Monday 29 April 2013

How to eat an elephant

There's a lot going on right now in the life of Rosy. If I start telling you everything, we'll still be here a week next Tuesday. I have an exam on that day so can't afford the time right now to tell you everything. Needless to say, I'm pretty stressed.

In the past, when I've been this stressed, I've pushed and pushed to keep going until I break. However, since I started seeing a counsellor, I'm aware that my body is telling me I'm stressed, but my brain is able to take a step back enough to let me write to do lists. Of course, I still have trouble remembering words, getting halfway through a sentence and forgetting what I was going to say, walking into a room and forgetting why, and I still find myself staring out of the window at the building work over the road. But having a list at least reminds me to do the stuff I need to do!

A very close friend and I were recently talking about the process of counselling. For some people, the process comes naturally - they're happy to talk about themselves and how they feel. For those people, emotion is a normal part of daily life. Actually, they're the people who probably don't need

For those of us to whom none of this comes naturally, counselling is probably the last ditch attempt to deal with the inability to understand our emotions before we either accept that we probably need to think about medication or we're past that and the men (or women) in while coats will soon be knocking down the door.

I've seen counsellors in the past, mostly on the instruction of someone else. Unsurprisingly, nothing worked. When I went to see my doctor this time last year, I was adamant I could do this on my own. I don't need to waste an hour a week waiting for someone to say something, anything, just to break that awkward silence (no-one told me the counsellor will wait for you to speak first. So basically, I wasted countless hours all because of my inane need to be polite.) And I don't want to become dependant on someone else to make me feel better.

Anyway, I've digressed. You're probably wondering about the title of this post. Well, you know those days when you're very aware there's something you should be doing, and you know that everyone else knows about it, but no-one wants to be the first to talk about it? That's what counselling is like for me.

When I first went to meet my counsellor, I assumed he'd be able to fix all my problems in the twelve weeks allotted to me and I'd go away 'better'. Of course, the twelve weeks flew by, and as I became more confident and able to talk, I became more aware of the elephant in the room. And week by week the elephant grew and grew until it reached the point that it was so big I couldn't ignore it any more.

Someone told me the first step in counselling is recognising the problem. The problem is we've spent so long ignoring the elephant that we've dealt with all the fluff around it, which has just given the bloody animal more space to fill. To the point where I know I need to tackle this thing, but I have no idea where to start.

After a couple of weeks off (thanks to my epic trip to New York) I realised that the elephant isn't one big elephant, it's actually lots of little ones.

What's the best thing about little elephants? They're easier to pick up, one by one, look at from all sorts of angles, and then throw out of the window.

So dealing with my metaphorical elephants one bite at a time seems to be the way forward. I just need to catch one...

This has given me an awesome idea for my next tattoo (sorry mum).

NB. I'm not going to tell you what my elephant is. Also, I am vegetarian and would never condone eating elephants. Metaphorical or otherwise.

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