The pretteh Kitteh above is Sunny, the youngest of our fur-babies 🙂
I am writing this mainly to help me get going again (simply by doing *something*), and possibly to maybe help someone who can identify with what I am saying.
For months now I have felt “stuck” in a sinking mud made of fears; the more I have tried to resist and dig my own way out, I have gone deeper into the sand, slowly disappearing, losing all sense of myself. What to do with my life? Where to take my blog (or do I leave it all behind)? Everything within me has been called into question because of external circumstances. I realised I didn’t want good answers, I just wanted reasons to keep feeling lost, letting the current take me where it wills as I have no energy to swim, or dig, or whatever I need to do to escape; splashing around in all those fears winds up making a big ol’ mess.
My weight and body fat are up higher than I am comfortable with, my strength is lower than I’d like to admit. Even my effort has all but died… driven only by “well, I should be doing this”, but everything is half-hearted and all I feel is disappointed and angry with myself. No matter how much I think I’m “over” caring about these physical things they still seem to be part of the picture of who I think I am (on some level), so perhaps embracing that will bring me more peace. I don’t know about you, but when I am otherwise depressed I tend to become more critical about how I look. I even started tracking calories again! *sigh*
The up-side is that I have started to take note of a pattern. The other day I was thinking back to another time I recall feeling just like this. In 2012 I ended up reaching a breaking point and taking 3-4 months off work due to stress. This stress was actually depression and it was largely due to a loss I had experienced the year before (end of my engagement). It was a horrible grief that took me a year to fully process and feel more secure in myself. What I lost was more than a person, it was the life I thought I’d have. Even though I knew it was for the best, I still struggled to adjust and cope with all of life’s other challenges on top of these buried wounds. I didn’t even realise why I was feeling so depressed until I reached a crushing point. I was faced with a choice to either go off work to get better or leave life all together.
I chose life 🙂
While I am not currently having thoughts of suicide (although I did last year when I was sick and in constant pain), I recognise the same hopelessness, lostness, and loneliness that led there when left unchecked. Once again, after all the major changes that have taken place in my life over the last 2 years, I am only feeling the weight of that grief now. The loss of who Marianne Kane was and the uncertainty of who I am now. The worst part is that I feel totally unjustified to feel this way at all:
– taking steps to pursue your dream job is great, right?
– marrying the man of your dreams is amazing, right?
– exploring the world is exciting, right?
– going flat chested to stick it to society and go back to your natural state after 10 years is admirable, right?
In reality, I seem to be afraid of being myself and all I want to do is run home to my familiar things, stick my head in the sand/mud/whatever!
I make myself angry! Why can’t I just get it together… don’t worry, there’s a corner coming up 😀
To look at another trend, I have noticed how I used to live in the future; then I managed for a very short time to live contently in the present; now I find myself living in the past, rejection the now because I feel so alien in it. There are things outside of me that poke and prod, trying to shake me up. Many times, I see how fragile I am and how close to falling apart I am. You see, I have a dangerous belief that the outside world (circumstances, people, environment, success bla bla) have power over me; when that pressure builds, I bend to it.
Life has become something that happens *to* me, rather than something lived *by* me.
It’s like I have been wearing all external challenges and hardships as badges of honour, only to buckle under their weight, failing to access the inner skills that give me strength to either let go of some of it, or find a better way to deal with the load. I recently read an article about evidence-based ways to become more content with life (article here). The remembering to apply these during times of sorrow, I find, is the hardest part, but when I do, I honestly see more clearly. It’s about turning the spiral the opposite way: stopping the downward pull and getting the momentum to pull you out of that vortex. Having only a few things to consider makes it very doable, too.
Here are those things:
1. The ability to name emotions as they happen (rather than tucking them away for later or ignoring them), even the hard ones.
2. The act of deliberating being grateful no matter what. I have always thought gratitude was about looking for pleasant things, but what if there aren’t any or you perceive everything as negative (as I do in times of depression)? Well, it turns out that the act of searching is apparently enough (it’s science). Just accessing that state of mind can be enough to switch you into a more positive place, even if you don’t actually name anything to be grateful for.
3. Social support and HUGS! In this day and age we are more isolated than ever. We no longer have the same group support in family or community. And for some people (like me, I guess), it can be very difficult to admit you are struggling. Pride and shame both play a big role here for me: I think I ought to be “just fine”, but really I am afraid of crying and seeming weak in front of people who admire me. Reaching out can seem impossible, but confiding in someone (even a therapist) might mean the difference between feeling out of or in control. And it has for me when I finally open up and let the light shine on my inner fears.
4. Just decide *something*! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just enough. Which is why I decided to blog something today. It may not be perfect, but it’s enough to just get me past letting fear hold me back. And it feels pretty good to write my thoughts here. Taking action and allowing yourself to explore *something* *somehow* is often enough to help flip that procrastination and lostness switch and feel purposeful again.
My blog was always a safe haven for me to write what was going on with me, focusing on my fitness of course. Lately I stopped sharing anything because I failed to see that there was any point – who knows, maybe I was afraid what would come out. But now I see no reason why I can’t use this space to explore other things as well, like what creative projects I am undertaking (singing, drawing etc) as well as sharing my journey back to fitness and contentment. Whether or not it does anybody else any good, I know it does me good, so I am writing for the the latter with hopes that the former is a bonus. I enjoy getting positive feedback, but that will no longer be a driving motivation… too much pressure for me! 😉
Thank you for taking the time to read my “good enough” thoughts.
I will leave you with a photo of my other cat, Mud, who decided to lie on my drawing:
And I can’t leave out Sandy (the dog) and Dusty (the cat):