A happy new year this is to be!
I woke up during the night, then in the morning, with an awful sore throat, headache, and potential fever. This is not at all the way I was hoping to begin the year! I had plans to go to Dad’s for lunch & to watch my nephews open their Christmas gifts. I ended up not going, because of how awful I felt, and I also did not want anyone else to get sick, either.
So I felt that I needed to accomplish something. I struggle often with feeling that I am never ever getting enough done. There is always a mental list of things I must do / things I should do. Doing nothing feels wasteful. It makes me feel lazy. It makes me feel worthless. It’s a downward spiral of feelings when I’m not doing anything.
But perhaps this is my first lesson to accept with myself this new year. Rest and being still is not ‘nothing.’ Rest to me, lying in bed, even when I am not feeling well, bothers me mentally. It is an activity I’ve apparently considered an indulgence, even though it is not. It is necessary to physical and mental health, I am realizing, particularly as I struggle with depression (which - SURPRISE- gets worse this time of year).
On top of suffering from depression (which even saying ‘suffering’ makes me feel slightly embarrassed) I have a lot of shame about depression. I know what it is, all too well. I worry - and I probably shouldn’t - about how others perceive depression. It is a very serious health issue, for so many, but personally I often feel that it is perceived as an issue of willpower or personal strength. The people closest to me probably don’t feel this way, and I know that they try to help me through it - and they do - but in the back of my (paranoid?) mind, I sometimes think they must feel frustration that I just can’t always get it together, for lack of a better explanation. That I just can’t be well as often as I should.
I believe now, finally, at 30, and the last months in particular, I have tried so very hard to take on depression in a deeper way. I’m working on being mindful, being present in my life, and examining my feelings as I feel them, and not just simmering in them. The other day I was feeling sad and starting to head into despair…and I basically stopped myself when I thought “I hate being sad.” I realized - it doesn’t make sense to hate a feeling that I’m experiencing. I need to try really hard to look at the feeling, what brought it on, and try to understand - what is the sadness trying to show me? Is it showing me that maybe I loved really hard, and I believe I lost that, and now there is ONLY sadness? Thinking from this perspective made me show myself that I don’t have to put the focus on the sadness. Focus on the positives in that sadness - that I felt deep love and joy, and those feelings don’t have to disappear, they don’t have to shift to sadness, even if my current circumstances are not the same as they were when I originally felt those emotions. I can still feel those ‘old’ feelings, and enjoy what they brought me, and they can motivate me, if I let them, to continue to seek out experiences that will generate those feelings. Sadness can be more than it appears to be. It’s not easy, and I’m sure I will continue to struggle and not always be able to find/focus on the flip side of negative emotions. I’m going to do my best, though.
So for today, I finally let myself rest, and rest easy. It felt so good to just allow myself to lie under the blankets, snuggled warmly, and be at calm, easy rest. And after a few hours of that, letting myself ‘indulge’ in rest, I’m starting to feel a bit better. My body needed it. Exhaustion is real, and I’ve been working very hard lately, not eating well or exercising as I should be. I’m going to do better with taking care of myself, mind, body, and soul.
With all that being said, I’m hoping to continue the year as I began today- examining myself and my perception, learning, being open, caring deeply, and growing healthier in mind, body, soul, and spirit.