You might have noticed that I’ve stopped posting. There’s a reason that I’m a bit afraid to admit. I’ve been REALLY, REALLY down in the dumps. There have been a number of events that have spurred on this sadness, and yet I’m usually much more resilient in such experiences. I’m not sure what is different this time, but something certainly is. Maybe it’s the cumulation of a number of rough patches, or I’ve exhausted my resilience resources. The best way to describe this feeling is being stuck in a rut.
Since I’m training in mental health, I know that what I’m experiencing is not abnormal or “clinical.” In actual fact, one rich silver lining of this experience is that I feel more connected to people who have trouble getting out of bed or who find that life is just piled up on top of them- I definitely have an ounce more empathy for how gruelling that experience must be. I am still able to experience joy and pleasure and fun, and I know that what I’m faced with right now is just one small chapter in my story.
Speaking of stories, back to why I’ve stopped blogging…this health blog made me feel hypocritical. I’ve been feeling so down that I haven’t been meeting my own expectations around self-care. I mean, I have in some respects- I’ve been binge watching Netflix, staying in my PJ’s too long and eating and drinking comfort substances. And yet that’s not the self-care I know I need. In fact, I know that the kind of self-care I’m describing right now is my way of avoiding real problems or challenges. It’s experiential avoidance. I know that I need to get back to the most recovering form of self-care I know: running, cycling, the gym, cooking, eating wholesome food, and indulging in mindful, self-loving ways.
So I’m going to do my very best to get back to myself, inside and out. And at the same time, here’s the other thing: this period in my life has made me very aware of the well-intentioned-but-destructive messages that exist about life, attitude and mental health. All these choose-happy, just-need-to-put-on-a-smile, be-positive-all-the-time messages aren’t helpful… in fact, they can be hurtful. If someone around you is suffering in the way I’ve been lately, or if you yourself are, just let it be. Accept it and don’t work so hard to fight it or cover it up. Instead, recognize that it is a temporary moment and do what you need to tolerate it with compassion and kindness. Give the distress and suffering a voice and… well… this too shall pass.
Yours, in health.