When my mind is allowed to tick over on its own, it often turns to the realm of ‘what if.’ Thought spirals ensue, wondering why I haven’t done enough, or why sitting down and getting started writing anything is so difficult (yes, including this blog post), or why some days it takes me so long to accomplish the simplest of tasks. I know it’s not a state I will exist in forever, and that there are things I can do to safely encourage myself towards peace, yet the position I find myself in becomes all encompassing within my mental faculties. I see the actions that would help and know I need to do them: but how?
This is a battle I have been fighting on and off since I was about fifteen. Depression is good like that, it sometimes gives me a break, so it can resurface with the question: “If doing that thing was so simple, why can’t you do it all the time?” It especially likes doing this when it was the thing preventing me from accomplishing that small task in the first place.
I don’t have the answer that works all the time for me, the thing or things that will help me focus my energy towards productive thought. What I do have is knowledge of when what I’m doing isn’t working, and signs to pick this up earlier than I used to. Do I struggle to get tired and so stay up past my useful bedtime? Am I lacking the energy to concentrate, even if I’ve been eating regular meals? Has finding the right words to say, or summoning the energy to have an in person conversation, become a severe obstacle to overcome? These may seem like obvious signs, things that one would notice immediately, but for whatever reason sometimes they slide beneath the radar.
One thing I know that helps all the time is talking. This might be typing text messages to a trusted friend, spending time with someone on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, a video call with someone, writing thoughts in a journal, or the thing I find best, being with someone who is ready to listen to silence while I organise what to say or find out that words are too difficult. This is never an easy course of action for me when I am struggling, because overcoming the obstacle of thinking I don’t want to reach out is a big one. Then, actually contacting someone and organising to meet is sometimes just as difficult. Even when I have made it past these and have met up with them, there’s often a wall in the way of saying what I need to. Don’t aggressively push through this wall if you’re energy levels are low. I can say from personal experience sometimes this makes things worse. Other times it does provide us with a sense of accomplishment, but we might use up some of our emergency energy reserves and not know about it until next time.
How can we keep doing the things we know will help us feel more like ourselves again? Great news! Spending time with someone you trust, in a place you feel safe is a really good thing. Whether you find the words to say, or you embrace the silence with this person, it will be helping. It might not feel like it, or we might not be able to fully acknowledge it then, but trust this action of being with that person is helping us.
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Have you been able to get any sunshine today? If not, maybe a cup of tea and a blanket?
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Kia kaha (stay strong) dear friends. Be at peace knowing you are the best you that you can be.