Meditation: Balance, Foundations: Day 1 Length: 5 minutes Where: Bedroom, Los Angeles How It Felt: Centering
Ok, let’s talk mental health. Today is a rough one.
I don’t know what caused it, maybe nothing, but I’m in the middle of a down-swing. I am feeling depressed. It is so hard to write about this right now. Actually, it’s hard to do anything. But here I am. So I may as well be open and share.
I don’t usually mind the manic swings involved with my Bipolar II, unless I’m in a period of intense stress. This exacerbates the mania and makes it impossible to sleep, eat, or do a lot of normal things for days on end. I experienced this in a major way during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Generally, though, mania just feels like I had a lot of coffee and the world seems extra wonderful.
The depressed days come with a really mean voice. I hate that. I’ve written about this before in this blog. It’s like a little man- or, non-binary entity, I suppose?- sits in my brain and just tries to make me feel terrible. I have done a lot of inner work, so I can identify it, separate myself from it, and know deep down it’s all complete bullshit. Still, it’s exhausting fighting it, so the easiest thing is to just go a little numb until it passes.
Things that help prevent, shorten, or ease my depressive episodes? Yoga, getting outside, exercise, especially cardio, laughing with loved ones, good sleep (not too much), healthy, whole foods, sunshine, doing work I love, consuming great art in any form, long walks, nature, cleaning my home, adventure, etc.
Things that I want to avoid when I’m already feeling depressed? Pretty much everything above.
It’s a shitty cycle.
Let me tell you something about people who deal with depression: they are strong AF. If I had to be around you for some reason right this moment, you would have no idea what I was going through. I would laugh and joke and listen and be totally normal from the outside.
On the inside some little demon is screaming at me that I’m worthless and unlovable and alone. The pit inside me feels dark and deep and unbearable. I want to hide under the covers and never leave my home and cry myself to sleep.
But I could rally, if I had to.
Generally, unless I have to rally, I don’t, though. I find I can let these episodes pass a lot faster if I don’t fight them. I have to be really gentle and loving to myself and practice celebrating the small wins, and after a day or two, sometimes three, the clouds generally lift. If I fight it and try to just go about life normally, it can get so much worse.
I’m incredibly lucky, though, because my dark periods never get so bad that I can’t function. If I need to be there for a loved one, or get to set, or honor a contract I signed, or get on a plane, I do it. There is something inside me that pushes through. I can’t take credit for that, I can only be grateful that life or genetics or whatever it may be didn’t deal me a darker hand of cards. I know what it feels like to have a little voice telling me I may as well be dead. I don’t know what it feels like to truly believe what that voice is saying.
I don’t know what it is inside me, but I was given some type of resilience and self-love that has kept me afloat all this time. It only gets stronger as life goes on. I know better, deep inside the core of my being. Since I went through eating disorder recovery, my self-worth multiplied by a hundred. I know I have value as a human being. I believe in my purpose. I know my heart is full of love and my head is full of ideas. I know I bring a light to this world and the people around me. I believe in that. I lead with positivity and humor and empathy and love love love.
No evil little voice is ever going to convince me that this world would be better off it I wasn’t in it.
So, in the spirit of self-love and celebrating the tiny things when we are feeling this way, I’m going to do a list of things that were good about today, that I accomplished so far, that I’m proud of.
- I did dishes. My least favorite chore, and I did them!
- I booked two small but easy gigs- and turned down a third one I don’t have room for in my schedule!
- I cuddled my cat like crazy. He must know I need extra love right now, because he’s been by my side or in my lap or arms since the moment I woke up. I’m not exaggerating. I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone once today. He’s standing on my lap now as I type this. It’s making it very difficult!
- I managed to cook for myself instead of ordering expensive, unhealthy food.
- I discovered a wildly wholesome new British cooking show that I am in love with.
- I paid some bills, even though it sounded really tedious and difficult. (I usually love managing our money, but there was no joy in it today. Everything is hard.)
- I had a warm, private, safe home to hide in, with everything I could ever want to watch on TV, and a soft couch, and a cozy fire.
- I managed to book cleaners to come in a few days. This is a really huge self-care thing for me. When I’m too busy to clean much and the house starts to get really overwhelming, it’s a quick spiral down most often. I feel crushed by how much needs done. Now, I can prevent that anxiety and know that if I can just muster up the energy and focus to put things away over the next few days, two wonderful humans will come here Friday afternoon and make everything shiny and pretty and good-smelling, and I will feel so much better.
- I did my Duolingo for the day.
- I made the bed. Not the best version of it, but enough to make me feel better.
There might be more. I don’t know. But that’s not bad for how terrible I feel today. I also, obviously, managed to write a proper blog post, and I’m 100% going to meditate, so there are two more right there.
Have I showered? Washed my face? Exercised? Even bothered to change out of my pajamas?
But I survived and caused no harm and did a little bit and managed to not beat myself up about any of it. And that makes me proud.
I started a new meditation series! I wanted to try an actual course from the Balance app, since I haven’t done that yet. It’s honestly awesome how customizable their programs are. They take into account your main goals, what’s important to you when meditating, experience, etc and curate the specific things you need. You can also choose the length of time for each session, which is so great, because I often take breaks from my courses on days I only want to commit to five minutes or less.
I’m so grateful for meditation. Right now, I am afraid to do it. I’m scared to stop and be in my feelings and have no distraction from the voice. But, I know it will actually make me feel better. Deep breathing always does.
Even if it feels worse for a minute, it will feel better to release some of that negative energy.
I can do it. I will do it. When I’m safely set up in my bedroom, which is where I’m going next. I’ll stretch a little and watch some more of my cooking show, then I’ll pause it, and meditate.
I’ll do what I have always done in life- I will tell myself I am bigger than whatever hurts right now, I will straighten my spine, head high, and find that inner place of strength and love and power that I know is in there, and I will push through.
And soon, I will feel back to myself again.
Because I am fucking unstoppable. Do you hear me?