It’s funny how change is what it is no matter how it happens. Change is change. Sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks. One minute your reality is one thing, and then something changes and reality is forever altered. A death, a birth, an illness. Sometimes it happens so slowly that you don’t see it. I am reminded of a proud moment when I felt like a rockstar at my job, a validated and accomplished professional. And then one day I didn’t.
Looking over the last several posts on this blog showed me that I am a couple of a months late on my bi-annual reflection. The data tells me that I should have been feeling this restless need to emote outside of myself, and out into the open abyss that is the unread corners of the internet, in August. Fall.
The older I get the harder I work to keep my chin above the water all year round so when fall comes around I am ready for The Great Dip. That’s what I am calling it now. It has a name and I know it’s there and it can’t hide from me. It can’t sneak up on me and it doesn’t own me. Depression is a sleeping giant. Sometimes it sleeps so deeply I forget what that dark cloud is like. Sometimes it lingers like the cartoon rain cloud stationed directly overhead, soaking me to the bone while I look around in confusion while everyone else – even those that are fatter, poorer, and/or less validated by love and acceptance dance around in the sunshine directly in front of my face, taunting me with what I think I don’t have. It’s an ugly feeling. The before and the during are so drastically difference that I can’t understand how I ever didn’t notice that cloud making its way overhead until I was caught in a rainstorm too heavy to see my way out.
I still get caught in the rain. I am caught in the rain. I am questioning myself everyday, and wondering if this is my own rain cloud. in 2016 I was at a professional place that was stressful but challenging in a way that made me feel validated. Overworked, not entirely fulfilled, but validated. I don’t believe I have felt more than a tinge of that validation since that time. No longer overworked, even less fulfilled and no longer feeling validated I have turned to self-help books, personal reflection, walks down memory lane and speculation about alternative realities. I am feeling tremendous amounts of doubt in my greatness.
When you are used to treading the water of your own mood pool, keeping all of your breathing holes out of the pit of self-pity sometimes the best of advice can feel impossible to employ. You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life (by Jen Sincero) was a great read. So much so that months after I read it, I am still tormenting myself with the advice I can’t make myself follow. The passage that has stuck with me is this, “You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.”
I haven’t decided if it’s because I am me – chronically anxious, depressed, distracted and pessimistic or if it is something else. Maybe the universe is just not on my side. Maybe I really am justified to feel put upon the way that I do. Or maybe it’s my own black cloud. Maybe I am expecting too much. Maybe all of the time I spend feeling jaded and sorry for myself and victimized by circumstances is what is keeping my fulfillment at bay and my greatness underwraps.
Maybe I need to find a new way to feel validated. I need to be a better Badass. All of this treading in the waters of self-pity and loathing is exhausting and it doesn’t leave a lot of energy for concentrated badassery.
Just as my writing idol Kelly Corrigan shared on her Instagram account today – once again speaking directly to my confused and downtrodden self – I know that the darkest corners of my mind don’t get to be the authority on what I deserve. Now to start to believe it, even without the evidence.