How to Move on From Painful Emotions with Compassion

How to Move on From Painful Emotions with Compassion

Is it possible to move on from painful emotions accumulated from bad experiences in life? Very much so. Our experiences of life, it’s ups and downs shape us as a person in a certain way. From the day you were born, your mind is learning the world surrounding you for one sole purpose! To keep you alive and safe.

Your five senses are constantly scanning your environment for potential threats and feeding you data on how to navigate around those threats while keeping you safe. Experiencing these threats and living through some sort of danger developed our fear to make us cautious.

I talk a lot about fear and its purpose. The purpose of fear is to keep us alive and safe. Period. A child who touches a hot stove and burns his hand knows better not to touch it again and handle the hot surfaces with attention and care. So, fear is a learning process, it is an antidote to the life-threatening danger out there.

 It is exactly the same with emotional and mental safety. So when you experience emotionally painful event; whether it is a childhood trauma, bullying, breakup of unfaithful relationship, lie etc. your mind registers these experiences as a ‘danger’ data, and develops an antidote fear to keep you careful and avoid such situations in future. But what happens when your fear gets out of balance?!

 Practicing Self- Awareness

Too much emotional fear is crippling, it stops you from becoming the best version of yourself and try out new opportunities. Ultimately too much fear will stop protecting you, instead it will become the single source of all your pains, worries and misfortunes.  

That’s the reason why it is absolutely important to take the time to heal the pains of bad experiences, spend time with yourself, find out who you are in your heart, your values and what is truly important for you in life. By getting in touch with your core self, you can start showing the compassion and support you need to yourself. Practicing self-awareness can tremendously help you to catch the harmful and self-destructive thought patterns. If you don’t know how to practice self-awareness you can follow these five simple steps:

  • Stop if you notice your mind is filled with anxious thoughts and your heart is racing. You can actually stop doing any physical activity you are doing at that moment and shift your focus to your present reality.
  • Scan your body for any sensations, emotions, and any physical pain. Acknowledge the presence of these sensations and feelings; whether it is a racing heart, flushed and hot skin, throbbing headache, burning throat. Just simply acknowledge their existence in your present moment and notice if thee is any change.
  • Connect with yourself once you are aware of how you are feeling in body and mind. Place one hand on your heart, and one on your belly, and take three deep breaths. Spend equal time in breathing in and breathing out. Connect with your senses, notice where you are, what you feel with your fingertips. Keep breathing in and out and feel if there is any smell in your surroundings, whether it is pleasant or not. Close your eyes and visualise the inner parts of your body, your heart, your lungs, blood circulating through your veins, etc.  Notice how they feel inside your body by visualising them,. Notice any changes in your heartbeat, in your pulse.
  • Detach from all self-destructive thoughts once you are connected with your body in the present time. Remember you are not what you think, the thoughts come and go as the situation changes, and mistakes will let you grow, not turn into a complete failure. The main thing is to give yourself a plenty of compassion and love when you are hurting. With time your core values will get you back on feet again and you will be able to think and analyse the past experience with less pain and bias. Give yourself that time.
  • Reconnect with real tasks ahead of you once you detach yourself from your negative thoughts and make the distinction between your fleeting thoughts and your core values. Remember, you can’t change the past and undo the events made you feel this way, but you can build up resilience and emotional strength by giving the necessary support and attention to your inner being.

 Accepting Your Emotional Pain

It is good to ask a lot of questions about certain events in our lives, but in some point, it is better to accept that there may not be right answers, or answers to make your pain go away. Often times we burden ourselves with asking “why me?” “why did this happen to me?” etc and etc. To be honest, there are many reasons why this happened to “you” and why you had to endure such emotional turmoil. But there is no one simple explanation why it happened to you and what could have you done to prevent it from happening. Even if there were, why ruminate over something which will never come true?!

Better to accept that you cannot change your past experiences. And you are most definitely not alone in this, there are so many people in the world who had to go through such experiences or worse.  You end up hurting yourself more, by singling yourself out in your experience, fall into isolation and your unresolved pain ends up putting you into self-destructive mode. The worst part of it is, often times the fear and self-destruction gets internalised in our subconscious mind, which means you keep going through the same patterns not realising why you are doing it. Or how you can change this pattern.  

 Choosing to move on from Painful Emotions

Actively choose to move on with conscious mind. Why? Because your past may have been hurtful, but your future is untouched yet, and only you can define it by your own rules. What do you choose? Do you choose to continue the same patterns and feel the same painful emotions again and again, or do you choose to move on and with a bit of hard work to transform your life into safe, happy, and healthy place?

When you feel alone in your head, remember, nobody in this world has figured out how to live the best life with no pain. Everyone is trying their best by going through trial and error. You are one of the many, and sooner you realise this, faster will be your recovery and return to thriving social life. And your past experiences do not have to define and control your present and your future. You can read more here about how choices can affect our lives.

Overcome Your Lack of Self-confidence and Feel Strong Immediately

Overcome Your Lack of Self-confidence and Feel Strong Immediately

Let’s talk about common misconceptions of self-confidence and learn what it is and is it possible to attain it at all.

So, I got a text recently from a dear friend who sent me a screenshot of an email she recently received from a recruiter inviting her for an interview.

I immediately congratulated her and wished her a good luck. The next thing she texted me sank my heart a little. “What congratulations? I’m not going to get it….”

In the time I got to know her she has always been meticulous in her job, achieved so many academic and professional milestones, never missed a deadline and delivered a quality work. And yet her self-doubt and imposter syndrome have been keeping her in a place which didn’t make her happy.

All the other stories I hear from amazing ladies across the globe sound quite similar to me. Today another client was asking me advice on several options of her career advancement and self-development. I was suggesting her how to get a job in a desired place. She immediately responded to me saying that all those people who apply for those kinds of jobs are very experienced.

I asked her how she knew that and whether she met or spoke with any of those people?! And what makes her think that she has less experience and knowledge than any of those mysteriously amazing people?! We ended up having a long discussion.

Don’t reduce your destiny thinking some unknown people out there are better than you for the job! You are as good as any of them. If they can do it, you can do it! Instead of giving so much confidence and trust to those people who you’ve never met, who may not even exist, give that level of confidence to yourself.

Instead of saying: ‘I can’t do it’, say “I too can do it’, instead of saying: ‘others are better, smarter, more confident, more experienced’, say: ‘I too can be the best version of myself, I too can get to the place where they are, ‘I’m too gaining all the necessary experience and growing my mindset’.

Change the narrative in your head, change the words from negative to positive, and not a lala land positive, but action oriented, highly inspired, well planned positivity. Read my post on positivity here if you need some tips.

Remember, confidence comes from knowing who you are, remembering what is important for you in life, connecting with your inner world instead of blocking it and distracting yourself. Your values give you confidence, your hard work and small accomplishments can serve you as a proof that you are able bodied and able minded person. You just need to give yourself that attention you give to other successful people, if you could live one day in their shoes, you would know that what the outside world sees is not pure success filled with smooth and painless endeavours.

Remember, no one possesses confidence every single moment of every single day. In fact, if you ask the most confident and daring people, they will tell you how they question every decision they make, think through their every step million times, plan and re-plan things all the time. There is no failure proof action out there, everyone is bound to make small or big mistakes, sometimes losses and failure can be so painful and paralysing, but only those who can live through those moments, stay resilient and pick themselves up every time when they fall, can get to see the face of success. Confident people are not successful because they never failed or did any mistakes, but because they failed more than anyone else around them.

Once you realise how it works, it will not be that difficult to get into that mindset. But in order to shift that mind, you need to practice self-awareness and accept who you are and where you stand in your life with compassion. If a friend comes to you all beaten up with failure or heartbreak, would you ever say things like “you messed it up”, “you can’t do anything right”, “you are not good enough”? No, you wouldn’t. You would show compassion, support and reassurance to them, and give them all the help they might need. So, why don’t you do the same for yourself?!

At the end of the day, only you can change your situation. Other people can only support you, encourage you and be there for you at best. But if you don’t choose to act, you still will be in the same situation. Do yourself a huge favour and decide what kind of life you want to have for yourself.

Here are some actions you can take to start building confidence:

  1. Take a break from a social media for a day, week or as long as you can. See if it helps with your thoughts of comparing yourself with others. That can help you create some room for your own thoughts about what is happening in your own life. Glossy pages never helped anyone feel better about themselves. Strangely enough, even when we know that most of those social media photos are fake, polished, and filtered so much than it is what it looks like in real life, we still continue self-bashing with comparison. Acted out frozen moments in the pictures cannot show you the whole life and tell you their stories.

2. Walk in the nature, fresh air will boost your mood, but most importantly you will connect with the world and see that you are not a singular being detached from the world, but the opposite. That you are an equal part of this world and can equally access the good experiences life can offer. When you connect with nature, you can find inner peace and see the harmony of the world in one piece. That can give you the sense of belonging and a personal space to hold.

3. Reconnect with your values, find out what is important for you. You might be fearful of other people’s judgement, but no one can actually tell you or know better than you what is important for you. In times of anxiety and stress from the uncomfortable situations, connecting to your core values can help you ground yourself and take the right course of action, which then will turn into confidence.

4. Find out what type of support works for you. Some people like sharing and advising with close friends and family, and some people like to keep their plans to themselves until they are sure and ready to share. I for instance share my intentions with handful of people who can just listen to me and ask me right questions which then put me to the right direction. However, I don’t involve people in decision making process, because I like to choose the actions which work for me, and if they don’t, I still want to live through them, so I learn something from my mistakes. So, if you like to share and consult with your circle, then choose the right people who won’t preach, or jump into telling you what you should be doing, or worse, projecting their own fears and insecurities. Choose someone who can give you solid, objective opinion and can help you plan your steps.

 It takes a lot of courage and resilience not to fall into the pressure of the other people’s expectations. You don’t wake up to a big and full confidence, it is often the small decisions you take to take control over parts of your life build your confidence. My secret weapon is to say ‘NO’ to things which don’t suit me. I find people pleasing ungratifying, long, and exhausting act. It also somehow takes the power off your hand and makes you forget about your own needs. Being able to say no each time to situations which make you uncomfortable is very empowering. As long as it is polite and true to your core values, people won’t get offended, and you will end up gaining extra ‘ounce’ of confidence.

How to Become a Positive Thinker

How to Become a Positive Thinker

We are all way too familiar with the term positivity and positive thinking. One can’t even see three pictures even on social media before bumping into dozens of positivity posts. It has become one of the trendy buzz words, hashtag, and a popular escape thing to say to people around us. We start conversations with things like:

“Things are not well, but I’m trying to be positive”, or console each other with “let’s have positive attitude”. Is there any truth in it?

We live in a world where the time is the most precious thing to have, and everything moves with the speed of light, one moment we are reeling from the devastating news of death, wars, and diseases, and the next minute we are happily engaged in the chitchat gossip of celebrity life, viral social media posts, and let’s not forget the adorable cat pictures floating everywhere. Who wouldn’t love those, after all they are the epiphany of positivity motivators.

But how easy is it to make our minds become positive? What is it anyway to be positive and think positively?! Is it even good, or helpful to have better attitude, better days, finding better solutions?! And if the answer is yes, then how do you learn to become a positive thinker?!

Let’s speak honestly though, we all are humans, and we all go through ups and downs of life, and we live in a society which constantly tells us that everything will be fine, that things happen for a reason, to get on with it, to be positive and if things are going wrong, then your negative mind is attracting negative vibe from the universe. We even scold our children with words like wipe off your nose, chin up, be a man, don’t be a girl, be a big girl, big girls don’t cry etc. so we teach ourselves to sink into denial of reality, to things happening to us and to people we love and care. We master the pretence of being ok and being positive that we ignore our true feelings, true emotions.

But what happens when the true feelings and painful emotions do not go away, that it becomes a struggle, and alienates us from our friends, families, and wider society?

We falter, because if we don’t deal with our emotional pain and push aside our human experience, we end up developing internal struggle to cope. So instead of dealing with an unpleasant situation, we spend all our energy pretending that the problem doesn’t exist.

Do you just pretend that things are great, or do you delve into the reality and find out what is happening around you and to you?

In truth, I often struggle with such beaming positivity, my hard-wired realist and slightly sceptical nature always weighs up the pros and cons, especially the cons. Leaving the comforts of my familiar environment at a young age made me rely on my meticulous judgment of situations, risk aversion plans and make my life as safe as possible. It made me a bit of an overthinker too, but it has always helped me to make more or less good decisions.

Popular myth, the idea of this holy grail that we all should strive to become positive, and happiness as a goal is not supported by research.

If we set happiness as a goal, over time it sets us to fail, because as it happens, the happiness is a bypass product, not an end goal. Striving to think positively do not heal the pain, nor does preaching to be positive can actually teach you to become one.

So, what to do then?! In reality ‘positive thinking’ does not and should not omit the acceptance of bad things or negative things happening in your life. But instead, it should include how to better cope, how not to lose faith in goodness in the world, and hope for change. And it takes hard work discipline and practice. There is no magic way of waking up in the morning as a positive person. Believe me! I tried and waited for that miracle…

Develop solid healthy habits

Mine is running, when I run, things immediately change in colour, shape, and nature in my heart. I also find that when my eating habits are out of control, somehow it really affects my mood negatively even more. But I will talk about it in another post.

Use empathy

Empathy is an important nutrient for your soul. Always practice empathy. For yourself and for other people around you. By using empathy, you will understand that you are not a lonely soul, nor is your situation the worst one. And there is always a way out even when it feels like you are in the eye of a tornado at the moment. No need to whip yourself out of guilt or shame, remember you can’t change the past. Don’t say things to yourself which you wouldn’t say to people you care about.

Acceptance

Like I said above, the good place to start thinking positively is to accept that there is nothing much positive about this certain stage of your life. Whatever might be your dilemma; family issues, broken heart, loss of a loved one, financial problems, health issues, workplace bulling, being stuck in a rut… Just by accepting that your situation is not ideal at the moment, that it feels like your world is falling apart, that you feel pain in the places you never knew existed before, you can stop being in denial. Blame, guilt, anger, and sense of unfairness, they all accompany the devastation of a bad stage in life. Once you accept that all, you can then make some head space to think what you can focus on, and which feeling should be prioritised. Keep busy, have your mind occupied with work, study, or whatever routine you have going. Do it with discipline, it still may hurt or feel uncomfortable, but the pain will slowly get duller, anger will subdue and so on. One day you won’t feel so negatively about that particular painful experience anymore.

Cut or reduce toxic relationships.

Well, this is a bit tricky, the advice is to cut friends who consistently pull you down, make you feel insecure etc. I once had to cut my best friend loose, because we were not on the same page anymore. It hurt like hell, considering all the breakups I had, that one hurt the most, because I really loved her. Of course, years later we rebounded again, although the quality of the friendship is not the same, the new boundaries keep our relationship healthy. So, you can permanently or temporarily cut them off, it won’t be easy, but it is doable. The hardest part is when the negativity and toxic relationship come from your own family. It is much harder to cut your mother, father, or siblings off. So, what to do then? According to my observations, of the worst mental duress and negative conditioning came from the closest family members. Especially almost all the women I met had some kind of negative baggage from their mothers, fathers, or siblings. Although many women still prefer not to share such experiences out loud for fears of stigma and embarrassment, worst of the mental, physical, and sexual abuse also were caused by close or more distant family members.

Of course, then, these events would shape their entire outlook in life, their trust, coping mechanisms, mental health, future relationships, and confidence. Those experiences cannot be easily brushed off with the breeze of positivity as they suggest. However, by actively choosing to move forward and choosing to be happy, one can find some level of peace. For those who are struggling to cope, I strongly recommend seeking help from mental health specialists. Moreover, if you can, use regular therapy as a maintenance, once you get to a good place with your recovery.

Practice Regular Meditation.

Meditation also has become an all too often repeated trend. But I swear it works. People who never tried it before, like me before I tried, might imagine it as something only regular practitioners of yoga, and bearded Indian gurus and Buddhist monks do it weirdly folded positions. No, it couldn’t be further away from the truth. Meditation has many levels and layers. The basic one is just to connect with your breath. We know that whenever we are emotional, our heartbeat changes, our breathing accelerates, the face gets flushed, and the muscles become tense. These are also the symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks when we think we lost control of certain situations or of our lives. Just by connecting with your senses, breathing deeply in and out, focusing on your present surroundings, your sense of smell, vision, and touch, you can slow down the racing mind. Mastering the connection with your present is a great power and it gives you the biggest tool to take back control over your thoughts and emotions. And that is very important to change the course of your thinking from painful to pain free, from negative to positive to put you back to the present. The more you practice it, better you master the meditation.

Last but not least, being positive is not something which should force you to block your pain, your trauma, and your bad experience. It is a state of mind which gives you ‘despite things are not going so well right now, I will be alright, I can change this, I got this’ attitude. And believing that even when you don’t want to wake up to face the world or do some serious damage to everyone who hurt you, deep down you know that you can fix it, and choose happiness over and over again. To me, that is a damn good place of positivity!

Unhappy with your job? It is time for a career change!

Unhappy with your job? It is time for a career change!

Have you ever wondered if there was more to life than going through the same motions of uninspiring job day in, day out? I certainly have. In fact, every time I feel demotivated or frustrated with my job, I have the habit of checking the employment market to see if anything exciting was going on outside of my tiny little world. I also tend to google articles and blog posts about career change, finding a meaningful job which could give me a full satisfaction and make me feel useful.It turns out that I am not alone in this universe who turns to internet to find answers when they are not happy with their careers. If there is one thing I do not believe when it comes to employment and career, it is that there is no such thing as job for life, nor should there be.I think this old school concept of getting into a permanent job and stick to it until your life ends and you are covered with mould in a dusty office buried with million stacks of files and papers is so 19th, 20th century. We have one life, and we all want to make it count and use it for meaningful things which are important to us. Then how come we find ourselves in menial jobs, uninspiring bosses and endless dread and burnouts?! The answer is five-fold:

 

Money

I put this first, because let’s be honest, we do what we do not only because it is what we are trained for and passionate about, but also mainly because it is our livelihood, bread and butter, our token for a good life. Money may not buy us happiness (well at least not always) but it can certainly buy us some peace, time and commodities which can distract our brains and make them release temporary happy hormones. That is almost as good as true happiness right…?! But seriously, when your bills are paid and you have a roof over your head, it does bring us some peace and security, in the end of the day Maslows’s hierarchy of needs will always rule, our basic needs are the touchstone of our wellbeing and quality of life. And it all depends on money in this capitalistic world. We all know it too well, that’s why it makes it hard for us to leave everything and walk out of unsatisfying, mentally draining jobs not knowing how you will be paying your next bills.

 

Getting institutionalised

Do you remember Brooks Hatlen from Shawshank Redemption, an inmate who commits suicide shortly after he is released from prison? Red says that Brooks has been in prison for so long that he has become institutionalised. So, what could this possibly mean?! We humans are creatures of habits.  It is because our brains function in a way to find easy ways of finding solutions and establish routines and certain level of discipline, so the brain doesn’t have to use so much energy to do everyday activities. In other words, the brain works very hard and burns a lot of energy in a new environment, say when you move to a new city or country. It has to concentrate harder to do the risk assessment, and focus on keeping us alive by finding food, water, and a place where we can be safe to sleep to recuperate our bodies. Once these survival things are established, then it becomes a habit for us where to get our food and how to get home safely, which transport to take and which road to walk to. It all becomes very much mechanical, and anything which might knock this routine out of balance is perceived by our brains as a threat to our safety. In a workplace, it is exactly the same, we get used to the tasks, daily patterns, even uninspiring tasks, and tyrannic bosses can be tolerated as opposed to what could be waiting or not waiting for us outside of this cosy, familiar, at times super uncomfortable comfort zone. Even if it keeps us imprisoned, kills our creativity and exploration of our other potential, the freedom can be so scary. So, the brain takes it as a risk and starts producing long list of things ‘why’ we cannot do it, why we cannot or should not take the risk.

 

Loss of Confidence

Unfortunately, the downside effect from the above reason is losing confidence. Especially if you worked in ‘mechanical zone’ for a long time, if your work has stopped challenging you and you haven’t grown in your thinking, creating and achieving, your confidence starts faltering. You lose track of what is happening outside of your world, what the new and progressive technologies are, what the recruiters’ expectations are, etc. In fact, the underlining and real reason of all the excuses we tell ourselves to leave the unhappy and miserable jobs is fear. Fear that we are not good enough, and we will fail, because we do not deserve better situation than we are already in. Once you know how to face your fear, it all falls into right perspective. With little planning, research and updating your skills, joining the right network groups, you can find your inspiration again. And once you find your inspiration, you can find the will and inner strength to face the unknown. Because you will have a good plan which will work for you, which can also include a buffer, a safety cushion even if you fail it a little bit in the beginning.

 

You can’t afford being unemployed for any period of time because of financial/family commitment

This reason is quite complex, yes, it is harder to get up and go when you have a family and large household expenses. You would need to consult with your other half who may not be very thrilled at the prospect of loss of income, or maybe a new job might require a relocation. I work in a sector where the essence of the work demands rotation and relocation all the time. I know first-hand that it can shake the best of us. Single people struggle to find partners with their constant moving, families suffer, because partners can get fed up with following their other halves around the world while de-prioritising their careers, social circles, friends and other interests, or waiting for their spouses from R&R to R&R, the children are affected through this unstable uprooted lifestyle and families fall apart. So how do you deal with such situations?It is all about choices and finding out what is really important for you personally and for your family. See in a broader picture where your future is heading to, whether your partner is on board fully and enthusiastically, or are they just at their wits end with this dead-end situation. The change does not happen easily, it is uncomfortable, scary and at times emotionally taxing. In this life where we pay for things with time, money, or health, whatever you choose you are paying for your choice with one of these resources. So, it better be a good choice which is fulfilling and make you feel content.

 

Outdated skills

Yes, this is inevitable, with rapid evolution of technology and internet, things are changing with the speed of light. It’s not like in previous centuries that if you get a good education and learn few skills, then you are set for life in employment. These days things are changing fast, the organisations and businesses which can’t adopt with the same speed, are losing their supporters, profit and public confidence. I’m a strong believer of life-long learning. Although I do struggle with catching up with all the “cool” and modern technologies with limited available time, I do my best to attend courses and trainings to see what is happening outside of my work bubble.I heard the frustration of stuck colleagues all over the world where I worked so many times and their internal issues are quite similar. They don’t know what is happening outside of our work sector, they are too scared and don’t have much faith that they are employable elsewhere. Some of them don’t even have CVs. Not knowing how to change their situation, they keep going through the same patterns, letting their well being and mental health decline in the process, families and personal lives are affected.

 

To put my two pennies’ worth

Take the leap of faith and plan your exit. You can break it down into smaller steps; save up for any gaps in employment, brush up your skills, definitely prepare your CV, it can also help you see in one place what you have achieved and what skills you’ve developed over the course of your long employment history. When you are ready and well prepared, it will become less scary to embrace the unknown…
Decisions

Decisions

I recently had a knee surgery to remove torn meniscus. About four months ago I snapped it and had a 3rd degree tear, it was painful every day for all of the four months. I kept delaying seeing a doctor hoping it would get better by itself.

So much so that I even got used to the pain, it was uncomfortable, but familiar condition I noticed every single morning when I woke up. I slowly started reducing the things i love to do, like dancing, walking in the nature, going to gym, running by the sea…

My new reality started becoming dull, boring and colourless. But we all can get used to things no matter how good or bad they are. We can live with the pain whether it is physical or emotional, we learn how to live around it, to think around it, and we start blocking how much this pain actually influences our every single move, and thoughts. Slowly it takes the joy out of life, we get used to it. It limits our possibilities, we think it is only normal, we get used to it. It stops us from embracing our full potential and explore new opportunities, we say this is just life, we can’t do everything, we get used to it.

Months after months, we get used to it and one day we wake up and we are not the same person we used to be. Our unresolved pain dominates all aspects of our lives by then. Through this knee pain I realised how much unresolved emotional pain I have been storing for years, getting cosy with it, saying that’s just who I am, my experiences shaped me as a person I am today, etc. It is all true, of course my experiences and painful things shaped me as a person, I tried harder to get ahead in life, but true me is still there somewhere inside me, every time she shows up, something amazing happens, something exiting and exhilarating. I get to heal some of the pains, I forget my self- limitations and move forward just a little bit at a time.

This true self reminds me that I can change things, I can choose to either continue living in a discomfort of the never forgotten pain, or choose to say no, I still have a bit more to go. It took me four months to say no to my knee pain. I could not get over the fact that I was no longer running ad feeling the breeze on my face. I was not ready to settle for reduced lifestyle. My facts were very obvious in front of me, I could continue getting used to a changing life filled with uncomfortable pain, limited activities, or I could start doing something about it, research and explore what could be done to remedy it or whether it was possible at all.

I’m a person who does not like to be ill, not because I’m a screaming face of a healthy lifestyle, (haha) but because I’m a terribly mopey, whiney and miserable ill person. Although I’m very much realist about the facts of my health condition, I do not beam with positive ‘oh it’s all fine, I’m going to get better in a heartbeat’ attitude. Going to see doctors and going through scary procedures creep the shayt out of me and triggers my anxiety. But it is what it is, if I want to get better, I have to go through all that, there is no way around it.

What helps me immensely though is to research it, to get all my facts right, every word a doctor says is checked against available data, I research survival rates, side effects, recovery time, etc. I need to know what exactly I am choosing. This is my process, it helps me to tame my anxiety, and eliminate all the possible excuses I can throw at myself in my moments of indecisiveness. Plan the course of action, even financially, administratively and emotionally. Whatever helps to make the decision to change the situation I’m not happy with.

So, I did all that, I read endless numbers of medical articles about meniscus tear, what to expect from surgery, how long it takes to recover, whether I would be able to function normally again, ie run, dance, hike. Where to do my operation, go back to UK or do it here in Azerbaijan where I am currently residing. I watched numerous youtube videos on surgery, recovery, post op exercises.  I did it all, then I realised I had no excuse left, I had all the information I needed, all the support I needed. All I had to do was to make the decision to get the surgery done and choose a pain free life.

Five days post op later, I am very happy to report that the dull and persistent pain was gone immediately, my knee is recovering beautifully, and I am already walking. It turned out that the hardest part of the surgery was the procrastination, unreal imagination and preparation, the procedure itself was completely pain free, I was awake with local anaesthesia babbling the whole time during the arthroscopy and even watching it on the screen as it’s been done. And now my anxiety is gone, and the prospect of running again with the breeze on my face carefree is looking pretty great…!