Could vulnerability actually be my best friend?

Go back 5 years and my thought process would tell me:

  • “I’m not good enough
  • “I can’t do this!”
  • “I’m missing something, it can’t be that simple”

and so on until it spiralled. Spiral into anxiety, spiral into depression and hating myself, spiral into comfort eating, not wanting to see or talk to anyone. In turn, roll on the mouth ulcers, the tears and self frustration.  It was so hard; I couldn’t and wouldn’t tell anyone. I was so scared they would judge me and maybe use it against me – like some people had in the past.  This was a continuous cycle every few years.  Life just felt hard and awful.

Now I just need to remind myself that feeling like this is okay.  It’s time for me to be my own best friend and look after myself.  To override that negative inner voice.  To breathe deeply and remind myself that I am capable!  I now know how good my life can be like when I listen to what my head and body is saying.  Just by looking after me.

So, how did I change that view, I hear you ask?

Cancer!

Seriously! It was being diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  I was at my most vulnerable.

My whole life was changing, I had to have surgery, I was going to lose my hair and I was potentially going to be very poorly.

Of course I had been vulnerable before.  There were times when my anxiety and depression was at its worse and felt that when I shared it, it was being held against me.  Yes, I did get treatment from my GP.  The problem was:

  • I felt that I was alone and wired wrong
  • Friends and colleagues didn’t know what to say or what to do
  • No one else was talking about mental health then.

However, this time my vulnerability was fighting for my life!  Little did I know when I started cancer treatment I would also have appendicitis and end up in intensive care – cancer obviously wasn’t dramatic enough!  My life and future was at the mercy of our fantastic medical professionals.

Because of my treatment, I had to start being kinder to my self.  To listen to what my body was telling me and resting when I needed to.  No longer rushing around at 100 miles an hour or filling my diary up anymore. I began to believe in me and felt I was allowed to be me.

How do I mange my thought process now?

Firstly and most importantly I put myself first and remember I matter.  My thoughts and feelings are valid and I must respect myself.

Secondly, I manage my breathing to calm me down before grabbing a cuppa and working on the best way forward for me, which could include:

  • Not judging myself – my life experience is different to everyone else and we are all unique
  • Writing down what my thoughts and feelings are and what is causing them.  I mind map how I can move forward.
  • Thinking about what those close to me would do, advice or think in this scenario
  • Talking it through with someone AND manage the response I want back.  Sometimes telling me the bloomin’ obvious doesn’t help.  I just want someone to listen to get it off my chest

So being at my most vulnerable helped me realise who my ‘Best Friend Forever’ is – ME!

This is a great quote from Brené Brown about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage”

Photo by – Kyle Broad on  Unsplash