Self-care is hard some days. Like today. When you can’t stand yourself, and see every previous fresh start and attempt of intentional living as a sequence of shoddy fireworks.
This is my plateau, this is the place I boomerang back to. Ground zero.
If I ran myself a bath now, it would be as ridiculous as an ironic beard.
This is the place I don’t write from, or post instagram pictures from.
Is this who I really am?
(Lots of colourful self descriptive adjectives and expletives lived here but I think I’ll keep those gems for personal use) I think you would thank me. 😉
I stayed in bed all day, save for bringing food into my room and eating it in bed.
I scrolled through my phone:
Trump, Coulter, applicable beauty freckles (good lord), kill the black snake, and Hawking: The new face of weightloss, whose slogan reads:
“Obesity, It’s not rocket science.”
I’m very excited about the movie.
I read a few articles about minimalism, which will probably be my next fad. (I apologise in advance for those cringey blog posts. My God, I’m sure it won’t come to that.)
I tried to watch an animation about an unlikely friendship between an unemployed bear and an orphaned mouse, to pour myself into something wholesome and innocent but I switched it off. I’m not getting away today.
My great housemate, and indispensable friend went for a run, had a shower and is now gifting her family.
I had options too.
I love nature.
I could have gone outside, I could’ve checked out the Christmas lights, I could’ve been pushed and shoved by crowds searching for the true meaning of Christmas on Grafton Street.
I could’ve listened to some blue fingered busker belting out fairytale of New York…
I also could’ve taken a short train journey to the sea,
Or walked to the nearest park, and hugged a tree but I didn’t.. and hugging trees is good for you. Ask science.
I chose to not do any of the good and useful things.
I chose to wallow.
I chose to draw up the bucket, get in, and lower myself.
Fully conscious. Part triumphant, part terrified, and with a shrug of the shoulders, part resigned.
This makes me recoil in loathing. I already felt awful but willfully choosing laziness breaks the benchmark of low.
And as I peer over and make out the whites of a pair of familiar eyes below… and then divert my eyes to strands of hair on the bucket floor. I shiver. I give myself the creeps. Useless, worthless human.
Akira Kusaka painted this.
When I woke up first today, I knew what I was in for.
I could feel its weight on me like a big clumsy dog resting on its human in gentle slumber. Breathing its hot breath onto my neck. (A curious creature I have chosen)
I knew that today was going to be a struggle. I had a choice to combat the struggle.
These are the thoughts that went through my mind:
- You should get up right now and go for a walk.
- Help yourself.
- Just lie here, medidate, focus on the positive,
- and for christ’s sake don’t pull out your hair. You like it, remember?
- Sometimes a day in bed is just the ticket.
But when you go to that dark place, or rather.. like me, when you stay where you are, and that second consciousness slips over you like a smug glove, wearing you and shielding you from the physical terrain.
What choice do you really have anyway?
You want to punish yourself, you want to make these things worse for yourself and you want to be entrenched in self disgust because you deserve it.
You don’t deserve or want self-care today.
You do the bad things, and you know the consequences can turn this singular bad day into maybe a bad couple of days or worse.
Enduring the melancholy and sadness is uncomfortable. Trying to override it is a fucking struggle and some days I can’t do struggle.
My housemate tried to make conversation with me a few times. I heard her but couldn’t think of a response because my mind wasn’t open for civility today.
I tried to call out to it, “quick, think of something to say” but no response. Kind of like R2-D2 for most of the new Star Wars prequel. It just wasn’t open for that today. I felt a stark vacancy between my ears.
“I wish I slept all day. I fucked up. I am a hideous fucking mess. Is this my constant?”
And every other state of being or hope is akin to Meryl Streep’s plight in ‘Bridges of Madison County.’
A short and sweet reprieve and then the inevitable. We all knew what was going to happen.
We hoped for the best but we wouldn’t have put our money on Clint.
Why go on now?
I walked 500 miles across Spain.
I sought balance. I listened, I talked it out. I met a wizard.
I learned things I didn’t know before. I practice gratitude.
“Why am I not dealing with this. How is it almost midnight? Didn’t I say that thoughts are not facts? Where is the domed nightsky of my planetarium?”
In the ‘thick of it’, better judgements and good practice can be inconsequential.
None of what I’m feeling now is real anyway, right? All just in my head?
This day will have the effect of a hundred hangovers.
And I’ll tumble into next week head first, anxious, trying to be as unnoticeable as possible. I hate myself now.
Sometimes we fucking encourage it. Sometimes we think it is what we need, and getting out of bed or taking a shower is as fruitless an endeavour as trying to bend a spoon with your mind.
Our mind is our everything, and our physical capacities genuflect before it.
I read an article about a man once, who woke up one day and was convinced his own leg was not his own leg. He couldn’t will it to move for the life of him, and that was that. Mindblowing.
The bad days are bad and the good days are good, and the numb days are the worst of all the days, and there will be more of the same, and there will also be a spectrum of many other coloured days, and there is so much beauty in it.
I write because it helps me. I write publicly because it releases me and makes room for other things.
I try to write without affectation.
I try to write clarity and truth.
I try my hand at poetry and prose because those things light a fire in me.
But if I try to write about mental health and write only from the inbetween places of calm and hindsight, then I am not practicing truth.
If I don’t write from the front line, I am insulting myself. I am a hypocrite and have no place at this table.
We need to hear more about that place.
Chats, facebook chain solidarity posts, colouring books, healthy food, and exercise etc… all serve a purpose and help in a myriad of ways.
Also, the well meaning article from the ‘recovered’ depressive who may or may not be a celebrity , “telling you to reach out, it’s ok..” also helps a bit, I guess..
But we have too many ‘after’ accounts and not enough real life’in the thick of it’ accounts.
When we are ‘in the thick of it’, and the colouring books; and the chats from understanding (and losing their patience) friends, don’t work, we can feel even more ashamed and alienated.
Because that shit is supposed to work right?
When we have followed all the advice and it hasn’t helped, or maybe it did for awhile, and we have since relapsed.
In those instances we are lazy. We are not making enough effort. We can’t be helped if we don’t want to help ourselves…
We need solidarity. It’s a tricky business. I know. Many people have completely different experiences of mental health.
But maybe if we talked to eachother from the inside? If we had a platform to do that.. like an AA or weightwatchers meeting or something?
(Maybe this exists already and I’ve never been clued in?)
One in four people are afflicted with mental health. That’s a big number, and yet we are so unaware of each other.
I’m not saying we all need to be best friends because that wouldn’t be fun at parties..
But I would like to be there for people who ever felt impossibly alone. It broke my own heart, and it breaks my heart when I think of others suffering. We could like sponsor each other or something.
I’m shooting in the dark here. Blindfolded. Again.
Afraid to be revealed.
We have been known to be kept apart. I can’t see how that serves us. In the offices of our psychologists and psychiatrists our appointments are spaced in such a way that we can’t see each other enter or leave.
I get this. I get the stigma. But isn’t it universally agreed upon that stigma is bad. Isn’t this the age of deconstructing stigma? (among other things)
This interim for inconspicuosness is damaging. It propogates and validates a shame and alienation that really doesn’t need any more tending.
The end. I feel better now. Mission accomplished.
This piece was not what I intended. I start writing each time without any real direction. Curious if I can think of anything at all. I’m posting it and I’m not sure if I should.