Today was one of the ‘Others’
I had a rough night last night. Couldn’t sleep for anything, was having a pain flareup, had the start of a wicked headache (plus cramps, because being a lady is rad); you get the picture.
After clocking tops three hours of sleep combined, I decided to take the day to rest, and unsurprisingly felt incredibly guilty. Guilty for missing out on work I felt I should be doing, guilty for taking a day to not be productive (though I still watched some tutorials from bed and did dishes, so… Not entirely unproductive). The point is, I took a rare rest day, and felt so bad about it the entire time I basically ruined it.
All these thoughts go through my head in times like this. Thoughts that I’m a failure (for needing the rest) that I’m lazy (for not being productive enough), or that I’m a fundamentally bad person in some deep, intrinsic and ill-defined way. I enumerated in my head the ways in which I’m a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad business owner, a bad worker, a bad friend, and used my need for rest as yet another stick to beat myself with.
It can be so. damn. hard. to get out of that shame cycle once you’re deep in it, right? It always reminds me of this song by Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl. There’s a line in the song that goes like this; “One thing they don’t tell you ‘bout the blues when you got ‘em, you keep on fallin’, cuz there ain’t no bottom, there ain’t no end.” It speaks so much to how I feel when I’m in the middle of one of these episodes.
I’ve been reading a lot of about self-compassion lately, and it just so happens that I was finishing a chapter on it while I was deep in my feels (you know, all the “you suck and you’re letting everyone down” feels), and I took a breath, and decided to ride it out. Decided I didn’t have to go deeper into Pit ‘O Shame, but could call it what it was, which is fundamentally untrue, while still honoring that I was feeling depressed about it. I did a sit (which is what we call meditating at my house, and I actually do it lying down because my back is so bad), hugged my husband and my kid, pet my kitty as much as she would let me, and just tried to recognize that this too shall pass.
The concept (and practice) of self-compassion is very new to me. I’m hard on myself as a general rule, and learning to give myself grace and the room to have, oh I don’t know, human needs and flaws and things, has been really difficult and really slow going.
I don’t have a snappy ending for this post, or even a point really, other than that depression and shame are hard, but wanted to get it out there in case anyone else is struggling too. You’re not alone, this being a human being shit is not for the faint of heart, and even when it feels like you couldn’t possibly, I hope that you can find just a teeeeeeeny bit of self-compassion within you, and use that to start to work your way back up out of that dark place. Start small, remind yourself you’re a human being and you’re doing the best you can, and let’s see where we both go from there.