‘Love – the great leveller. Love – the life-changer.’
– Jeanette Winterson
‘The most helpful thing I have learned in the last year or so is what I do when I am stressed or depressed or struggling or anxious – whatever, large or small. I will drive the thing round and round in my head and suddenly try and park it, well crash it, actually, into my relationship. I will pick a fight or invent a crisis – just so that I can be dealing with that, and park the other thing that is really bothering me.
I noticed myself doing it, and suddenly it became very clear that it is was something I had always done, because strife and struggle in the love place is where I can cope with problems – it may be horrible but it is familiar territory, instead of the scary unfamiliar territory of a new problem or the intractability of an old problem.
I am in a very good and loving relationship now – the best I have ever had, and we are able to deal with things as they arise, but on maybe 3 or 4 occasions I have gone back into default mode.
I was physically parking my real car when I saw myself parking the virtual stuff in the wrong bay. I called Susie and told her what I thought I had been doing – and said sorry for the fight we had just had, or I had just manufactured. She understood, of course, because she understands so much about how people tick, but insights mean nothing unless they are your own.
I can catch myself at it now, and take a deep breath, and force myself back to the real anxiety, whatever it is, and that is not fun. But at least it is true.
We are all going to suffer – that’s life – so we might as well suffer for the thing we need to be suffering over, and not displace it into something else. ‘