Sometime in June, I came down with something that affected my mind and emotions. I was so tired that I spent a lot of time in bed, isolated from the outside world, which didn't help. I had to do something I wasn't used to doing... asking people for help... which forced me into acknowledging I had people in my life I COULD ask for help. I've been trying to remember what it was like to just get into my vehicle and go somewhere by myself. These days, I want someone to go with me.
I finally purchased a loveseat for my living room I can lie down on during the day. There is more daylight streaming through double windows and my storm doors.
It could have been a bought of adrenal fatigue because it followed being startled by a major disappointment, thunder, driving back from an event in the dark in two scary spots on the highway, and more. Anyway, I am still climbing back out of it again... mid-August.
How? Five minutes at a time. I got through yesterday, last week, last month, last year, and all the years before that.
What can I do for five minutes?
Five minutes doesn't feel as overwhelming as getting through an entire day. Five minutes to prepare a meal. Five minutes to wash the dishes. Five minutes to read from a book. Five minutes to work on a jigsaw puzzle. Five minutes on social media. Five minutes to refill my water distilling machine. Five minutes to get into the shower (which inevitably lasts for 30 minutes). You get the idea.
At the end of the day, I celebrate that I got through it. When I wake up the next morning I celebrate that I made it through the night, especially if I had slept four-five hours straight.
I know I am not the only person dealing with grief, sadness, helplessness, and loss of purpose. Before I sunk into this episode, I felt like I DID have a purpose. But then it all seemed to disappear. I knew this was typical of a depressive episode and would have to ride it out.
In the meantime, I had been reading Joan Rosenberg's book 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity.
I recognized that I didn't want to face the unpleasant feelings I was dealing with. I didn't know how to let them rise to the surface so I could deal with them. Being sick and bedbound didn't allow me to do my usual activities of distraction. I think I lived with all of this for at least three weeks. The only bodily sensation I felt was nausea on top of sneezing, congestion, and fatigue.
Rosenberg states the eight common unpleasant feelings include: sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, embarrassment, disappointment, frustration, and vulnerability. She also used the term soulfully depressed... the result of feeling disconnected from yourself. These are also 'ingredients' to disguised grief. The first thing that came up for me was all the times in the past I had been sick, bedbound, alone, and isolated. However, I also had to acknowledge that I am a lot healthier now than I used to be... even though I occasionally still get sick. With the disappointment scenario, I sunk into ruminating about not being good enough, loveable enough... also known as self-love deficit... which I also knew was no longer true.
Dr. Rosenberg created The Rosenberg Reset™ in which you allow one or more of these feelings into your consciousness for 90 seconds... because that is all it takes to face them and dissolve them. One is supposed to notice where in their body they feel sensations. Perhaps the 'distraction' is counting to 90.
Even though I wrote up a previous list of what I wanted to create in my life, I started a new one... two weeks ago. Even though I have made previous gratitude lists, I started a new one. Feel free to use this content to create your own list.
HEALTH-STRENGTH-VITALITY: What it FEELS like to be strong and healthy. Keep myself healthy while I wait for what I am ALLOWING to flow to me. Prepare healthy meals and exercise (even 5 minutes at a time).
EMOTIONAL: Connection, belonging, confidence, joy, quality companionship (emotional support, understanding, shared interests and values), helpers, safety and security, and meaningful conversations. The courage to climb above past introvert tendencies.
PURPOSE: Being here when someone needs a person to talk to. Volunteering for non-profits, meaningful work, raise my vibration. (My younger sister reminded me I only need to do this one notch to notice a difference.)
VISIONS & DREAMS: I live where all the right people can find me. People reading my books and my blog... and sharing with others so they read my books and blog. What it feels like to work with a psychologist who opens a center here... and has a lot of articles and manuscripts that need to be completed. Abundance.
EVENTS: (for authors): Perfect, comfortable transportation (and companionship) including drivers.
SOCIAL: Visits from non-profit people. Open mic nights for fellow poets, writers, and musicians. I AM cultivating friendships with people I already know and visualizing new people coming into my life. I am waiting for new neighbors to move in who provide what I listed under EMOTIONAL.
LOOK FOR THE EVIDENCE OF EVERYTHING WORKING OUT FOR ME. The first week of August, I had callers and visitors daily -- even from two people I hadn't heard from in a long time... a very unusual occurrence for me. One of these people came to pick up something I had done for someone else who came the day before (postcards to remind gardeners of our annual meeting). He reminded me that when two or more people are gathered in His name, results happen. I wasn't the only one praying for results (wheelchair accessibility for the community garden). He reminded me that just existing gives me purpose. He projected me as being so much more than what I had projected for myself. New people I am interested in networking with joined our community garden.
One day at a time. Five minutes at a time.
What are ways you cope with difficult days?