Sunday, 25 August 2013

My leaky boat.

The person in the picture is, alas, not me.

This is not a post about asylum seekers. I don't know much about that issue, but feel that they should be treated with far more compassion than they are.

This is more of a parable.

Living life has often been likened to being in a boat at sea, and I am going to hijack this analogy for my own purposes.

So I am in the water, paddling my little dinghy, with all the other dinghies.

In the last few years, I have become a master paddler. I have become adept at navigating rough seas. Learned to enjoy a calm sea. My arms have gotten stronger and more sure.

Currently, the weather is good. Blue skies as far as the eye can see. Lots of nice people in their dinghies to keep me company. Have managed to paddle clear of a few of the dinghies that t-boned me and made me wobble.

Yet in the last couple of weeks or so, I have noted the back of the dinghy sagging a bit. I look at the floor of the dinghy and sure enough, there is a bit of water in the bottom of the boat. Dang, it's sprung a leak.

I set to work looking for the leak, plug up what I can see. I get my little pail and remove the water, while paddling and keeping the dinghy on course. I stay close to my fellow friendly Dinghy captains.

Unfortunately, the bottom of the boat keeps filling, and the back of the boat continues to sag. Not so much that it risks being engulfed, but enough to be of concern.

I continue to paddle and pail out the water, but I get a bit panicky.

I need to paddle ashore and get the boat properly seen to, before things get too dicey out on the water.

Of course, this is an analogy. I am no good on the sea, as I get motion sickness.

The weather I describe here can be related to the prevailing external circumstances of our lives. There is often fuck all you can do about them, other than attend to them if they are rough but enjoy them when they are calm.

Me, the paddler, is the rational me, the one who has been through stuff and gotten stronger, who has, through therapy, learned a lot of techniques to deal with things much more effectively than before. Who can accurately make an assessment of a situation and respond to it

The boat is my brain, my mind, my mood. It responds to the assured self talk, but also to the ambient level of happy hormone within it.

And you can probably work out who the boat builder ashore is.

In this post I talked about coming off antidepressant medication. It was a decision made in conjunction with my specialist, done under supervision and with the idea of it being a permanent wean.

Lately I have been feeling increasingly ill at ease. Sometimes it is background noise, and I can be distracted from it. Sometimes it rears its head in the form of being acutely and absolutely convinced that a particular bad thing is going to happen (the bad thing differs with the circumstance). I cry more easily and I take a lot of things personally. I don't feel good enough.

Worse, I feel ashamed of feeling that way. Guilty about it. Frightened by it.

With my Mad Skillz in Positive Self Talk (TM) I say to myself, it is ok, everything is fine, you will be fine, that bad thing is not going to happen. I go for a run. I hang with my peeps.

It's at best partially effective (so I keep it up) and at worst not effective at all.

Because when the boat's leaky, a paddle and a pail will only cut it for a short time. Gotta get the boat seen to, so it doesn't capsize.

I've been there and I know the signs.

I may just have to accept that though I am a great paddler and have lots of good people to paddle with, my boat might just be more prone to leakage than some other people's.


  1. I loved your analogy. Clever girl.

    I hope you feel better soon and your boat becomes leak free again! Do whatever you need to do to fix it. No-one can help how they are wired.

    Take care Cilla.

  2. What a beautifully honest post Cilla :) And I think that your analogy is really relatable to people too!

  3. Yes but you seem like a great rower with a great sense of direction and you can see that you are heading the right way.( going with the analogy) but you are at least strong and lucky enough to make it this far bc I know many who just give up and go find some seem like a great clever gal and remember that everyone but seriously everyone has a similar thing and you're not alone. As you say it's life sometimes amazing sometimes not so much. Keep the faith x

  4. It is ok, everything is fine, you will be fine, that bad thing is not going to happen. x

  5. Your analogy is utterly perfect. I'm in a similar little boat, but have just had to line it with another waterproof membrane to keep it afloat.


  6. Aw, love :( I think this is perfectly relatable for *everyone*. Keep paddling, sweetheart... you *will* be fine xoxo

  7. I hope you are ok...Nothing bad will happen.

    I worry like mad too.

    Fingers and toes things look up x