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There's a hole in my sidewalk. Tuesday September 16, 2014

In a counselling session I had, I was given "There's a hole in my sidewalk", by Portia Nelson, and was asked to consider where I was on the journey. If you are not familiar with this work the basic outline is that there is a hole in the road. At first you don't see it so fall in, then you fall in because you pretend you can't see it, followed by falling in because it's a habit. The next step is to walk around it and finally, the last stage is taking a new road.

The hole in the road, to me, represents a particular problem in my life. It's been there for many years so I know this hole very well indeed. I have been down in that hole for a very long time. Occasionally getting out, but ultimately making it my home.

After finally finding the courage to walk away from the hole I am taking steps to leave it behind for good. It's not easy, and often find myself turning back to have a little look at it...sometimes I go close enough to take a look down it. That's usually when I am forgetting what it was really like down there and wondering if perhaps it might be a comfy place after all. I tell myself, maybe it will look and feel a bit different this time. Maybe it could be what I want it to be. So I admit, it can be tempting to put a foot in there...just to see. But then I remember, I can't just put a foot in as I would fall and be back in the hole. I have done this step many times before, and each time reality hits that the hole will never change, it is what it is. And I don't like it.

So now when I go to look at the hole I pour a bit of cement in, to close it up. It's not quite full yet, and what's in hasn't set but I'm working on it. Maybe when it is fully filled I might build a skyscraper on top, just to ensure I don't start trying to dig away at it! But I am certain, it will be filled in, I will not allow myself to go there again. So the journey I am on right now is hard work, it's challenging, it's bumpy...but I'm determined to make it. If I don't, I know that ultimately I will have made a choice to be unhappy. I know there's no guarantees what the different road will bring but at least I will have given myself the opportunity to find out. And after writing this, I have just added another layer of cement and taken a step closer to achieving my goal.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 6:33am

To help you along change Rudyard Kiplings advice"Don't look back ,or you will fall down the stairs." to ,in your case, "Don't look back or you will fall down the hole." I too fell into a hole and I use his advice to pull me back to the present whenever my mind appears to wander toward that hole.Hope this helps.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 6:50am

A really good blog. Occasionally a blog just grabs you and say's - that's it! That's me! I have a few holes to avoid that take me to a dark place. One , silly as it may seem is smoking. I know it makes my anxiety worse, I know it makes me feel a failure, and I disgust myself when I do it, but each time I think.. just take a look, what harm will one look do.. and I'm back in that addicted hole and cycle of downward mood.

sam Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 6:59am

Very well written. I understood this immediately. I am somewhere between trying to claw my way out of the hole, wondering whether it is a comfy place after all or on the brighter days simply wandering around the hole. This post is just a little step out of the hole for me. Thank you Rosie.

heather Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 7:51am

I find that the best way of not rolling back down the hole is to find as many avenues to explore as possible - just plodding onwards uphill is a sure way for me to roll back down "the hole". Love from Heather xx

DawnC.Ritchie Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:01am

Your post has made me feel happy for you and for me, I'm off to buy some cement :D
Well done Rosie

Rupert Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:02am

I have to admit I am not entirely sure what this means! Is it doing things that give you comfort and a quick respite from the mood but are ultimately not good for you? Isnt the problem that sometimes the "hole" is the only thing that keeps you going and is almost the sole reason why you do manage to keep going? Interested in that case to know how you have managed to steer clear of the hole?

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:32am

...thought maybe Rosie's hole is depression?

Stephen McGinty Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:54am

"A lesson is repeated until you learn from it" a friend a few years ago told me this.

Julia Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:55am

Hi Rosie. The question for me is how do I avoid that hole? Depression is very powerful and difficult to control. Anon 6.50 knows that smoking triggers a depressed, worthless feeling and therefore that might send her falling down the hole so I guess that is something s/he can control. Thinking about your blog a bit more maybe negative thinking sends me down my hole.

Lex McKee Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 9:06am

Link to this marvellous poem.

Secondly, Rosie, "Thank You!" This poem is one of my all time favourite transformational verses... and you've ADDED a couple of ideas that I've never perceived before: 1) that a loving thing is to fill up the hole (and if I could put the next bit in italics, I would...) so that other people don't fall down the same hole... and 2) your skyscraper metaphor reminded me that anything worth building has foundations deep down. Yes, we all hate the down place we've been in, but if it were possible to make it the deep foundation of great art - whilst I still wouldn't like it - I'd nevertheless embrace the experience as a means to another worthy end. Poets, Singers, Artists, Writers, Comedians - often build from a very dark but familiar space. You've encouraged me to make my past serve my future purpose - and that, Dear Rosie, is pure magic xx

Julia Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 9:25am

Thx for the link Lex. It IS a lovely poem.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 10:14am

Thank you Rosie, you have challenged me. Now, what kind of concrete would work best for my own personal hole?.....

David J Ruess Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 1:03pm

I appreciated this post this morning Rosie. Thank you for writing it :)

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 5:52pm

Thank you Rosie, this has helped remind me where I actually am, at a time when I thought I might thump down because I've slipped again. I've only slipped. That's nothing. Wood and trees. Thank you. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 6:08pm

Thank you Rosie.....for me the hole is never a place I want to slip into again. And I am struggling a lil right now to avoid doing it...I have been in the bottom of the pit/hole in the past and it is I press forward and pray for total healing and to avoid the hole entirely....

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:05pm

Hi, smoking I can relate to also! I gave up 11 years ago but last year gave in to a few occasions and then April this year started smoking full time again. I tried to give up in July but my heart wasn't in it, it wasn't the right time. I knew I was going to have to give up and knew that I needed some reason, some impetus. It arrived in the form of my 7 year old last Friday. I had tried to hide it from her but she kept catching me, then she stated how bad it was and asked me stop. I looked into her little face and knew immediately she had given the moment. I promised that I would not buy any more. It had been 29 hours now without a cigarette. It's tough, but the pain of breaking that promise I know would be so much worse so I'm giving it everything to keep my bargain.

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:11pm

Let us know how you get on with that cement!! Rosie x

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:15pm

Thanks Rosie, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. Wishing you courage for the next layer of cement!

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:23pm

Hi, the hole for me relates to my relationship. Together for 18 years, 3 young children and a partner in denial as an addict. I left the relationship in February this year, hence walking away from the hole. I get tempted to go back to the relationship....I don't hate him, we have children, I've invested a lot of time and energy, I hope things will be different....but they never are and never will be when he is in denial. So I have had to be strong and choose to walk away. It hasn't been easy. I have needed support, needed to develop tools, work on my negative thinking. I have had to address my depressed state and work hard on myself over the past few months. I still have a lot of work to do and I need to he careful not to be complacent. I'm not sure what the hole would represent for you. I just knew that mine made me very unhappy and that I had to do something different to get a different result. Rosie x

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:25pm

Love, love, love this! Rosie x

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:30pm

I have replied further up with what my hole is about. I can tell you that negative thinking, whilst it didn't get me there, it certainly kept me there for a very long time. I have had to work hard at that, be aware of it and challenge it. It's getting easier to spot when it's creeping in!

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:32pm

And I am also loving the imagery of seeing the hole as being deep foundations for something great and inspirational so thankyou too! Rosie x

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:34pm

I am no expert on concrete as I'm sure that it would be found in DIY stores which I don't frequent! Maybe a lively quick set variety?!!

Anonymous Tue, Sep 16th 2014 @ 8:38pm

It's been lovely to see so many people relate to this post. A reminder that we are not alone in our struggles, that we all have battles. Our journeys aren't smooth in life, and if we stumble that's ok, it doesn't mean we have stay down. And if we fall right to the bottom again, that's ok too...we just have to keep on building the toolkit, finding resources....whatever it is we need to do to keep us going. Rosie x

Anonymous Thu, Sep 18th 2014 @ 7:27am

Congratulations on finding the strength to get out of your hole, wishing you strength and love to fill it in and move on.

Anonymous Thu, Sep 18th 2014 @ 7:35am

Speaking as someone crippled with depression currently, that quote actually reminds me that I might have a choice. Everyone interprets in their own way, I don't think we can speak for others. I am sorry Rosie's blog made you feel so angry, it gave me hope and a spark of motivation.

Anonymous Sat, Oct 4th 2014 @ 8:24pm

Thanks for this blog Rosie, it's had a profound positive impact on me. Everyone's black hole represents something different, for me it's being unfaithful to me loving husband. I'm very sure now I shall be able to fill my hole in....I need some of your strength...

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