It’s so easy to get lost in an emotion and forget it will pass. When I feel a certain way, it takes over completely and I lose sight of how I won’t feel like this forever.
Take now. I feel such dread. Unsettled, uneasy and deflated. I feel small and defeated even before the day has begun and I’ve dreaded today for over a week. I have my counselling course on Fridays and because of the pandemic we are doing the sessions over Zoom. Learning has therefore been a little stripped back and whilst it has worked better than expected, you just don’t get as much out of it as you would if you were in the classroom with the tutor and peers. Well. Today is fishbowl day and I want to vomit just typing it. This, and presentations, is the worst part for me – I genuinely hate it. My brain senses a trigger and translates it to extreme danger. It’s so frustrating because I understand how it doesn’t belong there, how the signal my brain sends to my body is misplaced and just gets activated by a trigger. Still, I can’t make it stop. Not yet, anyway. Perhaps with time and more work I’ll get there but as of now I still get overwhelmed by it. Even though I know the present moment is a safe and compassionate environment, my heart starts racing, I find it hard to breathe and I start shaking really badly.
There is no way around it. Or over or under. The only path forward is through it. So I’m trying to remind myself that this is just one little step, one little day. The journey is a positive one. Like running a marathon. Overall a great thing and a wonderful achievement but there will be an inevitable and inescapable level of pain. Pushing through that pain when your body is screaming out to you to do the opposite – stop, hide, rest, give up, make it go away – is ultimately a victory and possibly the thing you’ll look back on and be the most proud of. So that’s how I’m trying to view today. I won’t die. I’m in a safe place. There is no hostility or meanness. It’s such a small moment in the grand scheme of all this. And by 3pm this afternoon, I will be out on the other side. I’ll get to the finish line and it’ll feel amazing. It’ll feel amazing because I’ve faced the fear and done it anyway.
Fishbowls = doing a counselling session with a peer in front of the tutor and the rest of the class. Max 20 minutes.
20 MINUTES! It’s nothing! I tortured myself in my addiction for over a decade. I suffered almost non-stop for well over ten YEARS. 20 minutes? Even if I completely fall apart, it’s just such a tiny unit of time and if it does turn into absolute torture, it’ll be mercifully short. I’m trying to put my trust in myself and my ability. I’m not a qualified counsellor. We have still just really scratched the surface of theory and skills. I’m not expected to be great at it. The exercise is partly there to help me see my blind spots and ultimately a tool to improve and learn. And whilst it might feel like an eternity and the seventh circle of hell if I go blank or get stuck, it’ll just be seconds and everyone is probably too busy worrying about themselves to massively notice and note how useless I am. And I’m not useless. I’m learning. I’m nervous in these situations. Actually make that terrified. But there we are.
Time to face the fear and do it anyway. And in just a handful of hours today’s session will be behind me and hopefully I can once again say I did something I never thought I could do.
Today I’m not going to drink.
…..besides, IMAGINE what today would feel like if I were hungover too???? What a shit storm that would be!! Not that I’d even attempt it. I can do this because I’m sober. So really, really:
Today I’m not going to drink.