I have a feeling that it might just work!
I haven’t quoted Elizabeth Gilbert for a long time and then somebody asked me why they had depression and when I tried to answer them, something that Ms Gilbert wrote in Eat Pray Love came to mind. In this section of the book, she is in Italy trying to start afresh with her life when Depression suddenly finds her where she least expects it:
“Depression and Loneliness track me down after about ten days in Italy. I am walking through the Villa Borghese one evening after a happy day …….. and I get to thinking a little too much, and then my thinking turns to brooding, and that’s when they catch up with me.
They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me – Depression on my left, and Loneliness on my right. They don’t need to show me their badges. I know these guys very well.”
Whether it is depression or anxiety, migraines or any chronic illness, these illnesses have the ability of hitting you when you least expect it.
What doesn’t help is getting angry and frustrated and constantly asking “why me?” and “why now?” and crying that it is not fair.
Yes, it is not fair! But what are you going to do about it? You are not going to change it.
Acceptance is a difficult thing but when you reach a level of acceptance, it is far easier to work on being the best you that you can be rather than letting whatever your illness is determine who and what you can be.
When your illness pops in for a visit, invite it in for tea but don’t let it stay for too long. It is literally about saying – I recognise you and I see you are here but you do not determine who I am and you do not stop me from living my life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to say “I am not coping right now”
Illness is NOT a sign of weakness – it just happens to be the challenge that you have right now.
And that amazing, awesome person that you are is still there – don’t ever lose sight of that!
I have to say that I really battled with writing this week.
I just could not make myself sit down in front of the computer to write. So Monday happened, and then Tuesday happened too and finally on Wednesday, I decided not to write at all. I thought that I would rather create something.
I started with a blank sheet (OK, it was a blue blank sheet) of paper at my desk away from the computer. Of course I had to write a piece of advice and then I started drawing around it. Now I decided (as I tend to do) that I needed to add an owl to my picture . I stepped away for a while and then I had to add washi tape.
(By the way, in case you didn’t know this important rule yet, I will gladly share it with you: You can NEVER have too much washi tape!)
I had to use my chalk pens so chalk accents were added to my writing and then I decided that I needed to sew on the page (yes I sew on paper, no I am not crazy).
And suddenly, without even thinking or worrying about the words that I needed to write came pouring out…
I think that we live in a crazy, hectic, super stressful world where we are expected to work hard and achieve goals that are set for us by other people. We work, earn money, pay the bills (hopefully) and then start the cycle again.
I rarely meet somebody who tells me that they are living a life that they are passionate about. Maybe passionate is too strong a word but I don’t even come across that many people who tell me that they enjoy their lives.
Except for artists and crafty people who make time to do things that make them happy. I’m not saying that we all need to become artists or that we even can be artists, but I think that there is a need in every person to create or to be unique or to do things differently. Ask any of my patients that I have treated what therapy they enjoyed the most or which therapy was most meaningful to them and the majority will say creative therapy over talk therapy.
Unfortunately most people do not even have the time, or allow themselves the time to do things that they enjoy.
Do things differently and creatively – even if it doesn’t seem that it is helping you to achieve your aim, by focusing away from what you “should” be doing, the answers often come out really clearly.
Please make time for the things that make you smile.
This week I have been floored by high blood pressure which is now getting treated so I’m already feeling like a brand new person.
I spent some quality time feeling really sorry for myself for being sick and not able to keep up with my usual frenetic pace.
Though one day while moping on the couch, I suddenly had clarity that no matter what kind of illness you have – whether it is mental or physical, chronic or acute, life threatening or not, there are a few things that you really need to do (or not do) to help you through: