How I practised my own therapeutic techniques to help me through a challenging timeWe have all had one of those nights. A long, dark night which reaches out endlessly until the morning and your only companion is your thoughts. Dark, scary thoughts which torture and keep you from rest until the necessity of the next day dawns. I had one of those nights at the end of last year.

The next day I went to see my GP; one of my nipples had doubled in size and was showing red pimples. After examining me, he told me that if my symptoms hadn’t reduced or improved within a week I needed to undergo further investigation to eliminate the possibility of cancer…

Back home I was filled with an intense panic. I was in floods of tears, I couldn’t organise my thoughts. During the previous night before seeing the doctor, I concluded that I was OK about the possibility dying but now it was a real possibility, the idea I would leave my 16-year-old daughter behind without a mum was terrifying me. I repeatedly heard a voice in my head telling me “she wasn’t ready – she still needed me”!!

I brought up my daughter without any support from family who all live in France and without much support from her dad as he moved away soon after the divorce. All the school runs, exam anxiety, high temperatures and sleepless nights had just been us two, sticking together – trying to make it through, a little team. The fear of Ashlie not being strong enough to emotionally deal with my loss was tearing me apart.

I did what I often do, I prayed. Prayers have always been my refuge, one of my coping mechanisms. They are for me, like airbags, protecting me in the middle of a collision.

When I prayed this time, the difference was; I surrendered – I let go of everything around me and somehow, I felt my mind do a U turn. I experienced a light bulb moment and felt a vail lift from in front of me.

This is what I realised in this moment;

  • Having previously spent time worrying about the how I had messed up, I could now see and feel everything I had done well. This feeling was amazing, I surprised myself smiling when I had been sobbing only a few moments earlier. I was SO happy I had succeeded in focussing on the things I had achieved and this is key to happiness; so, celebrate everything you achieved in life, from learning to ride a bike to getting your first job, let go of worries and embrace Gratitude. It is so powerful.
  • I had spent years trying to adapt my behaviour to other people’s way of being – I found myself letting go – there was no time for it – I was just going to go with my own gut feeling. I’m not sure how to explain it except to say that it is a life without any complications. When people are angry with you it’s not what you’ve done but what they see in you and how they have chosen to react. If deep inside it feels right and fair to you, then just go for it.
  • I didn’t want to discuss the diagnosis with anybody until I had digested it myself and took the time I needed. This isn’t being selfish, this is doing what is right for you. Other’s reactions, good or bad, were just that; how they chose to react.
  • This time praying and using my intuition was blissful…. I was in a state of real happiness. It was as if I had entered a different dimension for a few seconds, these realisations about my life, my health and what might happen if the diagnosis was cancer made sense instantly, yet it felt like I was in this zone for a while.

Things I had learnt and read over the last 20 years were rushing through my mind with an utter simplicity that I could experience with all my senses. I could picture the letting go of resentment and took ownership of my share of the responsibilities for past failures. I was no longer in the victim triangle.

It was clear as crystal, I wasn’t going to waste a minute more of my life regretting the past or worrying about the future. My conscious mind / filter/ reasoning side took over. Every CBT and NLP technique I had learned took over, I could see, hear and sense each one of them in a clear and simple way. I just picked up a pen and started my own mental cleansing which I have since then been practicing daily as a kind of “mental hygiene”.

Have FUN every single day

  • SAVOUR every moment – use mindfulness!
  • Allow your inner child out.
  • Take any piece of clothing that doesn’t make you feel like a million dollars to the charity shop and only wear clothes that make you happy, if it means you’re wearing sparkly stuff every day, then so be it!

Accept myself and every part of me as I AM with unconditional positive regard

  • Let go of fear whether it is a fear of (shame, failure or rejection)
  • Let go of self-criticism. If I wouldn’t say it to my daughter, then I no longer tell it to myself.
  • Remove “should” from vocabulary and replace it by “I would rather” we ALWAYS do the best we can with the information we have at the time, should implies we’ve done something wrong. Let go of it.

Let go of resentment

  • Take ownership – observe the part you played in the event.
  • What did you gain from the experience? (self-reliance, freedom, compassion, empathy, better understanding of yourself, what you want or no longer want out of a relationship, a new career, an opportunity to rest and reflect, a deeper connection with your higher-self…)

Focus on something greater than you

  • Notice who you have helped or been useful to at the end of each day

Raise your energy level

  • Be genuinely GRATEFUL for something new each day (my crispy bed linen, my beautiful flowers, the sunshine on my skin, my sweet little car, my heated seat, every single part of my healthy organs and body, a strong immune system.

Boost my immune system

  • Doing my utmost to eat healthily for the day
  • Select healthy lighter food that will feed my body vitamins and zinc iron proteins… at a cellular level, no longer fill my stomach with non-nutritious food.
  • Move more (going or walk, park my car further away, join a salsa group or go swimming.

When you have an ISSUE (not a problem)

  • You can do something about it
    • Draw a list of bullet points to solve it
    • Act on this list
    • Delegate the items you cannot implement yourself
  • It’s out of your control, it’s a “Worry”
    • Shrink it! How?
    • Replace the worrying thought with a positive affirmation.
    • Picture the outcome you wish to obtain – NOT the way you get there.
    • Suspend all doubt – even if it doesn’t happen, you’ll have had a magnificent time whilst waiting.

When I saw the oncologist, and was given the clear, I promised myself to help as many people benefit from my experience. I will cover these 7 points and how to achieve them in my first Hypnos CD which will be out later this year.