How To Let Go

Sometimes I wonder if I am a positive person, or if I am just faking the lifestyle of a positive person. Can you consider yourself a positive person if you have to constantly remind yourself to be positive?

I’ve been hiding from this website because I feel like a fraud. People sometimes write to say I am honest and inspirational and determined and positive, and I feel guilty as I’ve not felt like any of those for a wee while.

Over the past month I tried to dilute how bad this injury crap has made me feel, so not to come across as a self-pitying whiner. But last week it all boiled over and I was not a nice person to live with. I stomped around, mentally composing entries full of anger and frustration and general woe. I stopped short of actually writing them, because after a few hours and perhaps some perspective from the Scottish Companion, I’d simmer down. I’d sniff out the positives like a truffle pig, then go back and edit out all the venom.

Then on Saturday around 3AM, I finally sat down at the keyboard and exploded! In the textual sense. About 800 words of pure rantage.

I knew I was being irrational and I knew other people had terrible diseases and all manner of proper tragedies. I knew that I had lost perspective on a trifling sporting injury. So I ranted to imaginary readers, begging them not to write and tell me to get over it or I would just cry. And as much as I’d appreciated everyone’s medical advice and exercise tips of late, I wasn’t looking for that today. I just needed the world to let me vent. RAH!

I’ll go through the rubble of the entry and give you a quick summary.

First I wrote about how the lack of exercise was making me feel down. I’d been off "full schedule" for over a month. I missed the structure it gave to my days, I missed the sense of purpose, the sweat, the spreadsheets. Most of all I missed the happy chemicals in the brain.

Then came a dozen paragraphs re my frustration at not being able to take advantage of the good weather and ride my brand-new bike.

And how it’s all my fault because I neglected the knee for almost a year.

And how I’ve been consumed by anger at myself for not listening to my body or my head for so long.

How I valued the opinion of others above my own my brain and pain, because I assumed they knew what was best for my body more than I did, since they were skinnier/smaller.

How I therefore started exercising again too soon and caused further damage.

How didn’t take myself or the pain seriously.

Like how I never went back to the physio I saw last June, because in my fat girl paranoia I felt like I was wasting his time. After all I was just a fat chick flirting with exercise, not a legitimate sporty person. How could a big lump like me possibly have a real injury?

Hmm, what else?

How I was frustrated because I’d gained a pound. Only A Pound but that meant yet another month had ended with no progress, making three months with no significant loss.

How these last 6 kilos are proving the most difficult and stressful than any of the other 70-something already gone.

I almost edited out that sentence, as I don’t want to insult people who have far more left to lose. Five years ago I would have killed to be where I am now. But as someone who has filled the shoes of Staggeringly Obese, Obese, Still Pretty Fat and Almost Healthy Weight all for extended periods of time, I can honestly say this stage is somehow the most overwhelming and frustrating of all.

Thankfully for anyone still reading, I ran out of steam after that. I hit Save Draft and headed for bed, not before seething with bitterness until about 4AM.

Saturday morning I got up and forgot about the computer. I ate banana on toast, watched the MotoGP qualifying, kissed the Scottish Companion goodbye, then hopped on a plane for London.

A ridiculous seven hours later (thanks to the joys of public transport delays), I was walking through Hyde Park. Previously I’d only been to London in the winter, so I lapped up the grassy breeze, the trees, the rollerbladers and roses; the kamikaze insects splattered on my sunglasses.

Quite simply, I could feel my body and brain finally begin to chill the fuck out.

There’s something about being in the Big Bad City that always brings perspective. All those people from all over the planet, so busy busy busy getting on with all kinds of lives.

I caught the train back home yesterday, for variety. It was the most blissful four hours I’ve spent in ages. No computer, no phone and a quiet, near-empty carriage. Just me and the sandwiches, grapes, trashy magazines, Gareth’s iPod and a tiny wee bar of Green and Blacks chocolate.

Looking out the window at the English countryside in its green and glorious Englishness, I decided it was time to give the boot to all the crazy anger and anxiety I’ve been dragging round for weeks.

I even sniffed out a few positives from this injury debacle:

1.  It’s a learning experience. I sure as hell won’t ignore my body again.

2.  It makes for a small, albeit tedious sub-plot in the Dietgirl story.

And speaking of which!

3.  The enforced rest has given me more time to write! I met my self-imposed deadline for May of completing the first draft of 2001. I cut it a wee bit fine by finishing at 11.45 PM on May 31, but I did it! Baby steps actually work!

I’ve also dragged out my old pedometer. Walking shall be my main exercise until the knee improves and I will obsessively count my steps, cannily satisfying my need to be obsessive about numbers.

Maybe this is what being a positive person is – the ongoing management of the way you react to life’s little challenges. You can shit your pants for awhile, but then you try to sift through the shit and salvage the good stuff. I mean, surely no one is positive about everything straight away? Don’t you have to mull it over awhile and then decide how you’ll deal with it? Or maybe there are genuine 100% cheery optimists out there, always on duty. If so, I’d like to punch them all in the face.

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47 thoughts on “How To Let Go

  1. You sound like you need a big hug, Shauna! *BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG HUG!!!* I’m so sorry to hear that your injury has really thwarted your progress; oh to be able to say “Begone!” Of course, they do need to hover around and mess up your routine, progress, and probably most importantly, your momentum. I can smell the frustration – you have every right to be feeling cranky.

    And you know what, I totally feel where you’re coming from with regard to wasting the physio’s time. I have severe neck & shoulder pain – have done so since I was 17, but my Mum refused to take me to the physio since she was certain that all he would tell me was to lose weight and it’d magically fix itself. 5 years later, 2 dress sizes down, and the pain is worse, and I am more frustrated with it. BEGONE, FOUL PAIN! I HAVE A COMPUTER TO SIT AT FOR TEN HOURS!

    And hey! Great to hear that you made your deadline for 2001! I can’t wait until you’re done, I’m itching to read it 😀

    Now, I must go and eat breakfast, but the pain in my legs, abs and arms tells me “No! You must not move!” Toning + Tamilee Webb = Pain for days on end. And thats good pain. Eesh. o_0

  2. I don’t blame you for getting snarky. I’ve had a cold for a week and am ready to kill someone, so I can imagine just how frustrating a month without exercise must be.

    And you are so right – being positive does take ongoing management. I don’t think there are many people out there are positive all the time but it’s a choice we made. Shit happens. Sometimes you gotta rage and rant about it but then you have to get on with life.

  3. That last paragraph?? That’s it exactly! I often wonder why so may people consider me positive when I spend so much time trying to work through shit. But that’s just it! The ongoing management of life’s challenges. Sifting through and getting to the good stuff. You’re such a great writer, I’m so glad you’re working on a book. I hope the walking works for you and your knee heals up soon!

  4. ooooooooo……..I love a good rant! In my books, you can rant anytime you like, Shauna, because your rants are still more entertaining, honest and insightful than pretty much anything else I read.

    And yes, I think there actually are some of those 100% cheery optimists out there. I believe they all live in Stepford. Just so you know where to go when your palm starts itching for a cheery little face to smack. 🙂

  5. Yes, that is why so many folks, myself included, think your positive. And strong, don’t forget that one. You are good at turning things around and making them better.

    But, I appreciate when you’re honest and don’t have the answers or are just seething in anger. Just cause you’ve lost a lot of weight doesn’t mean every post needs to end with a happy positive message–in fact, I love the posts where you don’t or can’t quite see the positive just yet. It’s OK if you’re still in progress here.

    Cause the reality is, we don’t always feel good or positivie. Sometimes we just want to jump up and down and yowl like an angry kitty (well, maybe just me). And those discoveries that instead of doing good and right for yourself, you were messing up your body further in the quest for slim are THE WORST. And the secret truth behind why you let yourself suffer for so long while still exercising is that a part of you (or maybe it’s just me) thinks that losing weight is hard and should hurt–no pain, no gain, right?

    Your post hits close to home, as recently I discovered that I’d pushed myself into unhealthy by exercising too much and eating too little most days, then binging to make it up on weekends. Basically I’m bullemic with exercise instead of vomitting and the end result is no weight loss, lots of hard work, and a messed up body that thinks it’s starving and going wack on my hormones. I felt like I’d betrayed myself and have been struggling for a month to figure out how to be healthy, balanced, and losing weight. It’s hard work I tell ya and sometimes sharing your anger and frustration and the process of getting through it can actually help folks like me.

  6. Damn, I see typos. I hate when that happens cause I’m writing to quickly and passionately about something.

  7. Ah, sweety, you’ll have line behind you waiting to punch those annoying optimists! Well done — amazing what a lovely quiet train ride can do for you, eh? 😉

  8. Hi Shauna
    I have been reading your blog for the last 6 weeks or so and kept thinking to myself how much I love that you don’t just put all the positive stuff in here, your warts and all story has certainly motivated me to get off my fat chuff and lose the weight once and for all. Sending you a huge hug from NZ cos ya need one. No advice for you but huge congrats on meeting your deadline. I think god’s little joke on us for losing weight is to make the last 5kg damn near impossible to shift in a hurry. but we all know you’ll get there.

    Cheers
    Sharee

  9. oh i hear ya! i injured my IT band on a long run in mid april… and have been to physio, have been unable to run at all, then to the pitiful walk/run combos that i was doing 2 years ago… yadayada. and unable to eat normally given not burning up all those calories. had signed up for my first triathlon end of may, had to withdraw. gained about 4 lbs effortlessly; have now lost 3 of those frikkin effortfully… sigh, after a year of maintenance (85 lb loss), this was discouraging to say the least. and feeling very sorry for myself all the while. missing my endorphins terribly. and being unable to complain about this to most of my pals since few of them do any exercise at all. so i know the sorrows and piss offs of which you speak! i am luckily seeming to make progress with rest and physio, and i hope you will be the same. and you can kvetch away anytime girl… we need the full catastrophe, not just the sunnyshiney bits.

  10. Your last paragraph sums it up well (not that I didn’t enjoy reading the rest of it!). Positive people aren’t positive all the time – at least not without Prozac! They know how to work through issues and come out with a positive result.

  11. yeah, i reckon isn’t being positive all the time that’s the key (after all see-sawing between black and white, on and off is no way to live) but RESILIENCE.

    That’s the lesson it has taken me forever to learn. Roll with the punches, take the long view.

    And you’ve already found a fabuluous opportunity to focus on your book for a while

    Well done!

  12. yeah, i reckon isn’t being positive all the time that’s the key (after all see-sawing between black and white, on and off is no way to live) but RESILIENCE.

    That’s the lesson it has taken me forever to learn. Roll with the punches, take the long view.

    And you’ve already found a fabuluous opportunity to focus on your book for a while

    Well done!

  13. People seem to think that I’m an optimist as well. But that’s really only because they don’t see me suffer and rant and rage and then come to the conclusion that being so down about things isn’t going to fix anything. I have to go through that EVERY TIME.

    It almost makes me wish I were an optimist, but I’d spend entirely too much time punching myself in the nose because really, who likes being with an optimist all the time? I certainly don’t.

  14. Hi, I have been reading your blog for a long time. I am overweight and very lazy and frustrated about it. I admire your persistence, and know you will meet your goals. Thank you for sharing the process.

  15. I think a positive attitude does have to be cultivated a bit, and I don’t see what you’re going through as having a negative attitude. When we have a routine that gets messed with, it can really drive you mad. If it’s an exercise routine that we use to make ourselves feel physically and emotionally better, I think that’s the worst kind.
    I’ve had a few long periods of time where I was injured in some way that didn’t allow me to exercise in the form I was used to, so I just opted for anything that I could do. Walking was always good – especially during my pregnancies I’d walk up to 10km at a time. For variety you might want to try using a Heart Rate Monitor. There is also proper technique to FAST walking and that might be another goal.
    About those last five kg: they are the most difficult, but I found you have to concentrate more on eating habits rather than “losing the weight” to get them off. You’ll get there. REALLY concentrate on not gaining any back and you’ll already be halfway there.

  16. Thank you for sharing all this (((HUG))) I consider myself a positive person, but sure as heel I am also angry or frustrated if things don’t go the way I planned. I would like to think that the fire and energy in negative feelings is a force that lets me out of a bad moment quicker, so that I can learn from what happened and how I reacted, and get back to beeing my usual happy self in no time. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but I think negative reactions are absolutely necessary and can create something positive too.
    I hope the knee gets better soon! I have had a flu for 6 days (six!!) and I’m jumping on walls not being able to hit the gym. I feel for you!

  17. Glad you had some time out to put things into perspective. Don’t stress.. this injury isn’t forever 🙂 And you are allowed to rant!! its your blog!!!

  18. Wow!

    But I have to say out of all of that what really stood out was that you were in London and I didn’t know 🙁 Obviously you may have very little desire to meet a random stranger off the internet who lurks a lot but actually only leaves comments once in a blue moon; but if you ever do have any spare time on any future visits to London I’ll happily shout you a coffee.

  19. Please have a good rant! It IS frustrating what you’re going through, and it’s no use to scold yourself that other people have it worse. I do the same thing, and it just ends up making me depressed with all the bottled-up feelings. I mean, it’s good to have a little perspective on one’s problems and realize where they fit in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel bad NOW. So rant away, girlie. And so glad you had a nice day in London!

  20. The fact that you still decided to write says a lot about who you are and theres a definite difference between being positive, negative and realistic.
    You do what you can with what you have to work with and thats all you really can do, ms. human down here with us other humans 🙂

    Never let anyone make you feel that your problems are less than important.
    They are yours, that makes them real and what you go through -although out here for us to share- is still a personal, private and internal struggle.

    If being upset or true about what you’re going through makes people run away, they werent worth having around. So if you dont have entries full of motivating go get em fitness accomplishments thats ok, if people dont want to read it thats ok too. The few good ones always want to stick around because they like who you are whether you think yourself a fraud or not. So keep on keeping on

  21. I can summarize my comment in one sentence: You’re only human.

    And what else would we want you to be? The reasons why people read diet blogs is not only to read the diet tips and see how well the other person is doing. It’s also because they want to see how badly they are doing. (Don’t be offended, I’m going somewhere with this!) We want to see that we are not the only ones struggling with weight loss. We may cheer and laugh and be happy when it is going well, but damnit, it’s hard work too! When I’m feeling down about a setback in my diet routine, it’s a consolation to read that someone else is having just as hard a time as me.

    Keep on truckin’

    xxx,
    Ladybug

    PS: Hey Dietgirl! I once left a comment on your post about wanting to know what other people did for a living. I was the engineer. You sent a very nice email back to me to thank me for the comment. I only read the email a few weeks ago (I must admit I don’t check my hotmail too often), so I didn’t reply because I’d thought it was too late. But thanks a lot for the thoughtful email! I really think it’s amazing how you take into account everyone who comments on your website. In the meantime I started my own blog under the name of Ladybug. Pop by sometimes if you feel like it!

  22. Oh goodness — I can relate to so much of this! I’ve been fighting a really bad case of burnout; the closer I get to my goal, the worse it is. I’m wondering where I can take my burned-out self for a nice dose of Chill The Fuck Out today.

  23. Sometimes it really does take a little time to gain perspective on things. You don’t always have to be an extreme optimist about things. A good moping and ranting can be good for the body and the mind.

  24. Hang in there girl, we all have those times when we just need to rant and we all love reading rants too..so next time feel free to post it…that way we won’t feel like we are the only ones…
    You’ve done soo good…maybe this is your time to “maintain” all that weight loss and when your knee is better then you can hit it hard and lose the final weight…At least then you will know that you can do this and that it’s not a for EVER thing…
    Sue

  25. I stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago, and have looked forward to each of your installments.
    Having lost and gained and lost and gained, I now have the courage to tackle losing again.
    Your writing is poignanly funny and the last paragraph of your recent post simply amazing.
    Thanks for the honesty.

  26. Hyde Park in the spring cures all ills. St James park was a favourite place of mine to duck-watch and chill out when I was a student in London.

    This entry is perfectly timed for me: I just started going to a counsellor again to do something about the high stress and freaking out I’ve been doing. I know part of it is that for the past 2 years I’ve had minor surgeries every few months that mean NO EXERCISE for 2-3 weeks at a time, then I never quite get into the routine of working out. No happy chemicals from exercise = stressed out me.

    The most 100% full-time optimistic people I’ve met have generally been escaping from reality and/or never faced any big challenges. The REAL positive people are the ones who do just like you said: sort through the crap and drag a bit of positivity out of even the most irritating day.

  27. Actually, I’m feeling grateful towards you for posting your frustration because I’m going through something similar, although not bad enough to justify another rant on my blog. I caught a tropical disease this year which has been giving me random pains in my articulations and pretty much stopping any progress on my journey to becoming fit for the last 2 months. So please, rant as much as you like! You probably don’t realise how many people you touch by airing emotions they also feel but don’t dare talk about!

    Also, congratulations on meeting your deadline! I hope one day I’ll be able to read your book.

  28. Thanks for letting us in to a bit of that internal struggle.
    I know exactly what you mean about those last damn 6 kgs desite having way more than that to go myself. But don’t let your frustration diminish the achievement of losing the other 70. It is hard and sometimes life isn’t fair. And you’ve done bloody well so far and we all know you’ll crack those last pesky 6 kgs.
    I certainly understood your comments about London in summer. I was in Central London on Saturday afternoon/evening as well. On days like that I am so happy to be here. I feel home and safe and connected. I just wish that happened more often! I think it was the first time I’d shaken off the homesickness since February.

  29. I think Cat says it the best – you are being realistic. I like that. No one can be positive all the time. Having rants and raves makes you real. You being real and telling how you feel is great. It lets us know that we all have these moments and it is okay. Rant and rave anytime.

  30. I gotta tell you something:

    My lover has an illness that leaves him in chronic pain all the time. He really suffers and takes very strong pain killers just to get up in the morning. And every day I come home and bitch about how my feet hurt from my heels and he lets me. Because really: we can’t all live our lives saying “Well, my being in this amount of pain doesn’t really count because other people are suffering from that amount of pain.”

    Frankly, it’s *life*. You’re allowed to complain about being in pain because you *are in pain*. No one will mock you or hate you for it or think “Well, it’s not like she’s *really* suffering.”

    Cuz you are….

  31. Hey you! I can’t believe you don’t consider yourself worthy of the lable sportswoman because you are carrying some extra weight! While still just clinging to the obese range (with only 1.5kg to go till I’m overweight)I have managed to win the Master’s Women’s Champion trophy for the 2005/06 season at the surf club and yesterday I won the B Grade championships at my golf club. You have always been a sporting lass and I can guarantee that nobody thinks of you as anything less. You love it, just like I do and you need to think of yourself as an athlete. Even obese people are athletes and I am proof of that! Oh yeah and I had better go get my wonky knee checked. Love ya, you big ranter. NJ

  32. i’d just like to rant about the inner battles i have every day about those delicious chocolate peanuts… although i’ve come a long way in a sense of making healthy life style changes i have to wonder if things like this will ever change… will i constantly have to battle myself about whether i am genuinely craving them or if i’m just slipping back into bad old habbits… my weight loss seems to have stalled somewhat, i have maintained, fluctuating up and down slightly for some 6-8weeks and am starting to feel a bit over it all… any suggestions on how to revamp my motivation… i only have about 15 kgs to go til goal, have thus far lost around 31kgs give or take 1 or 2…

    it’s frustrating the hell out of me and i wish i could just turn it all off sometimes, just push a button and not feel the need to eat at all… ahhhh how simple it could all be…

    having said that, i know this time last year i piled on some weight and remember thinking what i’d give to just be able to lose 20 kgs, of course here i am closer to goal than not and i’m losing the plot…

    i guess one good thing is that i haven’t slipped back into habbits like over eating etc, a bit of chocolate here and there is better than huge mounds of food that barely even get tasted…

    thanks for the opportunity to vent, it’s really needed…

    cheers

  33. Ranting’s good. Ranting’s healthy. Better rant than leave it to stew.

    I don’t think you have to be an optimist all the time either. I don’t manage it at all, and I’ve sort of taught myself to be an optimist because the alternative isn’t workable…

    If you were determined and positive absolutely all the time, that might be a bit discouraging for the rest of us fallible humans, no? It can be very helpful just reading that someone else is feeling the way you’re feeling – and yet is not defeated and is moving on…

  34. I have lurked and read your posts for quite some time. I think the reason for blogging and being out there is to be able to get your feelings off your chest. We all have days like this, where if someone looks @ us wrong we want to lash out at them, but that is just human nature.

    Sure, there is starvation, plague and pestilence in the world, but that doesn’t negate your feelings and emotions, or that your own issues are less important than the next person’s.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your last paragraph. I feel like being an adult doesn’t mean that you have it all together all of the time, it means that you can find a way to pick up the pieces when your world falls apart.

  35. As always a great post. And I would like to only say one thing. As much as there is horror and heartache in this world, and there is ALWAYS going to be people who are worse off than you, it does not make your injury go away or make it less important to YOU.

    You have every right to be angry and sad and vent. It does not belittle you or anyone else. You are as important to you as we are to us.

    Vent away DG. And have a great weekend doing it 😀

  36. Yes, this post is indeed encouraging for those of us who aren’t always cheery little bunnies. I especially like your last sentence. Hope the more positive mood is still with you.

  37. Thanks for being real and honest. It feels good to know that other people struggle with life and the same issues.

    Being positive and happy are the best, but hardest things to achieve in life. Just acknowledging the struggle is progess.

  38. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a Idiot Proof Diet site. It pretty much covers dieting related things.

    Come and check it out if you get time 😉

  39. Sometimes even when I want to comment I don’t know what to say. You are incredible, and of course it is ok not to be positive all the time. The best thing is, you always work your way around any challange. And that is what is inspiring to me.

  40. Punching the fuck out of a positive luny would probably burn enough calories that you wouldn’t need to worry about walking…….

    and it sounds like so much more fun!

    hehehe!

  41. what part of “not a forum for you to pimp your diet products, books, websites…” do people not understand?

    i removed the link to ‘joshua’s’ site. i’m not going to add google juice to a spam page full of commerical diet links.

    thanks everyone else for your super tops comments, as always 🙂

  42. To use a colloquialism that I’m not entitled to, due to being the Whitest Girl Ever: babe, I feel ya. I have the feeling that, just as courage doesn’t mean fearlessness (but rather being scared as hell but doing stuff anyway), optimism doesn’t mean continual cheer but rather the ability to stand up after a load of crap falls upon one’s head, brush oneself off, and think, “Dammit, I’m covered in shit. On the up side, this will eventually make a funny story when I don’t stink so fucking much.”

    It will be okay. It’s not all going to collapse, you are not a house of cards. Just because you can’t exercise doesn’t mean that it’s all going to come back again. You are fine, sweetling, and I think you know that already, but I felt like saying it. You’ll figure out ways around this; this is not going to stop you, it is merely delaying you. Which is a real pisser, but really when you’re stuck in traffic you either get to sit and fume or take the chance to sing along at the top of your lungs when you favorite song comes on the radio.

    And bravo on a deadline met! GO, DG GO! You are rockin’ on like a rockin’ thing that rocks. Bravissima, bella. We are going to get these damn books written, dammit, we WILL. You sooner than I, granted, because you started first, but I will follow! I will! GO, DG, GO!

  43. You write about emotions and feelings that so many of us have. Your honesty about life and all that’s great and all that’s completely shit is what keeps me coming back and reading and re-reading the archives. Don’t feel like you have to be this persona who is always upbeat, funny and living the life fantastic because some of us have been reading for a long time and that’s not why we came for the ride. I read because you’re real.

  44. I’m so glad I read this post. I’ve been feeling the same way lately. No one wants to hear me bitch right? I’ve only started my blog a few months ago and all i seem to do is bitch. But after reading your post i thought to myself….Bitch away.. this is your blog and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. if people don’t want to read it they can leave. Then I realized that i should apply that to my own situation! So thanks for fixing me!!

  45. it sure is tough when you cannot let all the stress out with exercise. can feel for you. Just lately i have had a stress time at uni, and just put back on about 4 kg in 10 weeks, about a month after i got to within a couple of kilo of my goal. i feel frustrated in myself. end of june is my 2 year anniversary and i could have been at goal. When i read that you have only put on one pound during a tough time, i feel like you are doing very well. i am not just saying that to try to cheer you up. i told myself that sometimes in the past i put on more like 7 kg during a few very bad stress weeks. So this time i have not done so badly. i could have kept putting on this week with exams, but with stress easing a bit i have got back to maintenance this last fortnight. along the way i have had this idea that i may not be able to do without the bad months, or stress months, but if i can maximise the good in the good months, and minimise the damage of the bad times, i can achieve a lot.
    well done on basically maintaining during a tough month. That shows you ARE achieving lifetime strategy for success. Hope you get an easier month soon but!