• Gabby

When you hit a wall...

I don't think anyone has noticed that I didn't post anything to this space last week. There were less social media posts - I've been struggling with those for a while but last week was definitely a low point - and generally, less energy.

I did have a close encounter with the above mentioned wall. Not the small, easy to step over kind, but the one that's built up high, made of huge and solid rocks. The kind you can't see past.

I don't want to focus on what brought this wall up so close (the wall has a long history as I am sure everyone's walls have long histories), but instead, focus on the very fact that the wall was there, and how it's possible to manage this.

Spoiler alert: there is no quick fix. If you are looking for one, then I'm sorry to disappoint. I am a big fan of quick fixes, but unfortunately learnt it the hard way that they don't tend to work.

When it comes to walls, you can, of course get the bulldozer or jackhammer out and start to have a go at it. If you don't have experience handling bulldozers and jackhammers, then this process will quite possibly leave you exhausted or even worse, injured.

So whilst this approach might take you past the wall quicker, it might not work in the long term. Plus additional costs I've just mentioned (how do you even hire a bulldozer I want to ask but hey let's get back to our main focus).

Question is, what can you do?

Often, in therapy we spend a lot of time exploring all the different ways people try to get rid of something quick. Like reduce anxiety by drinking, or avoid situations that make them feel bad.

But everyone agrees that these behaviours (sooner or later) - although work for a short while - only give temporary relief.

And temporary doesn't bode well with walls and anxiety and other issues. They are a lot stronger than that.

A good starting point tends to be to examine the wall, and understand why it's there, why now, what it represents. And once this is clear, clarify what might be a good way to manage this that works for you.

Depending what the wall represents changing behaviours, adding new habits, talking, reflecting, relaxing can all be helpful, especially if you do it in a conscious and possibly guided way.

My way of managing the wall is to befriend it - to a certain extent. Sometimes I look at it and when I have time I even sit in front of it, and try to understand what it represents. It can even be comforting, as I am not trying to fight it. I am allowing it to be there whilst focusing on strengthening my own scaffolding - so when I am ready, I can start to work with it and maybe even go past it.

The takeaway message I'd like to leave here is two-fold:

1. take care of your scaffolding, as it's going to help you when you need it

2. get to know the wall you've hit and use it to learn and grow from it

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