For the first 10 months I ranted and raged at the injustices of life and what I saw as the raw deal I’d been dealt! I literally screamed and yelled at the walls in the middle of the night when my whole body felt as if it was tearing itself to pieces. The only reason I ‘kept going’ was for my father – who was then approaching his 100th birthday and his reliance on seeing me every morning before I went to work and every evening before he went to bed. (Alex and I owned part of his house – so I was close at hand). I had given up eating and sleeping but I still had a reason for being around! My Dad needed me. It was enough.
After his birthday he ran out of steam very quickly. He was so worried about me, bless him, but he really had had enough. One day, a couple of weeks after his birthday, he asked my permission to die. I gave it (one of the hardest moments of my life I might add). He got his wish 7 weeks after reaching the milestone he had set his sights on! (10 months after Alex had left). It was then I really imploded. It happened after I got back from my Tiger Watching Holiday cheer-up break! It was then I decided I had no need to be on the planet anymore! I’d done all the things I wanted to do and so what was the point of keeping going. After all Alex and I had got no children. No one was going to miss me. It was then I really dug in. Already in my Chilean Mine – I set up house in it!
I gave myself the most miserable future I could conjure up and settled in to live it. A close psychologist friend kept urging me to get help, but like so many people in a truly bad place I didn’t believe anyone could! Or that I actually needed any help. I was very ‘happy’ being miserable thank you very much!
I really went about destroying myself with a determination which was impressive! I created the most horrific destructive version of me and by and large closed the others down.
Did I actually try and take my own life? No. But I was within a hair’s breadth of doing so. I remember thinking I needed to be sure it wasn’t going to hurt!!! Brilliant Caroline! Would it have mattered!! (a lot of humour here now!)
I limited my life horizon so low it didn’t even clear the rim of the hole I was in!
I convinced myself it had to be the way it was – there was no other option. I had to just ‘live through it’ – even if it took the rest of my life. Which I was sure it was going to!
What astounds me now is how I didn’t understand that I was doing all this to myself. No one else was. I created all my horrific scenarios. My stubborn determination that I was unlovable and that no-one really cared, controlled me and ruled my life. Which was totally at odds with what was going on around me. Work was stupendously understanding, my friends stalwart in their determination to care for me. I just refused to believe anyone actually meant it! The version of me which I thought was caring for me – the one I had put my trust in - was actually going all out to destroy. And very, very nearly did. So:-
I did it to myself
Understanding this has been fundamental to my change in outlook. Learning to trust myself to give myself the best future I can has taken time. Probably because I felt ‘safe’ with my insecurities – after all the future may have looked dreadful but at least I knew what it was going to be!!
But as I discovered through the Eureka Moment (I know I keep going on about it but no one was more surprised than I was) I could change everything in the space of one 2 hr coaching session!. Had Alex not then dithered once more about coming back I think I would have got to where I am now a great deal quicker. The trouble is I went back into the thousand and one “Why” and “What If” Questions. None of which are ever productive. They may be addictive - but addictions are rarely good news!! They are also a pig to break!
The things that’ve made the biggest difference and has been the hardest to understand are how Values and the Rules I apply to them can change everything so drastically – and for the better. I still don’t ‘get it’ every day and the good old moments of confusion march in and I’m left bewildered by it all – but they are happening less often!! Sometimes it feels like trying to pick up unset jelly – the ideas and concepts just slip through my fingers and are lost. Sometimes the jelly sets and I understand!. But I now do see that every time I short-change myself by not sticking to those values I go backwards or have a ‘blip’. You’ve all read what my top Values are (and I appear to have 13!):
Making a difference
When I stick to them like glue I get good days, I have fun, I’m happy, I laugh, and my future feels and looks rosy to me. Scary yes. But not in the horrific way it did before.
Don’t get me wrong I still get moments of incredible loneliness – but rather than hide I now tell people - with a new found confidence – how it is. Those same people who years ago (before I was married) slightly jeered at my then single status now seem to be treating me better. They are also kinder and more understanding. My say-it-as-it-is – with a smile on my face and laughter in my voice - is getting me treated with masses of respect!
Don’t ask me how Stephen guided me into changing me – I have absolutely no idea!! But I do know that this time – in a very good way:-
I did it to myself – that’s what we all have to do! No one else can!