Clipping my wings ~ a difficult decision

Anyone who has been following Bird Therapy will know that for some time now I have been exploring how to start an outreach project using bird-watching therapeutically. I’ve been planning and researching this for the last year and recently I was granted some funding to help get the project started. I even had sponsors in place, a range of donated resources available and a venue to work out of.

Then everything crashed down around me. I decided to change my job as the uncertainty regarding the future of my employer was impacting my wellbeing. I was offered some interviews and have now accepted a new role which I’m really excited about. However, my new role although in education, is not ‘term-time only’ and my future plans for Bird Therapy centred around this availability.

Cue the realisation that I just can’t do what I want to do at this stage of my life. Obviously this brings with it some darkening thoughts of disappointment and letting people down which in-turn impact on my mental health. I have had to prioritise and compartmentalise what I can realistically achieve otherwise things could mentally get ‘out of hand’ in the long-term.

A friend told me I should sit back and look at what I have achieved in such a short space of time and then reassess where I want to get to. So in 2 years I’ve; been asked to write numerous guest blogs, had my first magazine article published with two more on the way, recorded three ‘tweets of the day’ for Radio 4, been interviewed on local radio, spoke to a hundred people at UCCRI about Bird Therapy and met Sir. David Attenborough… That’s a ridiculous achievement for a few years and enforced a total reality check.

The nature of my OCD means that in striving for unachievable perfection I have a propensity to run away with ideas, promising things that I can’t deliver and overselling myself to try and influence people to accept me and what I want to achieve. Bird Therapy started out as a writing project and seemed to be reaching out to a wider and wider audience. I have decided to focus on this aspect of the whole ‘project’ and deliver what I CAN deliver – the book ‘Bird Therapy’. Sometimes I feel that even calling Bird Therapy a project oversells it.

I hope to do a few talks here and there like the one I am already booked to do at Cley Marshes NWT on September 14th (more info here; https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on/all-events/2017-09-14-bird-therapy ). I also hope to lead a few bird-watching wellbeing walks before the year is out but that will be it.

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6 thoughts on “Clipping my wings ~ a difficult decision

  1. Well done – such a wise move to accept disappointment rather than make yourself unwell! Congratulations of the new job and good luck with the book. One of my favourite quotes is from Jon Kabat Zin

    The Unfaithful “Yes”

    “Saying “yes” to more things than we can actually manage to be present for with

    integrity and ease of being is in effect saying “no” to all those things and people and

    places we have already said “yes” to, including, perhaps, our own well-being.”

    Jon Kabat-Zinn from Coming to Our Senses

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  2. Your wings haven’t been clipped, it’s just that for a while you’re going to be less of a ‘migrant’ flying to as many exotic and different locations as you thought but investing instead in a new role where long wings and a powerful flight isn’t so important. The experience of a new and rewarding job without the stresses (I hope) of the old one will only make you stronger in the long term so when you’re ready and the situation allows you can return to the project with new ideas and more internal resources to carry them through.

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  3. Please don’t give up on your vision, even if you have to park your plans in the short term. I’ve also suffered with OCD for 40+ years and getting outside birding has helped me a great deal.

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