Its a while since I tried to write about how I am doing, the truth is, it feels like writing about recovery seems impossible, when nothing is moving forward, when all the things you know don’t work.

Starting counselling has been the hardest thing I have ever done, it is hard to describe how it makes you feel, apart from NUMB.

If anyone asked you to go to your dentist and have your teeth drilled with no painkillers you would run a mile because you know it would hurt like hell.

Going back week after week, It feels harder to keep fighting even though people say it is for the best.

In nursing we tell people things will get worse before they get better, but when does the worse stop!!! when does it get better.

Its hard to see out of this whole, to see what is on the horizon, to get a glimpse of the future.

It feels like nothing is going to be the same again… when everything feels like your trudging through the thickest heaviest mud… nothing is going to be the same again.


Having completed some hard events over the years in the mountains you go through hard times, on a 50 km Mountain race I hit the bottom of a hill at 21 miles, I remember sitting on the grass exhausted, contemplating quitting and walking away from the race, I knew I had 7 miles of up hill to do, my legs were sore and I was so tired. I was struggling to take in food and couldn’t see a way out.

I took a pack of nuts out of my bag, put my bag on my back and started taking one step at a time, for 7 miles I was having to fight every negative thought in my head telling me to quit, that I shouldn’t be there, that I wasn’t good enough.

They may have been right but I kept on walking, as if trudging through mud every footstep taking every ounce of energy… eventually the top of the hill came, overcome but not beaten.

Stuck is only a position, hopefully step by step, slowly but surely I may overcome and not be beaten.

This week I have been mostly learning to Breathe

“Your breathing all wrong”

How in the hell can I be breathing wrong, it is the most natural thing we do, it is the only thing I do without having to think about it.

This is just another task to add to the list of things I can’t do properly, my wife is going to love this one!!!

So apparently breathing isn’t as easy as breathing in and out.

Its just one of the things I missed in my self, but is apparently easily recognised in someone with high anxiety/stress. I breathe short only filling my chest and lungs, missing the full belly breath which is especially practiced in Yoga type exercises ( I wouldn’t know this, as a Yorkshire man yoga is not my cup of tea).

The time it is most noticeable is at night, getting off to sleep is mostly OK but I wake up around 2-3 am with what feels like an Elephant on my chest, my breathing is rapid and short in depth and it takes some real concentration to get it to settle. Apparently this is due to being hyper-vigilant all the time constantly assessing risks after years of working in such a heightened state.

In my job roles over the years one thing was for sure, no day was they same and you never knew what could happen from one minute to the next. One minute you could be de-escalating an aggressive situation the next you could be dealing with an attempted suicide, your body and mind gets used to being constantly aroused. Your body produces high levels of cortisol and all your fight and flight mechanisms are active, trying to come down from these was at times impossible, maybe that is why a stiff drink was quite common post shift.

So here are some tips I was given

Step 1: Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

Step 2: Breathe in normally through your nose, and hold it for 3 seconds.

Step 3: Exhale out slowly and smoothly through your mouth.

The key to this technique is exhaling all of the air out of your lungs very slowly. 

Concentrate on taking breaths right down to your stomach, or “belly breathing.” To help you do this, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. If you are doing the exercise correctly, only the hand on your stomach will rise and fall as you inhale and exhale.

Set aside three times each day to practice.

Practice the breathing retraining for at least 5–10 minutes each time.

Great tips from – https://www.oxfordclinicalpsych.com

In practice this is hard I try to set about five minutes laying on the floor, I put on some quiet music and give it a go. Five minutes feels like a long time, so keep practicing.

I have roped in my middle and youngest children to take part, as we know children are needing help to build up skills to help with increased stresses at school. I like this time as Aron our Youngest has been struggled with nervousness at school and will come into my room on a morning and tell me he is feeling sick most days. Interestingly he really struggles with this exercise, which encourages me to do it more.

As the Title says, a throw back from the Fast show – This week (and next week and the one after) I will mostly be learning to breathe.

Take time to give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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