Anybody ever have a day in which you were crushing it, and then have everything come crashing down the next day?
I don’t know if my expectations are set too high after a really good day, or what. But I suspect it’s because life happens, and I get overwhelmed, and I mainly want to go hide under a really nice fuzzy blanket.
This is a common pattern with me, and I’ve chalked it up to mild depression and easily-triggered overwhelm brought on by anxiety. I’m also an incredibly moody and dark soul with an addictive personality in general, being an artist, an ENFP and a 4 on the Enneagram.
(Oh boy, much more on the Enneagram on a later date. You won’t be disappointed.)
It does NOT feel good to admit ANY to the universe.
Then again, that’s the primary reason for blogging. At least, it’s my primary reason. To work things out by writing; giving words to things is supposed to take away their power, right?
It’s hard to talk about because I was raised to believe that depressed people should just “get over it.”
To be exact: Get out of bed, wash your face, and do what needs to be done.
Well, of course I am getting out of bed. I have kids to feed and jobs to do and any number of other responsibilities that would flounder if I didn’t. Not to mention someone might call CPS if my kids don’t get fed or clothed or transported to school on the regular. And somewhere in there, there’s also a husband who kind of seems to enjoy my company, too. Most of the time.
Most days it’s not an issue to keep up with these demands.
But on days when the dark cloud hits, the only thing getting me up to do what needs to be done is the overwhelming sense of guilt and expectation, instilled in me by a hearty hammering of childhood Calvinism and Midwestern work ethic.
For the most part I have no problem hanging on to the work ethic.
I’ve let go of religious guilt in my head, but it still shows up like an unwelcome blotch on the X-ray of my emotional life, every once in a while.
Last summer, I went to therapy to address some of these things. My therapist got me talking about all the things that overwhelm me. His comment at the end of my long list was, “It sounds like you’re full up on religion.”
Nobody has dared put it to me like that before. I’ve never dared think it before. Maybe because a small person inside of me still fears hell and carries a little kid-sized purse full of hell-related anxiety in her little white Easter-gloved hands.
So, it’s better for my mental health if I let go of the concept of hell.
Does that make me a heretic?
Maybe. Know what? I don’t really care if it does.
Because, to my mind, it’s pretty messed up that a residue of fear and guilt and anxiety tied in to religion is the thing that is getting the toast buttered every morning.
That wasn’t a metaphor. That was a literal reference to the cinnamon raisin toast that I make every morning for my kids.
But just because anxiety gets my body moving, it doesn’t make the “dark cloud” days any easier.
I don’t know how it happens. None of us do, All I can do is retrace my steps and do my best to find the triggers, and then work on those.
My good day started like this: Sunday night I slept like a rock. I woke up and drank warm water first, before my coffee. I fasted until 10 a.m. At 9, I went to see my friend and we talked about a short-story project we’re working on together, and this conversation continued over our late breakfast. She told me stories about her own childhood that would turn your hair white, if it’s not already. Sidebar: I’ve NO idea how I’m going to turn any of this into a SHORT story, but I’ll get there.
After that visit, I spent the afternoon with my littlest. We picked up my oldest at 3, we came home and I prepared an easy, early dinner (see yesterday’s post). It was really stinking good, and I was super proud of myself.
Then, my husband took both kids to Taekwondo so I could get some work done at home. I did some work, answered some work emails, and got a few other things done.
After putting the kids to bed, I wound down with some Gilmore Girls. Because yesterday was October 1, I picked the one were Rory gets her first kiss. Mostly I picked it because when the whole town is decked out in pumpkins, it makes me happy.
Then I made the mistake of getting into a miniature-sized spat with the husband, and not resolving it before bed.
So I went to bed cranky, did not sleep well, woke up, drank coffee. I also did not fast and I ate my kids’ breakfast leftovers.
Also today, I cleaned up after our 200-year-old dog, twice, who has now decided to toss her kibbles up at random. A friend date got rescheduled. Work wasn’t flowing. There are tree guys outside who’ve been buzzing their saws ALL DAY LONG. Children whined. Children interrupted. Humans in general annoyed me to no end today, for no reason other than breathing. I know, it’s not fair. I told you I’m a moody thing.
The thing that stands out the most when contrasting and comparing these two days is this: The common denominator is that I did not go to the gym.
But, you know that story. The more you don’t go, the more you don’t want to go. And then there’s the whole spiral of shame that goes along with showing up and having to see other people who don’t hold back when pointing out how they’ve been missing you.
I know I should take this at face value, and that they really do miss me and are not judging me for not being there. They’re just energetic and alive and outgoing. Because they’ve been going to the gym, and the prickly-feeling person in front of them has not.
So here’s what I’m going to do: accept that tomorrow might be better, might be worse, or it might be just middle of the road. Either way I’m going to do some yoga stretches have a swim before I decide to paint the day all one color.
I’ll let you know tomorrow night how it goes.