Clawing out of the darkness …

I have been struggling to think about what to write about this week. I have a few ideas, but I just haven’t felt like writing them. And if I don’t feel like writing them, I can’t imagine someone would feel like reading my attempt at forcing myself to do it. My week started out with a migraine, with a three-day headache that followed. In that time, my mind decided to turn to the darker side of my anxiety, with yesterday reaching my low point. I have always been one to struggle with anxiety, likely mixed with a bit of self-diagnosed depression. When I was younger, I would turn to writing poetry or a short story to help me cope through the feelings, but I just didn’t feel like even working on my writing this past week. Instead, I was swallowed by the dark day yesterday and went through intermittent fits of uncontrollable crying.

Now, here I am, trying to claw my way back out of the darkness. It’s funny that my first book I’ve written has a character that is thrown into literal darkness near the beginning of the book. While going through and working on the edits, I have to admit that I see some of my own internal experiences coming out onto the page, in a metaphorical way perhaps? I suppose they say write what you know, so that is some of my subconscious leaking out onto the page unintentionally. Interesting how writing works…

Last night, I decided that I needed to pull myself out of my funk. I forced myself to go down on my Bowflex M6 and do the manual program setting to let myself stair climb my way through a comedy show. It definitely helped me start to climb out, but when I woke this morning, I could still feel the dark weight back on my chest. Instead of allowing myself to fall back into that wallowing, I decided to turn on the Growth Day lives that I missed so far this month. If you have seen me on Instagram at all in the last year, you will know that I am a huge fan of Brendon Burchard. He can somehow say things in ways that really resonate with me and make me take a step back, reflect, and bounce back with more energy. So, as part of my attempt to make my dark days not become dark weeks or months, I have been trying to force myself to turn on one of his videos and being part of Growth Day makes it easy to do that. On the first day of each month, he goes live and coaches the community that has joined about a particular topic. Now, as usual, somehow the topic this month was right on target for me. It is about mindset and resilience. Listening to his video this morning really helped me force my mind to come out of the funk and darkness and remember that I am in charge of my own life. Or at the very least, I am in charge of how I react to things that happen my life.

Now, generally, I am a very private person. I do not like to talk about my pain. I have always been one to suffer in silence. However, one of the points that Brendon brought up was the reminder that darkness fades when you shine light on it. So, this blog entry has been born, coming out of me while I am still processing what he spoke about. I can still feel the darkness lurking in my mind, but my chest is feeling lighter as I write. Listening to him talk about resilience reminded me that I have not been following any sort of self-care routine lately, which has likely let me spiral out of control. I have been trying to get up earlier to give myself the space to meditate and write my morning pages in my journal before my kids wake up. Unfortunately, the sun is rising earlier which has also meant that my kids are waking up earlier, which is cutting my time to do these things even shorter. Now, I have tried the 5 am routine in order to do these things alone, but I have come to terms with the fact that I don’t function well with that. I have tried it so many times to become an early morning riser, but it always goes wrong with either a dog or a kid keeping me up all night, and then the 5 am alarm makes me want to claw my eyes out. So, I need to figure out how to incorporate my self-care routine into my day without getting up at 5 am. Perhaps I will try to find a place to do these activities in the morning that the children won’t come and interrupt me? Yeah, I’m laughing at that idea as well, but I digress.

Another interesting topic that Brendon mentioned this month that really made me stop and reflect was about the ownership mentality. It is funny how the universe likes to throw multiple reminders at you. He mentioned that having “personal power” is important to have when creating the life that you want and having the resilience to work through the harder times. I happen to also be reading a book about different levels of power and reaching personal power within your life (Real Power by Janet Hagberg). Now, the book is more about power in terms of organizations and careers, but I find it interesting that you can sort of relate some of the things mentioned in the book to every aspect of your life. At least that is sort of how I am looking at it. Perhaps that is a blog article in itself: how you can relate the 6 stages of power in an organization to the idea of the ownership mentality. I will need to do some research and internal reflection on that, so maybe that is something that will come.

So, looking into how to handle my most recent visit into the dark side of my mind, I now plan to focus on self-care and self-reflection to consider how I want this particular round in the darkness to influence how I take on this next week or month. Perhaps I need to come up with a plan for how to handle the next round of darkness so that I can claw my way out a little faster, such as turning on the Growth Day live videos a little earlier on or pulling out my book to edit and work on re-writes whether I feel like it or not. I definitely need to remind myself the importance of getting in some form of meditation, even if it is just my taking some deep breaths with my eyes closed out on my back deck while the kids are busy so that I can have a few minutes to myself to release some of the tension of the day. Although, as I am writing this, I am watching snowflakes fall past the window, even though we had +20 degrees Celsius only 2 days ago. Nothing like Saskatchewan weather to keep you guessing.

I realize that many are likely going through these moments of overwhelm and anxiety, so I am sure that I am not alone. We are into another form of a COVID lockdown because of the variants, so my kids are back to remote learning, which I have to manage while also trying to continue on my projects for work full time. Then add in the uncertainty of whether my book will ever be published, and that adds a whole new level of anxiety. Frequently, I have been hearing my “ANTs” (automatic negative thoughts) spiral around the time I am putting into editing a book that may never get published. I need to remind myself of the joy I feel while working on my writing though, as I do find myself falling into a state of flow and joy while I am working on my book and short stories. So, I suppose I need to remember that – the work I am putting into my writing is not about making money, but instead simply something that I enjoy doing and hope to bring entertainment to another person one day, even if it is just to a beta reader.

Either way, I hope that this article finds and helps someone. Know that you are not alone in the darkness. It is difficult for me to share about the darkness that I find myself going into on a regular basis, especially during this past year in the pandemic. If my rambling over my attempts to get out of it helps someone else, though, then that is all that matters to me. I will continue to ramble and, hopefully, it proves useful to someone.

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