Whatever caused it, I've found myself pulling back from everything, and everyone. I stopped calling friends. I stopped going out of the house unless it was absolutely necessary, and even brief interactions felt like they were physically draining to accomplish.
I started sleeping a lot more. At the worst, I would go to bed at 8:30, wake up at my usual time of 5am, and be back in bed by 10am, sleeping through lunch unless the phone rang with a telemarketer.
I stopped using my planner. Stopped writing in my journal. Stopped reading and writing. I went for four days in the thick of it without changing my clothes. It got bad, guys. I don't think I cried though. Because when I come up against strong emotions, I shut it all down. And frankly, my emotion factory had turned off completely.
You might be saying to yourself, it's time to go to a doctor. Welp...when your bank account is stretched super thin, that's not an option. At least not in my area of the midwest. Any visit to the doctor, even with employer-based insurance is going to run me at least a couple hundred dollars, and that's money I don't have. And mental health services aren't covered under the same umbrella as physical health in my plan. So it would probably cost more. I'm not in a crisis mode. I'm not in danger of doing anything drastic. I'm just very melancholy.
Digging myself out of this hole is taking longer than I thought it would, and I wanted to share in this space that I'm struggling. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to put out a happy product, but I don't want to disillusion anyone into thinking I'm never sad. It's important to understand how an online presence works, and that what you see on the surface doesn't always show reality.
Is everything I put out before this post honest? Absolutely. I wasn't faking the joy I find in the writing world. I work hard to have fun and enjoy my online spaces, because reality can be a bitch. So when I was writing about things I enjoyed, I hope that passion made its way from my fingers to your interpretation of my words. I know, on the logical side of my brain, that I have a lot to be grateful for. But sometimes my perspective gets skewed and I'm not alone in that struggle to understand reality.
In my current reality our only family vehicle started smoking a few days ago. I'm not talking about a little steam. I'm talking, we would drive down the street and a damn near white out cloud would erupt from the engine and the tailpipe. When the engine started overheating along with it, despite having filled up the coolant, I was utterly convinced we'd blown a head gasket. But...this was our only vehicle, and we were still in the hole for $7,000 on the loan for it. So scrapping it while continuing to pay off the loan wasn't an option.
Blown head gasket on a V6 engine...holy hell. I was wondering how many organs I'd need to sell to get that taken care of. And in my state of mind, I started to lose it. Thankfully my hubby was able to adjust his work schedule, and we limped the vehicle to a rental place to pick up a car that didn't need a half hour break every three miles. He took it to the repair shop, and we waited.
When it came back that only some hoses needed replaced and flushed, and there was no sign of coolant in our oil, I damn near fell to the ground in relief. What would have resulted in my not being able to pay our mortgage, turned into a $650 dollar repair, and I was weak with relief.
This moment was when I felt perspective kick in. Had you told me first, that our vehicle needed $650 repairs, I would have had the same reaction as I did to the $2k plus option. But because I had been freaking out over the head gasket, the new bill seemed like an utter relief.
I couldn't get over how funny my brain was, and how all of the things I was worried about could be so much worse. I got a shower that day. I got laundry and dishes done. I started climbing out.
I'm still working on getting back to the me I'm happy with, but I can see the sun again. (Figuratively. It's still dark and cloudy all the damn time here.)
A few days ago, I posted on Instagram my minimum steps for survival. And when I find myself feeling really down, that's exactly what I need to focus on.
So if you find yourself struggling, please know you aren't alone. Lots of us go through tough mental health days, and we're all working through some shit. If you need something to focus on, try to take some of my steps forward. It can't hurt.
2. Drink some water.
3. Eat a meal with fruits and veggies.
4. Meditate if you can.
âThis is where I start when I need to climb out of a funk. Your steps might be different. But I keep this basic list in mind and work my way forward. The drinking water thing surprised me with how important it is. Dehydration drags you down, and if you're pushing water, your body will make you get up and move.
I also still love my timer. I can convince myself to be productive for five and ten minutes a lot easier than I can convince myself to tackle a big task.
Negotiate with your brain and move forward.
If you're struggling too, and have any tips on how you pull out, post them below. I'd love to add them to my arsenal.
And please remember, it's okay to pull back and take care of you. You can't pour from an empty cup, so make sure you fill up when you need to. Hugs to anyone struggling. We'll get through this.