I feel like crap. My head hurts, I don’t know if I have allergies or a horrible cold that is expressing itself just loudly enough to be recognized by me but not loudly enough to warrant missing work. I am tired. I am lightheaded. And I have zero interest in writing or in researching housing or studying for a quiz I have to take tomorrow on Sociology 101. I don’t even really want to read my happy book (right now, Blue Zones by Dan Buettner). I just sort of want to sit with my cats and perhaps take a nap. Where has all my energy gone? All my curiosity and zest? I am worried I am entering a winter-slump, although it is only fall. Could the changing light effect me so much already? I usually don’t feel like this until after the clocks change and darkness falls at 4:30 and the temperature drops to coat- and boot-worthy levels.
If I were a friend, and telling myself these symptoms, I would advise indulging in a nap. I would remind myself that it is ok to be tired. That sometimes a little relaxation is allowed, that productivity is not the only laudable goal.
Writing here feels nice.
No judgement. Just my words. They make more sense when written out than when kept inside my head.
Update: after posting this, I took a 15 minute nap, ate an apple, hugged my boyfriend and made it to work feeling at least marginally better. Proof that self-care works!
Side-note: I realized yesterday on my commute I have had significantly fewer commute-related urges toward self-harm. This is huge progress, because previously I had them almost daily when leaving my apartment. Even now memories of that time make my chest tight. While I never indulged my urges (except for two or three scattered and brief relapses I haven’t cut myself in more than seven years) even desiring to hurt myself brings in a cascade of stressful emotions and physical reactions. I can transport myself back to my feelings of constant panic simply by thought. Removing these episodes from my daily routine is freeing. I love feeling calm.
I credit this change to mindfulness, self-awareness and meditation. Also a change in the amount of time I give myself to prepare to leave the house. Rather than planning for he minimal amount of time, I give myself sometimes hours to prepare. While this takes time and more planning, the process has become more ingrained and less difficult. And the resulting calm is totally worth the effort. Even on days when I am late due to traffic (like yesterday), I remain unflappable. Obviously, there are exceptions and days when when I can barely keep myself together but on the whole I am so much better than I was even a year ago. Recognizing my progress is delightful.