Spend anytime around the chronically ill and you will soon start to realize that on top of all the awful physical symptoms, Meds and pain we go through there is the emotional struggle that is like a looming storm, building up, ready to threaten us with a shower, or even a monsoon, at any time. The weather can change quickly with the help of a physical flare or even a cruel remark by a thoughtless stranger.
In my case it is known as reactive depression, as it is a reaction to a stressful and long term situation that can wear you down emotionally from time to time. It is a very common occurrence in almost all human beings, the only thing that varies is what it is that can set it off in us. Ie. Jobs, health, finances, relationships etc.
I am generally good at keeping my feelings on an even keel most day, but even the most stoic amongst us can have their limits. A dripping tap can fill a dam over time.
That’s why I try to do my best to read the signs and the warnings before the dam bursts and the situation is a lot more serious…
Often I find myself going through my own little checklist.
1. Am I being too hard on myself? – I can start asking too much of myself when I feel down or low.
2. Am I being hard to live with? – I don’t want to vent all my frustration on my hubby as I need his love and his support when I feel like it’s too hard.
3. Can I use this pain in a better way? – Can I draw on these feelings to write honestly or create my art with passion.
4. Can my frustration help me to try something new? Do something new? – A new therapy. A new hairdo. A new Interest can make a difference and help me gain some different skills or perspectives.
5. Do I need to drop out for awhile and not ‘think’ about things for awhile? -Sometimes my sadness inhabits my head more than my heart and if I turn off the head for awhile I can let the heart recover and take the lead.
6. Should I live someone else’s life for awhile? – Sometimes when my own life feels too hurt and too hard I can enjoy putting my time and efforts in helping my hubby do what he likes or his interests… Giving support to someone else is like sitting by the warm glow of another’s fire, when my own life feels colder to me. Living vicariously for awhile can be a nice holiday from myself.
7. I constantly remind myself that this will pass. It’s a storm and storms pass. The storms of life always do…They come and they go… But it also shines sometimes … Cliched? Yep. But sometimes it is exactly what I need to know. It also helps when someone else tells you too.
Which leads me to…
8. The benefits of having some grounding people in my life can’t be overemphasized! – Most people look for the bright and bubbly people that always appear happy, interesting, adventurous, successful and are never down. I don’t. I relish the REAL people. I treasure the ones that are comfortable taking about any topic (fun or not) and being able to discuss it completely. To be able to talk about the bad and then speak realistically about it too. Be able to know when to laugh at life without being glib or avoiding intimacy. Those people are priceless. Those people are irreplaceable. And those people are hard to find!
No one’s life is always good or easy. If I let myself believe that my life should be, or tell myself to feel any other way than how it is, I will be rejecting the truth. My truth. The reality of my life. And I will make it even harder to find a peace inside.
Yes, this is all a lot easier to say than do!
Yes, I have always found it a lot harder to put theory into practice!
But they say that ‘…practice makes perfect….’ So I am going to keep trying. Even if by practicing it never makes life ‘perfect’, I believe it can always make for a stronger life. A life well lived.