For over 10 years now I have been through primary care doctors, specialists, and a hospital stay. I’ve gotten into more knock down, hair dragging arguments with my mother than I’d like to admit. I’ve been on numerous medications, most of which the side effects are almost unbearable. In the past 5 years I’ve had at least 3 bi-polar episodes that left me exhausted in bed for days. I’ve had 4 long term relationships, all of which have gone miserably sour and the last one was full of so much verbal and emotional abuse that when it was over I went into a severe depression. Tack on a painful muscle disorder that only exists because no other diagnoses fit, and I was down for the count.
Don’t you see you’re hurting everyone around you? Aren’t you tired of all this? Why don’t you just give up? Why continue on when no one can help you?
For years these questions kept me running in circles until one day, a friend of mine (who stood up to my abuser for me on several occasions) suggested I try therapy again. What the heck. Why not?
Little did I know my life would change forever.
Before I continue, I’d like to answer the previous questions.
I was not hurting the people around me. They were hurting because I was hurting and they wanted me to feel better. No one is without fault.
Yes I was tired, exhausted even… but not too tired to remember that tomorrow, there may be rainbows, coloring fuzzy posters, cheese and crackers, being silly with my siblings, glitter, baking cookies, scary movies and popcorn, sunshine on my cheeks, flowers of all colors and sizes, hula hooping, bubbles, trees, dancing in socks on a hardwood floor, dogs playing at the park and coming over to say hello. These are just a few things that I was definitely not tired of and a huge motivation for me to NEVER GIVE UP.
No one can help you. That’s a load of bull. I totally believed it though.
Here is my advice to EVERYONE. Mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction, single parent, over achiever, college grad, happily married with or with out children.
Talk to someone. My therapist is the best medical decision I have ever made. What have I learned that is so profound you might ask? I learned that the only person that can fix me, is me. Who cares what other people say, or do. Why am I worrying about anyone other than myself? Here I was, so concerned about everything and everyone around me that I forgot to take care of myself. It seems so simple, yet I was completely blind to the fact that I was slowly dying inside. These things worth living for (as I mentioned above) I had forgotten my love for them and I remember my therapist asking me once, “what are some things that you enjoy alone? Think about them and do them. Who cares what you’re doing. You are enjoying you time.” That one question sparked a fire inside that now burns so brightly there’s no putting it out ever again.
Get physical. It is scientifically proven that exercise releases dopamine. Dopamine is your body’s natural happy juice. We as a society look at people in wheel chairs or with canes and think, “poor them” but we take for granted our own abilities. Now, I’m no ‘wake up at 5am to run in the rain’ kinda girl by any means, but being physical doesn’t mean “exercise”. To me, it means celebrate your body! Dance! Go for a walk in the woods, ride a bike, build a fire pit in your back yard, help a neighbor with a project, hula hoop. You will notice that you start making better decisions about the food you put into your body and the lifestyle changes that come naturally with both.
While thinking of all the things I have learned, I realized the single most comforting thing to me was the natural world. The earth has been here for so long. No matter what kind of day you’re having, the earth will continue to turn, grow, change, and tomorrow will come. When you feel like everything has let you down, even yourself, the earth will be right there to hold you up right under your feet. Trees are very good listeners. Despite hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and their respective metaphors in your life, the earth says, “can’t stop, won’t stop” and busts out a rainbow. And so, in honor of the earth and yourself, next time you need a little support, bust out some bubbles! And maybe some glitter.