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Not Quite Hell! Thursday June 13, 2013

Now, in spite of my rather mainstream religious beliefs, I've always been a bit hazy about Heaven and Hell. I sort of vaguely hope that in Heaven I will be reunited with not only humans but also my much loved pets that have passed on over the years.

I am pretty sure however that in my personal Hell there would be an area very much like Alton Towers containing the most enormous rides with names like 'Nemesis', 'Annihilator' and 'Total Perspective Vortex' (that last is a Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Joke, by the way).

So when the whole family was invited to the local 'Fun Park' you can imagine that I was not looking forward to the day. We went with the same people last year, and the three minutes I spent on the Pirate Ship ride have to rank as possibly the most unpleasant of my life so far.

But it was actually OK. I discovered that there was another adult in the group who did not want to go on the adventurous rides either and who was also happy to ride gently round and round on the Galloping Horses. This year the older girls could run off by themselves and go on the Roller Coaster sixteen times in a row while I joined the younger ones on the 'Babies' Ladybird ride.

In fact, it turned into quite an enjoyable day, and I'm glad I went and didn't make an excuse to duck out.

It's often the way, isn't it? We dread something and find it's not that bad after all. We think we will be the only one who – whatever, and find that there is someone else who also – whatever.

Maybe we could say "yes" more often. It might not actually be Hell!

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Sarah Layton Thu, Jun 13th 2013 @ 7:55am

I think there is also something about the way in which we take ourselves to an event that we think is going to be difficult.

When I take myself gently (I imagine myself holding my own hand) and talk kindly to myself 'you don't need to do anything you don't want to do, I'm here. If you want to stop we can sit in a cafe or something. You have a choice' I find it really helps me. I often find I gather enthusiasm as I go.

It might sound strange - the idea of talking to myself as though I am two beings and I don't mind as I know its useful. The more adult version of me is able to encourage and support the more childlike, scared version of me.

When I tell myself I must do something, or I 'should' do something I find I really dig in my heels and fight all the way! Not an enjoyable experience.

Thank you Mary for this thought provoking post.

Victoire Thu, Jun 13th 2013 @ 9:39am

I love this post Mary. Your line about being happy to ride round and round on the Galloping Horses made me chuckle! I'd have joined you! I cannot bear fair rides other than the Horses (alas not even the Dodgems, such a wimp). ANd I dread being invited but its never occurred to me there may be another who feels the same way so I don't have to be either cajoled into going on some terrifying rollercoaster or teased for not having the bottle. But you were there, so this gives me hope! And that its "ok" just being me, enjoying what I do from a fair (wandering, people watching, taking in the atmosphere from the safety of the ground, and actually I LOVE the galloping horses and am often trying to find someone to accompany me when I see a carousel in London. So instead of berating myself (fiercely) for being so "pathetic", I could instead celebrate my joy of that ride I so adored as a child, and reminds me of Mary Poppins... a chance to enjoy the magic. So thank you. And also thank you Sarah for your reply above, as your method has been recommended to me by a psychologist, with whom I'm studying Compassionate Mind therapy. Taking oneself by the hand, as one would a frightened child (I was that child, aged 9, paralysed by terror at fairgrounds, dreading being dragged on some ride or other), and having that gentleness and kindness I can give others but rarely myself (why not?!). All in all, two great posts and just what I needed to get myself out of this mornings fog of anxiety...

Anonymous Thu, Jun 13th 2013 @ 9:40am

This is an inspirational story, I do find that after being 'bitten' a number of times I tend to just not attend 'functions' these days.
After reading your story I migh just consider dipping my toe in the pond again.

Anonymous Thu, Jun 13th 2013 @ 11:00am

I have a similar feeling that I call "The Habit of No". It often feels safer to say "No, I don't want to do that" in sort of a kneejerk way.

Sometimes I catch myself and say "yes", and sometimes whatever I've said yes to turns out to be quite enjoyable. Sometimes not, but the trick is to avoid beating myself up if that's the case.

Anonymous Fri, Jun 14th 2013 @ 9:11am

Yes this is a good post - about being open to new experiences, not judging them before they happen, just go with the flow and try it out, and you may find something is more fun than you thought it would be. My mother used to say that I dreaded parties and begged not to go, then she'd come to collect me and I'd be begging her not to take me away!

Exidia Thu, Jun 20th 2013 @ 1:45pm

Sarah this is brilliant! Why haven't I thought of it before? I talk to other things all the time in my head, (as in come on car, you're going to start this time) so why not to myself as a separate being?

I'm off to a frightening situation tonight and i shall try it - thank you!

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