My new normal

I’ve pinched this title from a magazine article I was reading this morning as it so resonated with me. The article was about a lady who had suffered a brain haemorrhage and had been in a coma. Albeit slowly, her physical recovery improved but as the month’s passed she struggled with how different she had become. How going to bed one day as ‘the old her’ and waking up as somebody very different left her feeling exhausted, miserable, angry and very sorry for herself.

I get this completely. I haven’t suffered a brain injury or been in a coma but I do know what it’s like to suffer with mental illness and emerge from it as a different person.  And learning to accept that I am not, and will probably never be, the same person I was before, has all been part of the healing process for me.

This too shall pass

It’s very easy when difficult feelings close in to get angry with my brain for feeling this way, to have the ‘why me’ mentality, to feel a victim to my condition. But this does not give me agency over my own thoughts and feelings. This way of being allows my thoughts to control me.

By living with awareness I can lead the way. I know my triggers now, I feel the feelings coming on, I head off what I can from the moment I feel them arising. And the rest, well, I know I can deal with them if I accept and ride the wave, knowing this too shall pass. In the meantime, I am gentle with myself, I journal, I meditate, I walk, I rest, I gently exercise and it makes the waves so much easier to ride.

What’s normal anyway?

Above all, I accept the ‘new me’, the ‘new normal’. There are things I’d rather not have to deal with, but they have shaped me. Mindfulness has taught me to lead a much more present, richer life. I appreciate the everyday. I have calming techniques to rise to challenges I never thought possible to achieve. I have met some wonderfully authentic, beautiful people on my journey and, above all, know myself so much better now. My ‘new normal’ is a wiser, more open version of my ‘old normal’. Open to new experiences, new ways of being and living a more connected life rather than skimming the surface as I was before.

Life is rich in experiences, good and bad, but the difficult experiences are the ones that help us understand our own inner landscape at a much deeper level. Through healing, through resilience, through love and kindness, we can shape our relationship with ourselves for the better. And if we are prepared to do the work of discovery we can find the path to our own new normal, to wellness. After all, what’s normal anyway?

My new normal, In the Moment magazine, Issue 32, Dec 2019


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