It’s early in the morning. The exact time doesn’t matter, it’s all relative. The alarm has gone off and you go to turn your alarm off on your phone with the thought of ‘it can’t be time to start the day already can it?’ But unfortunately, you think, it is.
Most mornings you scroll through your phone on the social media platform that has all the motivational material that gets you ready to make a move for the day. We don’t need to go into what material that may be, again, it’s all relative. But on this particular morning nothing seems to peak your interest, or at least, give you that little boost you’ve come accustomed to. You’ve become dependent on this source to provide you that hit you need of a morning.
Now it’s been 15 minutes (usually by this point you’ve rolled out of bed at the very least) and you’re still stuck in that sunken hole that is your body in your bed and starting to think of ways you could cancel your day. You start thinking about what you could tell everyone you are supposed to be seeing today. ‘Do I tell them I’m throwing up? That I’m on the toilet shitting every 10 minutes? That my heads thudding at an unbearable rate with such aggression that I can’t possibly get out of my bed today?’
Well, if you were to pick one, which would you choose? Which sounds the most believable without compromising your entire week. The kind of scenario that could easily put you back on the front foot tomorrow. Because you know that you just need this day to get your mental state back in the green. I bet you feel like you can’t say the real reason you aren’t able to make today’s appointments. Saying ‘hey my heads really not in the game today, I need to wallow for the first half of the day before beginning my resurrection cycle and therefor being my 100% self again tomorrow’, probably feels very embarrassing with what everyone might think of you. No?
It’s a process that takes whatever time it needs to take depending on the individual. I find that generally it’s a good half a day or more. It feels like every part of you is heavy. Your head down to your feet. In fact, your limbs can feel like they are just these almost numb extensions that you can’t use at 100% capacity. You just have to use them sparingly as you lay lethargically in your bed.
You’ll consider making your toilet trip reluctantly, when usually you’re all to happy to pop in and out of that restroom on a whim. You eventually get that out the way like it was a half day chore, and return to your bed. Or maybe you thought you’d move your body all the way to the loungeroom couch to really shake up your sombre morning.
You’ve now made it to the couch and made yourself another mold for the unforeseeable time ahead. Flicking through streaming services looking for the perfect piece of escapism. You know that reading a book or going to that laptop and writing some stuff down would cure this current affair. But hey, how much easier is it to feed our dopamine needs with simplistic trash than to expand our knowledge or dig into our psyche a little?
Some hours pass and you’re kind of impressed that you haven’t been to the toilet again! Maybe you better go. But if you go, you might find something to do around the house, leading to you moving more than you’ve moved all morning. If this happens, you’ll start to feel better. Do you want this just yet?
All negative thoughts begin getting placed back to their respective places deep in your consciousness. You know all to well that the negative shit that hogs your thoughts airtime is mostly lies. So you gave it it’s fair share of prime time on the ‘I feel like a subhuman’ channel, now it’s time to switch it off and resurrect yourself.
You’ll begin by doing the dishes, putting the washing on, vacuuming, whatever it is that needs your attention for a few minutes at the least. That’s all it takes to begin shifting from this funk that ain’t of the upbeat 70’s music kind. When you put yourself to a task for as little as a few minutes you begin to feel a little self worth again.
This self worth starts to transition into you looking for the next task, then the next and so on so forth.
I’ll eventually reach for my laptop. (Oh yeah, this has been all about my shitty day. You may or may not have gathered that, but if it was the latter, ‘welcome to the party Pal!’ So I’ll switch this to my narrative from here on). I know that if I either go to my weekly programming training files, start writing journals, write my blogs or read a book things will turn rather quickly. I mean, judging from this blog, which option do you think I chose first?
The next thing that will happen for me from here will usually be an urge to exercise as soon as I possibly can. And because today I’ve chosen to not see anyone, the best option is to go for a run somewhere where I’ll very unlikely be seeing anyone other than some wildlife. The cool air surrounding me complimented by the slightest breeze streaming through my entire body makes me start to piece together all the good things in my life. As I pound the hard pressed dirt road with every foot strike and breathe calmly, controllingly, I make more and more sense of my place in the world, my gratitude for who I am and who I might become.
Fast forward to the end of a rather needed successful run and I’m now feeling better than I feel most of my days! It’s funny how that particular run, the run that you NEEDED can make you feel more grateful than most other runs. This run was just the one I needed to reconnect with myself and find gratitude in the fact that I get to be who I am every single day. I get to breathe this cool air a top of a local hill while sheep are grazing only meters away from I.
I then decide to message several people during the late afternoon for thankyou’s, gratitudes and apologies. Apologies for saying I was sick rather than being open and real in telling them I needed a day to find myself again. I’d never done these things, in bulk like this at least. I looked back at this day with another thing to be grateful for…I’m grateful that the people I open up to were understanding. And I am grateful that I am getting braver at accepting that I am not indestructible. None of us are.
Being vulnerable takes many forms and you can’t master them all over night. Being honest there and then, when I feel a little low, is stronger than hiding, masking my pain.
What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.Glenn Close
Self awareness is progression