“I am enough.”
Say it again, a few times. If it isn’t quite in the “believable basket” today, can you move a little closer to believing it tomorrow?
I lived for at least ten years thinking I wasn’t enough. That somehow anything I did was worth less than nothing. Through that time I wrote a lot of poetry, some of which I plan to share here when I get a proper schedule in place for sharing with you wonderful people. I wrote a lot of music, some inspired by the deep emotion I felt during that time, much of it pain and sorrow, and others by the lack of feeling at other times. I can still feel it when I sing each song. I’m in a place where I don’t sink back into thinking those unhealthy thoughts, but the songs still feel as believable to me as when I wrote them. I didn’t write through much of that time because making up fantastical stories and putting them on paper didn’t seem to be taking me where I felt I was supposed to be going.
If you’ve read a few posts here on my blog you’ll know that three or four years ago I started to regain the energy to intentionally combat this feeling that I wasn’t enough. It was tough to start out with. It’s still tough now. But there’s a beautiful hope I find within the hard work, even on the particularly bad days, of which there are proportionally fewer now than there ever have been in my life.
There was a lot of introspection, examining the lies my mind was trying to sell to me when it had no evidence to back it up. Every second thought, sometimes more than that, told me I couldn’t do something, so how could I try? Why would I try?
Light exists at the top of the climb. Everybody’s journey is different, and as such everybody’s struggles will be different. For me, when I’m struggling with depression, it feels like I’m in a deep hole, with no ladder nor any other way to get out. It is dark and feels hopeless. Sometimes in that hole I have things I know I enjoy with me, a guitar, a pen and paper, a frisbee. But in that darkness when I play my guitar, or write, or throw a frisbee, there is no enjoyment. I even start to think I don’t like those things. Even chocolate pudding tastes …wrong.
I was using all my energy to try and climb up and out of that darkness.
Sometimes we have to sit with that darkness. We don’t have to accept it. We don’t have to like it. We can even work towards knowing and believing that it is temporary – because it is. While I’m down there, I try to make it as comfortable as I can. Fluffy blankets, hot cups of tea, food (please remember food!), and letting a person I trust know I’m struggling. This last one is a particularly difficult thing for me, but I know it’s a good thing so I try. Sometimes listening to music helps. Sometimes watching funny TV or animated films helps. Sometimes going for a walk helps. Sometimes talking to a good friend, or simply sitting in the same room as them helps.
It is ok to not be ok. Know this. Also know this: it will not be forever.
The first time I managed to climb out of the deepest, darkest hole I’d fallen into, I had no idea what I was supposed to feel. Smiling was weird. Laughing did not seem the right thing to do in any context. It was a feeling sort of like freedom, but I wasn’t ready for it. Yet, I saw it, and part of my mind held onto that beautiful moment.
There have been many ups and downs since then, and there will be many more for the rest of my life. My depression will never fully go, but now I can see the signs early, and furnish the different levels of the hole, so I’m better prepared to manage however deep down I get.
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How is your world at the moment, dear reader? Really, how is your world?
Have you taken time to rest lately, to really rest?
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Some days it is ok to simply be where you are, to be present. No to-do lists, no intent on being uber productive, just be you. For me this involves spending time in prayer, and journalling with God what’s on top of mind. For you it might be a cup of tea with a view of the sea, or a walk in the park with your dog, or time on the couch watching good TV.
No one is a better you than you. And that is a wonderful thing.