“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks…….”~William Shakespeare.
I had my last therapy session today, and I have mixed feelings. A little sadness for an ending, very few of us embrace change easily, but I am certain that though my journey in your safe and inspiring presence has ended, I will continue to grow in my own loving care. My journey hasn’t ended, it is transitioning to a new phase and as my life moves forward, I meet many other transitions and I think I’m going to be just fine.
I’m thankful for the space, the tools and awareness and the ability to transcend beyond that awareness to a place of contentment and strength and growth. I’m thankful for your humour, your wisdom and for pushing me just a little bit further than I thought I could stand. For the safety and trust you inspired, when I was at my lowest and stripped raw. I’m thankful for all the wonderful prose that brought tears to my eyes, not from sadness but from resonance. And finally I’m thankful, for your teaching me, that I’m not alone. That there is safety in numbers and there is always somewhere to turn.
I’ve learnt that forgiveness for me is not about accepting and condoning someone else’s actions or words, but in no longer giving them power over me. That my greatest demons weren’t my past, but myself, all that pain, shame, guilt, grief and anger turned in on me, till all I could see was a worthless, loveless, hateful tortured soul. Unworthy of any love or happiness. A mask of acceptance to the world, yet inside a seething mass of self hatred. I’m free from that today and if I ever feel myself turning in again, I have my toolbox, mindfulness, meditation, self hypnosis and breathing. Concentrate on the breathing and mind follows till I can centre myself again and move on. That which ails and troubles us, is not from without, but within and only we can make those changes. It’s not our past or events or people that bring us to our knees, but how we process and internalize and turn that against ourselves. External factors are not our enemy, but our mind can be, and it’s vital we make peace with her.
My last words to you, John was that you’ve given me back my freedom, something I haven’t had since my childhood. The freedom to take risks, the freedom to say no, the freedom to not have to make apologies for my choices and finally the freedom to get to know and love the me that is, still slightly broken but oh so lovable and so worthy of everything life will offer and no longer seeking the need for approval or acceptance.
Happiness today for me is the simple pleasures in life, mesmerizing stargazing; playing the piano; making time for relaxation; gazing at a beautiful scene or image; beautiful flowers; wonderful memories, and looking to the past only as it makes us happy and reconnecting and touching base with my dear friends.
Thank you John, for helping me to make this all my reality.
And now I think it is time for a song dedication, I know just the right thing, how about a little James Blunt. Yes!! No, ok I can hear the moans and groans from here. So that won’t do. Well then how about that infectious and boppy Pharrell Williams song, Happy. It seems appropriate and it’s playing away in the background as I write this. Farewell for now. So how about that certificate now.
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”.~Groucho Marx.
Why do we laugh, what do we laugh at and why do people laugh at different things.
Science first, laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthens our immune system, boosts energy, diminish pain, and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Simply put, laughter is good for us.
Humour and laughter are a big part of social interaction, people who make us laugh are more attractive and enjoyable to spend time with. Laughing creates a bond and a connection with others. It strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork and helps to defuse conflict.
Sigmund Freud outlined a theory that humour and the use of jokes is a conscious nod to the subconscious. Taboo subjects become more socially acceptable if delivered as a joke. Parapaxes or Freudian Slips, another form of unconscious leakage, although at times embarrassing, can also be incredibly funny.
Why do people laugh at different things. As we age, our response to humour evolves. Children and teens often find toilet humour and slapstick hilarious, while as adults we may still enjoy this type of humour, experience opens us up to more adult humour. Intellect is as important aspect of understanding jokes and their nuances and this develops as we grow and learn.
Society and community plays a big part in what we laugh at. The type of humour we appreciate is often the same as our parents. The great Tommy Cooper was our families great favourite as was Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and The Goons and to this day I still love all of them. Of course personality and personal tastes are big factor.
Another theory is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as we strive for self actualization, our humour develops and matures. One of Maslow’s 15 characteristics is an unusual sense of humour. As we move through the stages toward self actualization our sense of humour embodies our emotional and psychological attainment. Fascinating stuff, I must read more.
I probably laugh at pretty well anything, however I’m not a fan of crude and offensive misogynistic type humour. I don’t find it at all clever. But I do love the absurd, the ridiculous, black humour, gallows humour, the humour we find in the darkest places of our minds and the darkest times of our lives. The way I see it, if you can find something to laugh when times are dark and lonely, then there’ll always be hope and a reason to get up in the morning.
Some of the best comedy series of all time MASH, Frazier, Modern Family and Fawlty Towers to name a few, all share a magnifying glass look at the absurdity of life. And for most part it’s real, we can relate to it. I don’t know about you, but my family are definitely more Modern Family than The Waltons. Whether it’s spiritual or emotional strength in times of crisis (the Korean War in Mash), arrogance and pride, family life or even marriage, life is funny and it’s best to have a sense of humour for the journey. As Daphne says to Niles, “You’d eat a worm if I gave a french name”.
So favourite comedians, I’m a bit of a Marxist-Groucho not Karl. What am I saying, I’m a lot of a Marxist, the funniest man of all, who can forget, the mirror scene or Why a Duck. Who else likes Groucho, hands up. Love me a bit of Duck Soup, an anarchical, maniacal feast. His timing perfection, his sense of the ridiculous and to my mind he’s a great accidental philosopher.
For me humour has been a god send, a safety valve and an indicator that I’ve come through my dark tunnel. I find myself more able to laugh and enjoy the company of wonderful people. Laughter got me through many a day and got me up in the morning.
Laughter has certainly been the best medicine for me.
I started my blogs on my depression, not to dwell on the misery of being in the depths of this horrible soul sucking place, but to find a way out. To try and find the positives and focus on them instead. The suicidal thoughts that drove me to my doctor, terrified me, not so much the thoughts of the world being a better place without me, but the casualness and ease in which they entered my head, and of how these thoughts could overwhelm me and become all consuming.
The antidepressant side effects are still there, some are easing and some are showing no signs of abating, but I’ve found two positives to being on them. One, Twin Peaks reruns are starting to make a whole lot of sense, and two my favourite piano piece ‘Moonlight Sonata’ has taken on a calmer more sedate feel, more like how the piece show feel, probably a result of the sluggishness, but the result being, my mind calms as I play and I get lost in the music and the beautiful simplicity of the piece. I had to give up my lessons because of financial restraints and it sadly came at a time when staying with them would have been a godsend for me.
Valentines Day has just passed and anyone close to me, knows I’m not a fan, but that’s not always been the case. As a young woman, Valentines Day spoke to the romantic in me, and I still have a romantic side, it’s just well hidden and out of practice. The cards and flowers I longed for, the secret admirers, the power of young emotions. Perhaps Valentines Day is for young lovers and certainly as I’ve aged I’ve become a little cynical of the day, but I think the truth of my apathy are of a more personal nature. For one day the world is in love, and it passes me by.
This year however I got two Valentines, one from an old boyfriend/old friend from my teens, someone I recently reconnected with through Facebook and the other from my friend and Piano teacher, and asking me to return to my lessons, free of charge, just to keep my spirits up. Maybe they’re not declarations of undying love, but the love and kindness of friends will do just as well. And for the first time in so long my tears weren’t of overwhelming sadness.
Two or three months back I was thinking 2012 should have been my year, the year of the Dragon, my Chinese astrological sign. My year for wonderful things to happen. Dragon the fearsome, loyal, kind and hard working, the traits that could lead me to greatness.
In the last two weeks of 2011 I was made redundant from my job of 8 years. If you’d asked me to sit down and think about what defined me, my job would probably not have made it to my list. But losing it undermined my very core. For me it was about security in a world in recession, an income, getting out and meeting people, and in holding down that job, a belief, that what I did, I did very, very well.
At first I embraced the opportunity for change but when the shock was replaced with the reality, my optimism seemed to die. I reeled through the emotions like a woman possessed. Fear, frustration, helplessness and a loss of control over my own destiny, anger, so much anger, mainly towards my employer, someone I’d once counted as a friend and a sense of betrayal. My demon was the alter-ego who has dogged me most of my life. She ridicules me, second guesses my intuition, stamps all over my dreams, she takes me by the hand and leads me down the path of the worst imaginings my mind can create, and devours my confidence. And she always shows up when there’s a flicker of weakness. “What’s the point in trying, you know you’re going to fail”, my perfectionist/procrastinating nature chimes in.
If only I had been left to my own devices, I could have coped. Lunarcy the everyday and my alter-ego Lunarcy the superhero, righter of wrongs and with the ability to take flight and soar, working together we could have been amazing, we could of risen to the challenge, but my demon was in her element.
The turning point, my 48th birthday, end of April, all I wanted to do was sleep through it. Friends though had other plans, a surprise party (the surprise bit I spectacularly messed up – no point being a perfectionist if you don’t do something spectacularly). I went begrudgingly, annoyed with them for forcing me to acknowledge the event. Sometime during the night though something wonderful happened to me. Something shifted in me, what it was, who knows, I still don’t. Maybe it was just being in that room with people who just wanted me to be happy. I wonder do they know how important that night was to me, how much strength I gained from their presence, thoughtfulness and warm friendship, and how it helped to turn my life around.
I now have a direction, I won’t say plan, for me now, plans imply something set in stone. A direction allows me to move forward and allow for change. I’m going back to learning, am I scared, hell yes, but I won’t allow that to derail me. I want to explore an area that intrigues and energizes me. Psychology and Hypnosis, the mind, infinitely creative and destructive. The power to conquer and defy our past or to bring us to our knees. A text delivered a selection of books to me, “some summer reading” he said. Light summer reading it ain’t. I laugh, but I’ll enjoy them so much more than some soppy novel.
I still struggle with this desire to be nothing less than perfect, but the dream is strong, and hopefully enough to push me out of my comfort zone.
I know now that losing my job wasn’t the beginning of the end for me. I was never going to jump, I had to be pushed and glorious new starts often include pain, fear and doubt. Perhaps 2012 will be my year to shine after all.
Where do I see myself in October/November and beyond, will it be with my hand shooting up to answer yet another question, teeth grinding behind at the Noddy Know All in the front row, or standing behind the toilets smoking trying to look cool but in reality just terrified by life. I’m hoping closer to the know all, but without the ‘me being annoying’ bit.
For now I’m reading my books, swotting as it were. A challenge presents itself, deliciously tantalizing and I’m poised and ready. I sit relaxed, a smile comes to my face, and a sense of excitement and the beginning of my path to fulfilment, as the words swirl into my brain, like fingers massaging the little grey cells long dormant, I think ……..
“I wonder does he have any copies of these books in English”.