I give myself this pep talk more often than not.
It can feel so difficult. It is feeling so difficult, right this very moment. But you know what? All these qualities that set you apart from others – that make you ? They were developed because of this marathon endurance test.
You & me? We’re not sprinters. I was never a sprinter. I tried (oh, did I try) but I am not built for fast speed & short distances. I’m endurance. I’m about wrinkling my nose, putting my head down, & leaning into the wind. I am ‘slow but steady wins the race’, even if the bunny is more cute. I’m less 100-meter-dash & more half-marathon.
& being a long distance runner is worth it when the winds die down & a moment of joy breaks through.
Let’s talk about mental health.
I’ve been thinking about writing something along these lines for awhile. But I quickly discovered it was more difficult than I originally had imagined it to be. I find myself reading stories of others’ triumphs over the stigmas often attached to mental health issues. & I nod along in agreement – knowing our journeys are individual but similar.
I guess I haven’t know where to start because unlike many articles or blog posts I’ve read – I am still in the throes. But aren’t we all? Even people who have ‘figured out’ what therapy is ideal for them or what dosage works with their bodies are still taking things gradually – sometimes day by day.
What am I leading up to?
I plan on sharing more of my process as I traverse the landscape of depression & anxiety. Don’t worry – I will keep angst to a minimum. Hopefully there will be more descriptions of what I’m doing to cope or thrive.
1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. I believe that remaining quiet about it only increases the chance of discrimination and/or stigma.
I have always been told that my experiences with depression & anxiety shouldn’t be disclosed. That it could be harmful for potential/future employers, offputting for people who know me casually.
I get it.
to a point.
But the truth is that we all have personal struggles. As I get older, I value honesty more and more. I find it to be a healing power in my life. Sharing our struggles only strengthen the connection between us. & being honest with you (my dear blog reader) means I am being more honest with myself.
I’ve known my friend Kathleen since Grade Seven. Best friends for a few really tough years in being early teenagers. We still share many things in common, even though we haven’t lived in the same city for over 10 years.
Maybe there is something about getting through those tough years together that bonds us. A “You’ve-seen-me-when-I-was-unsure-&-awkward-and-thirteen-&-still-was-my-friend” thing.
Regardless, this is a post about the ever present life lesson that it is never too late.
Example: Kathleen took dance forever. Well, not ‘forever’ but since she was teensy. But at some point, life & academic came a-calling & it was less at the forefront of her life. But now – many years & even more recreational dance classes later, I got a thrilling email from the West Coast reporting her purchase of her first pair of pointe shoes!
& why not? So often people give up those little things that were once their BIG goal. We don’t do it intentionally. Other focuses pop up or we drop you of activities because we are way too busy or discouraged or…
It often isn’t until years later where we realize, “OH. I still can’t do that.” & funny enough – it seems like they are usually things that don’t “matter” in mainstream life’s list of priorities. Your boss won’t turn you down for a raise because you can’t do a handstand.
That doesn’t mean you should stand in your own way of doing those little things, that little aching for something else. Take a deep breath & the plunge of the first little step towards something new for yourself. You deserve it.
Lately I’ve totally been embracing my introversion. So much so that I am not posting a photo to accompany this text. How about ‘dem apples?!
This embracing hasn’t been a full on hug. It started off with a bit more contemplation and before I knew it, I was falling head over heels into my own hermit-ude. Fun fact – when I was younger I wanted to be a hermit. I thought I would be a veterinarian for the forest animals & never have to be around humans. Go figure.
But really – I look around at all these other blogs (I know, I know–do not compare thyself to others in blogitude) & I see all these creative wondrous people. & they all seem to be SO outgoing & such social beings.
I wrinkle my nose in confusion. I am just not that person.
I mean, I can hold my own. If you approach me, I can hold a conversation. I am a sentient being. I am the daughter of “He Who Schmoozes” after all.
But what I wonder is – where are all the other introverted hermit bloggers?
I’ve been very aware of punctuation lately. The placement of a properly used semi-colon, the punch of an exclamation point, the dropping off of an ellipsis…
I admit it. I have been throwing around exclamation points with wild abandon. & you know what? Most of them – are little lies.
I’m not thrilled. I’m not pleased as punch. I am rather muted – not raising my fist in the air triumphantly.
What’s the opposite of an exclamation point?
I vow to be more honest with my punctuation.
This is how I feel today.
I have bronchitis.
Actually, that’s the plaintive & pretty version. Its probably more like this.
So don’t take breathing for granted, okay? Also, standing up for longer than 2 minutes without needing to lie down. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
As most of you know, I’m a hermit most of the time. But I actually had plans this weekend I was pretty excited about. & then I had to cancel them. Bummed out hermits are no fun to be around…
Winters can be tough. They can be filled with sparkles & snow but they are also filled with days where the sun sets at 4:30pm & you just can’t seem to get warm no matter how many layers you’re wearing. I feel as if I am always on my toes, ready to combat depression. It sneaks in so quickly during the darker seasons; I have to remain vigilant.
What are some of my current favorite strategies this week?
Yoga move: Pigeon
Magazine(s): Dwell. Bust. The New Yorker.
Activity: Trying to explore my new neighborhood’s nooks & crannies.
Favorite gadget: My new yet already beloved blender.
Current obsession: Renewing commitments to myself.
Websites/blogs: Giggling at Living in a Green Room & oogling Still Motion Image
Way to get motivated: Music. Definitely music.
Place to unroll your yoga mat: My bedroom
Poor Calvin. He doesn’t think a day where you have to take a bath & go to bed early counts as a proper day off. Hobbes on the other hand appreciates the ka-pow color changing of the leaves & the brisk air.
Two sides of the coin.
I think tomorrow…I’ll be Hobbes.
Earlier today I was reading an article about how our happiness levels are not set in stone. Some psychologists argue that people tend to have a ‘set point’ for happiness – that it is something that more or less remains stable for your life. I’m glad to see something arguing the opposite – that some people have experienced a shift of 1/3 or more in their happiness levels.
We are the product of our experiences & how we interpret them.
My interpretation of their ‘happiness points’ adapts a few things to fit my own life a wee better.
- Partnership - Find those who move towards calmness & stability & it will spread to you as well. Neurotic ism is no fun.
- Family focus - Whether blood or chosen, family is important. Striving to maintain thriving connections to your family definitely raises my happiness (even when my brother pushes my buttons).
- Worship what you love. Whether its God with a capital-G or god in lowercase, the Universe, your altar, your morning walk with your dog – take part in what you love.
- Work (not too much or too little) – If your work hours match your desired work hours, you’ll be good to go. We can’t always control this, but you can try…setting firm boundaries around hours, taking a proper lunch hour, taking classes at night to increase your credentials are just a few examples of how you can set a shift in motion.
- Get moving! Exercise & social interaction are both associated with raising your happiness levels. Intertwine the two! According to the study, movement made people happier regardless of body weight.
What do you find crucial in shifting your happiness for the better? Is there an element that you couldn’t imagine not having?
This week for Wishcasting Wednesday, Ms. Jamie Ridler poses the question:
“How do you wish to come out of your shell?”
Well. To be honest. I really like my shell. It is sparkly in all the right places & fits me perfectly (for now). So, I wish to come out of my shell by working towards become more accepting of staying IN my shell. How’s THAT for a conundrum?
No, but seriously – while sometimes I am irked that my energies are depleted faster or that someone makes light of me preferring to stay home with a good book or crossword puzzle…That is where it is AT. I put on my dancing shoes & get out there once in a while. But I also relish staying in with twinkly lights & a cup of tea, driving myself crazy over what 15-across could possibly be.
Additional acceptance of the shell is where it is at for me right now.