Coming out of the depths

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog, and a lot has changed. First off, I want to thank everyone who read my blog post, and who reached out with a comment or message. It really meant a lot.
I’m still struggling a bit, and probably always will, but I have been able to start to turn it around. Writing that post, was the turning point. It was a way of holding myself accountable and not letting myself sink back into the darkness – now that it was out there, I couldn’t just do that.
One of the biggest things I’ve realized since hitting ‘Publish’, is that I need to take things slow and go easier on myself. I have always lived at opposite ends of the spectrum – I’m either super high-strung, full of energy and doing things at a million miles an hour, or, I’m a bump on the couch, barely able to have a shower. Realizing this and keeping it in the forefront of my mind, has been instrumental in helping me stay afloat above the depths of depression. I’m working hard to be in balance – somewhere right in the middle of that spectrum.
I mentioned in my last post about having lists of things that I wanted to get done each day. I’ve realized, that while lists can be helpful, the way I thought about them was detrimental to my mental health. I would write lists of everything that I wanted to get done, and if I didn’t accomplish those things, I would feel overwhelmed and awful, like a failure and like a disappointment. That would start the downward spiral into negative thinking. Somehow, I felt that if I wasn’t running at 100 miles per hour, kicking ass and taking names, that I was useless.
Since recognizing this pattern, I’ve been able to slowly work on changing that thinking. Recognizing it for what it was, was the first step. I still make lists, however, I’m working on changing how much weight I put onto the importance of knocking every single thing off those lists. I spent the entire first week after my last blog post, just painting. I painted three large canvases, a smaller one and a few small watercolors. And I did them because I wanted to and felt inspired to do them, not because they were on one of my to-do lists. What a difference. The whole experience of creating them even changed for me. It was very eye-opening and gave me a whole new appreciation for creating.

Hawaii commission
I think the Depression and Anxiety was able to start taking a hold of me again because I was stressing myself out. I was putting so much pressure on myself and started to feel like I did when I was working in a corporate environment that had outrageous expectations of what individuals should be accomplishing in a day. That familiar feeling was coming back and it was awful. Once I let go of those expectations (by writing the blog post), it made such an immense difference.
Shifting one’s thinking is a huge task, and it is obviously still a work in progress, and I’m sure it will be for the rest of my life – staying aware that I don’t need to be super-human and get a ridiculous amount of things done in a day. Years of thinking and feeling this way won’t go away in a day, or a week, and will probably take years to reverse. I’m learning to listen more to my heart instead of my head and do what I FEEL needs to be done instead of what I THINK needs to be done, and I’m much happier for it.
I’m hoping to get a handle on it all, and to not be MIA from my site and blog, or social media for weeks at a time, but for the past few weeks, this is what I needed. I needed to slow down and do one thing at a time.  This self-publishing/ marketing/ blogging/ website/ social media journey that I’ve embarked on is all brand new to me and a huge learning experience.  I’ve GOT to cut myself some slack for that.  (After all, I’m no spring chicken anymore either, and learning new things isn’t quite as easy as it used to be!)  I have things that I want to get done, but I’m learning that when I start to feel overwhelmed, I need to take a step back and reevaluate where I’m at.
I also have to add that I do still waver every once in a while about publishing that post, and about it being ‘out there’ – it was a pretty heavy topic, and here I am, trying to promote a children’s book. Every once in a while, a thought about “What will ‘someone’ think if they’re looking at buying my book and they see that blog post? What if it turns them off buying it? What if they think ‘blah, blah, blah’…..” pops into my head. Then I realize that some people may not understand, and may wonder why I decided to post that on my website, but also, that probably for that one person, there may be 10 or 20 who are like “I get it” and who totally understand, because they’ve either been there themselves, or know someone else who has, and it’s those connections I’m hoping to make. There is no shame in mental illness, and we need to keep talking about it, even if it might make ‘some people’ uncomfortable. It’s too important not to talk about.
On a more positive note – I have some really great news to share – my book has been published and I’m just waiting for my proof copies to arrive (fingers crossed that will be this week!) As soon as I have a look at the physical copies, they will be available for purchase!

Teddy cover
Thanks again for reading, and for following along with me on this journey I’m on. Sending Love and Light to you all.

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