How to…

…Recover from a nervous breakdown (5!)

Healing exercise no. 5: Life Assessment

I’m going to try to keep this one as short as possible, but when one goes through a full-blown and comprehensive assessment of one’s last 25 years on planet earth it can be hard to fit into a 600 word blog – I’ll try my best though.

After my breakdown I didn’t think right, I’m going to sit down and completely review my life; the way I think about things and all my priorities, I just knew that I needed to make a few changes but this did in fact lead to a complete review of my life; the way I think about things and all my priorities. Chris had to leave for a three-week work trip which looked like terrible timing but actually it provided me with the space I needed to reassess things, to think about how I’d ended up in this medicated and unhappy situation and what I could do to avoid it in the future.

Life assessment
Taking a closer look at life!

I guess in its simplest form the main change I’ve gone through is my attitude towards stuff. I seem to like stuff just a little but too much. Since I left university my life goals have been the acquisition of stuff. Of Teco’s Finest instead of Tesco’s Own, of jewellery and expensive cosmetics and fizz every Friday and chic clothing. I went from one unhappy job to the next and tried to compensate for this unhappiness by using the funds I earned to acquire more stuff. And after making myself so unhappy I had actually made myself incredibly ill I finally thought this is fucking ridiculous!

I’m not chic! I’ve never been chic! I spent my school years wearing toe socks with flip-flops! And all these clothes I keep buying have to bloody go somewhere – my wardrobe is fit to burst and actually the daily chore of trying to extract clothes from its contents and then strategically place the discarded clothes back in the wardrobe in such a way that means I can actually close the wardrobe door is making me really angry – every day! I also wear the same make-up every day, so why am I buying purple and green Chanel eye shadow pallets which are hideously overpriced and then putting them in a draw and NEVER USING THEM!? And all Fizz Fridays has ever done to me is to give me a big fat hangover on Saturday – the one day I don’t have to think about work! And I have more than enough beautiful jewellery – I am so lucky that I have been given wonderful gifts over the years, when did I stop looking at my jewellery and thinking how beautiful it is and started thinking if only I had ruby earrings as well as a ruby necklace? And if I’m completely honest – I couldn’t tell the difference between Tesco’s Finest prawns and Tesco’s perfectly fine other prawns if I tried.

I once sat at a cafe in the middle of Amsterdam, the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to, with the man I love and had a right moody strop about how I couldn’t afford some seriously expensive and (looking back) pretty damn hideous shoes. What is that about?! And recently I’ve been trying to persuade Chris that I should have an eternity band for our first wedding anniversary because I didn’t think that my engagement ring was quite big enough and I wanted more diamonds in my life – as my Oma would say “you shtupid voman!” What a silly way to live. What happened to the person who was made happy by shells and the sea and dancing in the rain and toe socks?! Where did she go? She got buried – under stuff.

running in the sea

Don’t get me wrong I have some clothes and shoes that I love (like really, really love), and wearing them makes me feel all swooshy and lovely, but I have more clothes that I bought for no real reason and they don’t make me feel swooshy at all – they’re just clothes. And I’ve had fab days spent shopping for cosmetics with my sister and I’ve had some great experiences eating at lovely restaurants and drinking expensive cocktails but the time really has come to realise that all that stuff is lovely in its own way but that it can’t even nearly make me happy.

laughing in medieval cloak!
Definitely one of the items of clothing that makes me happy – it was a present from someone who knows me too well!

I used to strive for a snazzy watch and a big house and lots of jewellery, now I’m striving to be happy, to do what makes me happy and the other stuff will follow if it’s going to. There’s nothing wrong with ambition and striving for a comfortable life, but there is something wrong if it makes you ill.

In time I think I’ll be able to find a job that I love – or even be able to create one out of the things I love to do, until then I’m going to take the time to get back on my feet and implement the changes of my life assessment.

So I quit my job. I’ll get another one in due course but a part-time one. I won’t have money for stuff but I’ll have time for things, like writing, sewing, making and being creative. Time to walk and visit the sea… and may be just the occasional Fizz Friday.

Milly happy in the sea

All these pictures (bar the one of my giant face) were taken by the amazingly lovely and talented Dorothy Allen, just incase you wanted to know.

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