Slowing down has never come easy to me. Living with ADHD, I have come to accept that my busy head is always accompanied by a large amount of restlessness and discontent with a huge serving of irritability. That is my norm, my operating function. However, here away from the multitude of distractions I can find. I have been slowly coerced into doing little. Thankfully my brain has reduced its operational speed and is allowing me to be more attuned and … Dare I say more relaxed?
Last night in Olunediz, a nearby beach resort that is bustling with tourism and its many distractions including boat trips and paragliding, I was able to amble along the market stalls, where a wizard of a glassmaker created a beautiful blue dolphin for my daughter, right before our eyes.
I still have pangs of anxiety related to the moments that I’m aware that I’m relaxing. My brain says “do more do more do more” but I don’t and gradually anxieties give way to a more pressing need to relax. An elusive voice usually, but it’s getting louder.
As we sat on the beach last night, the sun set and we were able to just relax and talk for what felt like the first time. Our daughter playing elsewhere in the stony sand, happy and carefree, a gift children have inherent that adults somehow mislay along the way.
We had the opportunity to got to a private beach and swim in a lagoon. Beautiful still Mediterranean Sea with little fish that looked like dace darting around is. This is a very holiday attitude I struggle with. Masses of people sitting on recliners in their scores. Whilst their children play in the water. The sun scorching down on them and beer is consumed freely. It feels ver claustrophobic to me and although my daughter loved it, I found myself in need of space. Even a pedalo trip across the lagoon provided on small respite. This experience is not something I enjoy and ironically probably where I most fitted in with scores of English tourists.
Finally, although badly burned we reached the comfort of our apartment where we found a tiny lizard crawling on our wall and chatted to our neighbour, Noor, a school teacher of the Koran.
I am glazed with various ointments to ease my scorched skin. I have to exercise a day of not doing anything and keep out of the sun. Time to allow my body to recover.
Even the quiet of the complex is soothing. I’m sat in the shade, whitey from Blighty, watching families lie in the soothing pool. There’s a quality of family time that happens at a much slower pace. In the evenings the wood stove is lit and families cook delicious smelling foods on the BBQ. They sit together and eat and talk and laugh. No television around, just the background buzz of the ceceda’s to provide a break from conversations. Then they clean up, the younger children carry plates back to apartments and wash them whilst the ‘special coffee’ is heated on the BBQs ashes. It wonderful to see and spectate and feels very different to similar British experiences which seems more forced and faster paced. A case of making the most of an infrequent summers day. Where ironically we tend to favour kebab skewered meats and alcohol.
It is not difficult to relax here, it is difficult for me to relax and slow down. An urge that I should be doing something, what I’m not sure. I do notice that my tics are less, so when there are foot twitches or finger rubs are happening then I’m aware of how little it’s happening.
When I relax in England it’s usually associated with doing, gardening, walking the dog, little projects. Distractions from boredom or of just being with self. Here those distractions aren’t around. There is just self, and wellbeing includes being comfortable with yourself without distractions. Being alone without being lonely. It’s what I encourage my clients to do in therapy lest they become reliant on other people or ‘things’.
So right now I’ll sit here. Quietly and watch, and be.
A Thirsk Counsellor Abroad