I normally only write about the hardships in my life after I’ve learned the lesson or once I’ve healed from the experience enough to revisit it through words. I like telling the sad or hard stories but ending on the lesson, a written Modern Family episode, if you will. But today I’m writing from the Darkness, from a place that is seeing little light but a place that demands attention. I have no lesson in this. I know no reason for it. Yet.
My anxiety and depression are stirring, awakening from a long hibernation. Nothing drastic has happened: I just noticed one day my thoughts were off. They were downright awful. They were negative. They were dark. They were sick.
One of the things about mental instability or illness is that it can creep in unbeknownst to us. Depressing thoughts don’t change the sound of your internal voice. It doesn’t become this deep baritone that shouts, “You are weak. You aren’t good enough. You are the worst, Kelsey!” Your voice is the same. And in the overwhelm of these uncertain and fear full times, I’ve been on autopilot, dripping in children, caring for our home, harvesting the garden, going, going going. I wasn’t paying attention to my internal dialogues until it was too late. The thoughts had already turned rancid.
It’s easy to see how what you once considered something dormant reawakens when you don’t put in the time and energy to stop, go within and listen. Nurturing our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical self is vital to living our healthiest, most flourishing lives. But it’s so easy to let our own well-being suffer.
So here I am, wallowing, sad, confused. I’m hearing these thoughts that have invaded my mind and I’m slowly drowning in their weight. Last week, after a wonderful trip to visit friends and family, I made the decision that I must get healthy again. I’ve been listening. And listening and listening. I’m hoping I listen so hard, my anxiety will hear my pleas and will calm my racing heart, dry my sweaty palms and ease my fears. I want my depression to soothe my soul, caress my heart and say, “it’s okay. You’re listening now so I can go.”
I believe mental illness, for most people, not all, is our body’s way of telling us something is off in our predestined world. We haven’t been paying attention to something that requires immediate attention. We’re not filling our cups enough to be of service for others. We’re not picking up on the cues from the Universe attempting to guide us to our purpose.
I sit here writing this knowing everything will be okay and I will get through this darkness. But this darkness sucks, these thoughts intrusive and powerful. It takes everything I have to fight against them and believe myself when I consciously say the opposite: that I am a strong woman, a great friend, a capable mother, a good wife.
I am praying daily. I’m thanking the Universe for giving me another day with my family and friends. I’m writing down 5 things I’m grateful for. I’m avoiding alcohol and caffeine. I’m taking conscious breaths, deep and nourishing.
I’m focusing on being present for my kids, putting my phone down and my head up. I’m listening to my heart and talking with my loved ones from a place of vulnerability and hope, spewing out these thoughts to hopefully make sense of them all and, if I’m lucky, disarm their power over me. I’m slowing down my thoughts and attempting to breathe into them to really hear what my soul is saying. I’m communicating with my husband more clearly so he understands where my head is at and why the dishes are piling up in the sink. I’m giving myself grace to feel the heavy stuff and sift through it while I navigate this relationship with this body and what it’s trying to tell me that I’ve been ignoring.
I’m not writing as much as I want. I’m not blogging weekly like I want. I’m not finishing the big projects that will enrich my life. I’m not believing in myself as I need for my best life.
But I’m trying to be okay with all this. Let the projects sit. Let the creative juices marinate in my mind before escaping onto paper. Let the dish pile. I need me right now; me on the deepest level.
I do hope this work I am putting in is enough to force my anxiety and depression back into its cave. This work is important and it’s taking a lot out of me to work through it. This is why you haven’t heard from me. I’m in a season of darkness, during a year of fear and uncertainty and my mental health is suffering right now. But I know I’ll see you on the other side of this, brighter, stronger, more loving and compassionate, ready to be of service to my loyal readers in better and deeper ways.
Standing in solidarity with everyone suffering right now,