Wednesday 4 June 2014

Getting outside my comfort zone to get back inside of 'me'

I'm sorry to say the surfing didn't quite go as planned. Apart from being far, far, far more strenuous than I ever imagined, I spent the first day with a monster of a sore throat. By the next day it had developed into sweats, a hacking cough and an even worse sore throat. By the afternoon I was in bed - and the next day I made the immediate decision to come home while I still felt safe to drive. I have been here, in bed, ever since!

But never mind, I persevered, at least as far as I could on the first day, even if I did spend the last hour or so lying horizontal in my wet suit on my surfboard on the beach, feeling half-dead.

So I guess I can tick that off my list of activities Outside My Comfort Zone (OMCZ). I've also made copious notes ready to write it up at some point along with the 9 (did I hear you say 9?) further OMCZ activities on my list. It began as an attempt to get my life back after almost 5 years of caring for my son as he plunged into and out of his eating disorder. The idea was to show that, rather than opt for softer, self-soothing options like body massage, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and the jacuzzi at the gym (which, don't get me wrong, I have been doing and very much enjoying), I needed to drag myself kicking and screaming back to a real life.

Back to 'the real me', in a vain attempt to get something back of who I was before Ben's eating disorder all but destroyed our lives.

You see, it struck me that, following the eating disorder, there is very little that I am afraid of.

If you have read my book Please eat you will know that I have been to hell and back. I have watched a deadly illness threaten to kill my only child and all but destroy the latter half of his teenage years. After having been this far into hell, there is very little that frightens me except if my loved ones were to develop a terminal illness and / or die.

OK, I realise that sounds a bit arrogant. "Look at me, aren't I the brave mum?" kind of thing...

If the truth be told, lots of things 'do' still scare me, but what I mean is that they don't scare me to the extent they did 5 years ago. And some of the things that used to scare me - like speaking in public, for instance, or trying to get in and out of my swimming costume on the beach with nothing more than a small towel - now seem, well, positively silly.

There are activities, however, that I would never in a million years have considered doing as they are way out of my comfort zone. I don't mind going to the gym or swimming pool, and I love the odd country hike, but even I turn my nose up at something like going camping these days. I am too old for that. Give me a cosy cottage with a log fire any day (like the one I was staying in earlier in the week...)

These are activities I would probably never want to try ever again and will probably hate. But at least I've done them. And, in some way, I find that helpful in helping me to return to the person I used to be.

(Okay I admit that in the last entry the aim was to do FUN things, but now I've done the surfing, I'd describe it more as 'endurance' rather than 'fun', as far as I'm concerned - so I've moved the goal-posts in what I am aiming for with these activities. It may just be that, through this, I do have fun. I hope so!)

#1 was surfing. So I can tick that off the list now.

#2 is caving / potholing. I have already booked for a day's tuition in July.

What do Ben and Paul think of all this?

They just laugh, of course...

But I don't mind. After all we've been through together, there's nothing wrong with a bit of roll-around-the-floor-taking-the-Michael laughter - even if it is directed at me!

PS: A massive thank you to the gorgeous guys at Surf South West for attempting to teach me to surf on Saturday!

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