Honestly, fuck a Mercury Retrograde in Cancer. Boy was that shit ROUGH.
I've kind of been in a bit of a fog since May but going to Bonnaroo definitely helped lift my spirits. However, once I got home, things seemed off and began to get a lot worse. I had fun in Tahoe, but I came home incredibly anxious and regretful. I felt that I was ostracizing myself because I could feel myself getting closer to the edge. I was regretful of how quick I lashed out and for feeding into negativity.
Getting up in the morning was hard, but going to work was incredibly difficult. Like I said in a post last week, each day seemed like a blur. I couldn't even tell you what I did at work during those few weeks. I felt like Rue from Euphoria in that scene where she's walking down the hallways and everything is just spinning, except that I wasn't high. Mental fog is one of the scariest parts of anxiety and depression for me, so I was terrified to feel trapped in my office. My office is about an hour and a half away from where I live, so I couldn't just pop over home easily when I needed time to myself.
I talked to my manager, and we agreed that taking leave would be the best decision. It worked out well because I was planning to go home to DC during that time. I was also able to visit my mom for about a week in Chicago. These two weeks were so important, and I almost kind of wish I had taken more time away from work.
During this leave, I spent a lot of time getting to catchup people I love, catch up on sleep, see some live music and just reflect. I look back at these photos with an incredibly warm heart (and tiny tear in my eye!) because of how much joy I’ve realized these people and memories give me.
I thought a lot about what were things that made me happy, secure and calm and others that made me feel unstable, anxious or stressed. I also thought a lot about what makes me excited to wake up, what matters most to me, what is stimulating or energizing and what to do to help my situation.
Here are some of the smaller day-by-day things that brought me moments of positivity during this time:
Spending time with people where I can be totally honest
Partaking in activities where I wasn't being patronized
Just talking with random people in the pilates studio
Being able to pick up and go visit my family and friends
Practicing radiating positivity with my friends
Taking breaks when I need time to myself without feeling like someone needs something
Exploring by taking long walks during the daytime
Going outside and spending time in the sun
Working on projects that actually feel rewarding
Making my own schedules every day
Training myself to focus on positive communication
Speaking up to stand up for myself and my mental health
Choosing to avoid people, places, things, etc. that do not add positive value to my life
I feel, reading this list back, that it seems a little corny, but it really is the smallest things that have the biggest impact. It's also very cathartic to talk through these things with my friends who might also be going through something. Being able to talk it all out and audibly hear myself give advice that I should probably take myself has healing powers.
One thing I said to a friend was something along the lines of "You're another day through it." My thinking here is that even in the darkest days, you're another day closer to a better day. It can be so hard to fully accept that when your anxious mind is racing, but it can be important to remind yourself of this (either in your head our out loud.
Another thing that has really stuck with me is the idea of letting go and really focusing on the present, which is something that is so hard for me. The piece I read basically said something along the lines of: You can’t focus too much on the past because it’s already happened and you can’t change it. You can’t focus too much on the future because even though you might plan everything to a T, you’ll never be able to fully plan for any curveballs. You can only focus on what’s going on at this very moment and how you can adapt or react. My perfectionism really hasn’t let me be able to do this, but after reading it and letting it sit in my mind, I’ve been able to have a more patient or calm mind. It definitely helps to not get as stirred up about things that I cannot change nor control, and I will admit that it’s help me be happier.
A goal I have for myself right now is to go to bed being excited to wake up in the morning. I'm working towards finding a place that whether I'm going to have to go to work or not the next day, I can wake up and breathe more easily.
I'm so glad I was able to take time off to clear my mind, and like, realize this stuff. We all need time like this to disconnect and be by ourselves. I'm going to use this to empower myself to carve better situations for the future.