Blog: Cheeky reset
So first I must apologise for not talking to you for a while. I’ll be honest, it’s been a tough one lately. So you know how I always bang on about bad things happen for a good reason? Well something happened to me recently that floored me, just a bit.
And it’s taken me a few weeks to wrap my head round it.
I got spiked with the date rape drug.
I’m not a big raver. In fact, I never really was. I was always in work.
Now I’m a Mum of 4, I very rarely go out. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year tops.
But it was my Dad’s anniversary in April. Two years since he died. When it happened I was pregnant so didn’t have the luxury of wallowing in the loss.
The first year, I was coping with life after a newborn who was born 2 months early so this year, I really wanted to celebrate my Dads life. So my niece and I went for Tapas (My Dad loved Spain). We went out at 5ish, finished the meal at 7. Had a few drinks in quiet bar. At 9pm we moved on to another bar that I love. At 9:30 I text my husband to say goodnight.
By 10pm my niece and I were destroyed. She could barely stand up. I went from tipsy to shit faced wrecked in the space of about 10 minutes.
Now I’m not a big drinker, but I come from a long line of alcoholics on one side, and thoroughbred Irish on the other. So I can handle my ale.
Now as some of you might know from my ABOUT page, I was nearly raped on a night out. So when it comes to drinking, even when I’m thoroughly and happily drunk, I’m still hyper vigilant. I never leave my drinks unattended. I never let my friends go the toilet alone. If a gent comes up to me to chat, even when I’m rotten drunk, im still sussing them out, being wary. I don’t trust anyone. Which is sad, but true. I see everyone as a threat to me and mine. But it’s also a blessing, because I only let people near me who I trust on instinct. I’ve learned that my inner radar is very very good at sussing people out. Being Emphathic helps too (You can learn about that HERE)
So when all of a sudden I found myself inexplicably bladdered, as I watch my lovely, 18 year old niece almost sliding off the couch (She can hold her own too) my hyper vigilant nature threw my fight of flight response into high gear.
One minute we were at the table and I was trying to figure what had happened, the next thing I knew we where in a taxi on the outskirts of town pulled over while my niece vomited all over the street. I don’t even know how we got in the cab.
By the time we got home at 10:30 my husband had to carry us both out of the taxi because we could barely stand up.
And so ensued several hours of vomiting, shivering, and hysterics from me, of hours waiting for an ambulance. Of passing out and coming to. Of screaming my head off that terrified my poor kids asleep upstairs. I was so fucking angry and so fucking furious that someone could take away my control that I absolutely lost it. And I’ll be honest. It scared the shit out of me. Too many times in my life have I had my power taken away from me. Nearly being raped, nearly dying of pneumonia, being in the London bombings and that’s not even half of the stuff I’ve been through.
So it shook me up. Badly. And I didn’t quite know what to do with it. The first thing I learned is that thanks to all that shit I’ve been through, my hyper vigilance kept us safe. As soon as I knew this wasn’t my normal, I had us in a taxi and we off. I wasn’t even aware I was doing it (God bless you subconscious) God knows where we might of ended up if my paranoid brain hadn’t told me to run.
The other thing I learned was the importance of knowing yourself. Now I’ve been through a hell of a lot. But what I’ve learned in all the hell I’ve been through is who I am at my core. NO ONE can give you this information. You can’t by it on a course, or find your answers in a book (believe me I’ve tried) You only find out who you truly are when life tempers you. When it brings you up to breaking point, but stops before you snap. And the years of drinking, the happy nights out doing tequila shots and beer bongs, back in the good old days when it was buy one get one free on bottles of WKD and 50p shots, yeah I learned what drunk feels like for me. But do you want to know something? No matter how pissed I seem, no matter how drunk, I still think clearly. I’m still aware of who’s behind me, where the exits are, where the fire escapes are, where the token weirdo is who might be a threat. So I was able to recognise and react very very quickly when I recognised something was up.
No one can give you this information, but no one can take it away from you either. Knowing yourself through and through is the greatest and most powerful gift you can give yourself.
Who are you? Why do you do the things you do? Where did those reactions come from? What memories are driving your behavior?
I’m hyper vigilant because I’ve been through several life threatening situations. My brain lives in a place that sees everything as a threat. This isn’t normal although it is very common in people who’ve been through traumatic experiences and it is a major sign of PTSD.
(If you constantly worry something bad is going to happen its called General Anxiety. It’s also common in parents who panic about the safety of their kids especially if you’ve been through a traumatic birth. You should look in to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) if you experience this)
Our actions and behaviours are fueled by the experiences we have. Which is great, because once you are aware of this, you can change it. Or use it to your advantage. By knowing yourself and what fuels your behaviour you can pick and choose which parts of your nature you love, and what bits you’d like to change.
To change a behaviour find the memory that causes it. Then forgive it, journal it away or adapt and learn a new way to handle similar situations.
The other thing I learned from this experience is that sometimes, life gives us an opportunity to do what my husband likes to call ‘A cheeky reset’.
So life punched me in the gut again. I got the wind knocked out of me, had to hit the deck for a while and keep my head down while I wrapped my brain around the trauma. Then once I figured it out, I jumped back in and carried on.
I love gaming (when I get the chance) so for all my fellow 90’s geeks, lets use Lara Croft as an example. Back in the days before you could spawn straight back in where you left off things were tough for us old skool gamers. I’m talking, get killed, have to start the whole frustrating level again. Well, that’s what happens in life. You fume because life killed you off for bit, but when you come back, you’re a little bit wiser. A little bit more in the ‘know’.
There are no failures in life. Yes sometimes it takes us a few frustrating goes to get passed each level. To climb up on to the next bit of enlightenment or get over your next hurdle. But you always feel a sense of achievement when you do. It would be no fun if it was easy. It’s in our nature to like a challenge.
So that’s what this was for me. A point in my life where it was game over, just for a while. Because I’m choosing to start over again. Im choosing to pick up where I left off. Because the game can’t beat you unless you choose to quit.
So the next time life floors you just remember it’s chance for you to start over and move forward wiser then you was before. It’s not game over. It’s not the end. It’s just a cheeky reset.