For the past 16 months I've been dealing with some situations that have tested me like never before. I've tried keeping it together, I've tried acting normal, and drafted about 50 blog posts about how I *really* feel because I couldn't keep it in quite like I thought I could. Feelings of defeat, anger, blame blah blah blah. Those posts will seemingly never see the light of day, but they helped me realize and work through some particularly hard times. Over the course of the past year I've experienced too many encounters with depression. I'm in head all the time, which is not only hard, but incredibly exhausting. Seriously. Exhausting. It is so hard for me to understand how I feel and ever harder to try to explain it to other people, especially people who have never felt this way (so most of the time I think I'm weird or crazy or that there is something seriously wrong with me). I know my triggers, but I've realized it isn't as much about the situation as it is about where my mind instantly goes when the situation arises.
I have no more mental energy and/or space to do this any longer. I have had just about enough. I know I'm not "fine". But for the first time I really feel like I know that. I'm not trying to trick myself and just letting myself feel how I feel. Recognizing all of these real feelings (as opposed to the popular and ever-damaging approach of acting normal and sweeping all the feelings under the rug) has allowed me to come to terms with what I can't change, and shift that focus on what I can. Me.
I have found that some of my current relationships are triggers for unwanted feelings. It isn't that I think anyone is purposely trying to harm me (or honestly that I blame any of them whatsoever), but I've realized I'm just not strong enough for it. I know that people are doing the best they can, or doing what they think is right, but ultimately, it is pushing me further and further down due to feeling misunderstood, therefore alone, therefore depressed (all my own feelings to control). So I'm taking breaks and taking myself out of those situations for the time being. The block feature on my phone has become my favorite thing. It sounds harsh, but I'm not just blocking people to prove a point or be childish. I just realized that while in this state, it is incredibly important that I block out any potential negativity until I'm strong enough to take that on and deal with it. It is the most incredibly freeing thing I've done to date.
I have been using Audible for a while now but over the past 4 months I've been on hyper-drive. This week alone I've completed "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking" "The Happiness Project" and "Better Than Before". I've discovered the subjects I really enjoy (minimalism, de-cluttering, happiness, meditation, and my current favorite category, forming habits) and have had so much fun diving into all types of books to learn various philosophies and process a ton of different ideas. "Why We Get Fat" and a whole bunch of health-related books are next on the list. (I'm excited to clean up my health a bit. I know that will help a ton too).
These books have helped me more than I could ever express. My entire outlook changes daily as I discover and try the various methods, then adapt the pieces I like to my daily routine. It has been amazing.
I realize this seems like the most bizarre happiness provoking item, but it is my current number one! I've received a bajillion candles as gifts over the years, and I never understood the appeal of them. A few weeks ago I decided to light one and let me just say, I instantly fell in love. I light my little collection of candles first thing every morning to get my day started on the right foot. It feels like such a luxury. Who knew that such a simple jar could make you feel so good.
After reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" I've been obsessed. I've always de-cluttered as a way to cope with stress, but this book took that up a notch. It also helped to occupy my time and occupy my mental energy enough to get out of a few funks (incredibly helpful during some of my darker months).
Along with the stuff, I've let go of those feelings and desires that my home has to be something out of a magazine with a bunch of props and baskets with throw pillows in them. I appreciate the style, don't get my wrong, but I don't want a house that can't be lived in. For years I tried to create that perfect house with the right amount of styled vignettes, and this book single-handedly changed everything for me. I understand myself and the type of environment I thrive in perfectly now.
For the first half of my off-season (November-January) I was burnt-out, questioning myself, and honestly went through a period of just wanting to quit all together. I didn't hate it, I just wanted some time off. Some time to process and deal with everything after an incredibly long year. Turns out all that did was leave me alone with my thoughts long enough to become incredibly angry all the time. In February I started having to work more and had my first wedding of the season a couple weeks ago. Turns out the thing I was missing all along was work! I need to be creative, to be busy, to be working with people, to be doing something to get out of my own head. I absolutely love what I do and I was letting everything get in the way and bring it down.
One thing I did realize is that I need a bit more "balance". For the past few years I've been an "all work" kind of person, and that isn't sustainable. But giving up all together was the wrong solution to the problem. My new focus is balance. That will allow me to do more of what I love without getting so burnt out. Luckily wedding season has started back up and I've never been so excited to get started.
I'm a couple weeks in, and I feel the change. I have no idea if anyone sees it, but I don't care. I feel it. And I've waited a long time to feel this way again. I know things are fragile and I have to build up my tolerance and ability to deal with all the things I can't change, but I'm ok. I'm doing better. And for now, that is enough.