Archive for depression recovery

Oct
15

Two Struggles and a Project

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I have about 8 weeks before I return to Phoenix for the wrap up of Steve Chandler’s Coaching School and, finally, I have found a project that excites me, to engage in between now and then. Here’s the story of the lead up to the project with more specific details to come later.

The Background

I went to Phoenix, back in June, and joined Steve Chandler’s Coaching School. I didn’t really know why I was going other than I was desperate to make some changes in my life, I thought I might want to go back to coaching and I’d been really inspired by the people I’d come across who’d previously attended Steve’s school.

My return was full of the usual euphoria that follows any great seminar, as I started to apply what I was learning to creating a coaching practice. Then the stuff that was underneath that was going on in my life started to surface. I tried to use my new learning to deal with it and gained a load of useful insights but I didn’t seem to be creating anything external, let alone a coaching practice, and my mood began to drop.

If you read my earlier posts you can follow this journey (it begins with What shall I do next?) and you will notice that there is a pronounced gap throughout September. This was the beginning of my descent into a mini depression during which time I felt there was nothing worth writing about and life generally sucked.

I was also dealing with a chest infection and my coach was suggesting I take a break from trying to make things happen, which  I didn’t want to hear. My experience, to this point, had been that if I didn’t make things happen then nothing of worth, would happen. (See To Thine Own Self Be True and Will The Real Gillian Please Stand Up? for more on this). This culminated, on October 6th, in my low point of The Coaching School.  I found myself considering cancelling my flights to Phoenix for the end of the programme, in December.  I couldn’t see any point in carrying on with it.  I was thinking “The School wasn’t working, Steve obviously wasn’t a good enough coach to sort me out (grin) and I was never going to change so why waste my money returning to Phoenix just to tell everyone I’d failed and achieved nothing”.

I didn’t cancel the flights, however, and through a series of conversations and doing The Work, I came to a deeper understanding of my need for achievement and with that I was now on the ascendant again. Whoopie!

Two Struggles

Over the months as I have struggled with purpose and passion and goal setting and action and not knowing what I want, Steve has coached me to:

“CHOOSE something anyway. Choose projects and complete them and be proud of your work. Then continue choosing new things after that, always rising up to action and service so that the end of the day always feels good”.

I tried that, I chose various projects which I thought I had made a commitment to, only to find I’d lost interest after a couple of days. Then I had the breakthrough about my need for achievement, identity and depression. See (Will The Real Gillian Please Stand Up?).

The second struggle was to do with creating my life and did I really have the power to do that? Steve says “yes”. Byron Katie seems to say “yes” one minute and then “no” another.  My confusion over this greatly added to my low mood.

I was trying to understand it all/work it out in my head. Some would say I was trying to understand that which cannot be understood. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else says because, unless I experience it for myself I won’t truly know one way or the other.

So this is my project for the next 8 weeks – to investigate whether or not I can create something concrete in my external world by setting an intention/making a commitment and then taking action as opportunities present themselves.

More specifics on this in my next post . . .

Categories : Creating My Life, Mood
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Oct
07

Will The Real Gillian Please Stand Up?

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Yesterday, I went to a healer. Not something I normally do. But a good friend of mine recommended her work as a short cut to lifting the grey mood and at that point I was willing to try anything. By the time I actually arrived for my appointment the mood was already lifting anyway. But what was interesting was we ended up working on my drive for achievement and she also mentioned the self-criticism. Last week, in a session with my coach he’d suggested that somewhere I’d taken on the need to achieve, as an expression of who I was.

This isn’t new. I’ve been aware of being a high achiever and a “star” since my 20’s but I what I hadn’t quite grasped was the strength of that drive and just how thoroughly that has defined who I am. I’ve been so busy doing what it takes to be a high achiever or feeling down about not achieving enough, that I hadn’t focussed much on the being aspect of it. And, in the latter part of my life, I feel like I haven’t really achieved much anyway. All the things on my list that I wanted to do I’d pretty much done by my 30’s and, since then, I have been in this sort of wilderness desperately trying to find what it is I truly want to do.

And, in that time, I have suffered and been treated for Clinical Depression and, when I got over that, these grey moods that seem to come from nowhere.

This morning I’ve had a bit of an epiphany and the trigger was the healer bringing up the self-criticism again. (See my post ‘To Thine Own Self Be True‘ for more on this). As I said, in that post, for the most part I don’t find self-criticism to be particularly hurtful. It seems to be something I just do. But what is important is the high achiever identity from which it springs. The criticism comes because I’m not doing well enough, not achieving enough, not living up to my impossible standards etc.

Now, that is also a way to explain the depression and grey moods. As I mentioned, by the end of my 20’s I’d pretty much crossed off all the big things on my Life’s To Do List. And, very importantly, I had learned that most of them didn’t deliver what I’d hoped for. As an example, getting a prestigious job didn’t make me feel more important or cleverer or happier, as I’d secretly hoped it would. So, not only had I reached a point where I no longer knew what I wanted, I’d also had the experience (albeit unconsciously) that nothing external would make the sort of difference in my life I was looking for.  Now, combine that with a drive and self-identity built on achievement and no wonder I ended up depressed. I was a high achiever who unconsciously thought that achievement was pointless.

As I began to see this, over the last 24 hours, my first feelings were of sheer terror. If I’m not a high achiever then who the hell am I? How will I operate in this world if that is stripped away? What if I sit around all day doing nothing getting more and more bored, contributing nothing? But this morning the curiosity is beginning to creep in. And the questions are changing to, for example,  whom will I discover when my old identity is stripped away? What will life be like without the drive to achieve and consequent disappointment when I don’t (or do)? What new identity will I chose, if, indeed I have a choice? Do I have a choice?

Suddenly the world is an exciting place again. A place of wonder and curiosity. Suddenly Gillian is an exciting place to be.

Categories : Creating My Life, Mood
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Jun
05

Three Good Things for Happiness

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Had an email from a friend, this morning, who’s started doing the “Three Good Things” exercise which formed part of a study reported in the July–August 2005  issue of the American Psychologist. Basically you write down three things that went well  and what caused them, each day. The study found that participants were happier and less depressed after a month and they stayed happier and less depressed at a three-month and six-month follow-up. The long-term effects were most pronounced for those who continued the exercise on their own. (They were originally asked to do it for a week only).

So I’ll give it a go. To keep myself motivated I’ll maybe send an email with my responses to my friend, last thing at night. That should help me actually do it.

If any of you fancy giving this a go please feel to use the comments to post your answers and results. If there’s enough interest we could start a separate area within the site to help keep us motivated.

Categories : Mood
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May
18

My Story Marketing – For Real

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I’ve been watching some videos by Jimmy Davis who was talking about “my story marketing” as a specific marketing technique.  Funny really, as this is what I want to do, but for real. (For examples of where this is used simply for marketing purposes see sites like jennysteeth.com and cathysteeth.com, and cathysdiet.com and margaretsdiet.com). What I mean by that is I want to build a business around what’s currently happening in my life. And, at the moment that’s about finding a new direction.

I did something similar about 10 years ago when I started a newsletter and website documenting my recovery from depression. The result was an ebook called ‘7 Steps to A Depression Free Life‘ which, even though I haven’t worked on the site for a number of years, still sells today. I didn’t set out to sell anything but I got so many questions about my personal experience with depression I decided to write the book. In fact, I wasn’t in a position to write it when I first started the newsletter because, at that point, I was still in the process of recovery and was trying to work out a strategy that worked for me.

And that gives me hope that maybe I can create a business from where I am now in my life, from what I’ve learned along the way and from where I go from here. I’m quite keen to create some sort of vision for where I want to end up, so I’ll know how I’m progressing but, at the same time, I want it to be flexible enough to allow me to adapt as things change.

Telling a personal story is a very powerful marketing technique, even when the story is made-up, so when the story is real it ought to be even more powerful, right? Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

So why am I doing this? Why not just write a blog and be done with it. Well, as I said in a previous post I just don’t seem to be able to walk away from the attraction of internet marketing. But, at the same time, I’ve incredibly bored with what I’ve been doing and I’ve not even been covering my expenses. So this is an experiment. Can I move my life on and create a profitable business whilst keeping it fun and motivating? Money has never been a sufficient motivation for me but “beating the system”, i.e. being a bit of a rebel, is. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a future post but right now I need to take a break from the computer.

Categories : Uncategorized
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May
07

Ho Hum! What Shall I Do Next?

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Ho hum indeed!

I seem to have been putting off this moment for months – or is it years – or maybe all my life!

This is a new development of my very first website that I created when I started coaching. I’ve come a long way since then, in terms of web development and my understanding of the internet. I’m not so sure how far I’ve come in terms of understanding myself, or my life for that matter. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

This blog is, in part, an exploration of that journey. I stand at a place in my life when there are new choices to be made, new roads to be taken and a new “me” to return to. I say return because I think I have been living in limbo this last decade. Pretty shut down emotionally. Much of it was spent suffering from and recovering from depression and now my youngest, Prentice, is 12 years old and I will soon be free to pursue new interests. However, I face, what has been a challenge for much of my life, in that I don’t know what to do next. And, I also have to decide, how public I want this journey to be . . .

Categories : Life Unfolds
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Life Moves Archives

Gillian Pearce – Life Moves

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About Life Moves

Life Moves is an unfolding story of my journey to discover and create what I truly want from life. I hope you will find my writings helpful, inspirational, encouraging, amusing or, at the very least, usually worth reading. Please feel free to comment on any posts about which you have an opinion. Or make one up. I do it all the time and it can be very dull, alone in cyberspace.

Bon Voyage!

Gillian