We all know what the elephant in the room is right?
Well if you don’t let me tell you. It is that big issue, that big conversation, something big that is in the air, that we don’t talk about. For example, when you’re sat at a really posh table with some proper posh folk and someone farts! No one owns it and everyone can smell it yet no one says anything about it but you all know its there. Ok quite a disgusting example but. tell me now, that this has never happened to you! Haha thought so. So what is the pink elephant in the room then?
Well this is similar to the elephant in the room but it is to do with your mental health. The only reason it is pink is because it is my favourite colour, your elephant can be whatever colour you want it to be. But let me give you an idea of how it works and what happens and you will see then how it can hold you back to actually show up in your life and in your business (if you have one).
So I am going to talk to you about something now and as you are reading this next section no matter what you do I want you to not think about a pink elephant ok. Like not at all, not even a big one or a small one or a teen tiny pink elephant ok?
“So I am a mental fitness mentor, my favourite colour is pink and I have a pink jumper on today.”
Now, did you think of a pink elephant?
Chances are you did especially as I threw a few triggers in there too using the word pink. Now this is exactly what happens when we try to avoid working on our mental illness symptoms or our mental health. When we are plagued by overthinking, when we are not sleeping because we are re playing scenarios in our head or acting out scenes in our life that haven’t happened yet. Or when we cry at the drop of the hat but daren’t let a single tear drop or else it will open the floodgates. Or when you watch tv but you cant sit still or concentrate so scroll on your phone instead. All these can be classic signs that you have pink elephants. The more you try to avoid them and pretend they’re not happening the more they constantly show up. Just like they did when I told you not to think of a pink elephant when I was talking but then whenever I said pink aka the trigger word you thought of them.
Often we can get so used to the pink elephant being there we stop seeing them. Or we see them that much and they’re really annoying but we have no idea how to deal with it, how to tame the elephant and make friends with it. Well I am here to tell you how you can tame your pink elephants so that you can learn to move it out of your way so you can stop just existing and start living. But first I am going to share with you how and why I had to deal with my pink elephants and what they looked like for me.
My Pink Elephants
I had a background in extreme trauma, I was a single mum, recently separated from my long term abusive partner of 6 years who I had 3 kids to the first was when I was 16. I found myself avoiding all my pink elephants and becoming an extreme example of what can go wrong, so it is really important to say at this point my case is an extreme cause and it doesn’t always end this way. I had suffered childhood sexual abuse from my dad and I hadn’t even begun to deal with this yet, plus the abusive relationship with my ex to name but a few things that had led to me being plagued by a whole damn heard of pink elephants. Here’s some of mine;
I would hate to be alone! Even though I was happy I had left my ex, I didn’t like being with my own thoughts, so instead of taking time to heal after a split I was throwing myself into everything. I was at college doing an access to uni course, I was running a home, I was being mum, I was doing it all. I would get the kids to bed, I would do assignments I would be scrolling social media, I would be making new friends where ever I could, I was speaking to men and boys in really not safe or good ways but I knew they would talk to me if I talked to them like that, I would go out and drink every time my ex had the children and party, would do anything but to sit with myself and hear my thoughts. A huge pink elephant, fearing my mind, with a few other pink elephants thrown in there such as dangerous behaviours and unhealthy relationships.
Another huge pink elephant for me that I had had for many years since being really young too due to the childhood trauma and got really heightened when I had my kids. Was hearing my dads voice, was a mix of complex ptsd and intrusive thoughts. If you don’t know, because I didn’t, even after I had qualified as a counsellor I still couldn’t pin point my own thoughts as a intrusive thoughts, I was convinced it was my dad somehow in my head. But an intrusive thought is an unwanted thought you have that scares you or upsets you in any way. I would have the most awful intrusive thoughts, the worse where when I would see my kids running up stairs and I would notice their little bums wiggling away and then my mind would tell me I was going to become a monster just like my dad. Intrusive thoughts where a daily, hourly occurrence and got more and more intense as the years rolled on.
The next big pink elephant for me become self-isolation. I was becoming that crippled by my mental illnesses that I could no longer perform the basic day to day tasks. I was lucky at the time that my kids school had a drop of and pick up policy of no parents allowed in the playground (as it was a junior school they could do this) so I wouldn’t have to even leave my car to do the school run and I didn’t. I became so isolated that for a time my weekly goal was to simply make it to the end of my garden (on a dead end street, where I overlooked trees so no one was ever around) and to look over the high gate I had (ok it was prob not even a 6ft gate but I’m only 5ft lol).
The never enough pink elephant, the little voice that chirps all the time saying psst that is not good enough, you are such a burden, you are good at nothing and bad at everything. You know that relative that is never pleased by anyone’s achievements, you are now living that in your head daily. You spill the milk, you are prize cunt and really go at yourself for it. You never feel good enough for anything or anyone.
Which leads on to one of my major pink elephants, suicide, the constant desire, hunger and need to die. To end it all, to finally put a rest to this pain. This overwhelming feeling of being a burden of feeling like people, especially my kids would be way better off with out me that the best thing I could possibly do for them was to not be here anymore. To protect them from me. I remember on one of my 3 really serious attempts (besides my attempt in year 9 at school where I thought I ad stolen some strong meds of my mum to take an overdose in school, instead I took her damn hay fever tables and woke up in the science lab wondering why I wasn’t dead, now I’m just left wondering why I still sneeze seen as I should be covered for life from hay fever!). But one time, in my late twenties (which wasn’t too long ago despite my kids thinking I’m ancient) I heard the ambulance crew telling my mum at the time “if we was 30 seconds later getting through that door she wouldn’t be with us” and feeling so angry, Because for a moment a mere glimmer I felt the most overwhelming sense of peace like I was slowly but surely drifting away into nothingness, I will admit even now I remember how warm and at peace it felt and it gets me emotional. But don’t get me wrong I am so grateful and blessed to still be here today.
So as I said some of mine are extreme pink elephants, some where around for years and I just ignored them hoping they would one day go away. Yours are hopefully not as extreme as mine but if they are, there is help and you are not alone in this I promise.
How to tame your pink elephants
I have done the hard work so that you don’t have to. I have a background in extreme trauma, and by that I don’t just mean the academic studies I have done including becoming a counsellor. You have some of my trauma above. But I learned more in the years during and after my mental breakdown then I ever did in my studies. so what worked for me to start to allow me to move my pink elephants out the way, or at least tame some of the noiser ones.
So here’s my top tips on how to make friends with your pink elephants so they can stop getting in your way.
In order to try and deal with acting on my sucidial thoughts I would ask myself why not. I would force myself each time I had the thought and more so each morning to name 3 good reasons why not to kill myself that day.
The parties over
I used to be stuck in a pity party loop constantly blaming my mental illnesses, my background of trauma on why I was the way I was. Which wasn’t a lie but it also stopped me from doing something about it. So I needeed to end the pity party!
For my little girl
I needed to start allowing the little girl inside of me who felt so ashamed, so guilty, so scared to feel heard and seen. I needed to start loving and giving back to that little girl inside of me and stop being so angry with her and blaming everything on her. It was time I started to give back to my little girl.
So how did I do it I hear you ask?
Well you know me I aint here to bull shit and one thing I looked for, for a really long time and eventually the answer slapped me right in the face. There is no quick fix answer, it just doesn’t exist. So if that is what you are looking here for too then am sorry but it ain’t here. I am sure there will be some guru or mentor promising they can ‘heal you in a day’ or some even in an hour and your free spend shit loads of money to realise they’re talking bollocks. Sure I have had some amazing sessions with those I support, they have really made huge progress in one session. BUT that progress wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for all the sessions that happened before, often for over a year before! So back to how I did it.
Well, I have created my own five stage framework all based on how I learned to move and or tame my pink elephants so that I could have control of my moods and emotions. Allowing me to feel emotionally independent and start to finally thrive in my life and in my business. Pulling together all my academic and personal knowledge into one overall framework. Here are the five stages of that very framework.
Accepting your mind
This is where we basically take a look at the herd. You look at where you are and look at accepting you, not at others accepting you not how to accepted by others but at you accepting you, accepting where you are at too.
Understanding your mind
The logical next step after accepting you is to understand you. Stop throwing blame around and pushing your shit on others by moaning that no one understands you. The chances are they won’t and don’t if you don’t even understand yourself in the first place. So this is all about you understanding you on the deepest level possible for you right now.
Re setting your mind
Now you accept who you are and understand who you are you can make choices, conscious choices about what you want to do how you want to react So this involves looking at what your signs are and then how you want to respond to those signs. So that you finally take full responsibility for your triggers and stop expecting the world to tip toe around your triggers.
Conditioning your mind
This is where you look at making serous and long lasting changes in your life so that the reset you just did can actually happen, it is about putting the reset in to action. Doing daily mico tasks to help you to become more emotionally independent. This may look like moving for your mood, taking a walk, going for a cold dip (you crazy fucker), spending time alone, whatever it looks like for you.
Stronger Than Your Mind
This is the never ending stage. This is where you continue to go deeper into each of the other levels time and time again to keep re uncovering things about yourself. To keep taking it deeper. Like an onion peeling off each layer and crying like a mother fucker every time you do. Centring yourself then going right in to peel another layer off. But all while knowing you now have the tools and the community to help you do just that.
Take a look at your elephants now
Where are your pink elephants and what do they look like? Imagine you have tamed or moved one of your pink elephants out the way. What does this now enable you to do? How does life feel now its out the way? What are you able to do and show up like in your business now?
I can take you through my five stage framework to start working on your pink elephants, and we can do that either in 1:1 therapy sessions or in my group support programme; my Stronger Than Your Mind Academy. To find out how I can best support you and which would work most for you can book in a chat with me or vist my support page for more info. Both are linked below.