Some days I wake up with a smile on my face. Energetic. Proactive. Mindful. I can decide what, if any, measures I might take to have a better chance of keeping my Anxiety at bay that day (e.g. expressing gratitude, meditating, exercising).
Other days — once or twice every couple of weeks — I look in the mirror to see my lips quivering as I am ready to cry. On those days, Anxiety is already baked into my being. I wonder if I’ll have the power to meet It head on, let It have It’s way with me, and then let It pass. Or will It ravage my body with the physical manifestations: frayed, burning nerves, constricted throat, and a brain that feels like it’s made of brick. Feelings that will force me begin the day exhausted and likely feel some level of Anxiety throughout the day.
I’m not feeling anxious today — at least not yet. But earlier today a friend, Tracey, commented on my last post in a way that helps identify part of the sadness I feel because of my current situation … my current normal.
It’s worth your time reading Tracey’s comment in totality. But in this blog post I want to share some of her words and why they are impacting me so much.
In her comment she noted that some things which work one day to keep her illness at bay may not work the next day … or may not even be possible, because the illness got ahead of her efforts to be proactive (e.g. trying to bike each day to feel euphoric).
She then writes:
“I MISS GETTING TO TAKE EVERY DAY FOR GRANTED!!!! …THIS is the new constant for me.”
Those words hit me at my core. They aptly describe the, at times, unpredictability of Depression and Anxiety. And how each day may be different through no fault of your own.
Our society’s bootstrap mentality — that we, alone, are responsible for our own success or failure — is hard to take when you can’t predict if your mind is going to attack you or not. I’m not looking for excuses here. It’s still true that, mental illness or not, we are all responsible for our actions. But those actions’ impacts may be muted by the strength we have to, first, devote to addressing our illness and, second, apply to whatever follows in our day ahead.
Muted strength is not something reserved for mental illness. It’s just how I experience it most often. I know we all struggle silently. And that’s got me thinking about how little empathy and gentle listening we afford others or get to experience ourselves.
How much better would we be as a community if we were compassionate and/or empathetic with one another?
Tracey’s comment has me wondering these things because I feel like what she wrote will serve me on a day I really need it.