Why I Chose Baptism At 35…

Today, Sunday 17 February 2019, I was baptised into the Church of England at St Chad’s church in Manchester.

I’ve visited many of the grandest and most beautiful churches, cathedrals and basilicas from across the world over the years and have always found a spiritual calmness and peace within myself whilst inside them.

More recently, in Barcelona, at the Cathedral and at the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, I sat and had a silent conversation with God. In the six months prior, I had experienced high elation with graduating with my BSc (Hons) degree and starting my masters but this quickly began to exasperate my feelings of social anxiety. I found it hard to deal with, particularly with the feeling that I was letting both myself down and those who had invested in me, whether financially or emotionally. The social anxiety prevented me from leaving the house, often sitting in silence and darkness with my blinds closed afraid even that someone would knock on the door filling me with fear and dread. I was drinking more than ever to self medicate for the feelings of coming back down to earth with a crash! At one point drinking about 8 bottles of wine over 4 days (Probably about 90 units over those four days when the recommended 7 day total for a man is 14). Then out of the blue, I felt an overpowering need to get away to somewhere I was not known by anyone and I went to Barcelona. In both the Cathedral and Basilica, I felt close to tears. I made an emotional agreement with God that if he gave me the courage and strength to come through the other side I would stop drinking and putting my health into jeopardy as I’d done so many times before.

It’s almost three weeks now since I touched alcohol. Whilst I’ve not yet recommenced my studies, I’ve returned to work and my blinds are open! Small steps. To make my promise stronger, being baptised felt the right thing for me to do. I wanted to know that I had that constant gentle hand of guidance, support and encouragement when times were hard. A faith that I could be more if I gave myself the chance and God, at least in some small part, helped me to achieve that.

Where I originate from, confessing to having a faith isn’t something that people usually do. Though I suspect many of those people believe in God, or other religions.

I remember being a small child and my mother always wearing a silver cross. She always said she believed in God, but she never went to church and I’m not sure that she really knew what exactly it was she was pouring her faith into. On many occasions, my mother lost her cross; it somehow becoming lose from the silver chain without her always immediately noticing and I would retrace all her steps until I found it. I was successful on a fair number of times.

As I’ve got older, I believe more that there is a higher being. Something looking over us, supporting us, guiding us. And in recent months, where times have been tougher for me, I have felt that I’ve needed that and it encouraged and helped me through those difficulties. Again, it felt right for me then to confirm my belief to God, in his presence.

Today, I feel peaceful and happy.

Social anxiety – turning a corner?

Many of you might or might not know, but for the past couple of years, but particularly in the last few months, I have suffered from crippling social anxiety. Sometimes it meant I couldn’t go out of the house, and often would sit throughout the day in darkness with the blinds closed. This was causing me to drink much more than I normally would and consequently causing further anxiety and health worries of its own.

Today I’ve just been for a walk around my local park in the sunshine seeing all the crocuses, snow drops and daffodils sprouting and it’s done wonders for my mood. One of only a handful of times in the last month or two I’ve taken myself out on an non-essential journey. I’m hoping that with spring around the corner, and having knocked alcohol on the head, my health too can start a rebirth. I have found that wearing my headphones helps significantly as it’s kind of disconnects me to the world (but I have to ensure I keep my wits about me…!!) But the main thing is, I’m feeling positive!

#anxiety #socialanxiety #solitude #spring #joy #newstarts #newbeginnings #addiction #alcoholaddiction #thingsofthepast #diet #weightloss #lifestylechanges

Kissing dolphins

This is one of my favourite ever memories. In May 2012, I found some deep courage to travel alone to Cuba. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Until that point I’d only ever seen a little bit of Europe so it was a huge culture shock for me to experience and filled me with huge wanderlust that I still have today. 🇨🇺

This day swimming with dolphins was incredible! I’ll never forget it! Even though the dolphin went to kiss me so hard it split my lip 😂😂😂