How can we fully appreciate the light of sunshine without experiencing the darkness of night?
The past few months have been good. I’ve given a couple speeches at law enforcement academies describing my darkest days with mental illness, showing them what I look like most days, and reminding them to “see the individual not the illness“.
“Yes, it is all in my head. That’s where my brain is.”
Another positive is I trained to become a facilitator for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) peer support groups. I have received so much from participating in them it feels good to be able to give back.
It hasn’t been all chocolate and cheeseburgers.
Thanksgiving/Christmas was a bit stressful. It irritated me that there are 365 days in a year but because one is designated a holiday, relatives who I haven’t heard from for 364 days want to gather on that one day and that one day only. I am still coming to terms that all they offer may be really all that they are able to give.
I committed to self-care.
“It is inevitable when one has a great need of something one finds it. What you need you attract like a lover.” -Gertrude Stein
I began to worry about time, money, my weight, my health, the future. I tried to get outside of myself by volunteering. Fearful of falling down a rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland, I immediately retracted all but my minimum commitments. Doing so was difficult. I hate breaking plans (which is also why I hate making them). I want the ability to do whatever I want, but I have to budget my energy. If I push myself too much my mood will travel to the extremes which means being more susceptible to an episode of low depression or high mania. I strive for the sweet spot between mediocrity and better than average.
It was longest shortest month ever. I wanted to complain about the freezing-cold dreary weather, but every time I started to do so I couldn’t help think I choose to live here. I really need to rethink that life choice!
My February could be summarized as “minimal energy spent”. I was grateful for the fact I could ease into the day. Not having to be at work early in the morning meant I didn’t have to fight with myself to get out of bed and get going. Very blessed. My medical costs these past 12 months have been the lowest I’ve had in years! Money IS less important than good health.
The past two weeks I’ve seen glimpses of spring. There have been a couple of days where it’s been nice enough to go for a bike ride and even more nice days to go for a walk. When I see eagles nesting and young woodchucks by the riverbanks my spirits can’t help but be lifted.
I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better. – Steve Southerland
That brings us to today.
Today I write for no other particular reason than to put out into the blogosphere that I’m still here. Still showing up. Still sharing my story and letting myself be seen.
I’m not out to prove anything to anybody including myself. However…
it’s easy to say to self ‘I should be doing this, I could be doing this, I should do more, I could do more’. Especially, if I compare myself to others! I was in conversation with old friends who told tales about their on-going Monday-Friday Project A , how they’ve just started Project B, difficulties co-chairing Project C, helping a friend begin Company XYZ in addition to taking their kids to soccer, ballet and band practice while getting ready to go on another vacation to the North Pole. They then turned to me and asked “So, what have you been up to?” Mmmm. “Watching paint dry?” Over-simplification of course. My real answer, “Nothing special. Just staying healthy and happy.” And that’s good enough for me. It’s my new normal.
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