How author Pip Lincolne gets through big, hard days – ABC News

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Pip Lincolne realised she needed help while driving her son to work.
"I was just crying for no apparent reason. I was trying not to let [my son] see me crying, so I was tilting my head, looking [sideways] at the driver's window, which felt kind of unsafe."
Pip had just split up with her partner of 23 years. She couldn't control her emotions and was barely sleeping. But as a mum, she felt she had to "tough it out."
"It just got too much … I felt like it wasn't only impacting on me, it was impacting on my kids."
Pip went home, researched the GP she remembered feeling a connection with a few years previously, and booked in to see her.
"I got onto a treatment program which made me feel like I was being cared for, and that I was caring about myself.
"It was more of a hopeful feeling, rather than an out of control feeling."
Since then, Pip's published two books about mental health, moved from Victoria to Tasmania and back, lost her job, and slogged through the COVID pandemic that's testing us all.
I chatted with her about how she gets through the hard days and how she's approaching 2022.
I do not.
I used to be very positive when the new year would roll out, and I would start a new project.
But you know what? I think everybody's just had enough at this point.
What I would recommend instead is to start a growth habit. Just something in your day which will grow.
So that might be a knitting project that grows, or it might be a plant in the garden. Or it might be reading a chapter of a book every day. Just something you can see the progress of as the weeks and months go by.
That way when you get to the end of year and you say: 'Where did the year go? What a piece of poo it was.' You can also say: 'But I've achieved this thing that I've worked on all year.'
I think staying in touch with people is key, and I also I think we need to think about how we're feeling daily. Like how we're really feeling, and what we need to do to address that.
Sometimes we get up and hit the ground running and we don't really think of what we might need that day to feel okay.
So I reckon it's good to just spend 10 minutes in the morning sitting on your back step having a cup of tea and thinking: Do I need to shut the world out? Do I need to tell everyone to rack off and go back to bed? What is it that I need? And is there a way that I can achieve that?
Of course not everyone can achieve that on that particular day, but trying to work towards it or address it can sometimes help.
ABC Everyday's Perspectives is all about giving you a chance to share what you're going through. Chances are there's others facing the same highs, lows and life experiences. In a short paragraph, email us your pitch: everyday@abc.net.au
People automatically want to give you advice when you're having a hard time. But sometimes advice is not the thing you need, because it can feel like another to do list.
When people say: "Why don't you try this?", a part of you feels like they're blaming you for your situation, because you haven't tried that thing. And you feel like you have to try that thing to get their support.
So I would say, really, the most important thing is active listening.
Really getting in touch with the people that are having a rough time in your life and just having a chat to them and listening to what they're saying, and not offering any answers unless they asked you for answers.
I think just having somebody to talk to who is really interested in what you have to say is such a gift.
I think while you're keeping stuff in your head, you're not doing anybody any good. So I do a big info dump on a piece of paper.
Expecting that we will be able to place the difficulties of 2021 aside and throw ourselves full tilt into new goals might be "overly ambitious".
I'll write down ideas, tasks, words, just everything that is in my head.
Then I'll start to develop that into a bit of a list and a plan of attack. I start thinking, okay, what can I delegate? What doesn't matter? What really does matter? And work from there.
During the pandemic, for many of us, just having a roof over our head, and food in the fridge, and somebody that we really care about in our life, those are the things that really matter most to us.
And I think there is a time for all those other things that we want, and it's not now. But if we can hang in there and hold on, things will get better.
I think just aim small. Keep it simple. Keep things close to home.
I've got lots of little projects I'm starting, and I'm halfway through a degree. It's been a really great distraction from the difficult news stories out there.
That's not to say I'm ignoring the news, but I feel like you need to soak up the bits that you need to stay informed. But you also need another focus in your day, so that you're not doom scrolling and obsessing over numbers, because that can be really counterproductive.
I just try to have lots of quiet time, and build things into my day that I can look forward to.
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