Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

"All manner of things shall be well....."

I took this photo July 2007: wild flowers growing out of the ruins of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire.

VP has posted about the effect that stress at work had on her a few years ago, and how her life has changed for the better since.

I came to a similar epiphany at the end of 1996. I'd been working in London, mostly in stockbroking, for nearly 12 years. Long, long hours- 12 hour days sometimes, plus standing on overcrowded cummuter trains for an hour to get there, unpaid overtime, pressure pressure pressure, high mortgage rate (10.5% when I took it out, and it never dropped!) bills bills bills, redundancy over and over as things crashed, then the fear and race to get in to another firm and carry on, never seeing my home in daylight, always tired, health slipping, depression etc etc etc.... then BUMPF! I was in hospital with a blood clot on my lung.

Hmmm. I didn't know how serious that was till the nurse came over and said, "Ermmm... we forgot to ask you what religion you are-???"

WHAT the?

Luckily I was OK. I have asthma now and have to watch it if I get a chest infection. But that's OK. But I never went back to work in London.

It dawned on me that what you do is not what you are. It didn't matter. It's what's in you that counts. And it's who you are and how you are that people will remember, not how many hours you worked or whether you had some great "respectable" job. Big deal!

I lay in that bed at age 29 and thought, Eeek! It's true! You DO only live once! Is this it?

I get ribbed for 'underachieving' and my stepmother calls me lazy for not going back to a 'high end job'. Well, as an old departed friend of mine used to say, up yer bum!

I also love that -slightly more poetic- saying from Julian of Norwich:
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."


Kristin Bueter said...

Hmmm...you're so right, Helena. So very right...thanks for sharing your thoughts. I needed that reality check :]

BumbleVee said...

I like "up yer bum with knobs on"...as my Mum used to say on occasion....
Yeh...doesn't it make you wonder about the poor self image some folks have? ...especially the ones who think their jobs "define them"...well, good luck to 'em with the rest of their lives I say...

Dragonstar said...

Julian of Norwich was a very wise woman.

Thinking you may have reached the end at 29 - I don't even want to imagine how you felt! You made the right decisions.

i beati said...

flowers lovely - beauty from the depth - always us as well...

Cambiel said...

Hey Helena! Just stopped by to catch up, and was nodding my head all they way through reading your latest post. So true!!

Also, love the birthday card you made for your brother! Glad to see you are back in the groove! x

freebird said...

I missed your birthday with my computer crashing on me so Happy Belated Birthday!

I live in the slow lane too. My husband had his first heart attack at 40 but he didn't know it - the navy didn't tell him anything but that he had high cholesterol. Well, after retiring and starting new jobs he just had too much pain
so we downsized and moved to the country (the desert really) and now live at a much slower pace. Some of the family think we are lazy and not respectable but oh well, he's alive and after a quadruple bypass that's enough!
So good for you to take that second chance and make more of a life instead of more of a living now.

Julie said...

As BumbleVee said "Up yer bum with knobs on"! You and I were in the same situation in 1996 except that I was in the Civil Service and work and home stress led to a collapse and life revaluation (but not at 29, I was 43). I believe the quality of your life and your own peace of mind are far more important than striving to match up to someone else's expectations or society's preconceptions. This is your life and you should live it your way. You go girl!

mrsnesbitt said...

Absolutely honeybunch! I love being at home, working alongside Jon and supporting his business, making sure there is a nice meal waiting for him of an evening.....infact, I must tootle off and work my magic on the pigsty and turn it into a nice place to be! LOL! Oh yes, off to post office too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaana,

I tried to log in on Bruised Reeds after I saw your post over there but have forgotten what email and password I used since I haven't been there in so long.

I went over there because my depression has started to worsen again due to financial and economic issues...but I mainly I am just glad to catch up with you again :) I appreciate very much the Christmas card you send me very year :) It is so thoughtful of you to remember me. :)

I'm afraid I don't even remember what name I used on BR. Ev maybe? Anyway, would love to hear from you sometime...my feelings about church and christianity particularly with regard to certain issues, has changed a lot over the years as well though I still consider myself a Christian..

My email is iorhael @ drkdesign. com. Could you email me with your current email?

Ev (Ev94?)

Rachelle said...

This is a great post my friend.
A super look at what is really important- thank you!

Anonymous said...

oh apparently I forgot we had birthdays around the same time too...I see a birthday post above for you...mine is today ;)


VP said...

Hi Helena - thanks for the mention :)

It's amazing how we need these 'wake up calls' to truly understand what life's all about isn't it?

As for being labelled an underachiever - up yer bum indeed ;)

Lorianna said...

Oh Helena, what a wonderful post! I feel so badly that you had to endure a near facing mortality experience, but you came around to a very healthy way of thinking.
Yes, ignore the people who need to have something surgically removed from their bum! :)