You know those days where anxiety/stress just sneak up on you? That's what happened to me recently. In the midst of recognizing that my thoughts were so deep, dark, and plain untrue, I had this odd vision.
I imagined this depressed/stressed version of myself laying in a muddy ditch, in the sunshine mind you. Then, the happy, upbeat, sunny-side-of-life version of me came by and saw me laying there. "Just leave me here," I groaned, "The world hates me. I have nothing to live for. Just leave me alone, to die." My sunnier disposition self smirked and chimed, "You are being very dramatic. You know all of that is not true, now get up so you can see the clearer perspective."
Surely, this sounds odd, a vision of me talking to myself, but it really was a half-second thought in my mind, typed out it's much longer. Still, it was there and I think it describes anxiety/stress/depression well. At least from my personal experiences, it hits the nail right on the head.
Later in the afternoon, it took me three tries to leave the house, just to walk three streets down to the coffee shop to get a little work done. Every time I got up to leave I felt pitiful, run down, tired. I imagined the barista looking at me like the wreck I was and that simple image in my mind made me want to or start to cry every time. So, I sat on the couch again, set my backpack down behind me, grabbed my hanky, took off my glasses, and stared at the floor.
I got good at shutting my mind off during my adolescence. I wasn't dwelling, I wasn't letting my mind run me, I was just staring, zoning out. It could easily be mistaken for being present, but if anything I was far, far away, gone. Then, I would start to bring myself back. The thoughts start slow, then quicken.
Okay, I just need to go to the coffee shop. Then, I can come home and nap. Then, I can clean the basement and do school work. Easy. Simple. Cleaning the basement will realistically take a couple hours. Maybe I don't have time for that nap... I need to catch up on my studies for school, I have 3 modules to catch-up on, then I need to figure out my workshop weekend. What will I eat? What will I wear? What will I bring? Don't forget to tell everyone about how to check-in to the house. Don't forget about the essay and something else you need to write up for school too. Figure out what time you will be leaving tomorrow too. That's a lot of things to do. I feel really overwhelmed. Focus on one thing at a time. Okay, the coffee shop.
Cue standing, movement towards the door, feeling entirely overwhelmed, playing the barista scene out in my head, bowing my head to hold back tears, and sitting back on the couch.
My partner is the sweetest man and sat by my side, rubbing my back. He doesn't know much what to say in situations such as this, but he has learned that sitting by my side, even in silence, holds an awesome (in the pure sense of the word) space for me (and I imagine for us as well). Then, his reassuring words came, even if they were so similar to what I had been telling myself, I heard what he had to say, Take it one tiny little piece at a time. Something shifted inside of me. I took a breath, I looked away, the thoughts started playing on loop in my mind again, and suddenly I stood up, I took a breath, and this time I knew I was going to be able to leave, because I was tired of hearing the same thing on repeat in my head. Okay! I'm going. I announced and left.
It was an overcast day, but warm outside. Seriously, the second the fresh air hit my face, I was uplifted. Like our front door was a magic portal and I was just pushed into another dimension. I took a few more deep breaths, I looked around me as I walked down the street, and I reminded myself that I have the power to make things better, I have the power to get myself out of the ditch. I must not forget about my sunny-side-self and I must not sit in suffering longer than necessary. This day I was so immensely grateful for my partner pushing me to just get up and leave.
I sense that so many of us are going through tremendously stressful, shifting, and changing times in life right now. My advice is to try to recognize when you have fallen into the dark space and do whatever you can to find your light and get out into that light! Breathe, sing, turn up the music, step outside, call a friend, force a smile, go for a run, sob it out, curl up in a ball and just roll around the floor - no matter what you have to do, just find your light, dear friend! And above all else, in the midst of that search, hold on to knowing you ARE the light, and taking care of yourself comes before and above anything else. I'm here for you, if you ever need help getting through. You are never ever alone during the trials and tribulations of this life, and that is the final reminder I will leave with you for now.