Life is a Rollercoaster, to quote Ronan Keating.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 12.45.49Oh dear, well that last post caused a bit of a reaction. My sister thinks I need medical help. She reckons I’m too up and down – one day I’m high as a kite and the next I’m in the depths of despair – and that it’s not healthy. Friends are worried too. On Friday I got a lot of concerned messages: ‘Are you OK? I’m here if you need to talk.’

I’m obviously coming off even nuttier than I realise.

It’s a bit embarrassing really but what can I do? I’m just trying to articulate my feelings honestly – including the bad ones – but I fear a picture is developing of my mental health and it ain’t pretty. More Jackson Pollock than a Vogue photo shoot.

It’s probably clearer to you than it is to me, just how much my mood goes up and down. One minute I’m crying with the beauty of squirrels the next I’m crying over decades old family crap. This is partly down to the intensity of what I’m doing this year but also, it is my natural tendency.

Years ago mum and I both read a book of letters written by the poet Sylvia Plath to her own mother (my reading tastes were more high brow than they are now). Mum told me Sylvia reminded her a lot of me. I was hoping that she meant on account of our great writing abilities, natural intelligence and beauty – but no. ‘You are both highly strung.’

Mum reckoned that Sylvia and I expect too much from the world, from ourselves and from others which is why we’d always be disappointed.

I couldn’t see what she was talking about at the time – no doubt I sulked – but now I can see that it’s true. I am highly strung and over-analytical and I probably do expect too much from the world.

But please be rest assured, for all my drama queen ups and downs I don’t have any thoughts of shoving my head in an oven (I don’t like cooking…. ha, sorry, bad taste) and I don’t think I’m going crazy. I’m definitely pushing myself close to it some days but I think it’s just the way this thing has to play out.

As my friend Preena said, I’m facing up to stuff that I spent most of my 30-odd years on the planet avoiding – money stuff, family stuff, relationships – and it isn’t easy. It brings up a lot of feelings but I think that overall that’s a good thing.

For years I didn’t know what I was feeling about anything. I just got on, working harder, drinking more, spending money, pushing everything down. I thought feelings were for self-indulgent weak people.

Now I’m feeling things all over the joint! Good things, bad things, happy things, sad things. Feeling my feelings seems to have become my full time job.

It feels like there’s a healthy purging going on. A psychological detox.

But this doesn’t make me easy to around. While my family and friends are getting on with normal lives of work/drink/sleep/eat, I’m in my permanent state of self-analysis which makes me highly unpredictable. Nobody knows what they’re going to get on any given day – will I be in the depths of despair over something that exists nowhere but in my head? Or irritatingly happy and spouting crap about believing the world is on my side?

I don’t think I’ve realised quite how unhinged I’ve become.

I need to keep it in check. While it’s good to face your feelings, there’s no point in drowning in them. There’s a very real danger I could become a self-absorbed loon, someone who can’t have a cup of tea without analysing my emotions around that cup of tea. Maybe I’m there already. Yikes.

My sister says I’ve got to tone down on the extremes – not just in the mood department but on the whole ‘I’m never drinking again’ stuff or the ‘I’m not buying another coffee ever again’ stuff. Because I’m just setting myself up for failure. Mind you she told me this on our fourth round of whiskey shots this Saturday – so in that instance we went to the other extreme.

Yup, this weekend I fell off the wagon properly. I’m sorry. On Friday night I went around to a friend’s house and we got takeaway, drank wine and watched ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and Graham Norton. It was so refreshingly normal. I didn’t think about my feelings or my blog once. Then on Saturday I met my sister for ‘one’ and ended up getting home at 2am, eating pizza and phoning my other sister in New York, before passing out at around 4am fully clothed with my make up on. I haven’t had that kind of blow out in a long time.

It was not remotely self-improving but I do feel much improved. There’s a reason this whole drinking business is popular – it really can help. Sometimes a good night out is all you need to shake yourself out a self-induced self-help manic depression.

That and I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here. I mean, how the hell do they actually eat eyeballs and deer penises?! And what is Michael Buerk doing on the show? And why don’t Ant and Dec ever age? These are the deep questions in life and I think I’ve been avoiding them.

So I guess I need to adjust the balance between deep thinking and shallow thinking. Sobriety and fun. Living in my head and living in the real world. I’ll report back but I’m warning you, balance has never been my strong point.

xx

PS- I AM OBVIOUSLY A HIGHLY INEFFECTIVE 30 DAY CHALLENGE ROLE-MODEL. In future I’m going to nominate Sarah Frost to be the ring-leader for self-improvement challenges. She has stuck to everyone of her goals and has checked in every day with updates. A woman of commitment and consistency! Anyway, I did 21 or 22  days without drinking, which is still pretty good, and I’m meditated every day. I went for a walk this morning and I am just about to pay my tax bill, which means checking balances. They’re still F**Ked, by the way. Just in case you’re wondering.

PPS – I am going to put up a post tomorrow about anger – it was written when I was mid anger but I thought I’d give it a bit of distance before putting it up. Then on Wednesday I’ll be putting up my Mission Statement (Habit 2 of the 7 Habits). Just a reminder – the mission statement is the unchanging rules by which you want to live your life.

PPPS – I still haven’t written my eulogy. I just don’t want to do it. David Palmer, a reader of the blog and a Seven Habits expert, suggests that if the thought of your funeral is too maudlin, you could write about where you’d like to be on your 80th birthday, who you’d like there, what would you like to have achieved. So I’m going to do that instead. It feels much more positive. That’ll be Thursday.

PPPPS – I am behind schedule. As I basically have been since April.  I’ve been beating myself up a lot about this all year but I’ve let it go now. It’s all playing out how it’s playing out. The way I’m going now, I have four more books to do which will mean the project ends in March. I keep thinking of that Susan Jeffers quote: ‘It’s all happening perfectly.’ I hope so.

PPPPPS – Thank you to everyone who sent lovely messages. In my own weird way I’m fine, I promise. xx

18 thoughts on “Life is a Rollercoaster, to quote Ronan Keating.

  1. Mary

    I agree with Preena – a month is like the blink of an eye in soul terms, isn’t it? Plus, in recent years I’ve come to see life as behaving like sets of tectonic plates. Everything is stable (perhaps disappointingly so) for months or years at a time but then an earthquake comes along and everything is turned upside down.
    Plus, on the blow-out, I agree: sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered!

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      You’re right re the tectonic plates, had never thought of it like that. And yes, a month is like the blink of an eye in soul terms. Love that. Aren’t you wise!? Thank you xx

      Reply
  2. Emily

    It sounds like you are a doing a lot of this work on behalf of your family…precisely because you are the sensitive one who is less able to ignore the dysfunctional bits that everyone else is happy to sweep under the carpet or numb out from. You’re doing brilliantly, you are helping other people through being so honest about the wins and the struggles you are encountering on this journey and you are hopefully getting some professional benefit too. I love what Deepak Chopra says about highs and lows (being that type of person myself)…acknowledge they’re there, but like a river, just try and float down the centre. It’s not about denying the extremes, just not letting yourself be so buffeted by them.

    Lots of love for this Monday and thank you again for your admirable candour.

    Emily
    PS my 30 day challenge has taken some knocks but basically my eating has been pretty OK and I’m happy with it so far and what’s happened.

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    Oh Marianne, bless you! Few thoughts as I was reading this so will try and put them all down. You’re not going mad at all, as I’ve said before, I identify so closely with what you say/write and think we are fairly alike in a lot of ways. I once had a friend message me to enquire if I could possibly have bipolar/or be manically depressed, as I seemed very ‘up’ then very ‘down in my Facebook posts. I know she had my best interests at heart, but no…it was just a shit year, and LIFE and I was just pouring stuff out there as it was happening (probably should have filtered more but what the heck!)

    I’ve always been a crier, happy times, sad times, when someone else is upset, at cute adverts etc etc etc being able to cry at stuff is a good thing. Getting your emotions out rather than suppressing them is good, and you are on a journey this year, you just happen to be writing it all in a blog. You’ve come a long way, and sometimes it’s not always easy, but we have to face the stuff we don’t want to, in order to get to the other side.

    Unhinged, you’re not but perhaps your sister is right, in that giving something up for EVER is not realistic, however 80/20% is something to aim for. Don’t beat yourself up about drinking, I’ve had many a drinking session with girlfriends that was just what I needed. One of our lunches lasted 7 hours once, and we ended up ordering dinner in the same restaurant!! That was memorable! You need to give yourself a little slack (but that too comes with practice after years of beating yourself up, it becomes second nature…)

    …& lastly… a ring-leader huh lol I’m terribly flattered (and also burst out laughing when I read this ha ha) , if I’m being totally honest I didn’t stick fully to my ‘no wheat’ goal. However I will take credit for my Italian practice and no booze challenge. Once I set my mind to something I can be quite determined. YOU were the one however who kicked this whole thing off, and for that I’m very grateful. I doubt I would have stuck to it quite as rigidly unless I was unaccountable somewhere. It’s funny, doing this challenge has spurred me on to do other things too, swimming lessons, Little Black Dress Training for Christmas, and lots of good things seem to be happening around me too….

    I look forward to your anger post, it’s an emotion I find difficult. I’m one of those people who aren’t able to express anger healthily, suppress it as I hate confrontation and then it comes out unexpectedly towards the wrong person! oops!

    Lastly re the Susan Jeffers post about running late on this project, I’m also reminded of the F**k It one, that has become more and more my own mantra that ‘Everything is as it should be’…

    Big hugs!

    S xxx

    Reply
  4. Zoë

    Girl, New York is clearly your spirit location. Come live and write here. The below is our absolute norm:
    I am highly strung and over-analytical and I probably do expect too much from the world.

    Probably why you seem completely normal to me, emotions and all 😉

    That said, I’m in complete agreement with the below. Moderation fan I am.
    My sister says I’ve got to tone down on the extremes – not just in the mood department but on the whole ‘I’m never drinking again’ stuff or the ‘I’m not buying another coffee ever again’ stuff. Because I’m just setting myself up for failure.

    xo

    Reply
    1. Zoë

      Ah! A link from your spirit location – women confessing all the silly things they spend too much money on…
      http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/21-women-on-the-dumbest-things-theyve-bought.html?mid=facebook_nymag
      “I spend a lot of money at wine bars because they somehow feel classier than just going to a normal bar, so I pay 12 dollars per drink, and maybe also get a cheese plate. I also spend like 50 dollars a month on pot, which isn’t that much, but I don’t even like pot that much.”

      ““F**king brunch. F**king brunch is the reason I will never own property.”

      “I have spent in the thousands this year alone on hair masks, nail treatments, facials, and teeth whitening. And I don’t actually think I look that much better.”

      Reply
  5. Stephanie

    What is absolutely awesome about this blog is it’s pure authenticity.

    Life isn’t pretty all the time. We all have normal feelings – anger, shame, guilt, sadness, jealously, self-doubt… I could go on, but these are not singular emotions that only you are going through. They are feelings we ALL go through. It’s just whether or not we want to admit it to ourselves. Or in your case, the world. 🙂

    Thank you for being a leader in emotional authenticity. We need more people like you.

    Keep up the good work.

    P.S. I am halfway through my November challenge with a few days to go. I’ve personally extended my deadline to the end of the year to allow for more time.

    Reply
  6. Stephanie

    I’m turning 40 in July and I too am doing my “purge” – it’s been going on for a few years actually, with an intensity this particular year to clear it all out for good.

    It all started with a year long hypnotherapy course. It really woke me up to my subconscious and how it was programmed. Wowsa. Cleaning up all the crap that has been stored deep down in the subconscious is not an easy task.

    My family and friends think I am nutty at times as well. I’ve heard it all. I just ignore them. Whatever.

    They are not living my life. I am.

    I too have said in the past month – I’m done drinking. And then what do you know this past Saturday, I drank too much and was hung over. This time though… I found myself getting excited – as I was moaning in bed – that the chatter going on in my head was positive! In the past it was, “What are you doing? Why did you spend so much money? Why did you drink too much?” But this time, I didn’t beat myself up. I turned it into a learning lesson. And I focused on what I was grateful for at the moment. And it worked! Which looking back I’m proud of myself. Feeling crappy and having good positive self talk is something to celebrate. See… that drinking session,was a positive learning moment. Lol.

    We really need to be easier on ourselves. We deserve it. We are doing the best we can.

    We are all awesome. We just have to see it inside, and keep reminding ourselves.

    Oh and I LOVE the idea of writing how we will be when we are 80. I too didn’t do the eulogy because it made me depressed thinking about it. I have a strong goal that I will have my Ph.D. in Positive Psychology with a focus on Community by the time I’m 80. My 16 year old daughter just looked at me like I was crazy yesterday and said, “Mom. It won’t take you 40 years to get your Ph.D.” Haha.

    Well the fact is I don’t need a Ph.D., but what I do want and desire is a larger than life goal. With this Ph.D. I see myself writing the most magnificent book. And up until 80 I will be gathering research and findings for this book and this incredible paper I will write.

    I’m stoked. Then, when I’m 80, I’ll need another goal to get me to 100. Haha.

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      Stephanie, a belated thank you for this comment – can so relate to the drinking self-talk thing… x

      Reply
  7. Sonya

    “For years I didn’t know what I was feeling about anything. I just got on, working harder, drinking more, spending money, pushing everything down. I thought feelings were for self-indulgent weak people.”
    I think this may be the reason why some people think you’re mad. Because you don’t behave like you used to. I don’t know you in real life and I don’t think you’re losing it. You’ve realised that there was a lot going wrong in your life and you’re confronting it. You’re being honest with yourself and with your readers. It’s the reason why I’ve read every single one of your blog posts since January, so please don’t change.

    Reply
  8. Claudia

    I too have been crap at this 30 day challenge. What I have been really good at though is the self sabotage which made it impossible to keep to any commitment! It was feeling sick, the back hurting too much to do exercise, and the 5 massive speeding fines surprise because I hadn’t changed my postal address. Had a huge fight with myangry and rude 15 year old. Not cool. Today I had pizza for lunch which completely ruined my no diary, no wheat, no carbs rule.

    I’m now thinking of this 30 day challenge as just the warm up to get the crap out of the way, and I’ll start again next month. I have however meditated every day this week, so am grateful for that!

    Marianne, you’re adorable with your honesty and vulnerability. Don’t go changing too much. It’s a matter of cutting out the high highs and the low lows. Feeling the feelings will help. Looking forward to reading more.

    Reply
    1. Marianne Power Post author

      A delayed reply to your speeding fine/pizza day… to quote my favourite self-help author, F**K It! You’re doing great. I am going to get back to the 30 day Challenge in January, November can be a warm up… Thanks very much for the encouragement, it makes a huge difference. Please do keep in touch. m x

      Reply
  9. bob whittle

    I have been reading dozens of self help books for the past 50 years and I love them all but the answer to everything lies with the 23Rd Psalm. I am in no way religious but I do believe in a Universal Intelligence/Creator…..You may find this interesting-Science of Mind, a weekly message from Henry Bates especially the Archives.. Google it see what you think..Keep the Faith

    Reply

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