So I have a confession to make…… The past couple of days I have been pretty grumpy. I keep on reading those positive affirmations and trying to count my blessings and feel positive and optimistic but honestly I have been struggling with my mood and as usual during these spells I have been plagued with self doubt – the feeling that I am a dreadful mother and wife, a poor professional and a ridiculously poor friend. In fact, a poor excuse for a human being full stop.
I often wish I could just flick an internal light switch and instantly brighten my thoughts but unfortunately I can’t. When I was younger and really battling with my depression and living inside my box most of the time, I used to feel terrible and then feel even more terrible about the fact that I felt terrible. I would see the fact that I felt worthless and empty as proof that I was in fact worthless and empty. I reasoned that millions of people would exchange their life for mine in an instant and that only a worthless totally selfish person would feel as I did.
Nowadays I try to see things a bit differently. I know I am feeling down. I know I am finding it hard to stay positive. I feel tired and drained and my face feels tight when I try to smile. I know all this and I am mindful of it but I don’t make a value judgment about it. Yes, I am feeling down but it doesn’t make me a bad person. I give myself grace to feel this way. I know that maybe tomorrow and the next day and the next day I could still feel this way but I also know that it will pass, that I will feel better soon.
So I acknowledge it whilst knowing that it will not last and even that act of acknowledgment seems to brighten my mood because it reminds me that the brightness will come. I know things will get better because they always do. Just as even the worst stormy rains and gusty winds will eventually give way to sunshine, I know that the dark clouds that gather in my mind will also be overcome by positive bright, sunny thoughts so I need to be patient and treat myself with kindness and grace.
At times like this I also prescribe the following treatment for myself: I need to spend more time cuddling the people I love, wear my favourite pyjamas in bed, smile more even if my face feels tight, eat my favourite foods, smell my favourite smells, listen to my favourite music, read more positive quotes, laugh, drink plenty of water and nourish myself and then in time I know the sun will come out again.
If you feel sad, depressed, low on motivation or just a bit empty inside – be kind to yourself. Treat yourself how you would treat a friend who confessed to feeling blue – with compassion and understanding and love and remind yourself that these thoughts and feelings are only temporary.