Sunday, 19 March 2017

Trust

Trust...


Such a little word, isn't it? But with such big implications.

As a child, we just kinda 'know' that our parents will be there to care for us, to feed us, bathe us, catch us when we fall, wipe away our tears. This simple understanding lays the basis of our trust relationships throughout our lives.

For most of us, our first experience of broken trust comes on the school playground: a harsh word spoken by a friend, a promise broken, a secret revealed. But, for most of us, these instances teach valuable lessons regarding friendships, respect and integrity. Even in these difficult times, we find a lesson to learn.

The most painful lessons in broken trust come from the people we care most about. One bad relationship can ruin our ability to trust for years. And if the person we finally open up to, betrays our trust again, well then chaos generally ensues.

Making the decision to try rebuild a trust so deeply broken is not one to be taken lightly. It takes hard work and commitment from both parties. However, I have come to realise that sometimes we need to let go of the fear ad worry for our own benefit. By clinging on to whatever happened, we are merely allowing that fear to dictate our lives. Sometimes, you need to forgive someone, not because they deserve forgiveness, not because you think what they did is right, but because you deserve peace.

For someone with anxiety, that is often easier said than done. We overanalyse, overthink, expect the worst. But, especially in my specific case, I think the person deserves a second chance, and I know, more importantly, that I deserve peace.

Monday, 13 March 2017

The last 6 months in a nutshell

Half way through March... How did we get here? Why does my December visit to my dad feel like it was a life time ago? How have our lives become such a crazy rush from one day to the next?

The last six months have been intense... I have cried and wished and fought harder than ever before. I have experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of the past years, but through it all, have continued to learn important lessons about life, about myself, and about the people around me.

In October 2016, I had a big health scare. I spent a week so ill I didn't want to leave the bed, and to make matters worse, J was sick that whole week too. Knowing he felt as cruddy as I did, I felt so sorry for the poor little guy! In between us all being ill, I had to pack up our flat, and prepare for the big move into a new house with E. We went from our little family of 3, to a full family of 4. Getting used to sharing 'my' space with someone was a challenge in and of itself. And to crown off that week of sickness and stress, I walked into the office on Monday 31 October, only to be told that I was being retrenched. It felt as if the ground had been torn out from under my feet, and it was the beginning of a very bad downward spiral for me.

Luckily, with the help of friends, family and E, I found a new job within a little over a week, and I started working again less than 2 weeks after being retrenched. But, some times I get reminded that nothing in my life ever comes that easy. That weekend, I learnt a very hard lesson about trust,forgiveness, and inner strength. I can look back now and realise in what bad shape I really was during those weeks and the weeks that followed.

You see, I suffer from anxiety and depression. I replay scenarios in my head for months, even years after they occurred, analysing my every move and word. I practice phone calls and conversations in my mind long before I even open my mouth to say a word. I worry about things that probably will never happen. I jump to the worst possible conclusion whenever I am unsure about what is going on. I spend hours analysing who said what and how they said it and what people think of me and if I'm good enough and if I tried enough and what if no-one loves me and what if people aren't pleased with me.... If I'm being a good enough mother, a good enough girlfriend, a good enough daughter and sister and friend and employee. There is a voice in the back of my mind that never shuts up... I hear it gossiping about me, wondering about how I'm shaping up compared to other people, guessing if I'm good enough to be wanted, to be needed, to be accepted. I avoid confrontation, to the point of allowing people to emotionally, mentally and verbally abuse me. I get myself so worked up, that eventually I can't breathe, that my heart races and my palms sweat and my scalp crawls. I take calming tablets before going to events where people might be looking at me. Although I 'like' people, the idea of introducing myself to someone new and striking up a conversation gives me heart palpitations.

I don't talk about it, very few close friends and family know, and I grew up being told that mental illness is 'all in your head'. Reaching out and getting the help I needed was tough, it still isn't easy. Looking back now, I don't think I've ever been in such a dark and ugly place in my life before, and the idea that I could so easily spiral back into that dark void of nothingness fills me with horror. In truth, publishing this post fills me with horror, but that's the point isn't it? To unashamedly write what I'm thinking and feeling, to stop caring so much about what people think, to spend more time doing what makes me happy.



Sunday, 10 July 2016

Reflections 10.07.2016

I always thought I knew what I needed in life, what I needed in a man and what I needed in a relationship. I thought I had my perfect man completely figured out in my mind. I had my perfect relationship pictured like a crystal clear photograph in my imagination. When my previous picture-perfect image backfired, when what I thought I wanted backfired horribly and felt me reeling, I was disillusioned and cynical. I became bitter and hardened and sceptic.

When you happened into my life, you were so far removed from every possible imagining I had ever had. You were the complete opposite of what I expected. You were unlike anything I could have dreamt up in my wildest dreams. And you turned out to be exactly what I needed.

You challenge me: my way of thinking, my knowledge, my world views. You make me yearn for knowledge and flame my intense thirst for figuring out the world around me. You make me think and make me see the world through new eyes. You accept my eccentricities, my random bouts of insane energy and the way my mind runs a thousand miles a minute. You understand my need for adventure and fun, my silliness, and the way I get excited at the little things around us.

But, you also accept my dark side, my constant worries, my overthinking, the way I get so caught up in my thoughts that I imagine the worst possible scenarios in everything. You calm my fears and talk me down from the edge of madness in a way I have never previously experienced. You know what I need even before I know it, and go out of your way to be there for me in everything.

You play a bigger role in the boys' lives than you could ever imagine. You fulfil gaps in my parenting that I didn't know existed, and challenge me to be a better mom in a way I can never thank you for. You have sacrificed so much to be the dependable person that the boys and I need.

You make me so happy, and I can never say thank you enough for everything that you have grown to mean to me. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Negativity

I have been feeling really drained the last while - mentally and physically drained. I have been seeing the worst in people and situations, focusing on the negative, short tempered and irritated, and it is not like me at all. It took me a long while to figure it out, but I think I finally know why.

There are people around you, people we encounter in every day life, who are Joy Stealers. They see only the bad in every situation, complain about everything, belittle and bemoan others. They are the Negative Nelly's, judgemental and condescending, very vocal about their opinions about the situations around them. They are the people for who life never seems to work out. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is always necessarily their fault. Sometimes, life does deal someone a bad hand, especially in our current economic and political landscape, but it remains your choice how you choose to react to it. The choice between a positive and a negative outlook, rests with you. Instead of loudly complaining about the situations you find yourself in, why not try be part of the solution? Change your outlook, change the words you speak and the way you react in certain situations and you will be amazed at the difference you will see in yourself and in the people around you.

To get back to the beginning of my post, I realised that I had allowed the negativity of others to influence the way I was viewing the world. I allowed the bad attitude of someone next to me, to dictate the attitude with which I approach my day. And, to follow my own advice, I decided that I need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. It doesn't help that I blame my bad patch on the bad attitude of (someone else. Starting today, these are the steps I need to take in order to put my positive frame of mind first:

  • Remove myself from negative conversations
  • Acknowledge the feelings of the other person, but realise that I do not have to agree with them
  • Suggest ways in which their views could be improved, instead of merely shutting down their opinions
  • Build my internal barriers strong enough not to let their negativity flood into my psyche

Try, in the coming week, to challenge the way you react to situations. Try get someone close to you to approach a situation with a positive mindset, and if that doesn't work, reset your own frame of mind, so that you don't allow the negativity of others, to make you negative.

And remember, happiness is a choice!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Finding My Tribe

As you are all well aware, things have been very VERY quiet on here lately. The only person I can blame for that, is myself. Life has been a b*tch in the past year, and I fully admit to letting the circumstances around me get the better of me. I allowed outside influences, people who are not worthy of my tears, to dictate the course of my life.

In the past year, I have loved, hurt, loved again, experienced loss, smiled, cried and laughed. I changed careers, moved towns, travelled, and challenged myself. I studied again, followed my dreams, and continue to work towards my goals.

Looking back on it written down like this, it is easy to see the many places where I could have fallen down and chosen not to stand back up, to allow life to get the better of me, but I didn't. And looking back now, I can see that it is solely due to the people I have chosen to fill my life with.

Everyone close to me knows that I don't have many friends. I have loads of acquaintances, 'fair weather friends' as my mom calls them. Those who are always there when things are going well, but who have no idea who the real Elmarie is. But the lucky ones, the ones I have learnt to let in, they are the friends who I will lay my life down for, and who I hope will do the same for me.

My friends, my tribe, are from all works of life, all cultures, all histories, each with their own dreams, their own goals, their own ideas, their own fears, but who understand me in a way that I did not know was possible. They are the individuals who push me, support me, encourage me, call me out, put me in my place. They have seen me cry, heard me laugh, listened to my dreams, helped me conquer my fears, pushed me towards my goals. They are the people who have seen my true self, who have accepted me for my excited squealing, my awkward dance moves, my insecurities, my pain. The people who have seen my true heart and not run screaming. The people who know what a handful I can be and who still choose to put up with me. And the people without whom I most definitely would not be the person I am today.

So, I urge you, go out there and find your tribe. Seek the people whose souls connect with yours, and cherish those friendships. Find the people who accept you for you, and hang on to them dearly, for it is your tribe who will help you get to the top of your mountain.

And to my tribe, to the people who know who they are, words can not explain how grateful I am to each and every one of you. You are the reason I am still standing.


And remember, happiness is a choice!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Control the Controllable

Every one you ask, will tell you that I am a worrier. A planner. A little bit of a control freak. I over think everything, play out various scenarios in my head, imagine a million possible outcomes for just about every situation I am faced with. Looking back, I've kinda always been like this. I like knowing (pretty much exactly) what to expect from what I am going through.

To put it frankly, it is exhausting! I have realised lately that I can not possibly control every aspect of every moment of every day of my life. I can not possible predict every reaction that other people have to a scenario. I, personally, have no way to control the global job markets, to influence someone's health, to manipulate someone else's circumstances.

In the past few weeks, I had someone special tell me that their motto in life is 'Control the Controllable'. How true isn't that thinking? In any given scenario, there are only a few factors that we really, truly, have control over, only a few aspects we can influence. No matter how much we worry, and stress, and over think, there will always be situations outside of our control.


What do we gain by constantly worrying about situations that we can not influence? What can we possibly wish to achieve from all this constant stress about things we can not control? How does that help you as a 'control freak', if you have no control over most of the outcome anyway? These realisations hit home for me over the past week, and I have decided it is an area of my life I would like to work on. Yes, I am still allowed being prepared for situations that may arise, but I will no longer spend countless hours in a tizzy about things that are out of my control.

I hope I can inspire you to do the same.

As always, remember that happiness is a choice! 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

When happiness is not simply a choice

I always tell people that happiness is a choice, that it is as simple as deciding to be happy, and having that feeling manifest itself in your life... But I have realised lately that it isn't always that simple. What is, no matter how hard you try, you can't muster that feeling of happiness? What happens if you can't shake that sadness, can't wish that heartache away...

I know that I have been quiet on here lately, and this realisation is exactly the reason why. I have been in an unshakable funk for the past few weeks, and I couldn't muster the energy to preach happiness if I wasn't feeling happiness in my life. After tossing around post ideas with my little sister (Hi Sis!) a few weeks ago, she told me to just write and see where I come. I spent a while after that looking for some way to write a post brimming with inspiration and love, but I kept coming up blank. Eventually, I realised that writing about my current feelings might be exactly the therapy I need to get my groove back.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed lack of focus and direction, jumbled thoughts, loss of interest in my friends and family.  I started dreading most of the things that usually bring me joy. I lacked energy. I felt like I was just going through the motions, and it took me a while to realise that what I was feeling was a form of depression. Now, the reason for my sudden de-motivation is unknown, but I do know that I am going to take it as a learning curve, and turn it into a positive experience.

As with anything in life, I think the first step towards any healing is to realise that there is a problem. Knowing myself well enough meant that I realised I wasn't feeling like myself. I had a few people close to me also point out that they had noticed me withdrawing. I was able to pick up the signs, before they lead to potential disaster.

Sometimes, what we need most, is a bit of self love. When we know ourselves well enough to realise that we need help, we can make sure that we are open to receiving that help. Take it easy on yourself, give yourself time and space to work through your emotions. Say 'no' to people, to obligations that would further stress you out. Confide in someone close to you that you are struggling. Take all the time you need to work through the situation, but don't allow yourself to be caught up in it. Analyse it, acknowledge it, deal with it, and then move on.

Spend time on what you love, while you let yourself heal. Indulge in a good cup of tea, read a good book, eat a chocolate, whatever will make you happy in those small moments. Make sure you know that this situation, these feelings you are struggling with, are just temporary, and that they do not define who you are.

Take the opportunity to regroup, and refocus on your goals. Never doubt your self worth, or your potential, not even in your weakest moments.


You are a powerful being, created to do more and achieve more than you ever thought possible. Stronger than you know, more determined than you think, you are more than just your current situation, you are more than your temporary feelings of weakness. Each time that you fight a personal battle and come out stronger, you prove to yourself, and to the world, that you are a force to be reckoned with. A beautiful, caring, loving, powerful force, ready to go on and make a difference in the world.

So remember, happiness may be a choice, but it remains your choice, your battle to fight, to come out on top.

Love always!

*Disclaimer - this post is based on my personal experience. If you struggle with depression, please seek professional help. You are loved! *