An old flatmate got cross at me earlier this week for having the blues. She’s been going through a really tough time and thought I should be counting my blessings.
I’m not sure counting your blessings has ever convinced someone to get off the ledge, has it?
Not that I was on the ledge, but you know what I mean?
While I’m usually a pretty upbeat person, sadness bubbles to the surface sometimes.
I suspect I’m recovering from a mild form of PTSD, caused by a situation in a previous workplace. I feel guilty even describing it that way, since PTSD usually involves death, injury, torture or abuse.
Beyond Blue describes the symptoms this way:
Have you then experienced any of the following:
- upsetting memories, flashbacks or dreams of the event?
- feeling physically and psychologically distressed when something reminds you of the event
If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least two of the following:
- had trouble remembering important parts of the event
- had very negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world
- persistently blamed yourself or others for what happened
- persistently felt negative, angry, guilty or ashamed
- felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
- feeling cut off from others
- had trouble feeling positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)
And have you experienced at least two of the following:
had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
felt easily angered or irritated
engaged in reckless or self-destructive behaviour
had trouble concentrating
felt on guard or vigilant
been easily startled?
A few years ago, I could answer “yes” to many of those questions.
But I’m on the mend, or as John Mayer would say, “I’m in repair.”
Something that’s helped with my recovery is my anti-bucket list. A traditional bucket list is filled with experiences that a person hopes to have during their lifetime.
My anti-bucket list is filled with experiences I thought I didn’t want to have during my lifetime.
Take yesterday. It was a balmy 27C in Sydney and I was determined to do something to make the most of it. A friend suggested I go paddle boarding with him in the ocean
My first response: no thanks!
I mean, I can’t swim and I’m not sporty AT ALL.
But then I thought, bugger it, I’ll give it a go!
And it was magical.
Dave is a top bloke and a former president of Bilgola Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, so he pulled a couple of paddle boards out of the surf house, whacked me in a life jacket and got me out past the breaking waves and onto the board.
He went back to get his board and told me to start paddling.
I paddled and paddled and paddled and then thought hello … I seem to be coming up parallel with the headland. I looked back to shore and realised I was waaaaaaay out to sea.
But I wasn’t scared, the water was gloriously clear, the sky was dazzlingly blue and the world felt like a pretty special place.
I paddled back in again, dumped the board and floated around in the glassy aquamarine water for a while.
After a quick outdoor shower, a bacon and egg roll and a flat white it was back to the real world.
I felt at peace as I drove back down the coast. It won’t last, but it’s a lovely reminder that serenity is possible and lovely.
I don’t have a photograph to prove I was paddle boarding in the ocean. I’d like to say I looked just like the girl in the main photo on this blog post … but nah!
That bulky lifejacket made me look like a very pale, half-naked lumberjack.
Did you have the chance to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine yesterday?
Song of the day: John Mayer “I’m in repair”