Mental Illness: Giving Yourself Permission To Just Be

I have sort of tuned out, dropped out, as of late. I still take care of my kid and cats, and I’ve done brief dish stints every day for a week. The thing is…I had to quit trying to keep up with the fast lane and move to the slow lane. Give myself permission to just *be* rather than flogging myself with the standard “Get up and do something” bullying tactic. And it’s been nice to not feed my own self loathing monster when I’m simply overwhelmed and need to take a step back.

And it all goes back to the single best piece of advice a therapist ever gave me: “Sometimes, you have to accept that you feel how you feel. The more you fight it, the more defeated you feel. Set one small goal, meet it, and allow yourself to just feel how you feel.”

The wisdom and therapeutic value in that one statement- made to me over twenty years ago- has served me well over the course of my battle with mental illness. It’s so simplistic, yet absolutely brilliant. Rather than pushing myself and adding to my resentment and self hatred because I fail again and again, I can let myself off the hook and just allow myself to live life. The slow lane works for me. And truth be told, by letting myself off the hook…I end up accomplishing more. Maybe not all that should be done, but once I stop bullying myself…It doesn’t feel like work or punishment to do dishes. It’s just the little task to accomplish to justify my lethargy.

I am feeling better. But it doesn’t take much for that to happen after six weeks of medications that made me suicidal…Anything would be better. I just don’t think the Cymbalta is giving me the boost I need out of the depressive abyss. To face another med failure is a thorn in my paw. The doctor promised not to give up on me and yet, I don’t feel he’s pulling for me, either. He’s just doing what he’s paid to do, which is push pills. Except this doctor doesn’t seem to have much regard for how hard it is to get the right combination to work with an individual’s chemistry. It’s disheartening, but I’m not giving up. Much as I am loathe to try any of the meds he’s pushes as wonder drugs after the last two being so wretched…If I am still this far down the rabbit hole of depression in July…It’s gonna get much worse when the seasonal affective kicks in. That scares the hell out of me. There’s GOT to be a combo. I’ve even pondered the dual mood stabilizer without an anti depressant. That’s just proven so unwise to do going into a seasonal depression.

I don’t have any answers and believe me, my mind spins constantly in search of them. That one missing element that will put my mind into normal space. Because I am well aware my overreactions to simple positive thought are not normal. I am feeling the frustration of seeing those around me improve while I tread water. I maintain it’s okay to be a realist, but I am borderline-ing into that area where my own darkness seeks to taint everything around me. Run everyone off. And maybe that’s why self isolation is my thing, no one to compete with (not that mental illness is a competition, but it’s hard not to be envious of those obtaining what you cannot). No one to make me feel like I am not trying hard enough. Just me and the meds and time so eventually I end up in a better cycle. No pressure. No fear of “tainting” others unintentionally. This is not an aspect of my personality I am a fan of. And it doesn’t exist when I am in a good mental space. Which means the depression just devours one more part of me, altering who I truly am, bringing credence to my detractors for dismissing me as a negative nelly.

This where giving myself permission to just be is crucial. If I get too wrapped up in the OCD “why is everyone but me getting better? it must be me, I am a loser, I am a lost cause, I should just die”…It’s counterproductive. And I am well aware the depression is a master manipulator and grand liar. Until I escape it’s clutches…The lies ring as half truths.

I have no plans for today. Sit at home and do nothing. Which must seem like all I do, anyway. But when I am not suffering from writer’s block and depression and high anxiety all at the same time…I do live life rather than just existing. And while I’m in the snail lane right now, I’m still doing a large percentage of what is necessary. I haven’t curled up in bed and given up. I’m still fighting, even if my rawr is more like a meow at the moment.

I highly advise you to take the time to let yourself simply be. Get out of that fast lane. Breathe. And in doing so…you may just find yourself relaxed enough to focus on doing little things that need done at a pace that isn’t too taxing. It’s okay to simply be.

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2 Responses to “Mental Illness: Giving Yourself Permission To Just Be”

  1. Amen. Or as I often say instead, ramen. Just in case I do that at some point here.

  2. Nothing wrong with the slow lane 🙂 Just “be” is a good thing. Love ya!!

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