Hey there people and Happy Thursday to you. I hope you are having a fabulous day, wherever in the world you may be.
Today it is time for the second instalment of my shine a light series.
What is Shine a Light all about? It is where I share with you the highs and lows and the fighting spirit that has lead me to where I am today. The spark, the light and the love that gets me through. And sometimes the tears, the frustrations and the setbacks that still ultimately led me to this point. This life. This path.
I only hope that by my telling my story, others will feel inspired to keep going with their own lives and potential difficulties, and perhaps even be inspired to tell their stories too.
Here’s the thing – I am not a trained counsellor or therapist or anything like that. The only training I have is the training of life itself. If what I say helps (and I really hope that it does) then that is totally wonderful and I will feel as though my words are working, that I am influencing people in just the right way. But my training has only come from that one place – life. More specifically, my life. You can read my first post in this series here.
Now, life’s ups and downs can be kinda uppy and downy to be honest about it. I’m not a big fan of the old rollercoaster ride myself. I like to plan, organise and be in control.
Guess what though? Life’s not always like that. You can’t control everything! Sit with that thought for a minute and just breathe it in. And let it go! You can’t control everything – no biggie!
Five years ago my life was very different to how it is now. I was earning well doing a job that I told myself I loved and had always wanted (the last part of that sentence was at least true) and working so very hard. I was independent, had my own little flat by the sea and lots of friends. Not necessarily the kinds of friends I would open up to so much, but the kinds of friends I could go out and have fun with. Lots.
Sounds fairly great really – earning money, having a career, going out. On the surface it was just that – pretty great. But inside? Inside I was hollow. Something was missing and I had no idea what.
I threw myself into work, even working through my summer holidays as a teacher and earning even more. I became driven and fanatical about losing weight and getting to the right BMI for my height. I found myself working more and more and going out less and less. I didn’t realise it at first, but I was slowly and surely shutting myself in.
I was always poorly. I had headaches, colds, flus. Stomach bugs. You name it, I got it. This started to become an issue at work too. Meetings were held, I was told I would have to do better. I would have to improve. I tried to do just that.
It would be fine for a while. But then all of a sudden it just wasn’t fine. One morning I woke up and didn’t want to go to work at all. I didn’t want to be here at all. I wanted to die.
I had no idea what was wrong with me or where these feelings had come from. Even now I can’t put my finger on exactly what pushed me over the edge on that particular day. Some hidden force inside of me just made me realise that enough was enough. I had had enough. Life wasn’t actually good anymore. Life was pretty awful. I didn’t know what to do about that.
Looking back now it seems so obvious that I was suffering with depression. It seems like a no-brainer type of deal. At the time though, I had no clue at all. I just suddenly woke up one morning with an intense despair in my soul that I just couldn’t shake off.
Fast forward to today and I am working in a different job, living in another part of the country. I don’t earn as much as I did but I am infinitely happier. I earn just enough. Enough to cover my expenses and keep working towards my Debt-Free ASAP goals. But not anywhere near as much money as I used to make. I am one hundred times happier though.
How I got through that depression is another story really – today I wanted to focus on how I get through those panicky times. Those times when I worry about the depression sneaking back into my life and me being powerless to stop it.
Here’s the thing: I’m not powerless. I can stop it.
I think of my emotions as a merry-go-round. One of those rides you see in a kids playground. Each segment of the circle is coded a different colour and the whole thing spins around. The speed at which it spins is down to the pusher. The harder you push the faster it spins. I tend to aim for a healthy speed which allows me to enjoy the nicer emotions and not dwell too much on the not so nice (but necessary).
So even if that black segment does spin into view for me someday, I know what to do. Keep on spinning. Spin and look towards the nicer sections – the silliness, the fun, the joy. All of those will come and go. As will the depression.
If you’re wondering what was missing from my life back then it’s this: creativity. Since starting my blog and opening my store I have never felt happier. Literally.
So, if you know someone who is a bit like I was back then – always poorly, never a good explanation. Tying to shut themselves away from the world. Defensive and brittle and a little too self-assured and self-reliant I would suggest this one thing:
Make a great big nuisance of yourself. Keep doing that. Ask them things, ring them, see them, go round. Ask more questions. Make them keep in touch with you. It might take months for them to take you up on your offers. They might never do. But you are making it more difficult for them to shut themselves off. This is important. When you are alone with your thoughts and your thoughts aren’t nice ones they can start to take over and seem to have much more authority.
Don’t worry that you are being a nuisance. That’s the point. Make sure they know that somebody really is there for them. That someone cares.
I am off to create some more art prints for the store just now, but I’d like to leave you with this little thought here:
“No matter how black things may seem from time to time, they will pass. Believe it and they will hopefully pass quickly.”
Have a great day people!!