My previous ways of dealing with bad situations was what I refer to as the “blanket solution”, or “the back burner” approach.
The Blanket Solution - my problems aren’t so bad, I will deal with them as they come up. I’ll just put them under this blanket. Out of sight, out of mind.
The Back Burner Approach - I don’t have the time, or the mental or emotional capacity to deal with these things, I’ll put them back here and deal with them later when I have a chance to catch my breath.
Both options were nothing but disappointment. Both options caused nothing but heartache. I spent years deflecting problems, and situations. It caused me to completely ignore and disassociate from my problems.
That’s no way to live. I lived with an absolutely ridiculous amount of anxiety and a constant overwhelming feel of depression because of the things I wouldn’t face. And why? Why would I do this?
Easy. I thought I could do it on my own. I thought I could handle it all. I thought if I just get through this one thing at a time then it will be fine.
The reality is... healing is not smooth. It is not a simple task of just dealing with one thing, one at a time. It is quite literally, for lack of a better term, a cluster-fuck of emotions that bombard you all at once. There is no map. There is no rhyme or reason. Your problems are not going to line up single file and wait patiently for you to deal with them. Healing does not occur in chronological order. It happens all at once. And yes, it is extremely overwhelming.
When I started thinking about how to tackle the healing process, I thought “K, I’ll start at the beginning and just casually work my way through it all until I hit to today’s problems”.
It was never that easy. It is never going to be that easy. Ever. I started with a thought or a memory in the middle, and then bam, that lead me down a winding path of a million other things that happened that were just like it. All going from bad to worse, to okay, to bad again, and then finally, I started to see the clouds break apart. I started to see the sun peaking through. The more I continued my healing process, the sunnier, and lighter it got.
My lovely readers, I can’t stress this enough. Do. The. Things. Do all the things that are going to make you feel better. Do the things that are going to make you stronger.
I know. Sometimes it can feel confusing. “But how do I start?”, was a question that was constantly on my mind. I had no idea how to start, or where to start. The only advice I can give, as bad as it is, is just start.
Healing, as I mentioned before, is not a clean process. It is messy. It is chaotic. It does not go in chronological order, as much as you want it to.
So where are some places you can start? If things are messy, and you need a sense of grounding, a sense of stability, then I highly suggest doing activities that are going to strengthen your mind and strengthen your body. I found that if I felt better physically it made handling the mental and emotional aspects a little bit easier.
Here are my suggestions on things you can do:
Seriously look into counselling, or speaking to a psychiatrist/psychologist. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a psychotherapist that specializes in helping people who have experienced trauma. Having someone to talk to that is completely unbiased and will give you an honest opinion on the things you are doing and thinking is crucial. Not only will they be an ear to hear you talk through everything, they will be able to give you a series of mental exercises to try that are going to help you in your journey.
Get yourself into a daily routine. One of the things that caused me to struggle at the beginning of my healing, was I felt like sleeping all the time. Who doesn’t when they are in a dark awful place, and are basically a walking numb zombie? I started on a daily routine. I set an alarm, would get up, meditate, get dressed, take my medication, have coffee, eat breakfast and then I would do my hair and make-up . Even during my five week lay-off, I followed the same routine everyday. If I didn’t follow my routine, I felt off. I felt miserable. Consistency and having a small sense of normalcy while my world felt out of whack was key.
Meditation. This is my new best friend. I mediate twice a day; once in the morning before I get my day started, and once at night before I go / as I am falling asleep. It gives me such a sense of calm, and a sense of grounding. For 20 minutes a day, I am able to just relax and not focus on anything but calm steady breathing. There are a bunch of free mediations you can find online. I personally downloaded the Calm app, fell in love with it, saw what the subscription price was, and was hesitant about subscribing. But then I thought if I am willing to pa $8.99 a month for Disney+, why should I even be second guessing $7.99 a month for my mental health? It was a reality check, and one of the best decisions I have ever made. My mental health definitely deserved and still deserves to be one of my main priorities.
Get yourself into a fitness routine. I found that when my anxiety was high, one of the best ways to use my excess energy was to go to the gym and work it out. I found that even just getting up, and going for a walk was also extremely helpful. I’m grateful for my pup as (for the most part) I have an excuse to go for at least a walk a day.
Get some sunshine. A lot of the times people are extremely vitamin D deficient. In Southern Ontario and the furhter North you go, we generally tend to experience more vitamin D deficiency because of our long winter nights, and short sunny seasons, causes a lot of us to feel more depressed than usual. One of the best things I do on the really rough days is to go outside, and just stand on the back deck with my face titled toward the sun. I will close my eyes, and just allow the warmth of the sun to flow through the tip of my nose, spread across my face, and seep through the rest of my body. Something so simple can make such a world of difference.
Find things you’re passionate about and focus your energy on those (but again, don’t blanket the bad stuff, you still need to deal with it). On my really bad days (which are few and far between now), I would start painting. It would never be anything tangible; always abstract. I would allow my emotions to come through the brush and onto the canvas, allowing me to give a visual representation to how I was feeling. It helped me to view my process on dealing with my emotions.
Read. Read. Read. Find books and blogs that talk about things you’ve been through. Or ones that give experiences and opinions of how the author handled things. Gaining other perspectives on situations, and reading how they handled the situation often helps you to focus, try and deal with your struggles. It will likely give you hope that you too, can make it through things. I have added a page to this blog that gives books I’ve read that really helped me, and as I continue to find more helpful books, I will be continuing to add to the page.
For once in your life, put yourself first. People will come and go in your life, but there will always only be one you. You deserve to be one of your top priorities. You deserve it.
My lovely little lemons, it is okay to deflect dealing with things. It is completely natural. I know that life can sometimes dump some really heavy shit on us.
But please, as someone who was constantly putting life’s shit off to the side for my whole life, I can’t express enough how important it is to deal with these things before it becomes too much. If we do not deal with things as they happen, then things inevitably will explode. Like a pressure cooker. Life’s shit will continue to get added to the pot and before you know it, kaboom!
It’s going to be too much, and you will be left with an even bigger mess to clean up. That’s when the messy healing will start; you’ll find bits and pieces of issues here and there, and when you think you’ve cleaned up all the pieces of one issue, you’ll find more hiding in a corner that you didn’t initially see. It will take longer to deal with the pain, the hurt, and the trauma.
I will not sit here, and tell you when or how to deal with your pain, your mental health, your trauma... but I will sit here and tell you from experience that brushing your issues off, and blanketing them, or putting them into a pot on the back burner to deal with them later, is not the right thing to do. Yes... as I said before, it is okay to not deal with them right when it happens. Sometimes it takes a few days to process what has happened, and to collect your thoughts about it all. That’s natural. That’s okay. But don’t let it sit and fester, and grow into a monster you no longer recognize or know how to deal with.
I know I have used a lot of analogies to represent life’s problems in this post. At the end of the day, life will always give you lemons. Life will always throw things at you. It is up to you to determine how to properly deal with them. You can sit there and accept life’s lemons as the sour and tart things they are, and let it ruin you, and make you bitter and sour... or, you can catch and deal with the lemon’s thrown at you, at a shit load of sugar and healing, and make the best damn lemonade this world has seen. Don’t you owe at least that to yourself? Just remember to acknowledge and handle it as it happens. It’s up to you on what you do with life’s lemons. Sip on that lemonade, and embrace what life gives you, good or bad.