This post is by our guest blogger and A Little Peace of Mind graduate, Amie Joof.
Here Amie shares her story of change – you can find all the posts in this series here: http://alittlepeaceofmind.co.uk/amie
Today I woke up and thought about doing something before I go back to work tomorrow, now that I’m not limited to where I go I have so much fun picking places I’ve never been or places I couldn’t re-visit due to not being able to leave my house before this programme.
I decided on the British history museum, which means a 1 hour drive, traffic, a maze like environment and hundreds of people. Before I genuinely would have laughed if anyone suggested this, I wouldn’t of even tried. Today, I can go and have no thinking about going.
Before I left the house my brother made a comment to me. He said “I’m not surprised museums are free, I couldn’t think of anything more boring.” I wanted to be quite rude to him, admittedly. Instead I stopped and said “that’s just your thoughts about the museum, you love constantly going to go-karting and I couldn’t think of anything more boring, driving around in circles for an hour, but then again they’re just my thoughts!” (I was quite proud of myself for that one)
When I got to the museum entrance there was a tunnel tent like thing outside. Everyone had to have their bags searched. I started thinking about how anxious I used to be when I visited my brother in prison growing up and how much I would shake when I was being searched and had sniffer dogs surrounding me. The thought of this caused a knot in my stomach. Not the event itself of course, because that wasn’t even happening today. Anyway, I got my things searched and went in. Within minutes those thoughts dropped and I was amazed by everything I was seeing, statues, mummies, old coins and jewellery.
I was taking pictures, reading and learning and smiling to myself, simply because my life is expending more and more.
When I went into the Egyptian section it was hugely popular and packed. It was also extremely dark because some of the displays were slightly lit. Being in the dark, surrounded by loads of people and a long walk to the nearest exit started to make me feel slightly uncomfortable. I felt myself looking around occasionally to make sure I knew where the exit was. I knew I felt anxious, but I knew I was okay. That feeling is SO relieving. Because in the past I genuinely never knew I could be both anxious and okay, so I’d totally freak out. But once I learned it’s ALL okay and I have FULL permission for anything that makes sense to me in the moment, all of that fell away.
I thought to myself, “I’m slightly anxious and uncomfortable but I’m okay” and I stayed. I stayed for another 35 minutes looking around, knowing if I wanted to leave it meant nothing about me, it didn’t mean “oh no I’m ill again” or “That’s it I’ve completely failed today” which are thoughts I used to have if I was anxious anywhere. Instead, I thought, I’m anxious, excited, intrigued, uncomfortable, happy all at once. Just being a human and feeling whatever I’m feeling and not adding unnecessary stories along with it.
Wanting to be able to go wherever I want without feeling anxious ever again is a goal that led me to suffer in the past, because I was setting myself up to fail. I wanted to completely erase a normal human emotion from my life. Now, I’m fine with being anxious, upset, happy, angry, low. Because it comes and it goes and it has nothing to do with me.