It’s Raining & Pouring & My Husband is Snoring

I haven’t been writing. I need to write. I don’t know what to write any more.

I am incredibly lost and directionless. Without writing I can’t clarify my thoughts and find direction.

I’m currently surrounded by people in distress. There are people in my world with significant worries. Beautiful people who were there for me when I was dark and desperate and incapable of knowing what I needed. Now in their own individual ways, my lovely people are experiencing varying degrees of stress and pain in their own lives and I want to give back in any way I can. In order to be there for others, I have to look after myself and I haven’t done the most fabulous job recently. I haven’t done a terrible job, but I could be doing better. Self-care is not one of my superpowers.

Sometimes it takes the perspective of seeing other people’s problems to remind me to stop wallowing around in my little pit of self-inflicted sorrow. I need to spend time looking out, not in.

I have been doing this ACT course and it’s overall focus is acceptance (hardly surprising – ACT stands for Acceptance & Commitment Therapy). Lots of strategies on sitting with thoughts and feelings. Don’t push them away – just acknowledge and accept. Sit with pain. Notice the world around. Keep perspective. Mindfulness. Mindfulness. Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the buzz word of the 21st century. Sit mindfully. Eat mindfully. Wash dishes mindfully. Great in theory but who has time to wash dishes mindfully? I don’t even wash dishes. That’s what dishwashers are for…

While it’s raining sorrow around me, I need the emotional resilience to reach out and be there for loved ones, while retaining perspective on my own life. Chanting the old classic serenity prayer…

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

The courage to change the things I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Always been a rather weak area for me – in particular that last line: the wisdom to know the difference…

I can’t solve other people’s problems. Geez… can’t even solve my own. But I can listen. And while I suck at taking advice, I’m pretty jolly good at dishing it out. So that’s what I do. Listen, dish it out, stay in touch, send out hugs – real and virtual. For a lot of life’s problems, there is nothing else to be done.

When I was fresh-faced and young a lot of problems were solvable. Need a driver’s licence? Do the hours, pay the money, sit the test. Need a job? Pound the pavement until you get one.

Now that my face is no longer fresh and youth has long since bid me a fond farewell, problems are less readily solved. Incurable illness, relationship breakdowns, terrifying teenagers. I could catalogue an interminable list of issues that bring grief. And grief can be contagious.

It must be shared though.

They say (not sure who “they” are), a problem shared is a problem halved. If your problem is gonorrhea please don’t share. But if your problem is emotional, trust me – you need to share. Be it large or small – a little worry or paralysing grief – share the pain. Emotional pain left unexpressed simmers away, eating you from the inside out. And one way or another you’re affected. The choice is whether or not you are letting the pain go, or hanging onto it and watching it grow.

Trust me – I know this. Because that’s what I did. For 50 years I swallowed every piece of worry and stress, no matter how large or small. I brushed it off, stayed strong, and stayed silent. Silence = shame. Nothing is so shameful you can’t tell somebody. You are never alone. Just choose your somebody carefully… Nothing is ever so burdensome to others they can’t help you shoulder the load. That’s why we have friends – to share the load. A night of joy and unbridled laughter is nothing without a good friend. And when the tables turn, we still need each other.

So my little world is full of pouring rain at the moment. I’m fortunate it’s not my rain, but I’m going to pop my umbrella open and see if I can rescue a few drops from landing on others.

And as for my husband’s snoring? Well… You know what they say about when it rains it pours… He has man flu. I banished him to the spare bedroom so I don’t have to listen to the earth moving for all the wrong reasons. This too shall pass…