So, back to the bathroom.
I needed to know what was going on for me. Something we refer to a lot at Petros is the idea that, you can’t look after others, if you don’t look after yourself. My bathroom timeout was the first time I had forced myself to be honest. I found that I was NOT OK. In that moment I was not the hero. I had no desire to sacrifice myself, or, more importantly my family’s health in order to “do my part.” I felt conflicted, particularly after hearing the tragic rising death toll on the news. I was out of control and petrified.
And at this point, however, by confronting my fear I was able to calm it. Almost immediately I heard myself say, “What’s important now?” It was clear, that what was important for me was to feel safe and protected. All day I had been trying to meet that need by creating a sense of control at home, but my fear revolved around work. Understanding this helped me think through how to keep both myself and my family safe when I went to work; what was negotiable and what wasn’t. I spoke with my partner, which also helped me tease apart my justifiable fears and those more irrational ones, like the long-awaited zombie apocalypse, it’s going to happen right?!
When I think back to the bathroom moment, it has since struck me how important it was for me to REALLY be honest and understand what I was experiencing, before being able to manage it. I was a scared person trying to pretend everything was OK and, worst of all, doing a good but dangerous job of convincing myself that I was alright.
Emotions can sometimes get a bad press but, by being able to accept that I was petrified and by really listen to how I was feeling, I could find calm water in the rapids, regain my footing, think straight and act in the most appropriate way for myself, my family and my work colleagues.
I could be strong, but that strength came from self-knowledge and the courage to sit in the bath and be honest with myself.