive take on)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Apparently, expecting the worst and sticking to generalisations are common negative automatic thoughts.

This makes me feel a lot better about my own negative automatic thoughts.

Therapy and cognitive theories aside, I am reassured by the fact that the thoughts have a name. It infers a commonality. It suggests that other people entertain the same ideas – and shared things are so much easier to manage than those that you’re battling alone.

It is, possibly, a little unkind to feel comforted in the knowledge that other people are also tortured by their heads –

But, it’s also easier to start changing thinking when you see the thoughts as patterns and not realities. It’s far simpler to challenge the mindset when you see it through the reflection of other people.

Getting to that point’s the harder bit – but another nice thing about a generic term is that you’ve got a handy checklist so you know what you’re looking for.


Monday, June 1st, 2009

I have been scared of the thought police for a long time. The notion’s not as fantastical as it sounds. It’s just a little more internal.

In Orwell’s fabulous 1984, the thought police are out there. In my experience, they’re in your head. We know what we should and shouldn’t think. We’re well versed in checking our thoughts and the cautionary ‘I know I shouldn’t think this but’ type of apologies; accustomed to self policing what we do and don’t say to ourselves.

It’s probably okay in moderation. It’s probably part of our development into moral and ethical beings; of learning where the boundaries are.

I just tend to take things to extremes – and it’s taken me a while to appreciate that your imagination’s a very different landscape to the one out there.