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Podcasts you have to listen to

14 September 2018 | Post A Comment

Podcasts are great. Nothing beats finding a new one that I just know I'm going to love and scrolling through the years of content to start at the very beginning and listen through the whole backlist quietly dreading the day I am up to date and I have to wait a week or even a month for a new episode like everyone else. There are many podcasts I love and listen to regularly but I thought I'd share with you the few that I have devoured from the first episode to current day.

Dear Sugars has been a favourite of mine for years and I am so sad that it has now come to an end. Although the last episode aired a few weeks ago you definitely shouldn't miss out on this advice podcast overflowing with honesty and compassion. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond give such incredible insight into a wide range of problems and situations. Each episode either speaks directly to an issue that I am struggling with or gives me an insight into the struggles of others that I can't imagine which is so valuable in helping me understand others. This podcast should be compulsory listening for everyone. 

Another favourite is definitely The Guilty Feminist. If you are a woman or know a woman this podcast is for you. It's hilarious and also so important and necessary. It exposes the many problems we have in society and is so encouraging in it's exploration of how we can solve them together. Often when I engage in content discussing sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism etc. I feel deflated and sad. But somehow the amazing Deborah Frances-White and her co-hosts and guests manage to keep an inspiring and uplifting energy that allows you to consider your own views and prejudices and how to deal with other people's. It's something we could all benefit from.

If you like reading then So Many Damn Books is a podcast you're going to love. I am now halfway through listening to all the episodes from the beginning for the second time! Drew and Christopher are excellent hosts, they are friendly, funny, honest guys who talk with a passion that keeps me excited about books. The format is great. We hear from an author and they talk about their new release followed by a discussion about a book they have chosen. Thanks to this podcast my 'to read' list is ever growing and my passion for stories is renewed with every episode.

Some other favourites of mine are The High Low, Under The Skin and By The Book and I am always on the lookout for new podcasts I can become obsessed with. What's your favourite podcast at the moment? I'd love to give it a listen. 

Little Things

7 September 2018 | Post A Comment

Sometimes, life is just too much. Sometimes, the pain hurts so deep that living feels impossible and if not impossible then pointless. At these times, thinking further than the present is too difficult, the future is too far away and there are too many obstacles to get there. I'm overwhelmed.

When I get overwhelmed in this way I have learnt to take a step back and slow everything down. I have to focus on the little things that bring me some level of comfort and lean into them. I just need to get through the next minute. The burden of living feels a little lighter already.

I make myself a herbal tea and drink it doing nothing else, focussing entirely on the feeling of the hot liquid flowing down my throat and the warmth spreading through my body. I get into bed and make myself as comfortable as I can and just lie there, letting my focus shift from each body part to the next from my head to my toes, feeling each sensation then letting it go. There's no worry or pressure to fall asleep because what happens in the next hour doesn't matter, we're taking it a minute at a time. I stand outside and think of nothing else but the feel of the air on my skin. I examine the contrast of where my bare skin exposed to the breath of the wind meets skin covered by clothes. I inhale the fresh air and with my mind notice the air leave my nostrils with a new warmth. I read a book and listen to the sounds form silent words in my head.

Just stop, just breathe.

Swimming on my own

1 September 2018 | Post A Comment

A couple of weeks ago I opened my eyes to the brightening of another day. Another day that could only have been the same as the previous thread of days that made up my sorry existence and the truth of that was too painful to ignore.

I rolled over and stared at the sleeping face of my comforting anchor and the pull was so heavy my heart physically ached. I wanted to stay there, in my safe place with my safe person for the rest of my life. But that's not life. Something told me. That's death.  

The seas around me are stormy. I had been holding desperately onto the hope that these storms had to someday pass. So I have allowed that anchor to hold me, forever waiting for this sea to calm. But the longer I stay in the sea the worse the storm gets because my daily tears just make the water levels rise and I was going to drown. I was scared my loving anchor already had. 

This was my moment. Something had to change. I had to take my small ounce of courage and realisation and grab onto it with both hands. I gently woke Rob up and told him through choked tears that I was going to ask my parents to come and get me, we can't do this to each other anymore, I am so sorry. 

That day was a blur of pain. I can't do normal relationships. I create dependencies that are so strong that breaking them hurts so deeply. I screamed clutching the sofa that night at my parent's house demanding to be taken back to the only person who could take away some of my pain. I wanted to run home to the only loving embrace that would calm my heart that was beating out of my chest in longing for what was not there. I closed my eyes and imagined that he was beside me until my breathing calmed and I was convinced he really was. When I opened my eyes the pain came flooding back. 

I was trying to stay afloat in these new open waters. The desperate reassurances from my parents were too far away and couldn't touch me. I was alone and I was so scared.

The first few nights were the worst. This wasn't a 'typical' breakup because my mind is complicated and I am not well. My OCD was tangled up in my dependency of the relationship. We had spent every night together for 18 months and my OCD told me that if this chain would be broken something terrible would happen. As stupid as it sounds, it didn't even seem like even one night without him was something I could live through. 

But with the help of valium, sleeping tablets and my own damn stubborn determination I did it. Time passes and we have no choice but to move along with it.

That relationship is over because it was unhealthy. We were hurting each other. But that doesn't mean we can't mould a new one together. We don't know what the future holds but this experience has shown me that when I have to, I can be stronger than the knots my mind has tied. 

Though I still feel very lost in this turbulent ocean I am determined to learn how to swim on my own. I can only hope I am strong enough to one day find myself in slightly calmer waters.