Oh hi there :),
Sorry for the slight gap in content; I could tell you that work has been busy, that I’m working on other projects taking up my time (semi-true, I suppose), or I could tell you the truth, which is that I am probably in the midst of one of the worst depressive spells I’ve had in the last few years.
I deliberated whether or not to write this, but with blogs and social media, it’s so easy to give this persona that we’re all fine, and writing this blog in it’s new niche of self-care, I want to show that sometimes self-care can be used a preventative measure; maybe it helps stave off a depressive spell, or gets you out of a spiral – but that it also can help you when you’re in the thick of it, and today I’m writing it all out as despite sitting with lots of tea, tidying my room and taking a long hot shower, I just can’t quite shake it off today. It seems a little disingenuous to write a blog about mental health, without talking about the bad times as well as all the lovely things we can do to feel better about things.
I’ve been a bit negligent of myself recently; I started to fall back into bad habits; instead of combatting stress with a swim or a run, I’d just sit in my car at the end of the day and spend my 1 hour drive home spiralling, usually stopping for a bottle of wine, ready for a large glass of red as soon as I got home to bed, instead of my new staple of camomile tea.
It’s probably time I shared something on here; I struggle at my job hugely. Without going into it too much, I changed industries and roles, and it’s been a much steeper learning curve than I could have anticipated. I have a lengthy commute and, whilst driving itself has never given me anxiety, the amount of time that gives you to think can be detrimental if you’re someone who’s prone to dangerous introspection; like many of us are. I’m also not good at stress; I’d love to be one of these super high-flying power houses who takes stress in their stride, but the truth is I’m just not as cut out for it as other people are.
My friends are incredibly supportive about this, and the two or three that know the extent of it are a huge part of what helps me get through each week.
It’s my birthday a week today and honestly, I’ve never felt further behind in my life. I try my absolute best not to set arbitrary deadlines about meeting someone, having children, buying a house, saving an amount of money, but in the world we live in, it’s so hard not to catch yourself frustrated for not achieving things; you watch social media – and despite knowing that your own social media is curated to show you ‘living your best life’, you can’t help but think about how together everyone else seems. Not to mention, how dismissive people can be about these things, which in turn makes it feel as though how you’re feeling is being trivialised. Not an easy wave to ride.
I tend to go through a rather difficult cycle of feeling like I’m not achieving anything in my job, the fact I rent rather than own my place, that I’m single… I look around at all the other people my age and it just seems as though everyone is steaming ahead, whilst I still feel like I did at 19 – and I’m probably just about on that same level of achievement as I was then!
To be clear, I am insanely proud of my friends – in their jobs, their exciting travels, that they pick up their entire lives and move to the other side of the world, or growing actual human beings and raising them too, committing to a marriage and working bloody hard at it – these are all amazing things and I in no way begrudge them for, in fact, the way they conduct themselves in all of these stories makes me love them that little bit more; but I don’t know many people who don’t find themselves drawing comparisons; we’re all guilty of it, and it’s inevitable as milestones – like birthdays – draw closer, it’s always going to present us, or maybe in some cases, force us, to take stock.
And sometimes, we just don’t like what we see when we stitch all the parts of our lives together. There’s not always an immediate fix either, sometimes you just have to live with the way things are and take each day as it comes, which for an over thinker and an over planner and an over organiser like me, is probably one of the biggest challenges you can encounter, but I made a promise to myself that this year I would firmly trust in the timing of my life.
My friend Hels made the beautiful picture for me, and I need to stand by it. I suppose I’m struggling because I’d originally centred some goals around my job, although they’ve all changed now, so I feel a bit like I did last year; but I also know I don’t want to set myself unrealistic and unattainable goals. So, do you leave it all up to trusting the timing of how things pan out? Or am I supposed to take a more active role in making those changes happen? I’m not sure – and not having the answers, for an over planning-organising-control-freak like me, is frankly, a nightmare.
I am hopeful that brighter days are coming, although sometimes it does feel hard to see it that way. I’m taking the time to be that little bit more selfish while I get my head around how I’m feeling; a bit less socialising (slightly challenging as I foolishly planned a birthday party for this weekend), no alcohol in the week, one run and one trip to the swimming pool to try and get some happy endorphins – although the exhaustion that a depressive spell can bring with it – as lots of readers will know, can make that motivation tough.
I wanted to write a bit more of an honest post about being in the thick of it – I love all of the mental health blogs that help show you you come out of these things, how great it is when you come out of the other side – which it is, but sometimes you need to know you’re not the only one in the thick of it, so if this is you, and you feel like you’re behind, or you’re not sure why you haven’t achieved anything, rest assured that despite social media making it look that way (I know mine does!), people are struggling, and they’re definitely not where they thought they would be or where they should be.
I’m not writing this for sympathy or pity (unless your way of showing sympathy is by sending me chocolate and
wine tea, in which case, I’ll take it 😛 …) but just for a bit of personal self-care, to get it out in to the open and to get it off my mind, and with any luck, maybe it’ll bring someone else out there a bit of respite from wondering whether or not they’re where they should be… After all, do any of us really know what we’re doing?
Normal programming to resume soon…ish… I hope.