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After Care

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

So many of us are not practicing what we preach and just mopping up messes here and there, rather than taking care of self every day, right? You know its true for most of us, especially the empaths amongst us. We just keep on giving until we are depleted and really exhausted.

I'm so exhausted and have been for at least the last two years...possibly 10.

I was going to title this blog.....'Burnt Out', 'Savaged', 'Unplugged'.....all relevant, sure, but 'After Care' is the perfect title, because that's exactly what I am doing! I'm practicing emergency 'After Care' finally.

That moment of absolute clarity came to me suddenly just the other day and finally I couldn't ignore just how on the edge I was in terms of my physical and mental health. I started doing things and writing things I wouldn't normally do. Making mistakes. Not liking how I was sounding, angry and impatient, but finding that I am loosing my hair in clumps was enough to make me have a moment so profound, that I knew that if I didn't make sudden changes to my lifestyle, I could end up very sick. No ones fault but mine really, I just have to learn to say no, it's really is that simple. I really need to start telling those cheeky buggers that use and abuse me to FUCK off more and I have to take people to task when they mess with my life and steal my time. I also need to learn to unplug properly and I don't think I have for a good decade. There's that old saying 'if you don't learn to rest, your body will do it for you'! Mine has given me it's last warning and this time I have listened.

I also realised that I rarely smile anymore.

I've lived my life online in communities I built for way too long and somewhere in the mix I made myself unimportant and a very easy target. Then there's the moving countries and homes and an autoimmune issue to manage. Of course there's also the normal family issues we all deal with, which is more than enough to keep my stress levels too high, so something had to give.

I looked at how my life is now being taken up by a magazine I didn't want. It had been a dream for a while but a dream I had moved on from. Too many women had come and gone leaving a trail of destruction behind them, I just decided if I was every going to launch a magazine or write a book, I would part company with the source of the trouble first.

How did it happen? One of my volunteer admin team got up one day in August last year and just decided we would have a magazine, with zero thought of how much work it would be. She also didn't give me or the teams future plans any consideration and suddenly we were knee deep in a whole mess of fighting a media fire. This woman didn't worry about the financial cost to me or how it would affect the plans I had for the next two years, nor did she care about the quality of the product which I have to say was embarrassing. Then when it got tough for her to balance her life, family and health, she threw the towel in leaving a complete mess behind her, which we had to mop up. At best her plans were naive and at worst they were thoughtless and malevolent. I forgive most people, but I won't be forgiving her. I must never forget just how far some people are willing to go for fame and money and also how easy they wrongly believe it is to achieve.

Of course I had my own plans and I also had commitments when my life and social brand were completely hijacked and not for the first time. I'm sure Tia feels the same? I personally don't need to be managed or want to be. I don't need fixing and nor do I need leading. I had my own plans thanks very much! However, it is what it is and Tia, the contributors and I have got behind the Magazine and now we all have to change our plans to make sure it's a really good magazine, a welcome task. I know we can do it, but what I can't do is hang around all day on groups chatting and lifting others spirits. I need to lift my own first.

So many people mistake kindness for lack of intelligence these days, it's very sad.

To be honest I'm tired of social media, big time. I don't think its a terribly healthy place to hang out these days. People behave very differently behind the screen than they do face to face. Also, in groups there is no way of protecting the personal information we innocently share. That really bothers me.

I also need to learn to exhale. I feel like I've been inhaling for years.

I've enjoyed making real life long friends online sure, I really appreciate the community that supported me and the admin teams that have helped me manage the platforms. However, the magazine is a real registered business, costing money and time and it needs protecting. Some of my longer term admin team know what I've been through and they do understand, but for the rest my need to withdraw from the social spotlight suddenly has been a shock. I'm sorry about that but this isn't about you, it's about me.

I really desire to be less visible as an individual on social media frankly, I won't stop writing because that truly makes me happy, but I won't flog my guts out trying to make other people happy and included now. As you all know I've found Instagram quite shocking really, a wolf in sheep clothing. There's something really toxic in the behaviour of those people editing their lives, focusing on the best of it and playing like for like then unlike. I simply don't enjoy that sort of nonsense and I was in danger of feeding the ever hungry beast. Lives can be lived beautifully off line, without the constant need for praise, right?

Essentially, I have moved so far away from where I wanted to be that I don't recognise myself anymore. I think it's going to be both a painful and interesting process finding a way back to being me, putting myself first for a change. I'm 53 and nearer to 54, which is very near to my mid fifties. Time to grow up I feel and re discover the zest for life I appear to have lost in the thong. I've been so good at promoting others, that I don't have the time or inclination to promote what I do! It's self sabotage and no I don't need need therapy to understand exactly where I am going wrong. My natural setting is set to 'selfless' and I need to tweak the dial a bit to 'selfish'. I truly have made myself a victim. It has never failed to surprise me how quickly people become experts off the back of my help and encouragement. How soon they forget there's no 'I' in 'TEAM' but I must be satisfied that there are those that know and are grateful for the help and support I gave them. It's enough, it's more than enough.

Social media has brought people together, certainly, but it's always been a double edged sword hasn't it? I for one am making an informed decision to opt out. I'm sure my life will be infinitely richer for switching the spot light off.

Donna x

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