Stuck To My Bed Days...
I had one yesterday. A day that I just couldn’t do my life. I was tired, sad, depressed and just overly stressed out. These type of days used to happen to me much more frequently...now, rarely.
Usually getting sick depresses me. I am not sick...well at least not physically. I am tired and overwrought. The stress of the pandemic, election, parenting, work, the losses of the last week and my own inner turmoil about all of the above, finally bringing me to a point of surrender where I just needed to shut the world out and escape into a day of binge watching Netflix, eating popcorn in bed and dozing. Not particularly emotionally healthy but it was all I had...and maybe it was emotionally healthy after all.
What I realized yesterday was that I use busy the way that I used to use substances. I use the busy to avoid having to spend time with me. I use busy as a means to get out of having to deal with the hard, emotional and frustrating places I find myself. I use busy so I don’t have to feel.
Someone said to me the other day that I have like 28 hours in a day whereas she feels that she has like 16. I seem to project that I have double the amount of time she does in my daily life. However, I think that she makes better use of her 16 hours compared to my 28 hours (well the illusion of my 28 hours). I like everyone else, only am granted the 24. And if I am honest, try to get away from spending even one of those hours with myself.
That was what I did yesterday...in a glaring and unavoidable display, I used Netflix to stop my head. To take a day off from thinking about the sadness I feel, the loss that seems pervasive right now, what to do about my son who appears hell bent on ruining his life, my daughter who is trying to, like me, avoid her own reality.
What my day in bed showed me was that I am avoiding reality. Yesterday very intentionally, but most days, it is the subtext of all that I do. The job, the morning routine, the kids, the animals, the perfectionism...it is all designed to keep me out of me.
My meditation book this morning said “Be grateful to everyone” and it immediately conjures up for me all of you. However, I am never part of the everyone in my head. Everyone includes everyone else, but me. What this slogan is saying is that everyone has something to teach us...about ourselves.
If you do something that irritates me, it is likely because I do something similar that irritates others or even myself. My irritation the best indicator that some issue within me is being addressed.
What I got in touch with yesterday is that I needed a break this last week...I needed down time and I got it, sort of. I spent the week not able to do all the things I had planned, my normal routine and spent it instead feeling horrifically sad about a good number of things.
Feeling sad is such a tricky thing for me...I hate feeling sad or disappointed and this week I felt both in spades. I do not even know how to talk about my feelings of sadness and disappointment without allowing anger to take over and dominate. It was for this reason that I spent most of the week, not talking to anyone, not answering emails and just being checked out of my life. It was the only way I could cope with all that was coming at me.
I feel right now the need to tell you all the reasons for my despair...but that is just another excuse and attempt at being busy. Because if I have good reasons for the way I feel, the end justifies the means. It was ok that I just opted out of the last week of my life because of all the sad that came my way. Bullshit.
I felt sad and didn’t know how to sit with those feelings. So I first got angry (Monday), then I felt horrifically sad and spent the whole day crying (Tuesday), I tried to rally and tried some retail therapy which didn’t work (Wednesday), I tried to go through the motions of my usual routine to no avail (Thursday) and tried to be busy and productive on Friday which left me feeling even more depleted and exhausted. Which led me to Saturday where I just retreated to my bed and took flight from my life by submersing myself in Virgin River, The Queen’s Gambit and Bates Motel. My conclusion is that my life is not nearly as fucked up as the people in the shows I watched. Thankfully!
The temptation to stay in bed another day is great today. I did not want to write, read my meditation books, or do any of the things that I know support my spiritual, emotional and physical health...but I know that taking to my bed for another day would be far more unproductive and emotionally unhealthy...
Perhaps I am not the picture of emotional health right now...but that actually matches my real life. There is a lot of grief flying around and my insides and outsides match. And while it isn’t pretty, it is my truth. I do not feel well. I feel sad, lost and scared that this is how life is going to be...forever. But nothing remains or stays the same and nothing is shitty forever.
Life requires loss. To think otherwise is delusional, magical thinking. When I used to feel this way before I would do something self destructive: drink, eat a ton of chocolate, shop, date...but I didn’t do any of those things this past week. I didn’t exit my pain in any of my usual escape routes. I just accepted, somewhat poorly, my life circumstances and allowed the grief to overtake me. And I learned something new:
That I have an ongoing list of things that I do not like or accept about myself. And that I project these things onto others and use them as excuses for my own poor behavior. I can’t see that I am at the center of it all and these things that I project are really just aspects of myself that I am running away from...other people trigger the karma we haven’t worked out yet (Pema Chodron). Other people hold up mirrors to show me things about myself that I haven’t worked out yet and give me a chance to befriend all that ancient shit that I do not like, refuse to accept and pretend isn’t there.
This past week I learned that busy is just another avenue away from me. I distract myself by making my life so busy, so connected to all of you so that I don’t have to be alone with me. It pains me to admit that I panic at the thought of being truly alone...and yet, being alone sometimes feels like the only place I ever really exist.
Yesterday I locked the doors, pulled the shades and pulled up the covers....literally. But I learned something I needed to know...that I am struggling and in pain and I do not know what to do with those feelings. So I am just going to admit that I have them and that I have no earthly clue about what to do with them.
While I am still in bed right now, this is not where I am going to spend my day. One day escape ok, two days equals a downward spiral for me that I do not care to entertain. So I will get up, take a shower and go through the motions because I know that right action always follow right action. I am going to act as if today because I know that I will eventually feel better by doing better things for myself.
I guess this past week was here to show me that I still have some work to do on really accepting things about me that I do not like or want. It is hard to love yourself, especially when you can’t deal with or handle pain and all you want to do is run away. But no matter how much I think I can, I cannot run away from me. I am the constant in my life so I might as well just turn around and face her in all her misery, sadness and despair. I can’t busy her away anymore than I can shop her away or drink her away or date her away. I am just right here struggling which makes me human...nothing more and nothing less.
And as much as I don’t want to, I am just going to own that today...my humanness - the good, the bad and the ugly and do my best to just let it be without adding some ridiculous storyline to make me feel differently - better or worse. Perhaps there is new behavior waiting for me on the other side of acceptance...or maybe just a new idea about an old issue. Regardless, I am going to keep going...even though it feels like too much and hurts. Perhaps I am not as stuck as I feel, perhaps feeling stuck and being able to admit it is the next step in moving on...