My journey from being in my head to my heart …..

Mandala Mindful Art by Louise. Original illustration made for The Owl and The Coconut by Lauren Kelly.


By Louise

Growing up I was a shy and introverted child, who was very self-conscious. Entering my twenties, I was diagnosed with depression and had developed anorexia. Luckily for me I had a supportive GP who helped me to start to eat, but battling my thoughts was so much harder.

Throughout my adult life I was absorbed with believing myself to not be enough. I had various episodes of crippling anxiety and depression. I tried everything to fix me-under eat, over exercise, moved jobs and home, too much alcohol, no alcohol and so on… nothing helped. As a nurse, the only time I felt worthwhile was with my patients – I was being further depleted emotionally and physically. At home, an episode of domestic abuse confirmed for me my feelings of worthlessness.

Manchester

I moved to Manchester for work. I hated it. I was completely isolated from friends and family-I had been living down South. Another crushing episode led me to therapy for the first time. This was some help, but I don’t think I was really engaged. I repeated this pattern over and over-depression, therapy/counselling, etc…

However, last year I crashed big time.

Stress

I was stressed out, unable to cope with work pressures and became depressed and then suicidal. I realised that I could not keep doing this. I had frequent GP appointments, increased medication and after 3 months started therapy.

As if by magic…..

The Owl and The Coconut

On Facebook I read about The Owl and The Coconut based at the Old Library in Levy and saw a Mindfulness for Stress Reduction Taster session advertised. “I’ll give it a go” I thought. I knew straight away it was what I was looking for…apart from the raisin meditation (just yuk!). That taster had me hooked on Mindfulness – there are so many tools to help …I never realised.

I then moved on to the 8week MBSR course- It has and is helping me to change my life. I feel that I am so much more present in my life rather than in my thoughts- I regularly meditate and use meditative activities to keep myself present – walking in nature is great. I am a tree-hugger! I involve my cats in my practice-meditating, stroking a purring cat is a totally beautiful, sensory experience. Karen and Gemma were amazing, warm, welcoming and supportive.

I finished the course feeling that I was becoming a different person.

Mindful Art

Then came Mindful Art Practice…..

This was out of my comfort zone. I’ve believed that I am not creative and cannot draw, so I was not sure if it was for me. Week one I still was not convinced that this was not for me – everyone else could draw! Oh dear…I was back to judgement..

I pushed through these feelings and learnt loads.

Using art is a great way of expressing thoughts and feelings – it helps to express what is difficult to say. Using chalks helped me to rediscover a child-like sense of wonder.  Gemma and Pam were brilliant-empathetic and inspirational. Our little group all supported each other. I experienced real joy doing this course. Instead of judging my art as good or bad, I now view it as my representation of my feelings and thoughts. It just is. I try to do something creative daily, colouring in, drawing, creating patterns and so on. I love it. It’s another tool. I am the Picasso of Mindfulness! I am enjoying my life so much more, I am more present with friends and family and am passing on tips to my patients. I have had so much feedback from colleagues and friends that I am like a new person.

Now

I now volunteer with The Owl and The Coconut. I want to give something back, what I have received from them is priceless… help in achieving a peaceful mind. There may be challenges along the way, but thanks to The Owl and The Coconut, I now have several tools to help me to STOP, NOTICE – take a breath, sit with the discomfort, be kind to myself, and then I can CREATE.

If you’d like to join one of our 8 week mindfulness courses, sign up to our newsletter for more info on upcoming courses by emailing owlandcoconut@gmail.com or book onto our next taster session on Eventbrite

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