On The Lessons of Hitting Rock Bottom
A few days ago, I lifted my glasses to my face and momentarily couldn't figure out why my vision was blurry. I took my glasses off and realized they were stained with tear streaks. Oh, good heavens. What have I gotten myself into?
It's Earth Day weekend 2017 and I haven't left my house once today, except to let the dog out. Our weather started out with drizzles and a completely overcast sky, but has since changed to sun, with our beautiful Midwest clouds floating by. I've always been a fan of Earth Day, and it's most definitely something I would love to be more involved with. But, what if I can't even get off the couch? What if my fears overweigh my desire to go party with my eco-conscious community?
I once made a promise to be more "real" on this blog. I believe it was just over a year ago, and for a while, I followed through and delivered. Then, life happened. A lot of life happened that included a lot of promises that were unfulfilled. In the past year, I've gone through just about every ringer you could ever name. Coming out on the other side of months and months of changes, hard work, unconditional self-giving, and heartbreak has left me asking a lot of questions about myself and how I relate to others. The more I open up to other people about what 2016 was for me, the more I hear back, "I can't believe that happened" and "That makes no sense whatsoever." And last month, when things went from unbelievable to pure and utter confusion for me, I fell apart.
Fun fact: People change. Even more fun fact: Sometimes, people change so fast, so immensely, that you're left in the dust of what once was and you hide under your bedcovers because the weight of the confusion scares you too much to function.
Here's the most fun fact, and my first lesson learned: It's okay to fall apart. Sadness and anxiety can combine into a total tempest and knock you off your feet. I've been thinking a lot about how the internet and social media glamorize anxiety, depression, and often: people don't believe you when you're hurting or tell you to cheer up or "take care of yourself." When your body, which is meant to protect your heart and soul, betrays you and stops you from being able to eat, you drown. When you've lost your best friend and feel strange reaching out to other people because you don't want to dump your problems on them, you drown further. You sit in silence every moment of every day because music resurrects memories and emotions, and the silence makes you feel suffocated. And when you miss three days of work because you're already in so deep you can't breathe, you finally reach the bottom.
There are all sorts of sayings and short anecdotes that I can use to describe what just happened in my life. I started to remind myself constantly that "it's always darkest before the dawn," which is a lyric pulled from Florence + The Machine's "Shake it Out," and I haven't even listened to this song in quite some time. I basically gave up on trying to be okay and just let the darkness happen. Sleeping for days on end eventually got old. Being weak and tired and emotionally terrified of social media and everyday life started to feel stale as well. Crying all the time after talking to anyone who was even the slightest bit of friendly became more frustrating than cathartic.
Finally reaching out for help was about the most petrifying thing I've ever done, but it was the second lesson I learned. When you might think you need help, you likely do. Honestly, I could have used help a long time ago. Truth be told, I've kind of always thought I had quirks, but I never looked into where they might have sprouted from. Turns out, I'm a relatively anxious person that just sort of hides it well, and my quirks weren't quirks at all, but rather, small little ticking time bombs of anxiety traps. And it also turns out that therapy is about the best type of self-care one can do. Just because some people will find a way to survive without it, doesn't mean that you have to try, too. Listen to what you need from yourself - and if a seeking professional assistance is the answer, accept that call.
Another lesson I'll share today is that it truly is important to not care what others think of you. I mean this in a sense of self-defense, not in a way of saying this gives you the right to do whatever you want, without regard for others' emotions or well-being (because there are people who actually live like this, I've learned). It means that if you decide to suddenly open up on your basically dead blog because you spent all your time on another human instead of writing, then so be it.
My therapist made a great point this week about how people "like us" tend to give all of ourselves to those we adore, and although we should expect the same of others, we don't often receive it. And at some point, I need to understand that taking care of myself comes before taking care of others. Grieving is a process, and as long as you're not harming others while putting yourself first, you shouldn't care what others think. I never thought that I'd be at the tail-end of my twenties, sincerely excited to see a therapist and "move the hell on with my life."
So, in honor of celebrating myself, and in honor of healing, I'm going to throw myself back into this. I'm going to write myself raw, and hopefully shed some light on how anxiety and depression are real things that happen to real people after traumatizing events. Therapy is good, and safe, and needed. Self-care can be crafted in even the littlest ways. I want to be myself again, and my blog has always been an extension of that self I have come to miss very dearly.
Thanks for bothering to read my rambles, and thanks also in advance for following along on this little healing journey. I hope it's not too boring! Who am I kidding - it's going to be ANYTHING but boring from the looks of it. Seeya along the way.