I can’t afford laziness right now, I’m literally running against the clock. But I feel much like a sputtering engine that’s run out of fuel. I know it’s a weird comparison, but it aptly describes how I feel at the moment.
I’ve been working hard, but work is a blackhole. You keep giving and it keeps taking. Honestly, I’m in over my head, but it’s not time to rest yet. I’ve scheduled fun, but that hardly makes up for the rest of the day’s brain drain. Usually, when people tell me they’re stressed or they’re running out of energy, I try to be motivating, but there are some standard things we say so off-handedly.
I’ve been thinking about pep talks, that I’ve given and people have given me. A few good ones I remember, but the rest is just random and far-fetched. I have given a few pep talks and in return have been told I’m quite good at giving them. But I tried it on myself and I ended up feeling more low than I was before it. It’s like a doctor diagnosing herself/himself.
But it’s not as if what others will say to me in their pep talks would be different in content as to what I would say to them. But when I look in the mirror I just want to say to myself, “Go to sleep.” My therapist said if I am going to return to the 100 watt life that I had before I began this gap year because I’ll be returning to my studies come January then I have to learn self-care.
I find it so hard, and I don’t know where to start. I tell myself all the standard things, “Don’t give up!” , “You’re awesome!” , “You can do this!” but it doesn’t have the same impact. Unfortunately for me, I find it hard to express to the people around me that I need a pep talk, it’s like admitting weakness. After a year of being candid, I still find this the hardest part – telling people how I feel and being honest about it.
I am always asked why I am so put together, so strong, so brave. Those who really know me will laugh, because to them I am a deer in headlights, just a hardcore headless chicken who can hoodwink you into believing she’s okay. As I melt in front of the laptop screen day after day, I feel like my soul is departing me with each reading and my confidence shrinks too.
I try to wrap up early and watch movies or episodes to make myself feel less like a zombie, but my mind is still there between the pages, scrolling up and down, editing what I wrote, stressing about the word count, questioning my arguments and restructuring all of it. I don’t care what happens after the interval. If you asked me the story I’d probably recite my notes to you.
What is self-care? What is it? Is it staring at a wall for an hour, reading books, eating, watching movies, I’d say sleeping but I’m not good at sleeping? What is it? I do the basics, start the day with a compliment, end it with deep breaths, I pump myself up, do some Yoga, but why does my shoulder blade still hurt like the devil, why do my dark circles keep expanding becoming darker day after day?
Why do I still question every single word I say? What is self-care? I don’t know, I eat at the right time, sleep at the right time, take breaks but I’m still low, still thinking faster than I even have, still feeling less like me. And when others tell me helpful things my first instinct is to disregard them, and question the veracity of their statements.
Getting better is hard work, and getting better while working hard is harder. You can’t tell yourself every day that it’s going to be fine. And I realised it doesn’t have to be that way. I guess self-care is accepting reality for what it is. Self-care is knowing you’re doing your best even when others may be doing better and self-care is being able to trust yourself when others don’t.
Compliments can wait, the food is enough, the sleep is what it is, and yoga will keep you in shape but knowing when you can’t and when you can is self-care. I am not at my best, I know one day when I’m not slowed down by the medication and am living on my two feet without these crutches, I’ll be racing but I’m going to learn to walk before I start to run.
There must so many people just like me staring at their life wondering what it all leads to, asking if this is it. It’s not, there’s more and we’ll get there, and it’s okay if takes us a little longer. I’m never sure when I write my blog if I’ll feel the same way the next day, but it gives me hope for at least that moment. I think the pep talk I need is right here in front of me, maybe I do know how to give myself a pep talk. If not, I’ll be back here soon letting you know I’m a scam.