• Charli

Wellness Matters 19.11.2021

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This weekend a few members of Columba 1400 HTLA Cohort 50 are catching up for ten pin bowling and a long lunch. The past two years have flown by and this is our first opportunity to physically reconnect, having been thwarted during lockdown, and we will really miss those who had to opt out for family reasons.

I’ve said it before and I'll say it again: HTLA Columba 1400 was the start of something truly transformative for me, and I will continue to pay it forward.

Like many of us, my mental health hasn’t always been as positive as it is now, and I am grateful to be in a good place today, knowing this generates an empathic approach when coaching my clients.

However, as many who have experienced trauma will know, there are triggers which hurtle us back to being scared, anxious and frightened without a voice.

Over my lifetime, I have been subjected to unwarranted, aggressive intimidation from men. I also have had to contend with the insipid 'alright darling, give us a smile.’ I would respond by ignoring them, but over time I began to be worn down by their small but significant assault on my character.

I practice what I preach: offer kindness, show forgiveness, smile, say good morning, but another comment would render me powerless and throw me off course. These incidents are few and far between these days, thankfully, and tend to be the mainstay of the 50+year olds, which is still unacceptable.

Not so long ago a pub acquaintance (65 + years) asked me how my business was, and when I responded how pleased I was that my client base was growing, they responded with a wink and a nudge and leeringly smirked: ‘Ooh, clients, eh? And what services do you offer?’ I was speechless and very angry. I could not find the words to retaliate.

My own advice that ‘no response is a response’ serves me well on many occasions, but it can also prevent necessary action being taken, like being clear there is no place for sexist behaviour - ever.

My fairy lights were deliberately cut a few weeks ago, and a dark tunnel of self doubt, low self esteem and bruised confidence loomed in front of me. Although I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I was struggling to get there. Before phoning the police, I had to prove who it was by looking through my CCTV, which took hours and increased my resentment, further damaging my mental health. I persevered and sure enough, they are under cover of darkness but clear as day, tampering with my fairy lights, leaving them in pieces and then (conveniently) walking towards my CCTV. It is now in the hands of the police and my mental health is slowly recovering.

Whatever trauma or challenges you have faced, you are likely to be inadvertently propelled back there at times, but by reaching out for help, you can emerge stronger and possibly even more resilient. Old patterns of helplessness start to diminish, and being kinder to yourself is a priority. Almost as soon as I verbalised to my family and close friends just how badly this petty act of vandalism had affected me, I began to recover, because I wasn’t alone.

Toxic elements which impact on your life can be managed, so if you are struggling, please call Samaritans now. Don’t wait, just do it.

Let’s spread kindness by engaging in small acts of support to each other, actively listening, believing and empathising.

When I had a delightful and unexpected request to coach one of Cohort 50 last night, they thanked me and said, ‘You’re good’, I replied, ‘I know!’

If you would like to talk to me about how coaching can help you, please book through my website

I look forward to hearing from you.

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