So I promote surviving to thrive. If I am honest, I’ve felt impatient during my process, but I understand that it’s my ego and a part of me that needs success immediately. The curse and the blessing for me are that I am constantly able to reflect on my perspective, vision and outcome, – is my intention right? How is my mindset today am I an instrument for transformation and am I able to deliver a holistic approach? Or could I hinder the wellbeing process? It’s important for me to monitor my mental wellness, not just for me but for my family and my young people. It’s not been easy I assure you, but it’s been worthwhile. I blog to share with you guys what’s been going on in my mind and how the process plays out each month. And what a month October has turned out to be.
“Surviving is not just about food and shelter it’s also about being able to maintain mental order when your mind is creating chaos.”
Psychology could argue that I familiarise more with drama or the excitement from it. Histrionic personality disorder can be described as something that supports my theory when reflecting on my behaviour historically. Maybe I’m so used to the drama that when there is no problem to solve or issue to resolve I begin to seek it out. Maybe I’m so used to being a part of my own thriller, that normality is alien to me? As I get older I’ve come to understand as a woman how my experiences have shaped my world view of both men and women, and why the relationships played out the way they did. I aim to change the genre of my life and as a result – the script also. By recognising my triggers, and the programmed responses’ it has allowed me to reprogramme and develop new survival skills.
‘”Oh this is not my daughter, she’s the daughter of my sister that died, she’s not mine.’ My subconsciousness, imprinted with unclaimed ever since.”
Historically, as a care leaver and an orphan, my perspective was that the world around me was adjacent to me, sparse and lonely. The abuse was an everyday occurrence, as I began to venture out in the world when one perpetrator left another would appear. It was my norm, although I knew it wasn’t right. The way my friends and family behaved amongst each other as mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers etc. was the only insight I got to what it means to be loved and belong. To have a knowledge of something non-verbal such as love is beautiful and we all deserve to experience this. I knew love existed but there was a disconnect, it was like my heart felt recognition, but my experience told me otherwise.
Love ran out when it got to me. From as early as I can remember I have always known to be the parentless child in the family and amongst my friends. It was like being hit with the lonely stick twice as hard. 1. By losing my mother to sickle cell and my father to addiction and mental health. 2. To then have to spend the rest of my life having everyone affirm how alone I actually was. Before running away, I remember when I was 4 years old, there was an occasion my aunt, her daughter and I went shopping. When we would stop and chat with people, I would always hear her say ‘ oh this is not my daughter she’s the daughter of my sister that died, she’s not mine.’ My subconsciousness, imprinted with unclaimed ever since.
By the time I was 4 years old, I already knew that most adults were dangerous, some were good but they tend to leave or die early. They lie and disappear. I knew I would never feel belonging in other peoples homes even if those homes were with family. Every waking moment of my existence especially as a child, I was aware I was alone. Alone in my home, my abuse and my bouts of depression. I didn’t know it was this at the time, of course, I was too young. So I want you to know, I know the depths of that feeling of isolation. That feeling of no one caring, if something happened to you would anyone notice? And by the time you emerge from your thoughtful slumber, adulthood is upon you and that’s scary and it’s twice as scary with no guidance, Yes, life can be a harsh reality for most of us, not having a support system in place can be very traumatic and detrimental to anybody’s mental health. I had to heal from the fact that my mental health was triggered way before my peers could even read.
To me it felt like when you make yourself visible to the world others’ expectations are thrown into your reality and with little to no adult guidance, how do you deliver with REAL confidence and self-assurance? And so the opportunity is lost and the affirmation of ‘not quite good enough’ is set once more. Can an orphan recognise things such as love, acceptance, connection and achievement? We have to experience it for ourselves first, right? Not just constantly experience the need for these things (loneliness affirmed once more.)
Thankfully, my current reality is in a state of transition. I am still here – surviving. I have chosen to stay grateful and keep surviving so I can thrive once more. For me, to thrive can be a simple thing such as waking up and having your first thought of the day be positive, or that moment you felt like not showing up and you did anyway. Managing to come out of a panic attack you had and then you faced the world anyway, you’re a survivor. You’re allowing the thriving process to have momentum, and each time you are tunning into your wellbeing. But take baby steps, my friend. The process is no straight line with one destination, you will arrive places that will confuse and frustrate you but will enrich you and thus transform you.
“I just have to hang on, put one foot in front of the other and survive to thrive.”
So I’m here I’m currently in survival mode, I am currently classed as homeless and at first, it hit me hard, it was unexpected – Just as I begin to settle financially, my landlord wants his home back, another trigger for me to have to rewire. Having no stable foundation presses on my natural survival responses, historically as a care leaver my response would be ‘where will I go, where will I live?’ the panic is unbearable. I’ve decided to stay calm, I now understand that survival mode is a shit place but a place all the same. Be brave in your pursuit to make a change. So I decided to do what I can when I can and breathe. I give myself small targets to work towards and speak my gratitude every day. I try to give back where I can and be consciously compassionate to myself and others. I have made an effort to try new things and strengthen relationships.
Was it worth it? Yes, do I have to stay mindful of my mental health? Yes. Will I continue on, yes. Why because I truly believe that individuals historically and currently like myself have a right to be the best person they can be. Its never too late and if I can make an impact on those younger than me, and facilitate a smoother transition, into adulthood then my purpose is being fulfilled. so many of our young people are losing faith in us as adults that we turn a blind eye to their trauma especially to those that are not our own. What if I had chosen to stay invisible?
I’m 35 years old and only now has the penny dropped that I too can thrive. like many others out there I had to feel what it was like to be loved before I could be activated. I promise you things will transform and those times you believed love wasn’t for you, it’s not true, love is abundant and available to everyone. Love comes to you in ways and through people, you don’t expect. The family and friends I have now have taught me how to feel settled in my new acceptance.
I have accepted that my mental wellness is more sensitive than most, and for that, I will forever be conscious to stay self-aware and true to how I’m feeling. Before my survival skills were to over-attach or avoid attachment. we as human beings need each other to learn, heal and grow. We are all Interconnected, a part of the whole, the collective. My old survival skills were from a place of fear and confusion, forming isolation. Ultimately resulting in my connections with others twice as hard and short-lived.
I will always be a veteran of the disadvantaged, disenfranchised and disengaged. I am part of that community, no matter how many years pass. So what was I missing to be able to feel true belonging and a healthy sense of community? I stumbled across the question I needed to ask. ‘What do I need? financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. When I was younger, I was never able to voice what I needed. It took me most of my adult life, but Now, I know what I need. To continue to heal. And encourage others to do the same.
I need my heart to heal, and, to be open to more loving relationships. I need to feel more joy. I need to know abundance, I need real authentic connections, trust, honesty, loyalty. Unconditional love, belonging, inner peace and mental clarity. For me, I need to be an instrument of kindness to others at the highest level, I need to see this in our world. What do you need to heal and grow?
I need you to know I am human just like you, I don’t have it all the way together I still wake up anxious and go to sleep anxious. I fight every day to feel at ease with facing the world. my survival is my blessing and curse, on one hand, it saves me from danger and on the other hand, it prevents a beautiful experience. I’m not a doctor all I know is no one can possibly feel great every day, even the best of us, hide in plain sight. And that’s Human nature. So how do you keep it together whilst in survival mode?
“To experience is to live.”
I focused more energy into my passion – survive2thrive. you can never tire when you are focused on your passion. I made a conscious decision to push through my anxieties and think of the alternative to my fearful thinking. Survive2Thrive is more than a business name, its a concept. It’s an intangible feeling that all should be reminded of, that you must first survive so you can Thrive. Keep going and practice. Practice having self-reflection, patience, compassion, self-awareness, self-discipline and trust in the self. I announce gratitude every morning. I don’t waiver on my decisions. Those times you think you might just give up, just take one step at a time. All you’ve got to do is survive. With this, in time you will thrive.
“life is an eternal school, to own who you are is true graduation.”
I created new habits, I removed friends and family that were not serving me. I faced my debts and reconfigured my foundations. I built stronger connections with myself and those close to me. So far it has been true of the saying when one door closes another opens and the opportunities I have in my future are exciting. work is at a steady pace and my circumstances are not as bad as I first catastrophised them to be.
I am scared and I have accepted I will always be scared. I know this is just the primitive part of my brain yearning to stay in survival mode. Through compassionate focused therapy, I realised I was the worst critic of all. I am learning how to be less critical to maintain high self-esteem. I now understand how My pseudo confidence was a survival skill that is no longer needed. And so the mask can be removed..
I try not to overthink things, now I go with how I feel and if today I feel like a survivor than that’s O.K. I hope sharing my reflections with you will inspire you to take the steps to meet the best version of yourself when its time. And feel the freedom you gain from being your true self. Your life here is not meaningless, you have purpose and passions to live out, to experience is to live. The bad comes with the good, but experience all the same. Now, I am grateful for every experience and know that life is an eternal school, the reasons, seasons and lifetimes are the courses you take. you fail some and excel in others. The most important thing of all is when we take responsibility for our choices and own who we are only then is this your true graduation.
you must know that I know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in, unlearn all that you were taught by others about who you are, it will help the process. I promise. If I had believed what was presented to me as my supposed life when I was a child, I would be in a completely different reality. You must know, you matter, you’re not alone, next time you are stuck in survival mode and are close to defeat, I hope you think of me and know there is someone out here Surviving to Thrive every day too and is thinking of you.