When Joy is lost
Mental Health Awareness month is in May. The days seem to have all blended together and reality has been lost. During our stay at home orders, losing touch with the outside world has become a harsh reality. We aren't going out, socializing, keeping our minds busy with other things. Now we are stuck at home, with our thoughts constantly giving fuel to those insecurities and unwanted feelings. If you are like me, staying home constantly can be detrimental. For the most part I am a homebody, I don't venture far from home, traveling makes me panic and sometimes going further than 30 miles is hard. When my job allowed us to work from home, I thought well this is my dream. Work from home, not stress about driving to work and worry about panicking or all the what-ifs. I was in the comfort of my own home, and it was going to be fabulous, but that turned quickly. The routine is lost, the social aspect is gone and the excited feeling of going home at 5:00 pm is forgotten. It started to weigh on me that I wasn't able to go somewhere to shake the creeping depression, or be busy enough that those thoughts stayed away. Being busy for me is key to my anxiety not overtaking me. My therapist says I shouldn't suppress the emotions and anxiety but recognize them and move on. My emotions tend to overwhelm me on most days so keeping busy helps me cope with not having to deal with them. Not sure that is so healthy but sometimes it helps just for a bit. I don't ever want to take a deep dive into what I am feeling because then I start to judge the feelings and chastise myself. It's a viscous cycle I got going on. Working on breaking it tho.
Learning to cope with anxiety and depression is a long road of looking within, changing habits and focusing. Really focusing. People will underestimate you or make you feel like a burden with your anxiety and depression, So if you are reading this and wondering when you will be OK, its OK to not be OK all the time. You are allowed to have off days but know that if you keep moving forward, making different choices everyday and taking those leaps of faith, the good days will eventually outnumber the bad. So this month, do something that matters to you, read more books, lay out in the sun for a few hours (with sunscreen and all), do something each day that makes you happy. Find that joy. If you can't do it every day then its OK, try once a week but at least try.
Mental Health isn't always understood but slowly I think barriers are being broken down and it is being talked about, people are getting help. You are not alone in the fight. There are others that feel the same and can relate. That is the one thing that keeps me going is that I am not alone, and either are you. There are so many resources out there that can help within the local community or nationally. Mental health isn't just bi-polar disorders or Schizophrenia, it is anxiety, depression, feeling like you just cant go on anymore or nothing matters, losing your joy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great source to get local information. If you are a student, the schools have resources. Reaching out to someone will make a difference, and there are people out there that understand and are compassionate.
Don't let the hard days win because you are worth so much.
You are here to do incredible things, brave things, bold things, things that only you can do. (M.H Clark)