Honesty...warning: not sugar coated or rose tinted...

posted on: Thursday, 4 October 2012

It's not a bad time, by any means, things are tickety boo. But my goodness, the requirement for positive thinking has worn me down. I have realised that thinking positively has become part of the fabric of me - despite being a born and bred pessimist, glass-is-half-empty person. I have made my glass three quarters full. Pat on the back for me :-)

via from new york city with love
Round here, things roll on in an autumnal fashion, apples ripening, leaves falling, rain rain and more rain. The extent of the British winter feels like it's looming this year; I have become acutely aware of seasonal transitions and this will be the most significant. The prospect of months of overcast weather makes it hard for me to stay positive! So limited are the wonderful crisp sunny days, so plentiful are the low-cloud, dank days that seem to characterise our British climate.

My heart is aching today for my boy, whose flying start to his new school has in some ways, been short-lived. His new school is bigger and more challenging; surely good things in the long run, but in the short term I am literally watching him bend his personality to suit it. He is a simple soul and takes life very literally and I wonder how he copes in those school hours, trying to fit in. I find myself wondering whether this 'fitting in' in life is what we all do to some degree? I tell him to be strong and if the popular boys won't play with him, go and make a new friend. But that's easier said than done. At the same time, I empathise; I find myself longing for my old established friends. Being the new school Mum that I should be, is exhausting.

from anthropologie...via crush cul de sac
Long term readers of this blog will know that I have this pain thing; I have for a few years had pain in my teeth and my jaw; largely unexplained and largely untreatable from a medical perspective. It has been wildly frustrating getting a diagnosis, treatments have failed and what I was left with was the mandate to try to live with chronic pain. Or to ignore it. Or to build my life in a way that enabled me to manage it. I got so weary of thinking about it all and just being in pain that I stopped talking about it to anyone and stopped writing about it here. Now, even those close to me have thought it was all gone, as I had ceased to refer to it. But in all honesty - it's not gone. It's very much there and it very much occupies my thoughts throughout each and every day.

I cling to theories which might fix my problem, which ironically all stem from the idea that my muscles have contracted and become weak, that they need to unclench and to relearn to be normal. Meditation and yoga are considered worthwhile treatment pursuits. I feel like it is a test of my whole temperament; I am so not the type to sit still and meditate. Yet the irony is that it is my very temperament (highly strung, wound up like a coiled spring) that got me into this painful mess in the first place! Life is a journey and this part of the trip is bittersweet. Things have never been so good - opportunities and thoughts abound. I feel like there is so much I could be doing and tackling. Honestly, I am proud of myself for taking the new business plunge, for taking the new school decision for my son, for being active and not passive in our lives.

But the activity causes stress and stress worsens the pain and so on and so on...

The truth is: it's hard. I'm finding it really hard.

via crush cul de sac


  1. Have you considered a retreat? Seriously? Just a short one, maybe a weekend.

    It really worked for me and I don't talk about it as it seems hippy and unlike me but I found Gaia really helpful.


    Sorry for the swears in the link - the time is more peaceful than that suggests. I find myself remembering her words and the things I learned when I am stressed now. And then I yawn a lot and feel better.

    If you wish to ignore this then that is okay, but I hope you find the thing that works for you if it is not this.

  2. You are quite right that your mind shies away from meditation because it is naturally active but it is that business which exacerbates the pain. I have suffered chronic pain symptoms over the years in a very similar way. Meditation really does help. It doesn't have to be hard or scary - just a few minutes breath counting every day, with your eyes open if closing them is hard, is enough to start with, then build up from there. You could go to classes but some people find them too prescriptive. I was taught - don't laugh - by my tennis coach. He told me to breath count to 50 but at first I could only do ten. Then find an image or word (mantra) that gives you a sense of calm and try to focus on it. As your mind strays to everyday thoughts, bring it gently back to your mantra or image. Don't worry if you almost never achieve this; it is about process not achievement. Do not push yourself - a few minutes a day is enough. Your mind will tell you when you are ready for more. What I love about meditation is that it is the one moment when I am not trying to be good at something. You surrender to something else, it's hard to explain but it does soothe the soul
    Wishing you peace

  3. Hello Lou,
    Well, three quarters full is good!...
    My boys are a bit older than your children, and as I'm sure you have realised from when they were babies, everything is a phase.
    We've done all sorts!! New schools, changing schools, friends, no friends, keeping down years, car crashes before exams, repeating exams, getting grades, not getting grades, enforced gap years, University places, clearing, and American university!!
    And it's going to go on and on!!!
    I think you should just keep on doing what you're doing. Big school will sort itself out- it always does. At the time it's the biggest thing,but there is nothing that will be presented to you that you can't deal with.
    Having said that, constant teeth and jaw pain - ouch. I can only imagine that this constant ache makes each day a trial in itself. I've no answer for that I'm afraid- perhaps aim for a glass of something at 7pm......oh no thats me!!
    You have so much to be proud of, and as the poster said 'dream big and worry small' or a least try!

  4. Sometimes the hardest sentences to write are the shortest ones. It's really hard is a really hard thing to say. I'm so glad you could say it. Have no remedies; oh how I wish I did. I think you are very brave; constant pain is the most wearing thing in the world. Just really sending all the love from Scotland, and hoping a better day will come. xx

  5. It's amazing that you're able to stay positive at all with that kind of pain. So, good for you!

    Also, I really love the quote at the end.

  6. As ever in sync. I do love watching you battle your inner pessimist, because you seem to have been able to win that fight. I'm a natural glass-half-empty kinda girl too, but over time and with daily focus on all the good stuff of life, I've molded myself into a positive person. That said, it is indeed hard. I hope you're able to find some relief for the pain - I know meditation is difficult - I suck at it, but still I try, and somehow I do believe it helps a bit.

    I also understand your feelings about watching your son make his way in school. I'm doing the same with my own. I keep trying to remind myself that he will be fine. It's early in the year, and everyone is assessing everybody else, searching for those kindred spirits among the crowd on the playground. Their moms are doing the same thing in front of the school every afternoon!

    Thinking of you and wishing you well. I hope Autumn brings some sunny days your way before the dark days of Winter set in. - Mary

  7. Interesting about your jaw and teeth. I've been having something like that lately, too.

  8. You never need to carry more than you can hold. I believe this to the deepest of my soul. You know when they say that God won't give you something you can't handle, I believe it's the same thing. I really love the fact that you are staying optimistic. Keep up the good work.

  9. Sending a big old hug across the pond to you Lou. I have never been able to meditate ~ I cannot shut my mind off ~ it seems to be whirling away constantly and some nights I do find it hard to even trick it long enough so I can drift off to sleep. I also come from a line of pessimists and being the lone optimist left is exhausting some days. Take care of yourself. xo

  10. I've always been unsettled when my children have started a new phase in their life... my daughter had a tough first year in senior school trying to establish a friendship group and it took my son a while too but they're both settled and happy and are surrounded with good, kind people. I think school is tough in that it teaches them about trying to find their place in the world...if it's too easy it will fool them into thinking life is like that as an adult and we all know that's not the case x

  11. You may benefit from medically administered botox or dysport. I dont mean from the local beauty salon but it is a treatment for neuro-muscular problems such as movement disorders.


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