I was ambushed. Out of nowhere in particular, the cloud descended and enveloped me today. Suddenly the sunshine, usually so bright, was nowhere to be found.
Have you ever had a day like that? Everything is blanketed in gray, heavy mist.
And I know in my head that I am surrounded by good and beautiful things and people…I know in my head that I love them…but my heart is so weighed down and heavy that I simply can’t feel a thing or muster up the joy. All I can feel is a tightness in my chest and a strong gravitational pull, causing me to frown, scowl, and sit…eventually laying on the sofa.
There were times in my life when that was the norm. Times when the cloud would linger for weeks, months…
It rarely happens now, yet sometimes, without warning, it will hit for no real reason that I can pinpoint. And the fact that I can’t understand it and categorize it and explain it makes me mad. I find solace in knowledge and understanding. But it escapes rationale, and it just sticks around, and even today it’s presence caused me to worry a bit. What if I can’t get rid of it? What if it stays?
Then I remember: I have a choice. I have power. I can ACT.
There is such freedom in acting!!!
When I believe I have no recourse, then that sense of helplessness and despondency strengthens. I feel like I am a victim to events, circumstances beyond my control, unable to chart my own course and forced to expend my efforts for someone else’s gain.
That belief is what keeps the cloud lingering.
I don’t always know what causes it to come, and it’s not something I blame myself for or bother to beat myself up about. Something simply triggers it – it could be a disappointment (which did happen today), a sense of loneliness (also present today), or extreme fatigue (definitely…due to several nights in a row of more tossing and turning than sleeping).
So when I am tired, feeling disenchanted with the human race and have no one to talk to about it…I become an easy target for the cloud.
So for today – I became my own coach, my own pep talker.
Girl, I said, you CAN do what you set out to do. You can’t control others, and there are selfish ego driven people that will run you over and you just need to accept that. Maybe you are disappointed, but you need to accept them for who they are and then just decide to steer clear of them. ACT – do what empowers you.
For me that means sitting down and writing and also working out. Those were the two goals I had left and the thought of not accomplishing them was sending me into victim mode. Back to my riveting pep talk.
Girl, I continued, it may be later than you wanted but the fact remains that the day isn’t over and you can STILL DO what you have in your heart to do. Dig deep, stay up a little later, write for a little, do your push-ups, get to bed on time. You CAN do it! You CAN you CAN you CAN!!! Nothing is stopping you except for you!
Now that I see this typed out it sounds horribly cheesy and I’m honestly embarrassed, but I have to tell you that as I was lugging the recycling down the loooonnng driveway in the dark – that pep talk really did the trick. It may also have inspired a few lazy opossums.
But I think the point here is that we need to be vigilant against being overly tired, overly committed, and putting ourselves at the end of the list. Then we can all avoid bad pep talks in the first place.
We are ALLOWED to put our needs and our goals before other things.
As a recovering codependent it doesn’t come easily, hence the late night pep talk as I finish my chores. But I continue to practice it, and like anything, practice makes progress.
So next time when the cloud descends, maybe I will choose to ACT sooner.
ACTION – doing the things that the cloud is keeping us from – is the cure. It’s true! The cloud of depression or despondency – whatever you want to call it – steals my energy and my enthusiasm and when I give in, I become a pointless blob, foregoing my commitments TO MYSELF in exchange for a cheap pity party on the sofa usually involving comfort foods and wine. In no way does this help me reach my goals.
The only remedy I have found is to do the very thing that it says I cannot do.
You’re too tired to write. Say what? I’m gonna turn on my computer right now.
You’re not in the mood to exercise. I’m sorry? Watch me drop right here and do some burpees.
Defy that voice telling you that you cannot.
Defy it with action.
Do the thing it intends to steal from you – and you will find the cloud lifted.
At least it worked for me.
I would love to hear of other ways you have found to beat back the darkness and fight your way back to the light when the cloud seems to envelop you.
Keep on fighting and claiming your right to follow your intentions through to the end! Embrace that sunshine again!