all emotions in one day

Sometimes people say that Melbourne can have four seasons in one day. Today, for me, has been all emotions in one day. I have been anxious and very sad but now I feel balanced and ready to move ahead. The anxiety from this morning has worked itself out. I have leveled out this afternoon which has given me some time to think about anxiety and how it affects me.

My anxiety often stops me from acting which, in turn, creates more anxiety. I am often so paralyzed by my anxiety that I cannot even imagine a world outside. The most basic and simplest of things can become a problem.

Basically, I find it very hard to trust myself. I simply do not see myself the same way that other people say they see me. I am always anxious before anything – meeting people, telephone, driving, speaking. Even the people with whom I have a relatively normal relationship I freet and act weird. I am always worried that I will offend people by simply being me. And every time I reflect back on things after the event I know I can do all those things and the anxiety was rather misplaced. And often the reality is that the inside is nothing like the outside – I am not nearly as weird and awkward as I think I am.

So the lesson for me is to remember before I allow my anxiety to throw my mind into a spin. Or simply to trust me – I can do it and there are even a few things that I can do well.

Sometimes …

Today has not started well. I have had to take more medication to get a little balance this morning. My mind ran away from me on my walk and now I am all worked up inside. I had a cry before I said Morning Prayer. Morning Prayer (and the cry) helped. But facing a whole day is looking quite daunting at the moment. I have committed myself to a couple of things today so I will try to make them.

I feel pressure to have some idea about where my life is going. I have absolutely no clue. I cannot think about tomorrow so next month or next year is way beyond me at the moment. And people do not always understand when you tell them that my life goal is to survive. So I hide! And, to be honest, it is not much of a life when survival is all it is about.

But … sometimes life is simply a struggle to survive. Like walking it is learning to put one foot in front of the other and then the hard part – do it again. I am trying to do the things that I know will give me some balance – posting here gives me an outlet for my insides and also makes me accountable. I am trying to shut out the negative voices in my head and the ones from my past (which are very loud at the moment). I have not written about the personal side of my depression – the particulars – and I may never write about that side. Today is about surviving, getting to the end of the day, doing the things I have said I will do, and not falling apart. Because at the moment all I want to do is simply give up and float away into nothingness.

I will try to post later today.

… not-so-bad-days

I have a very stressful day. I have to visit family and then see my counsellor. The counsellor has been my life-line in the last couple of months. And has literally talked me off the ledge a couple of times. My darker side wonders what the point of it all is – the talking and the talking and the talking. I know I feel better after talking. But I am impatient and want things to change. And there is always this voice in the back of my head that questions his motives. And what is the end of it all? Simply for me to live with depression?

I follow The Depression Chronicles on Instagram. I often find it very helpful in expressing or putting into pictures what it feels like to live with depression. Yes, there are bad days – darkness and hurt. And there are not-so-bad days. But often these do not look much different than the bad days.

So what is my point? I am thankful for the people who help me – and they do help. The people who support and encourage. The people who do not belittle the struggle. The people who stick around and do not leave when the going gets hard. The people who look after the little things – Did you eat today? Did you take your medication? And the counsellor who keeps listening even when I question his motives. The people who are love in the hurt and who reflect The Light in my darkness.

happy place?

I had never really thought of a happy place until someone mentioned it to me. In fact, the person knew my happy place before I did. I like the idea. Maybe I should call it my “hermitage” or my “cell”? It is not always a physical space – for me it is also when I teach or talk ideas with some people. But it is a “place” where I relax and I am more “me” than other places.

This is my happy place – sitting outside in the sun reading with a cup of tea. The notebook is my journal with my favourite pen. I listened to a meditation for calming anxiety, and read some of the article on Kierkegaard. Allowing myself to stop from the pressure I place on myself is a strange (and still somewhat awkward) feeling. Yet knowing that I can return to this place, physically and emotionally, is a really nice and calming thought.

Do you have a happy place?

a new self?

This form of despair is: in despair not to will to be oneself.
Or even lower: in despair not to will to be a self.
Or lowest of all: in despair to will to be someone else,
to wish for a new self.

Sickness unto death, 53-54

One of the things I have found is that I like to escape. I often dream of a change of context in the hope that it will fix all my problems. A desire to run away from my problems and look for the solution outside – a new Prayer Book to make my prayer life perfect, a goal to reach to be happy.

But most of all I wish I was someone else. It is sometimes an overwhelming thought – “just will yourself to be not you“. I would like to escape “me”. The “me” that I see is all bad. I often wish I could be someone else – someone who is everything that I am not – comfortable around people, articulate, sociable.

While that thought is often very strong I am also aware that “me” is God’s creation. When I really look at myself I know that I have been blessed with many gifts – I am a good teacher, creative, and can see patterns. And, of course, real “me” is nothing like the imagined “me”.

I need to learn to love me for me because “me” is God given. I am not perfect, and there are many places I can improve, but it is not all bad. The person in the mirror is not a monster like I imagine him to be. The direction I need to move is upwards and inwards. “Me” needs to move towards the God who created me in His image and loves me completely in Jesus.

You are more …

This is completely for me. Depression and faith often battle within me sending my head into a spin. I really like when they speak of knowing all the lines – my head knows but my hearts doesn’t feel it yet! That is what life, for me, with depression is like. Like two people battling inside of me.