Yesterday, the 13th, I had an interview on Ireland AM - a national morning talk show. What an experience... One I'm so blessed to have had.
The day before, I put myself in something of a zone, so I could prepare and distance myself from the apprehensive nerves coming from those around me. Instead I needed to create something of a grounded excitement and not lose sight of the reason I was going on, in the first place. It wasn't for the hype surrounding LIVE television and meeting some Irish celebrities. No. I was going on so I could speak openly about my experiences and inspire where needs be.
I was stepping away from 'hiding' behind the words in my published book and moving towards exposing myself - not only through my spoken voice - but through my whole presence. It's as if the whole parcel of who I've become, since recovery, was presenting itself to the Irish world, all within the space of a 10-minute slot on national television yesterday morning.
I didn't actually realize how huge an impact this tv appearance could have, on viewers, as well as myself.... not until myself and Louise (the psychotherapist who came on the show with me - she's also become a lovely friend, since meeting her a few months ago, after she read my book) were waiting to take place on the lovely sitting room set-up, only 10 minutes before I was due to go on air. I had one moment of panic... 'Shit... I can't do this... I can't get up and speak to the nation... this is too much!!!' But I kept on breathing, kept on grounding myself, kept myself focussed and continued to remind myself WHY I was doing this. I had to ignore the thoughts that were going to block me from speaking my truth and cause me to stutter, fear and feel flustered. I had to erase the images of 100s and thousands of viewers, who would maybe either judging my appearance or hanging on my every word.
Instead of fuelling those thoughts, I stayed in my zone until I actually sat down on the couch and became familiar with the presenters. And, wow, how warm and welcoming they were...!! I felt so at home... Before we went on air, the lady simply said... 'Niamh, we're just having a chat, we're out for coffee and you're just telling us your story.' I thought.. 'Yes... I LOVE chatting over tea... and this will be fine...' Then, without even realizing, things started rolling and the flow soon came.
As I sat there, talking about such deep stuff, in the corner of my eye I saw the pictures of myself... The ones I never before thought I'd expose... to anybody... let alone the WHOLE OF IRELAND... It was the pictures of myself, at my lowest weight. They floated by on the large screen. Before going on air, I didn't know if they were going to show them, but I'd kind of prepared myself. Just as well I did, because when they floated by, I didn't panic. The images didn't snatch my train of thought or unsettle me. That was due to having grounded myself so firmly in the PURPOSE of WHY I was exposing myself so completely.
The reason behind it, was to give a reflection of an illness at its worst, a reflection of a person who is 'me', but really is somebody I no longer know, recognize or identify myself with. I did this, so I could stand beside them and say... 'This is where I've come from BUT this is where I'm at NOW...' I was so important, for myself too, to present the living, breathing expression of health I've so far become. It's what a sufferer can also aim to be, once they start setting themselves free.
The road I've had to travel, before reaching a point where I feel strong enough in my sense of self and aware enough of where I stand in this life, has been a long one. But I'm finally able to stand up and say that person on the screen, weighing next to nothing, was somebody I once was. It's no longer who I am. In that time, I never imagined I'd, some day, in the relatively near future, choose to go on the television hoping to inspire others so they too can move through their pain and come out in to the light and stand in the brightness of this amazing life. But I finally did it... It was obviously intended.
After the interview, I was flying high. Myself and Louise were on fire... feeling so strongly we'd set something in motion and were doing amazingly beneficial work. We felt we wanted and COULD heal the world... It was as if something had only started and there was HUGE work to do... I felt I WOULD do it.
Hours later, I was landing, of course. I was at home, starting to feel drained and overwhelmed by what I'd done and the supportive response I was getting. A critical voice inside my head was trying to get the better of me... I, briefly, started doubting WHY I'd chosen to expose myself... I started fearing judgment and rejection from this world. It's all old stuff, that will try to hold me back - especially when I'd climbed a mountain that morning by revealing myself so completely to the whole of Ireland.
Yet... I accepted what was happening. I understood WHY I was feeling doubts and fears. And instantly, in that acceptance, the emotions subsided and I was calm. I knew I'd done the right thing, by exposing myself so fully. In that, I felt more in my strength than I've felt in a very very long time. It's almost as if I can say... 'I've arrived'. I don't know where exactly... I don't know how exactly... All I know is that it feels deeply empowering, liberating and indestructible.
This is the link to the recording on the tv3 website. You can copy and paste and hopefully have a look.