It’s raining here today. It somehow fits my mood. As I lay on the couch, trying to take a nap, I look out the window and see the leaves fall with the rain. For some reason, the leaves falling makes me so sad. I cry for the leaves.
My thoughts turn to Christmas, which should make me happy. But today it makes me sad, too, because it reminds me of how bad I am at many of the things I want to do.
Example 1. I ordered Christmas cards early this year, and last night was getting them ready to go in the mail. This would be the earliest I’d gotten them out for the last several years! Go me! Right? Except that I didn’t order nearly enough. I’m not sure why our list is so big, because I feel like I have maybe 1-2 friends. But now this thing that I thought I was on top of, I’m actually even further behind on. Typical me.
Example 2. We need to go buy a Christmas tree (it has to be real!). Because of busy schedules, tonight or tomorrow evening are the only options for the next week. But I can’t get a tree yet, because the place in the living room where I want to put it is messy with kid stuff. The kid stuff needs to go up to the play room, but I need to clean that space to make room for the stuff from down here. And on and on it goes… I can’t do something because something else needs to be done first.
Example 3. Christmas again… shouldn’t I be reading a special scripture with my family each day? And spreading cheer and kindness everywhere? Taking my kids somewhere to serve our community? Shouldn't we be lighting the world? If only I had a light to share…
Example 4. Music is my thing, right? I usually love to play the piano. But I’m working on a piece to play at a Christmas devotional, and though it is not difficult for me, I’m having a hard time with it. Failure has always been something I was afraid of, and this is exactly why I don’t like performing – more than likely, I’ll just mess it up. And my brain tells me that my mistakes on the piano will mess up the whole night for everyone.
And so continues my thought spiral… if I was only better at __________, then I could _________, and everything would be better. Fill in the blanks with any number of things – being patient, having more energy, doing dishes, doing laundry, homeschool teacher, keeping house, being a wife, working in my business, reading scriptures & praying daily… my brain keeps going on and on.
My brain has been telling me a lot lately that I’m not good enough. For anything. And it keeps pulling examples from real life to prove its point. Real things that I’ve done/not done, or that people have said to me/about me to other people…
See? My brain says. You suck at life.
And for a while I just sit and believe it.
I remember my therapists saying that my brain doesn’t always tell me the truth about things. And I’m pretty sure she’s right. But right now, it feels like my brain is 100% right about this.
I used to be really good at questioning my thoughts, and seeing what was right, and what was wrong. I was good at telling the skewed thoughts to go away, and let the good, real things stay.
But lately there haven’t been many good thoughts to invite to linger.
My body is telling me what my brain is thinking. My back muscles, especially on spot on my shoulder, are super tense and painful. And I find myself biting my lip several times a day. I feel nervous, and like I’m always forgetting something I need to do.
If you hadn’t read this, you’d never know.
Because I, like just about everyone else with depression and anxiety, am an expert liar.
I can smile, and put a twinkle in my eye on command. I can make small talk, and act like I care about things that I really don’t care about.
And when I have my next anxiety attack, you’ll never know, because I don’t want you to know. And I’m really good at lying.
These are my actual thoughts and feelings today. And I share them because I know many of you are feeling some of these same things. I want you to know you aren’t alone in your distorted thoughts and feelings. And that it’s ok to feel like crap sometimes. But make sure that you do reach out when you need to. These spirals can go down too far, and then it’s even harder to come back. A trusted friend, parent, spouse, or doctor are good places to start. There is help and hope. Even when our brains lie to us and tell us there’s not.
Days like this seem to come in clusters. I’m hopeful that I’ll feel better soon. I think a lot of the reason this has been happening lately is because I’m switching meds. Coming off of one I’ve been taking for many years, and trying something new. It’s not an easy thing. And we’ll see how it goes.
But for now, I’m going to make some hot chocolate, read a ridiculous Christmas book, and let myself be sad for a while.