Sometimes mornings happen like the morning that happened to me today. I woke up, early, knowing full well that I had nothing solid to do, no plans with anyone, no goals to really accomplish. The only goals I have set at the moment are the big ones that I can’t accomplish in a day. Usually when I’m faced with the “big goal problem”, I think back on the words that get stolen by teachers and coaches and anyone trying to deliver a bit of inspiration to teens that are usually spit out in some jumble of “do one thing that gets you closer to your goal each day.”
I’ll open by saying that fundamentally, this is excellent advice for those with clear goals (which, at the moment, I have a pretty defined list of things I’d like to accomplish) but pretty lame advice for lost folks. And this morning, despite my longer term goals being almost too clear, the near future is less clear. In fact it’s about as foggy as my view from my face being sandwiched between two pillows. So not even blurry, really. Concealed.
Normally I’d take this as an almost too obvious sign- “get the pillows off of your face, dumbass, it’s your fault you can’t see,” and take it as a sign that my near-future is a bit concealed but it’s a totally doable task to just roll over and the problem would be fixed.
But this morning I got the ever unwelcome feeling of dread prickling into my chest, clutching at my lungs until I can breathe, technically, but it sucks. To put it in less words and spare me from having to think about it too much, it’s the seasonal depression that comes in both summer and winter. Luckily for me, it only really sunk in for a few hours until I could wrangle myself out of bed, accomplish a couple of small things before exhaustion set back in about an hour later.
More stuff happened, I cheered up; more stuff happened, I sunk back down, almost had a panic attack for no clear reason. And now it’s evening and I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on what I’m calling a very special, albeit shitty, day. Insert bulleted list of little lessons.
- I survived it. I could recognize that this was my brain being lame and that it wouldn’t pass until I confronted it.
- I was reminded of a very important aspect of my recovery from my last bout of depression which was that the best form of self care for me is to have something that I could look at come sunset that I was proud of. So I chipped away just a little bit at the Big Goal today, worked on a couple of smaller things and devoted the rest of the day to distracting myself.
- This one is totally stolen, but I saw one of the cheesy Facebook mom motivational images (you know the ones- horribly compressed .jpeg files of stock images with ugly fonts overlaying them) that said something like “don’t look back to the past, it has nothing new to offer you.” The ironic part is that I couldn’t disagree more, and the surveys on the job applications I was filling out were all responded to with the same hind-sighted sentiment. But for the moment, it was appropriate. One of the thoughts that was nagging at me in my melancholy cocoon this morning was part of me that is still very hung up on regrets.
- I remembered the importance of writing things down. I won’t lose track of what I really want, I’m not likely to forget what I want to study in college or do after I graduate. But it’s a lot easier to forget to sort out some of the steps I need to take to get there. In that aspect-
- I realized that I’m going to need help. I love to entertain illusions of grandeur and stare myself down in the mirror saying “You’ve Got This, C, Knock ‘Em Dead,” but it is 100% impossible to achieve anything alone. With as little help as possible, sure, but even that requires taking advantage of other humans. And I’d rather have a healthy relationship with those humans than step on their backs to get what I want, and there is a wide pool of people that are available and eager to help people like me out. It’s not embarrassing to be resourceful.
- I’ve decided that it is more important for me to document positive thought than complaints. Social media has been a slippery vice for me, usually being used to pitymonger and vent out feelings that needed to be said somewhere. What I’ve come to realize is that for me personally, not sharing my feelings doesn’t equate to bottling it up. By stripping the power from the tweet that can look you back in the eye after you’ve already calmed down and tell you “Hey, remember that awful thing? Think about it again,” you allow yourself to heal a bit quicker. Or at least that’s how I figure it works. I still catch myself deleting things that I posted at particularly low points.
- I scratched down a couple of new goals. The kind that are usually accomplished on accident. I’ll see how those go.
So, in reality, today was an overcast Saturday spent at home doing very little. It wasn’t a landmark, it was no graduation, no promotion, no firsts happened. But it was just as important to let some preconceived truths settle in and become new offshoots of my personal playbook in a day like this. It was good to take inventory of some feelings, of some thoughts that have been floating around that have finally now been solidified and immortalized on the internet.
Parting words: dedicate yourself to your betterment, even if it’s a terrifyingly steep hill.