I’ve had a rough few days of feeling physically and mentally unwell. I can’t pinpoint the cause; maybe it’s hormones (or the ‘moans’ as I call them). Since having been plunged into a sudden early menopause by chemo drugs my moans are pretty mutinous. Whatever the cause, I am pulling out of it now, having been humbled and reminded that the state of having it all together is illusory, and the state of having it even somewhat together is a delicate balance that requires constant vigilance and continued effort. Some people who haven’t touched a drink for 20 years still describe themselves as a ‘recovering alcoholic’. Their of awareness of their weakness is the secret to their strength.
I can’t say I was going around giddy with the triumph of having conquered every problem in my life, but I may have been indulging in some fantasies about many of my challenges being firmly in the past, and all I need to do is move on, striding confidently into my new life. I have no idea what my ‘new life’ entails, but I’m sure it’s better than my old one. But life is not a series of discrete, unrelated chapters. It is a long messy continuum with one common factor in every situation good or bad – me! Like it or not, I am still the same person who used to sleep 17 hours a day and walked around the shopping centre shouting expletives at strangers. I am the hoon smashing bottles at night on the pavement, I am the earnest Sunday School teacher, I am the child clamouring to lick the bowl. None of these people ever ceased to be, they still live on, I just keep adding strands to the tapestry.
The strand that runs through my tapestry which is depression can never be removed. I can add other strands around it so it doesn’t stand out so much in the pattern, but it will always be there. It’s frightening how quickly I crumbled. A bad headache, some nausea, low energy and feeling a bit dejected quickly took hold and I began to spiral. I realised I’m probably always only a couple of sleepless nights away from a mental breakdown.
I say affirmations, exercise, drink kale smoothies and consciously adjust my attitude whenever it slips but it would seem that my efforts are necessary to simply keep me ticking over, not to propel me to the heights of achievement and fulfilment. All that effort is required to keep me upright and out of bed, not win a gold medal or a small business of the year award. It’s okay, that’s how it is, I have to work with what I’ve got. This is where this saying is handy:
‘Do what you can
With what you have
Where you are now’
Everything is okay. I had a few bad days where I fell out of alignment with my guidance. That’s how I look at it. I expressed some sadness and anger that was brewing away, because there’s always sadness and anger to express. I worried, wrote a few long rants in my journal, muttered to myself when I should have been cleaning, ate some junk food and allowed myself the space to be apathetic and grumpy for a little while. Because all of that is okay. Now I’ve tuned back in, started breathing again and allowed the life force to flow through me, waking me up to gratitude and joyful moments again.
Gratitude and joy and love and happiness are vital to your health and wellbeing. But when it’s all too much, please be gentle with yourself. None of us are happy machines. If you feel crap, you feel crap. Pressuring yourself to not feel crap can make you feel even more crap. No need to wallow or over-analyse the reasons behind it. Just feel it, embrace it, thank it for whatever it had to teach you, and have a laugh about it, and move past it. Just don’t be like me and not expect to meet it again!