There’s a guy at work. Let’s call him Phil. Everyday he comes in and talks about all the stuff that’s crap, everything that goes wrong, how unlucky he is. He starts late, stays late, works all weekend, complains about how nobody else does their job right, how he has to fix everything…
Basically, Phil comes in and spews negativity all over my desk.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot like Phil. I haven’t been posting as much as I wanted, because I didn’t want to leave flecks of dismal all over this blog. Everything I wrote came out sounding flat and tired, or bored and cynical, or whiny and desperate. I thought I’d spare you that, and went to work trying to feel better.
I have a passing acquaintance with depression. It stops me sleeping, makes me ignore the stuff I need to do for myself and lash out at my friends. It steals my patience, and my ability to connect with others – but worst of all, it’s a nasty, illusive beast. It’s impossible to figure out what is at the bottom of it all. The cause of my unhappiness buries itself under layers of guilt and resentment and digs in. My squelched heart tells me to run away, leave my husband, my job… anything rather than confront whatever the problem is.
Luckily, I’ve learnt better. I know running won’t help. It would start a downward spiral to who-knows-where. And besides, no matter what my heart says, my life now is pretty amazing. I have a wonderful husband, a job that pays well, access to beautiful natural places, a healthy loving family and awesome friends. Something needs to change, but I don’t need to throw everything away.
I know what I need to do. I need to be careful of myself, I need to make change slowly, and I need to listen to my heart.
That first step sounds trite, but it’s necessary. I need to go to bed early. I need to delete all the stupid flash games off my computer, and limit access to other weapons of mass procrastination. I need to avoid wallowing, and focus on the small achievements of every day. These things help give me back my basic emotional equilibrium. Exercise helps too, of course, as does lots of sex. But you have to admit, being over-emotional and grumpy doesn’t exactly set the mood.
The next step is to write down all the things that are wrong. Some of them are petty and stupid, but that’s okay. I have to make an action plan to fix them all. I have to start making these changes, because that’s the only way to discover what the real problem actually is.
Only when I’m moving to make my life better, will my heart speak up. It usually starts small, suggesting it would be nice to take a walk in the rain. I KNOW it’s my heart, because I get a big grin on my face. It’s too easy to ignore these little suggestions as unimportant, but I have to honour them. It starts the dialog and it gives me clues to the bigger actions I need to take.
I don’t know what is causing my current gloom. But I’ve started listening to my heart, and making changes, and I’m waiting with bated breath to see what comes next.