|A picture from after my Tuesday
morning run. (Three miles.)
Last week was a massive mental health setback. It's been three steps forward and two steps back these last few months. A couple of weeks ago, I was sure I was ready to start writing again in earnest. But right around the same time, I started to deal with some brain weasels. My recovery has involved everything from worrying about my weight loss to fretting about medical bills to feeling like I frittered away those exciting moments of new relationship energy with Rhapsody by having one crisis after another instead of just enjoying each other. Normally, I could whack-a-mole these kinds of thoughts and take them as the transitory worries of a human with too vivid of an imagination, but with everything going on lately both globally and personally, I didn't have the resources to fight back, and the thoughts gained traction. The "Worry Bully" was able to kick my ass.
Once it started, it got bad pretty quickly. I have a pretty good toolbox for dealing with anxiety from half a dozen years of therapy…but I only know how to use it when I'm awake. I self regulate, do self-care, employ some CBT therapies, I journal with pen and paper until my hand cramps, and then use positive self-talk when I'm able to really hear myself. But sometimes I wake up, and my anxiety is already at a five or a six (out of ten) and I'm panicking. The higher you go, the exponentially harder it is to calm down. You can get down from a three in five minutes, but getting down from a five or a six…I was needing an hour or more to get back to sleep and that could happen two or three times a night. I tried melatonin. I tried Unisom. And I even tried some stuff that is, strictly speaking, legal in my state but not technically in my country. Losing sleep contributed to less ability to deal with the slings and arrows of what had been some pretty dang outrageous fortune lately.
More anxiety. Less sleep. Less ability to deal. More anxiety. Less sleep. Less ability to deal. You see where this is going.
Two weeks ago I felt good. Well, I felt better. I felt ready to put down the journaling and get back into blogging. I felt primed. My ambition started writing checks. Then the anxiety weasels started their Riverdance on the inside of my head.
|Tonight Chris's mental health will be playing
the part of "The Floor."
Those checks were NOT covered by my ability to produce.
I know a million kind and wonderful people are telling me to take as long as I need to recover. Heck people are blowing up my inbox with just FLOODS of support and love every time I express concern that I'm a crowdfunded content creator who's not creating much right now. But honestly, I think I'm entering a new phase OF that recovery.
I need to write. And I need to put down my journal and create again. Not despite my recovery, but to foster it. Writing IS recovery.
That said, I'm not sure I am going to be able to just power back into the blog the way it used to be. At least not for a while. I think there's going to be a few more personal updates like this one for a while. I'm asking for lots of questions for the mailbox because those posts tend to be a little easier for me. I have a series of posts I'm planning for NOT Writing About Writing about long distance running and how it has helped me recover. And I know I wanted to be writing those crunchy writing articles at a clip before I made an appeals post for new patrons, but I need to replenish the income I'm losing from all the people who aren't quite so cool about me doing such little writing these last four months. So it's probably going to be just a little by the seat of my pants for a while.
We'll still get back to the old Writing About Writing. I'm just going to make it totally fucking weird for a while.
This week has been better. I got past what I was dealing with. I got some good nights of sleep. My anxiety settled back down. I even felt some honest-to-goodness inspiration after watching a Joy Oladokun concert last night. I know better than to say I'm better because this process has been NOTHING but three steps forward and two steps back, but the good days are starting to outnumber the bad ones, and it's time to start striking while the clichés are hot.