“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along,
listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne
Someone (not one of my blogger friends) recently commented that I would be best to get off my ‘bottom’, find myself a job… and then everything would be fine. Actually the ‘instruction’ was a bit longer than that but you get the idea hopefully. Right here and now I will say that I would love to have a job, be able to work again for 40+ hours per week, to feel like I was really achieving something, let alone contributing something to the world. Oh and the money would be great too. I won’t go into the finer details but existing on next to nothing, courtesy of my Government, is not nice. If you think it’s a great way to live, you’re demented. If you think it’s a breeze, you’re fooling yourself.
The thing is that if I could work I would, but my body just ain’t up to it (and I don’t think that person appreciated that fact). My mental health is better than it has been for years. I’m a little reluctant to say that anywhere because as soon as I do, I’m scared I’m in for a giant fall. It’s true though. I had the hardest year ever last year, but all of it taught me something about living one day at a time (or one hour at a time when appropriate). Actually I’m quite proud of myself for coming out the other side, but rather pissed that my body is just not up to it now.
Now that my mind is doing better I have been motivated to take on all sorts of things, to feel passionate (check out my Passions Profile Challenge that I’m half way through) about things, believe in things, want them to change. To be honest, I’ve spent years doing nothing. My head was just not in a space to be able to do anything. It wasn’t about being lazy, but rather about simply not being capable. It’s just what mental illness does to you (and me).
So I have all these things I have involved myself in… and now I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed. I have mountains of new posts to (write and) read, because I want to follow everyone’s blogs. It’s not about being nice or anything, but rather about wanting to absorb what others think and feel. And why not, after so many years of not being able to? Years of not caring.
I have things I have committed myself to, which mostly involve supporting other people with mental illness. I feel very strongly about this and it is a priority. But what do I do when my body won’t keep up? I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of girl and it’s so hard to operate at less than 100%. I think I’m operating at about 60% right now and I hate that. I’ve missed so many years of life (for want of a better word) and I want to catch up, I want to run (figuratively).
When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (a few months back) I was told I needed to cut back on stress. The stress of last year was highly likely to be a major reason why I landed this illness. Actually I was told a similar thing the year before when I was diagnosed with the auto-immune condition Graves’ Disease, but sometimes we don’t have much control over what gets thrown our way.
So it should be easy. Cut back on what I’m doing, get more sleep and let my body do whatever it wants to do (it’s still beyond me when it hurts and when it doesn’t). But let me throw in this one. If I cut back on the things I am doing, and the involvement I have in things that are important to me, then I take an enormous risk with my mental health. Activity does not spare us from mental illness but I know full well after many years at this ‘game’ that if I do less, and I am involved less, then my mood takes a dramatic dive for the worse.
I am so scared that if I ease off as much as my body needs, my mind will react and implode. It’s just what I know happens for me. My depression will spike again, and that will cause my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms to start rearing their head. Oh, and I also know that if my mood drops I run the risk of having problems with my eating disorder again. I can already feel this creeping in. I could also continue down the spiral to self harm and suicidal ideas. I really don’t want to go there. I’ve been there with all of this, and actually my initial depression and mental illness started when I had Glandular Fever, and my body wasn’t letting me do what I needed to.
If anyone says “it’s not that bad”, I swear I will scream because this is a very real fear. And I doubt it’s just me that has this fear, when their body says ‘no’. It’s just I’ve had nearly 20 years of fighting for my life (literally), trying to get my mind back. It’s back now (although obviously I still have difficulties with some stuff) and I feel like I’m in charge now. Except my body as objected and said it wants to take over. It just can’t do the job I need it to do.
Meanwhile I have mountains to do, to read, to write, to say, to contribute… but I know I have to do it all one half day at a time. I am just slightly overwhelmed by it.
“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times
it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important
decision in the day simply consists of choosing which
color to slide down on the rainbow.”
~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You