Yesterday was rough. It started at 4 a.m. with the mantra, “I’m not okay. I’m not okay.”, running through my head, getting louder, until I had to get up and try to make it stop.
I tried to knit. I tried to read. I made coffee. I watched Netflix. And every time my concentration broke for a millisecond…there it was. “I’m not okay”.
I tried a grounding exercise to help stem the rising tide of panic and prevent becoming completely overwhelmed. That made me cry. Horrible, gut wrenching, wracking sobs. Every regret was magnified to an impossible size…they came crawling out of their dark, filthy corners to torment me with the knowledge that there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix them…to change them…to make them go away. And they became bigger. Noisier. Darker. Angrier. Hungrier…
I’m not okay.
4 a.m. became 5 a.m. and then 6 a.m. with no relief. But then the mantra changed. It went like this, “I’m not okay, Help me. Help. Help me. I’m not okay. Please help me. I’m not okay. Help. Help. Help me.”. But, in a battle between you and your own brain, sometimes there IS no one to help.
I’m not okay.
We went skiing. The “Get-Outside-It-Will-Cure-Winter-Depression!!” deal. We did a hard track…5 km, a good chunk of it, uphill. Chuck was struggling (I could hear HIM thinking…”I’m not okay”). And, it was my fault. I took the word of strangers that the Blue Trail was lovely. And, now my husband, the love of my life, was struggling. His knee was giving out. His lungs, which were just recovering from a horrible cold, were burning and aching. I did this…it was my fault. He was just coming to like skiing. He was having fun. And I ruined it. I took that away from him. I destroyed it…
We got home and I tried to do a little knitting. I made a mistake and burst into tears, completely swamped with feelings of shame, helplessness, sadness, hopelessness. I was prepared to declare myself totally useless and just go back to sitting on a couch, wasting away, until the summer came back. If I just stayed still…didn’t move…I wouldn’t destroy anything else.
But, I went to see Cathy, who encouraged, and was kind, and helped me fix it (yet again) with no judgement. And, the other women showed up for the knit along, and they talked about how they had to rip out complete sections, and start again, and maybe go down a needle size, and they laughed and shared…and it didn’t seem all that big to them. And, I wondered, how are you okay with this?
I’m not okay.
I went home. I ate oatmeal because I can’t even cook a decent fucking meal. I watched a movie. I went to bed wondering when the mantra would start up again. I slept.
FAST FORWARD…4 A.M. TODAY
Today, I’m okay. Grant me just a minute more of your time to show you the difference:
Let me tell you about my day yesterday! It was awesome! It was mild and the sun was shining all morning which was wonderful (it’s been pretty dull and cold the past few weeks). A really good friend of mine, Josie, texted and we made a plan to go skiing. When we picked her up, she had made us her famous “Cappuccino to Go”. Amazing coffee!
Anyway, we headed for Northumberland Forest. They have fantastic trails and since Chuck was almost recovered from his Christmas Cold, the three of us bundled up and went out on the Blue Trail. 5 km of uphill and downhill and around trees. So beautiful and scenic! It was, however, a little much for Chuck since his knee has been acting up, and he’s still got some stuffiness and chest congestion, but he made it through! I’m so proud of him! I don’t think he’ll want to do that specific trail again soon, but maybe by the end of the season he’ll try again!
We stopped for lunch at the Tall Teepee in Alderville, and indulged in burgers and fries. What a treat! We earned it walking up those hills on skis let me tell you! The service at the Teepee is fantastic. One of the women, she has one of those contagious laughs…when she laughs, you have to as well. Totally brightens up your day.
When we got home, I decided to work on my shawl a bit more. It’s a really challenging pattern for a beginner but I’m not giving up! Thank goodness for knit-along evenings, and for Cathy’s patience. I’m learning a LOT (slowly) and the women and men have all been so encouraging and helpful in fixing my slip ups. I am seriously enjoying the company of knitters.
Because we indulged at lunch, Chuck and I had a really nice, light, comfort-food dinner and watched The Mummy Returns…one of my all time favorite adventures. A perfect end to a perfect day.
People say, “Perspective is the key!”. “Positive self-talk is the answer!”. “Reframing the negative will make it positive!”. “Just say YES!”.
Bullshit. Not in my world. In my world, the key is to just survive the bad days any way I can. And always, always try to remember that this is temporary. Tomorrow, things may look completely different. That’s when the work can be done…not in the middle of a crisis.
If you made it through this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you’re doing okay.