Uni is in its final months for me, which means I haven’t had much time to write so today’s blog is just some musings from the last few weeks.
In 2011 I went to counselling for the 1st time, it was long overdue and I had probably been needing to go since about 1991. But that British stiff upper lip meant all things emotional got swept under the carpet, in the hope that they would just go away.
Anyway 2011 is when I first heard about the concept of the boiling frogs, my counsellor at the time (the very same woman who inspired my current journey into the counselling realm). Told me a story about boiling frogs, she told me how apparently you can boil a frog to death, if you place it in a pan of cold water and slowly turn up the heat. The same doesn’t apply if you drop a frog in boiling water as it will just jump out, but slowly, turn up the heat it will sit there in pain and discomfort until it boils to death. You may think at this point she probably wasn’t a very good counsellor but I can assure you this was never a practical counselling session, purely theoretical and as far as I know she never actually boiled a frog.
So why did the counsellor tell me such a story, well its an analogy for life, and it was very relevant to where I was at that point in my life, which was divorce and its been very relevant several times over.
In relation to drinking, you can apply the boiling frog theory as well. When i was drinking, I was aware that I was very, very unhappy, yet I did not know what to do, so I just stayed where I was, boiling away, miserable, hot and pretty uncomfortable. At some point I needed to get out of the boiling water, that just seemed impossible. Firstly I would need to find the energy to jump, and somehow I knew, there would be blisters, burns and pain to deal when jumped out. So, it felt easier sat there bubbling away. I had been there so long by this point, that I didn’t know any other way to live.
But jump I did! and guess what, it was uncomfortable, I did have lots of wounds to heal, which took time, self care and a level of being kind to myself that I had never known I was capable of. A few times I jumped back in that pan, just because I thought the water might have cooled, or that boiling in a pan was easier. Each time I jumped back out with the realisation that, no! Life was better outside that pan, even wounded and scarred, life was better when I wasn’t constantly bubbling away.
I met other frogs who had been in the same place and these became my tribe, we set about being kind to each other which goes a long way to healing those burns.
Life is good now but there are times I feel like a boiling frog again (no longer a drinking analogy) I’m uncomfortable at the minute, uni is hard, really, really hard and I’m in a constant state of anxiety. But I know that this is temporary, I actively look for healthy ways to ease the discomfort these days, I reach out to friends, I book a massage, I take care of myself as best I can. This makes sure I am resilient enough to pass through the discomfort and come out the other side
Bad days will happen and stressful times will happen but they don’t define me anymore or keep me stuck in that bloody pan!
Slight change of topic but its worth a mention, a few weeks a go I decided I was going to get fit, I committed to 3x a week on my cross trainer, but being an impatient sort, I thought I would try something different. I decided on weight training. I found myself a beginners course and off I popped, I’ve barely been able to walk since.
In hindsight I applied the same mentality to squats that I did to drinking, go hard and regret it tomorrow and quite frankly the pain in my legs is lasting as long as my hangovers did.
However, as I have mentioned this pain and questioned my future in the sport of weight lifting, to friends, several have said come running with me! Or running is better for you, you should do that. ‘I don’t like running’ I reply. Which is usually met with 2 responses, ah no-one likes it to start with, you get used to, or you must be doing it wrong I love it! Er, I’ve been able to run for quite a lot of years I’m fairly sure I know how to do it and I spent enough years miserable I am not going to actively go out and do something I don’t like. Because despite the pain I am in, I enjoyed my first night strength training.
I never realised there was so much peer pressure in exercise and and fed up of it, I DON’T LIKE RUNNING! I make a point of looking for things that challenge me in ways I’m likely to enjoy, running is like purgatory to me, so please stop with the pressure.
Luckily being sober I’m happy to be a bit different but in the beginning of my sobriety I did try running even though I hated it, I did it because all my friends were doing it, so I felt it must be good and the fact I didn’t get along with it meant there was something wrong with me…….much like my drinking career actually.
So I’ ll stick with my cross trainer and the weight training but I’ll ease up on the squats until I get stronger.
And for all you boiling frogs out there, make the leap, its worth it
(no amphibians were harmed in the making of this blog)
Till next time