Remember to BREATHE

Today’s video, day 3 of the You Tube 30 Day Challenge and B within the A to Z of Bouncing Back, is about Breathing.

We all know how to breathe, we do it all day and all night without thinking about it, when we stop breathing we die so it’s vital to our well-being.  But when we’re stressed, tense, anxious, worried or scared we forget to breathe properly which means that our lungs aren’t getting enough oxygen, our blood isn’t circulating enough oxygen, our brains aren’t getting enough and our bodies become tight and tense.  By breathing deeply, into the bottom of our lungs we help our bodies to relax, our blood to pump and our brains to think.  It’s surprising the difference breathing can make to your life!

Here’s the video, from a cold cliff-top in South Wales, complete with seagulls:

I’ll see you again tomorrow.

 

Why my Christmas will be Priceless

I’ve just spent the morning wrapping my son’s Christmas presents and I’ve been so grateful that I’ve been able to do it.

This time last year I didn’t think life was worth living and I really believed that my son’s life would change for the better if I didn’t exist.  Christmas was a horrible time for me last year, all of his Christmas presents came from freecycle and I felt awful for not being able to buy him what he really wanted.  I had even got ‘new’ clothes for him and me from freecycle.  Although I remain eternally grateful to such a resource as without it, there’d have been no presents to open.

I was in a really desperate and lonely place and firmly believed that the solution lay at the bottom of a cliff, a bottle and a pile of pills.  That time is now a very fuzzy memory and I really don’t recall much of last Christmas.  I think that’s what they call selective memory.

Thankfully I was able to fast-forward in my mind to a time when my son is a bit older and friends ask him what happened to his mum.  What would he say?  “My mum thought I’d be better off without her so she took her own life.”  I couldn’t bear the thought of how he would handle that in years to come and chose not to take that option.  Instead I took a whole heap of other decisions, some good, some bad and some downright stupid but I did what I felt I needed to do in order to survive and keep a roof over my head.

But, one thing I did that I really shouldn’t have done is to shut off communication with the people who really could help me.  I had a very long and open conversation with a friend at the end of last week who said “I really feel as if I let you down”.  He’s not the first friend to have said that to me and I told him that he didn’t let me down.  It was my choice not to let anyone in, my choice to shut myself off and my choice not to ask for help.

Remembering last Christmas is why my A to Z of Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy is now free.  Whilst I was going through the dark times of bankruptcy and financial difficulty I kept saying “As long as I can help someone else to cope with it then it will have been worth while.”  I’ve set a crazy goal; To help 1,000,000 people to cope with the emotional fall-out of bankruptcy and financial difficulty.

I’m so grateful now that I took the decisions I took last Christmas.  They may not have been the best or wisest decisions but at least my son will still have Christmas with his mum to look forward to and that, as far as I’m concerned, is priceless and I’d do it all again given the same set of circumstances.

Don’t let bankruptcy or financial difficulty stop you from enjoying the most precious things in your life – your family and friends.  Hop over to my site, www.deborah-meredith.com  and sign up to the A to Z today.  You can also sign up to receive the e-books I’ve written, they’re all free and designed to help you.  I’ve also included a list of books I read that may help you (purchased from Amazon’s USED list)

 

Where do you sit?

Everybody has a different story to tell about bankruptcy and financial difficulty and everybody has a different way of handling it.

Some people become paralysed by fear and/or embarrassment and do nothing but sit and wait for it to happen to them whilst others take control of the situation and start working out a plan of action so they can deal with the project as if it was just another challenging project that requires a specific outcome.

Others become so embroiled in anger and bitterness that this thing is happening to or has happened to them that they lash out at others going through the same thing but who appear to be coping with it.  And there are yet others who just ignore what’s happening, don’t care about the implications and hope it will just wash over them.

We all cope with challenges in very different ways.  However, the one thing I’ve noticed is that those who take responsibility for what’s happening to them and take some positive action generally have the best results or more desired outcome.

A positive attitude will keep you in a positive frame of mind and is more likely to help you get through the bankruptcy process or current difficulties with minimal scars, ready to brush yourself off and start again.

Being consumed with anger, bitterness or even jealousy that someone is coping with a similar situation better than you are is more than likely going to finish you.  It will destroy you and invariably destroy all the relationships you have as people decide they don’t want to be around such negativity or damaging emotions.

Don’t get me wrong, we all go through a wide range or emotions, not all of them good, whilst going through bankruptcy or financial difficulty.  Contrary to what it may seem it’s not always rosy in the garden for me but I don’t let it drag me down.  I’m very quick to revert back to a positive mindset and work out how I can make things better or what I can learn from this.

I’ve attached a link here to a ‘transition curve’ by John Fisher which illustrates how we, as humans, handle change.  I find it a really useful tool to use to work out where I am on that curve and then plot where I want to be.  It’s also useful when I need to remind myself that not everyone handles change/transition in the same way or as quickly as I do.  Take a look at it.  Where do you currently sit on this curve?  Where would you like to sit?  What action will you take to get to where you want to be?

I know where I like to sit on the curve and I ensure I always take positive actions to keep me as close to that place as possible.

I’d be interested in your feedback.

Don’t let your past dictate your future…..

As I sit here, frustrated from enforced bed-rest (I’m not seriously ill but bad enough to do some lasting damage if I don’t heed Doctor’s orders), it’s giving me plenty of time to ponder on how life has changed in the past few years.  In fact, to be honest, it’s changed quite dramatically in just a few short months.

Two years ago I was declared bankrupt.  The only thing that stopped me throwing myself off the cliff I now live on top of was my then 4-year old son.  All that kept me moving forward was the thought “What will my son think of me for leaving him?  How will it affect him in the future?”

I have no idea from where I summoned the strength to carry on, and even today, when I have a down day as we all do occasionally, I wonder if I can still carry on.  Thankfully those days are becoming less and less and the past two years have taught me how to cope.  I’ve developed a super-structure of family and friends that supports me and most importantly doesn’t judge me.  And they have no idea how much they bolster me when the vultures (and there are still plenty of them out there, I’m sure you’ve got some of your own, who want to see you fail and are happy to humiliate you no matter what the cost) seem determined to undermine me or try to topple me over the edge of the cliff.  There was a time when the vultures almost won but thanks to my super-structure I’m still here.

I’ve wandered down routes that at times have been dead-ends, others have just been ridiculously stupid and some, well, I should have known better but at the time of deciding which route to go down I took that decision based with all the knowledge and experience I had available to me at that point.  Maybe one day I’ll write a book because sometimes I really can’t quite believe how I got from there to here.  Maybe I’ll explore that through this blog, or if you join me on one of my e-courses, we’ll explore it further then.

When I was in the depths of despair of bankruptcy the one thing that I kept saying was “No-one should ever have to go through this alone and they won’t – if it’s the last thing I do”.  That seemed like a grand statement at the time, just one of those grandiose things you say to make everyone around you think that you’re coping.  Yeah, right!  Like I was really pulling the wool over their eyes with my bluff and bluster!

But, with some encouragement and cajoling I’m almost ready to launch my e-courses to help those affected by bankruptcy, bad debt or in dire financial straits.  I’m not going to tell anyone how to budget better or rebuild their credit history, Lord knows I’m still working through that myself, but what I’m aiming to do is offer the emotional support that was missing when I needed it.  Look up “surviving bankruptcy” or any similar search string on google and you’ll find page upon page of hints and tips to save money, do more with less, etc, etc, but you’ll find next to nothing on what it’s like to go through bankruptcy and come out the other end.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no guru or expert but as no-one else seems prepared to talk about it, I felt I should.  Quite why I don’t know, but discussing quite how low, dirty and unworthy bankruptcy makes you feel with someone who hasn’t been through it doesn’t really help.  It makes you feel as if the other person, whilst empathetic, is judging you.  I now know they’re not but try telling that to someone who is drinking water, not because they’re on a health kick but because they can’t afford a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.  Or to the person who has suddenly fallen in love with ‘Vintage clothing’ (read charity shop bargains or freecycle freebies) after years of buying top quality, top priced clothing because it’s sustainable and good for the environment!

So, where am I now, 2 years down the line? Well, my address history is improving; instead of 9 changes of address in 2 years I now have just 2 different addresses for the past 2 years (every little helps).  I am self-employed and happy, I have learned to accept myself and have rebuilt my confidence and self-esteem, I see my son every weekend and I’m in a loving relationship with a wonderful man.

Everything started to fall into place as I made some changes to my life and my mindset and things are now coming together nicely.  There’s still a way to go, I’ve got another 4 years of being a “discharged bankrupt” to get through yet, but I have to be honest and say if they carry on like this, it’s not going to have been such a bad thing to happen after all.  If only I’d realised it at the time.

My e-courses will be launching soon and I hope you’ll join me on “The Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery“.

Deb

I’m bankrupt – now what?

On New Year’s Eve 2008 my World fell apart.

My business became insolvent, I had to make my team redundant with immediate effect and no pay and close the business.  In the following 6 months my second marriage failed, I lost my home, my son and became bankrupt.  Since then I’ve been made redundant 3 times and moved house no less than 5 times.  I ended up living with my parents for a year at the ripe old age of 38.  Now I’m glad I went through it but at the time I didn’t think life was worth living.

I’m writing about what it was like to go through it and how I’ve got through the other side so that anyone experiencing anything remotely like what I went through doesn’t feel as alone, frightened or as much of a failure as I did.

You’re not alone and you’re most definitely not a failure.  If, through this blog, I can help you overcome what you’re going through then I’m happy.  If you’d like to share your experiences then please do, either by commenting on my posts or by emailing me at deb@deborah-meredith.com