Awareness

So for part of my dissertation, I had to interview people. One of the things I asked about was people’s experience of being counsellors. And from that something that came up again and again. Something I actually really resonate with as a counsellor myself, it was the privelege of being with people as they courageously face their experiences. How phenomenal that is experientially, and how important and precious that can feel.

When I worked in time limited sessions with clients, sometimes the goal would be just coming to a place of awareness. And by awareness I mean coming to know and be cognizant of things that were not very obvious to yourself before. Awareness of what was at play, or about things that had gone unackowledged. I guess this post is me just reflecting on how two probged awareness can be (or maybe multi probged, but I’ll focus on two in this post).

I think with awareness can come a relieved understanding on one prong, and a (sometimes(?) pained) acceptance on the other.

Thinking about some of my own experiences, awareness can come as a huge relief. Maybe because my brain has always run this programme of “trying to understand myself . Awareness feels like a key or a chart, or something that adds more to the puzzle and helps me makes better sense of what’s happening for me. It’s like a light, that makes patterns more easy to identify. It can be an explanation for slcertain behaviours, and a contextualisation.

There’s the other side, the acceptance yet pain part. Sometimes I feel like certain levels of ignorance can be bliss. Take for instance the personal awareness of how important it is for me to feel my feelings, (as opposed to surpressing them/ dissociating from them). This can be uncomfortable because it aaks something of you, in the way you show up for yoyrself. Understanding and being aware of something is different from doing it. But awareness can be a challenging, though pivotal first step towards change.

Okay thus concludes a mini thought unravelling. Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on awareness? What have been your experiences? ) I’m always curious, so share below if you like.

With warmth,

Fine Words Weave

Manifold Interests & Other ADHD Perks

A silhouette of a head, with the letters ADHD on it, pointing out from the head are squiggly felt wiry things, and flowers.
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

I have a distinct memory, of all the thing I was ever interested in (when I was much younger than I am now), being made into daily practices. Somehow, I would find a way to return to them again and again, day after day. Nowadays though, it seems like I can’t find the focus or the memory, or perhaps the executive functioning to keep up that kind of regularity apropos of no external structures.

Perhaps I tied my interests to activities I would undertake regularly. Like with writing, I regularly woke up in the middle of the nigh during my GCSE years. Looking back I think it was likely that the stress was impacting my sleep. My sleep is often quite sensitive to being influenced by stressors in my life. That said, if I woke up in the middle of the night, I would bake some cookies, them load either Julia Nunes or Taylor Swift up on YouTube, and get to writing. I woke up in the middle of the night often enough in my teens, that I had quite a regular writing practice. Or with rollerblading, it would always be on a weekend, and always along the thames pathway from Battersea to Chelsea.

I suppose there’s also something about the relatively fewer amount of responsibilities I had as a teenager than I do now. As a single mother/full time student/ trainee counsellor, there’s so many more things “to-do” that it seems like the energy for pursing things I enjoy with the regularity (probably) needed to improve, happens very sporadically- (when the kids are away, I find myself returning to journaling, and meditation, and maybe with e ought time to practice scales and chords, yet when they’re back, there’s barely enough executive functioning to go around, what with keeping track of all the things that need keeping track of when you have young children in the house.)

I have this little voice in the back of my head, that’s quite persistent in reminding me not to forget *whatever hobby/ fun interest of mine catches my attention presently. And the high I get from engaging in things I find fun, means that once I’m sat down, I tend to zone in completely, losing sense of time and place, and then I’ve spent four hours knitting something, and quite possibly have to run out of the door to pick the kids up, suddenly aware of the need to pee, and thirst wracking my throat.

My ideal would be to be able to dedicate myself a bit at a time to all of my interests every day. there would be time for painting, time for writing poetry. I would spend time writing any of the novels that I’ve left mid stories, characters on the cusp of their respective character development journeys. I’d find time to bake, and find new nutritional recipes to try out. I’d finally get round to re-learning how to sew using a sewing machine, and I’d spend time speaking to guests on my podcasts. There would also be time to play around editing videos, and polish off my website, playing with and further developing my web building skills. I’d also create time to keep going with teaching myself to code.

It is a blessing, being filled with so many things that spark my interests, being so deeply interested in many things, yet the challenges of time-blindness, and difficulties with focus, alongside the organisational requirements of ‘running a household’ as well, as the time and focus I put into parenting, talkies of learning and CPDs- I find myself mourning how quickly time passes by.

So here I am, returning to one of my early interests, blogging. I’m curious to see how long I can keep up some level of consistency with it, and I’m happy, I’ve found a few moments to return to it.

I suppose that’s why so many of my previous blog posts, are typo filled, peppered with run-on sentences, and side thoughts cosseted in parentheses. I’d aways try to get my fingers to catch up with my thoughts (always an impossible task- better informed about this now, having learned about the hyperactivity of the minds that can come alongside ADHD), and then rush to hit publish, before I forgot. Sometimes I’d schedule it to be published on a certain day, sure I’d come back and make the necessary edits in the time between when I’d written the first draft and the date I’d scheduled it to go live, and inevitably I’d forget about the post’s existence, until I got a notification from WordPress.

Something I’ve been embracing the years since I last wrote here is the idea of perfect imperfection, allowing rooms for mistakes, and the mantra “done is better than perfect” and “good enough, move on”.

Holding myself to extremely high standards, is one thing, not allowing myself to progress due to minor imperfections is quite another.

So that’s it.

I’ll end here.

If you enjoyed this, thanks you for your time, I’d love to know what stood out for you, and your thoughts and insights in the comments.

With warmth,

Fine Words Weave

Movement & Emotional Release

It has been a hard week, I’ve needed to remind myself to be extra compassionate. The boys always seem a lot to handle during transiotion periods, and as we’re figuring out our holiday routine and I’m working on the last four assignments for school it has been stressful to say the least.

The thing that’s ironic is that even now, after all I’ve learnt and experienced my knee jerk is to tamp the feelings down and keep pushing through. So i did that for a little while, and noticed myself feeling so resistant and exhausted. Which is pretty normal when you’re exerting a lot of energy to push down what you’re feeling. Thankfully the learnings kicked into gear and I remembered to accept my feelings. Notice them, accept them, and allow them to impart the necessary information and then release.

This is why they call all this stuff practice. You have to keep on doing it, one day at a time, practicing. There isn’t a point where you’re an expert and so you stop. I’m thinking that actually the expertise is in continuing with it all.

This is a beautiful Yin Yoga flow for anyone who would like to get in the habit. It’s about half an hour, and is a profound way to sit with yourself. I can good my hands up to being someone who’s breaking the habit of disconnecting from my body. This has been helpful.

I hope you are well, and looking after yourself,

Take care

Fine words weave

Unlearning; Undeserving Love

This post comes with a trigger warning ⚠️ it‘s about domestic abuse, and harmful societal messaging. Please only read it if you feel you are in the right mental framing to do so, and that it won’t detrimentally affect you.

Continue reading “Unlearning; Undeserving Love”

Journaling as a mainstay

(A letter style entry about Covid 19- heads up so you can choose whethere you’re in the headspace to read this now or wish to return later)

Hello lovely,

How are you? Thanks for coming back and reading another one of these. I’m happy to have you here with me. I want today’s blogpost to read like a letter. I hope you enjoy the change in format.

The not so new news is Coronavirus. Global pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine are some of the keywords of the current times. A huge element of being instructed to stay indoors is challenging for me. Obviously as someone who has been sectioned (almost a decade ago now) it is not surprising that this feels very close to the skin. Autonomy is something of a theme that keeps on cropping up this year.

I don’t this is limited to me and my experiences though. I believe that it’s an entirely human feeling, to instinctively recoil at a command that seeks to keep you confined. Isn’t prison seens as a crime and punishment system? It’s punishing because your freedom of movement is voided. (We’ll talk another day about how prison also seems to void human rights, and the whole rehabilitation issue. I have huge feelings around institutionising humans.)

I find myself deeply concerned about the long term implications of our current conditions.

Today the Govt spokepeoples were talking about secondary deaths due to Cv19 they talked about comorbidity. They talked about “BAME” ( slowly coming to really dislike that term) covid rates. I waited with baited breath for them to talk about class, race, poverty how these things intersect with people’s likelihood to contract the illness, how they correlate with how likely they are offered treatment/testing or not believed and sent off …. of course this was not mentioned. Of course not.

Though “the pandemic” has all but painted bold the social inequalities that are built into the very fabric of many of our societies, by many it still goes unseen, unspoken about, and out of awareness.

There’s been such loss and grief.

Numerous people, souls who laughed, thought, felt, loved, were lights, complicated, joyous, passionate, have departed this life.

My Lord grant solace to all those grieving, and soothe them in their experience of loss, of breaking, and hurting.

It’s now more than ever that we realise the value of community perhaps. It feels like another thing that’s been painted bold. This spiritual human interconnectedness. This is a light, and I have hopes that this reconnection to our sense of collective purpose strengthens throughout and beyond this time.

There’s been a whole host of different experiences I guess, and it’s just, I think societies are bound to change in many unimaginable ways on the other side of this. Im hoping to be a part of the effort to make sure this is a “for the better” outcome than a “for the worse” type of thing. Tie your camel, and leave the rest to Him.

So having put things into context of course there’s a lot of feelings and emotions coming up, some mine, some the feelings of others that i feel so easily atuned to (hello, extraverted feeling). My current experience is that it’s taking even more energy than usual to maintain boundaries in that respect.

Hence I’m grateful to have journalling, as a great resource to sift through feelings, identify mine, sort them out from other people’s emotions, and then even looking into projections.

One of my new journaling experiences recently has been getting really relaxed in my body before hand, sort of floating along my mind’s currents and then feeling deeply into any emotion/memory that comes up. After that i breathe deeply, then stretch, and then turn to my journal.

There’s so much stuff coming up. Isn’t that always the case, that the more work you do, the more work there seems to be that needs doing. Such is the joy and sorrow of life.

Anyway that’s it, I just wanted to check in. And express things on here. This is history in the living, and I want to remember it exactly as it was lived for me, not however it might be reworked to fit objectives and poli-socio-economic narratives in the time after.

All the best,

take care,

Fine words Weave

An Unstormable Knowing

One more round with the tempest.

She stands,

arms outstretched

in a daring embrace,

as she locks gaze with the eye of the storm.


Energy jitters up her spine,

and her tongue is dry.

She’s danced this whirl wind before.


Spun out over and over,

leaving breathless and dizzy,

that’s if she even leaves at all.


The tempest calls her name,

blowing temptingly in her ears.

Drawing her in just a bit.


One foot forward,

without conscious thought,

she’s already in forward motion,

Pulled in by the deceptive calm.


Still the weathered shawl of foreboding

settles on her shoulders,

and her skin pinpricks with that quiet

un-nameable sense,

that something is just out of step here.


She’s been around this tempest before,

this isn’t her first spin,

and lately she’s tired

of letting herself be reeled back in.


Emotionally battered,

mind windswept,

she’s intimately familiar

with the post-storm landscape.


The tempest howls,

the wind buffets at her mind,

the noise is reaching crescendo.


She turns inwards to the quiet within.

And asks a single question.

The answer makes steel rods of her legs

and she is at a stand still.


The question?

Is this, what you want, for your life?


Lightning fizzles

from within the tempest,

aiming at her stock still legs.

There is pain and tingling,

and the metal taste of hot electricity.

As the bolt hits at where she is grounded.


Is this what you want for your life?


Honestly,

the answer is so quiet,

it’s hard to hear it

beneath the roar of the storm.


Still it matters not,

because the answer becomes her vision.

She feels it right in the gaps.

She unstormably knows the answer

in every fiber of her.


She is steady as the tempest rolls over.

It flails and roars,

wails and hails.

Steadily drags at her core.


It comes with dark

and thunder and shuddering.

Shaky teeth,

and the shivering.


The storm is a mighty thing.

The knowing within is mightier still,

and she does not let the storm in.


She draws deep from within herself,

The strength to weather it.

At moments her legs falter,

and at times she is almost carried away

by the force of the storm,

still the unstormable knowing is her steadying.


The storm does its worst.

The knowing is unstormable.

The tempest passes.

She stands, still.


Her arms outstretched in an open embrace.

The storm has subsided.

And faintly in the post-storm ozone

she hears a new question.

What do you want for your life?

Uphill

backlit clouds crescent moon dark
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Some days

there’s nothing

left,

and you’re not

quite sure

how you’ll make it to the next.

 

Some days

you’re running on empty.

and you set your eyes,

on small, barely

achievable goals;

like make it through this hour,

or just muster up

the will to shower.

 

 

These words are here

a small reminder

for when you’re swimming,

up hill through sticky syrup,

 

 

At some point,

you will put your foot,

back in the stirrup.

It’s not today,

and that is far from a disaster

Hold on,

as hard of an ask,

as that sometimes is.

 

In the not

too distant future,

You’ll crest the hill,

Atop the saddle,

riding your way,

back to laughter.

 

Hospitalisation and How it Affected my Writing

I was looking back at some old blog posts on a different host site, and I stumbled across a long forgotten post from Novemeber 2010. In it I wrote

…So that’s what’s been going on with me. Well that and a stint in hospital, which I think had completely broken me.

I’ve not been able to write anything, which in turn has led me to be upset… but I just don’t feel things the way I used to. It’s weird and horrible, and I hope no one has to feel the way I feel.

My sense of humour has totally changed. Things I found funny before are now not nearly as funny. I have officially become an unenthusiastic person. It bites and I don’t know how to change it, or how to feel things anymore.

I’m not asking why. I accept that this is something that has had to happen, because it did actually happen, I just wanna know what to do about it.

Reading this seven years later and being confronted with that former version of myself is hard. My heart swells and remembers the faint echo of its old wounds whilst reading this post.

It was written shortly after I was sectioned under the mental health act and hospitalised. I am someone who is pretty open about this having been part of my life experience, though I feel where I come from, both from a cultural and religious standpoint, there is still at times a stigma attached to mental health problems, and being open about difficulties people face in that regard. I stand by my resolve to be open about my experience though, because it is through sharing, open discussion, and sincere reflection, that I believe we all learn, develop, and reach new levels of compassion and understanding.

What is very weird though, is that I’d forgotten that my writing slump coincided with my being sectioned. Prior to being sectioned, I would spend countless nights losing sleep because I was pouring out a new story idea, or working on a new poem, or just scribbling my feelings out in a journal. After being sectioned I just couldn’t do it. I tried, I tried to force myself to keep writing, I even attempted NaNoWriMo from my room on the triage ward, but it just didn’t pan out.

For perhaps the majority of my life words and writing have been places of refuge for me; from spending summers folding a4 sheets of paper in half, stapling them in the middle and designing books, writing endless stories fuelled by a youthful imagination, to journalling during my time in boarding school, even those angst filled poems that littered my teenage years. However, in the midst of one of my most difficult life experiences, that tool and solace was lost to me.

It was not that I couldn’t access writing, it’s just there was something off about it, even now it’s so hard to express this in a way that makes sense. It was almost as though in the same way that my self confidence had withered away during my time in hospital, the creativity I normally overflowed with when it came time to put my fingers to the keyboard or even pen to paper had shrivelled up too. I can still remember the desperate struggle to write, how huge of a mental block there seemed to be, how it was almost as though I’d lost not only the capacity to express myself, but also the will to do so. I believe this is very much a parallel to how things stood for me at that time mentally too. It took a lot of work to get back on an even keel, Alhamdulillah! I do feel that this experience, as much as it knocked me down, was useful in that it was a way to start rebuilding myself with a stronger foundation.

Eventually, painstakingly slowly my love of writing did return. I started of with a journal, a hot pink faux leather bound lined notebook; no dates or days, just blank lined pages a year after I left hospital. I didn’t write every day, in fact weeks would go by and I wouldn’t pick up my pen at all. When I did write, I would write a sentence here, a paragraph there, and there were a lot of days where I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed, talk less of the mental effort it took to pick up a pen and organise my thoughts enough to write what I was feeling.

I kept writing though. A new year started and I was still using that same hot pink diary… occasionally. Gradually I was recovering, and so was my writing. Things were not exactly the same, just as I had been altered by my experiences, I believe my writing was too. At times writing can still be a challenge, but I am so grateful that it wasn’t lost to me forever.

To anyone who’s found that mental health issues have negatively impacted their writing I wanted to just put this out there, don’t lose hope. It can come back, it may not be the same, but the challenging things that we go through in life don’t have to forever be dark ink blots on the pages of our life stories, we have the capacity to grow from and learn from our experiences. To transform the inkblots into fantastic illustrations of growth and starting points for change.

Lots of love

Fun Facts about HG and a Pregnancy Yoga DVD

As salaam alaykum, Peace be upon you!

How are you doing? It’s been a while right? I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy taking care of baby. Alhamdulilah (praise and thanks is due to Allah). I will not lie to you, it is exhausting! Thrilling, but exhausting. Blogging makes me feel better, like i’m making good use of the little free time I have so I wanted to put this together.


So a lifetime ago, back when I was still pregnant, I did battle with a little known condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG, is more than a lot to get your mouth around. It is a condition that affects about 1-2% of pregnant women.
Its symptoms include an incredible amount of vomiting. I’m not talking about the odd up-chuck here or there that can sometimes accompany morning sickness. Oh no, I’m talking chained to a toilet, might as well live in your bathroom, don’t go anywhere without a ziploc food bag, or leak proof container, amount of vomit. Seriously vomiting 15 times could be considered a “good day” for a woman battling with HG. You’re actually more likely to average 30 to 45 days a day. This is generally accompanied with an overwhelming sense of nausea, that doesn’t actually lift after throwing up.

A hyper sense of smell and light and motion sensitivity are three other “delightful” complaints that a woman may develop that combine to increase the amount of up-chuck. I myself got to a point in time where watching tv, hearing my husband speak, seeing him moving around, or even receiving a text message on my phone could be cause for a weak stagger to the loo.

With so much throwing up happening, it is normally really difficult for a woman experiencing HG to get the food and nutrition that she needs. Home remedies that normally work for sickness or morning sickness, like dry toast, dry crackers, small sips of water, sea sickness bands, eating little and often, eating 15 minutes before you get up, and (the bane of every HG woman who has ever been given well meaning advice) ginger, generally have absolutely no positive effects.

In fact speaking from experience I’m pretty sure they make things worse. The taste of dry toast/crackers/plain rice sort of sits in your mouth and only encourages nausea and vomitting. Also ginger burns on its way back up. Water whether consumed in huge gulps or small sips was pretty much a sure fire way to see me reaching for my ziploc bag, and eating little and often was an impossible fantasy. When I could actually eat, throwing up all day tends to diminish your appetite, I was either ravenous,or just desperaetely aware that i needed to eat something even if it would make a return shortly, and thus would select my food according to what would be easier on my throat and tastebuds on the way back up.

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Not surpisingly the other two symptons that normally end up signposting HG are severe weight loss and dehydration. Within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy I’d lost over ten percent of my bodyweight, and been admitted to a&e no less than 6 time.

It was an incredibly humbling experience. I really could not have gotten through it without my wonderful soulmate, my support network, the people in the HG facebook group, a Gp willing to listen,  and ultimately a faith that My Lord would bring ease upon ease after this hardship.  I hope at some point I will be able to dedicate some time to putting together an in depth account of my  experience. If you would like more HG information and resources checkout HER & Pregnancy sickness support. Or if you would like to read about first hand accounts from other women who are currently or have experienced HG check out We Are Hyperemesis.

Thankfully by 22 weeks we were able to find the right combination of medicine to help make things a bit more manageable.  I wasn’t up for running any marathons, not that many pregnant women are, but I was able to accomplish about ten minutes of yoga a day. So when I was sent a pregnancy yoga dvd for review I was cautiously happy.

 

I wanted to share that review on here 🙂


Azeezat Awarded The Nadia Narain’s ‘Pregnancy Yoga’ DVD 4/5*

The packaging was interesting, and I wondered if the instructor would be pregnant in the video. (She wasn’t though there was a pregnant lady being instructed by her) The first time I used it I went straight to the exercises and found myself confused, however after a while, I figured out that the “practices” (an option on the dvd menu) had more in depth explanation, I found that a bit easier to use.

I liked the sessions of yoga, but I found them to be quite challenging, and as I’m getting further along in my pregnancy, I’m finding that 20 minutes of the yoga sessions is a bit too much. Fortunately that’s the benefit of it being on a DVD, i.e. you have the option to pause it, perhaps select ten minutes and finish there for the day. The breathing exercises were very useful, and I was surprised to say that the birth affirmations were actually quite nice, and peaceful. Also I like that there was an option for those with pelvic strain. I found this strenuous on some days, and challenging, although that said they were invigorating too.

Overall I would say the exercises make you feel as though you’ve gotten your heart rate up a bit, whilst at the same time leaving you feeling a bit more limber. I didn’t see the option to turn off the music. I would have liked to have that option. Good video quality, clear sound, and adequate lighting. The amount of content, and variety on the DVD was quite a lot, and so consider it good value for the price. I would consider buying it; however I feel the option for a couple of shorter routines would be nice as well. I would recommend to this dvd but perhaps mostly to those who are already in to yoga.  It was a nice chance to get some exercise in, useful if you’re housebound, and want to still try and be a bit active. Azeezat Aboderin
* this review originally appeared on the bizziebaby website and has been edited for readability purposes.

Also if you are a expecting/ parent intesrested in reviewing profucts definitely check out the bizzie baby website. You can join and be sent products to give your opinion on.
Thank you very much for reading.

Take care and have a lovely day

Azeezat A.B.A

Back into learning

Peace, mercy, and blessings y’all!
Sorry I’ve not been blogging for a bit. My mum’s been in town, and I’ve been pretty busy. Just helped her with her luggage this evening (bittersweet).

Anyway I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, and I’ve decided I want to do weekly or possibly bi-weekly videos on my YouTube channel. I’m going to try and get back in to education, and I plan to document my journey back into it via videos/ vlogs.

Anyway I’ll keep y’all posted.

Thanks for reading,

Take care
A B A A