Listening to my devotional app today the which always starts with music, the first thing listeners were asked to do was notice how they are. How are you in your body, your heart, your mind? How strange is it to say I quite simply don’t know, I have moments of joy, I felt one just now as a goldfinch landed on a tree outside of my study window, I felt joyful on Sunday ( read my previous post) , but I also felt exhausted, and there came a point when I left the party because all of my people focused energy had gone, I needed to get home!
Some days I feel like an utter fraud, I am getting up, walking around, coping with life at a certain level, but even a day out exhausts me and I need to get home, so how am I in my body, mind and heart, to quote Pink Floyd, I think “I have become comfortably numb”, now part of that is down to the antidepressants I am taking, and I guess that at least I am not suffering from deep despair or anxiety attacks at the moment, but I also know that they are lurking just below the surface, and small things like a link to a meeting in my email box make me very aware of that. I am off work and swiftly deleted the email, I have deleted other emails too and, and in a conversation with my GP he quite simply said if you rush things you will be unwell again. Recovery is important, whether that is physical, mental, or spiritual health, and just knowing that a day out with family and a day taken out to lead a blessing for friends needs recovery tells me that I still need time.
I do still need time, and in some ways that scares me, would it scare me if I had broken a leg badly and needed extensive physio, probably not, would it scare me if I was told to take a number of weeks out to recover from and operation, well no, that is common sense. But, because this is mental health I am constantly questioning myself, I am afraid of being told I am faking it or skiving, afraid of those who don’t think mental health issues are real, I am almost afraid of going out to any events or doing things because it will be assumed that I am well when I am not well. I don’t want to go around wearing a badge or ringing a bell, and I certainly don’t want to draw attention to myself ( and yes I did just write that on a public forum), but I have at various times been told to pull myself together, or to have more faith. I have been told that I shouldn’t go out if I cannot go to work, but if I shut myself away completely and become a recluse I may never go out again.
So, I guess I am saying to those who question me, please bear with me, please celebrate with me when I am able to go out and do things, and please understand if I need to slip away before the end of a party. I guess I am saying to those who don’t understand, I am sorry, I really can’t let you any further into my head than I can by trying to explain things, and I guess I am saying to anyone who thinks otherwise that a mental health crisis is very real, because believe me I do not want to be where I currently am! I want to be well, I want o be able to fully engage with life again, I want to be able to laugh with you, and cry with you when you ask me.
I will keep on going one step at a time, I will look to live in the unforced rhythms of grace, and the breath of the Spirit. I am healing, I know that, my better days are getting better, but the down days still come too frequently at the moment for me to consider that I am well, but I keep on working at healing, walking, getting enough sleep, eating well ( mostly). All will be well, all will be well!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30