It has been one of those weeks filled with events that were nagging to be my next teacher. Moments that make you stop in your tracks, reevaluate where you stand and what is truly important. Moments that urge you to learn.
Truth is, I haven’t felt great this week. I’ve woken up with a headache every morning this week, and continued to feel dizzy and extremely lethargic for the rest of the day. When I started to think about it, I had to admit that I’ve felt exhausted for a bit longer than just this week, but I managed to ignore it this long. Because I wanted to be happy. Because I’m not a negative person. Because I’m not sick. That is what I’ve been telling myself.
And that is still true. I am not a negative person. But being a positive, healthy person doesn’t mean that I never feel negative, or ill. That might seem fairly obvious to you but it was a lesson I had to re-learn this week.
I’m saying re-learn because I’ve learnt it before but I might have only gotten version 1.1 of the program, and it turns out, there is an updated version of it. (NOW I know why it kept annoying me to agree to automatically update it between the hours of 1AM and 5AM. I was like “Leave me alone! I’ve got stuff to do. This is only some shady form of ‘bug fixing’ anyway!”)
I got caught up feeling guilty for any ‘first world’ problems that I might face. I live an easy life, I’m meant to be grateful. And, I’ve been writing posts and entries in my journals, I’ve spoken about it so much, that I thought I had it somewhat ingrained in me, still, this week, this was my lesson (again).
I’ve been irritated by negativity over the last few weeks because I wasn’t allowing myself any space for illness and negativity. That is because, and it feels like I say this a lot, I remember what it felt like when illness and negativity were all I had. I remember what it felt like when sadness took over my whole world like some new American president, and I was sitting on the side line not knowing what to do with it. It climbed to the top, ruling over all other emotions, and I watched it get there, even found it entertaining for a while.
I let it take over during my teenage years and let it run the whole show, while pretending that there was nothing I could do to stop it, maybe I was even twiddling my thumbs. (I like the image of that). At first, I was even thinking there was no need to stop it, because sadness is just so beautiful (to begin with, it gave me some nice dramatic poems and some much needed attention. Cool!)
And, this time, by pretending my negativity didn’t exist at all, while feeling I should just be grateful for all the amazing things in my life, I somehow let it creep through the backdoor, allowing it to plan its take over once again. And it actually did take over.
Let’s call it. I’ve been trying to get the message across without actually saying it out loud. I’m beating around the bush. I felt depressed this week. I felt miserable, for no reason at all. I felt completely overwhelmed by the very few obligations I had and I felt so sorry for myself because,… work? Because I had to leave the house which was the only place of comfort. I wanted to run away from everything, hide, and just sleep. I did sleep a lot this week. But it was never enough.
Sometime this week, I read a post on Facebook by one of my friends asking for advice on how to take care of herself during an episode of anxiety. I felt for her. And I felt glad that she had the guts to share it online. So I tried to add my five cents, and I loved reading through everyone else’s responses as well. And it also made me think, I do just have to say it out loud.
I was thinking for a while that if I describe what I’m talking about, everyone will understand. No need to name it. Also, I have learnt that sometimes diagnosing it out loud can contribute to the danger of completely identifying yourself with an illness. Making it ya thang. Well I did that anyway, without knowing a name for it. So I might as well call it, and work on how not to identify myself with depression, or negativity, but still allowing it space when it clearly is present.
What I’ve felt this week didn’t ‘make sense’. I couldn’t explain it. I truly don’t have many reasons to be unhappy. I did just get married a couple of weeks ago, and I live a good, easy life. Which is why it was so hard for me to allow that negativity. I felt guilty for feeling anything other than over the moon. And, what I’ve shared with you in my previous post was also true. There were moments when I did feel over the moon, and completely at ease. But these last few days did not have many of those. Again, I don’t mean none. When I was with my husband, without any triggers, I was quite content. But life requires you to go outside every now and then.
So what I’ve learnt this week was that I am actually in control.
And, I realised this after finding a note the other day that I wrote a few years ago, after I had listened to some recordings of Abraham Hicks. I wrote what I wanted to manifest back then, and I wrote it in the present tense. As if I was already there.
‘I can take care of myself.’
I grasped the idea of this weird concept when I wrote it (it’s not as common as you think. It’s actually a tricky one), and while I wasn’t feeling it then, it feels true now.
I realised that something had been bugging me (A TRIGGER), something I will still have to process and talk about, while I’m dealing with THE SYMPTOMS. But somehow, maybe through not allowing negativity its space, I was thrown back into ‘my old ways’ of coping.
I felt sorry for myself and openly stopped taking care of myself because that used to be the only way I KNEW to try to get attention from the ones I love.
Since it worked before (not very well), I tried it again this week. This time, with my husband. Fun times. Also, he didn’t respond to it.
The thing is, it has rarely worked for me at all, I didn’t receive the love I was so desperately looking for, and that drove me further into that darkness. It didn’t feel very nice but on the bright side, it was a BIG WIN for the voice inside of me that was telling me I was no good anyway.
Now, I’m glad my husband didn’t play my little game, because it helped me remember that I have since learnt other ways to feel loved. I don’t need to let sadness take over in order for someone to listen to what I have to say. If my husband isn’t available right away, or if he is not really emotionally available for a few days because he is a human being who has his own concerns (Surprise!), I can take care of myself in the meantime, ask him for attention again later which may involve physically jumping onto him but that’s ok (for me), or I can find someone else to listen to my woes.
This is the advice I have used to respond to my friend’s post on Facebook, because it really helped me. When you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t compare how you feel now to how you usually feel.
It helped me to finally give my sadness some room but the tricky part is, that if you’re in that really dark place, it can be dangerous to allow more sadness because you’re already feeling shit, and you probably can’t handle any more negative emotions.
So this is what I have found out for myself. It may not apply to you at all, because everyone is different. But it may be helpful in finding out what works for you. Maybe it even helps a little.
What works for me, is to deal with THE TRIGGER (the underlying problem) on a deep level (therapy, talking to a friend, meditating, journalling) while at the same time dealing with THE SYMPTOMS, or at least allowing them, while taking good care of myself (or the best I can manage at the time).
One, without the other, doesn’t work.
This week has been eventful. Some of those events made a huge impact on the life of some people around me, all because of one wrong decision. It seems that there is a lesson for them to learn, but their lesson didn’t come gently. I came very abruptly and it looks very difficult from the outside. I can only imagine what it must feel like.
It made me realise that all of my current lessons have come gently, and that while I am struggling with some, I have been given a lot of slack.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, please reach out. You will always find someone who actually truly cares about you and how you feel. If you don’t find anyone, contact me. I do care. I don’t know where I would be without the people who have gone out of their way to help me.