I was so excited when the idea hit me. The title for my new book would be Staying Sane When Your Spouse Isn’t – A Crazy Path to Happiness.
A perfect title for the road I’ve been travelling for the past three years (read a little about it here). This book will help people in a similar situation to mine, but maybe aren’t navigating it as well.
Being a spouse to someone with mental health issues is not an easy place to be. It vaults you into a kaleidoscope of emotions and situations. It’s a world that’s as strange and unfamiliar as the one Alice faced after going down the rabbit hole. The gamut of outrage, grief, anger, despair and helplessness can run a course through any given morning, let alone a day, week, month or year.
While it might sound crazy, I’ve been able to navigate through this exceedingly difficult challenge fairly well, which is why I want to share how I’ve done it. I definitely have my days, but on the overall, I can say that I am the best me that I have ever been. Even my children have said this is the happiest they’ve seen me, and that’s quite the statement coming from three 18-year-olds!
When you add in the fact that I’ve been coaching, mentoring and training in the personal development field for more than a decade and educating myself about the things that make people tick for at least 20 years, you’d think that my confidence level would be pretty good launching into this new endeavour.
Immediately, all my negative inner voices went to work listing all the reasons I shouldn’t or couldn’t and why I wasn’t good enough to write this book. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but those inner head games can be pretty exhausting, not to mention tough, especially when they seem to go on and on without an end.
I visualize them like being a bit like a football game, with the negative voices lining up as the defensive team, hellbent on holding you back. You’re in one end zone and in order to achieve your dreams and goals, you have to get to the other one, by getting past all the defensive blockers in your way.
I imagine the announcers calling the play by play.
There she is folks just walking onto the field. She’s just gotten that brilliant idea and she’s ready to run that ball called dreams and goals to the other end of the field. Here’s the kickoff. Wow! That ball has some real air. She’s tracked it down though. She’s all the way back in her endzone and has made a perfect catch! She’s making her dash up the field. She’s out of the end zone and picking up a little speed. Oh no! I thought she’d get a little farther but Self Doubt has tackled her at the second yard line.
She bounced up quickly though. She’s lining up and has the ball again! Here she goes! She’s running straight up the field, but it’s like she doesn’t see what’s right in front of her. If she doesn’t look up she’s going to get smoked! Yikes! What a hit! Fear practically picked her up and threw her back to the 8 yard line! Fear is playing like a beast out there today! To be fair, few people can get around it and it doesn’t look like today is her day. That hit she just took is going to be one for the history reels! She’s having a little trouble getting up here. But no! There she is. She’s on her feet and waving to us. She’s good folks, she’s good, and she’s staying in there!
Now she’s taking a few breaths before she lines up again. We understand, that was a pretty hard knock. She has the ball again. Not surprisingly, it’s a bit of a slow start for her but she’s got some momentum and is navigating the field well now. She’s finding her rhythm. She’s past the 15. She’s made it to the 20!! She could go all the way! Uh oh. Uh oh! Self Sabotage is cutting across the field fast! It’s caught up to her, but hasn’t taken her down yet. Holy smackoly! I can’t believe my eyes here. Self Sabotage has actually taken ahold of her and is driving her backwards! She’s losing ground! She’s back to the 15, the 10, the 5! Good lord! She’s been pushed right back into her end zone!
This is where the coach would call timeout to reset the team to get back on track, right?
But we don’t tend to do that for ourselves, unless we get some outside help. We either take a knee and get out of the the game, or we keep getting trounced day in and day out, taking the hard knocks.
Sometimes we make it to the end zone but most of the time we don’t.
There is a much better way to get what you want and do it a lot faster too.
Instead of trying to beat all those inner voices and emotions into submission, start to work with them.
The whole idea is to get to the end zone where your dream or goal becomes a reality. You can do that in any way you want. So instead of seeing all of those voices in your head as negative ones you have to battle and beat into submission, you could view them more like dance partners.
Learn more about the voices. Listen to what they have to say and use the wisdom they have to push you forward. Lean into them. Understand their moves.
Have a waltz with Self Doubt and come to understand how its trying to protect you. Dance a powerful tango with Fear and let it ignite your passion in a new and firy way. Tap a ditty with Self Sabotage in a little number that gets to the root of what’s really going on in your belief system.
When you do this, your dash to the end zone is more choreographed. You’ll bend and sway with each one as you side step, spin forward, whirl backward and twirl ahead again, until you finally pirouette into the end zone and break it down, with the best gyrating touchdown dance you’ve ever performed!
You can control your thoughts. You can get what you want without taking hit after hit, ending up in a dog-pile of frustration instead of in the end zone. Yes, there will be some hard knocks still. And for those dreams that really mean something to you, it’s going to be scary and uncomfortable, precisely because it is meaningful. Which is more reason to get into your gear and get on that field and use all the tools, tips and tricks you can, to make it into the end zone. Because it matters.
I’m super proud and excited to say that I leaned into all those voices, and the book proposal for Staying Sane When Your Spouse Isn’t – A Crazy Path to Happiness has been sent to a publisher. Happy Dance!
I also know that no matter which way it goes, I’ll being playing a new head game when I hear the result. But I have my helmet, my shoulder pads and my dancing shoes. I’m good to go.
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