Thursday, 12 September 2013

Driving to Orco

Sitting in the van driving down to the alps my head is in a total mess. Dark, confusing thoughts come in sickening waves. Fuck no... not now... not this week. I'm supposed to be heading down to Orco for a break. It's not going to be much of a break if I'm feeling like this.

Luckily getting on Adam's insurance was too expensive, so I'm able to sit and ride it out while him and Ramon take turns behind the wheel. I sleep restlessly in spells, and try to detach myself from my thoughts - observing the stream but attempting not to judge. It's not an easy thing to do, but it does help figure things out.

Publishing my last blog post was a pretty big thing.

Not the writing bit - that was easy. Sitting at work the morning after, the story was burning inside waiting to get out. I had to take lunch early, I put pen to paper, and it just came out in one stream. I barely registered what I was writing, and the process felt very therapeutic.

But publishing it was different. Publishing fed right into my insecurities. I barely slept a wink for the next couple of nights... what would people think... are they laughing at me? or worse, are they pitying me?

I got a good response though, and I knew that as uncomfortable as it was, facing those insecurities in public was a good thing. Like standing on a ledge arranging protection, getting ready for a difficult and run-out crux. You can back down and learn nothing, or commit and find out what you're made of.

I was glad I had committed, and so those thoughts had already started to die down by the time I left work on Friday evening, and raced across London to catch my lift. Something else was going on, something unsettling lurking in the back of my mind.

It took me a while, but eventually I realised - the last time I came to the alps it was a pretty difficult time in my personal life. Someone very important to me was very unwell, and I had found myself lost for a while. Desperate to help but unable to do so, I felt helpless. It's horrible to be in such a beautiful place but unable to let go and enjoy the moment for fear of what might be.

There were clearly some bad associations left over, and my subconscious needed some time to wrestle with them and cast them out. I hadn't quite done that by the time we got here - arriving on Saturday afternoon we headed straight to the crag and I really struggled. On simple warm up routes I was petrified. I didn't trust the rock, I didn't trust the gear I was placing, I didn't trust my feet and I didn't trust myself to make the right decisions. My self confidence was just shot to pieces, in the one place where felt I should have it.

I let Adam know what was going on, and he was very understanding - offering encouragement but no pressure to get on with things. That, a good curry, and a good nights sleep, and I woke up feeling like a different person.

Thank fuck, the holiday could start.

The counselling has been a confusing process - some days the sessions feel hard but the after-effects are easy. Other times the sessions seem innocuous, but touch a nerve deep inside and all hell breaks loose in my head at a later point. Sometimes it lasts moments, sometimes hours, sometimes days. I think that randomness is the hard bit.

But like everything in life, the hard work is required if you want to get somewhere - and I really do feel like I'm getting somewhere now. The bad days are getting less severe, and the gaps between them getting longer. I know now that there will be no quick fix, I'm on a journey of self-improvement that will take the rest of my life.

It's a journey that's worth being on.

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