One of the more difficult things I’ve been trying to tease out since my last post is how to maintain my determination and mood that I experienced that day. I’ve seen my primary care doc since then, and one of her first questions upon me describing how I’ve felt (she put me on a new med in January) was, “Are you manic?” Which really made me dig down into the feeling a bit more, something I’ve resisted doing because one of my major stumbling blocks is my tenancy to over-analyze.
I didn’t feel like I’ve been manic. After a bit of back and forth with my doctor we decided that I was simply happy (perhaps really happy) and that it has been so long since I actually felt that way that the feeling was simply overwhelming me a bit. It seemed extreme because I’d been so low for so long. I felt fucking fabulous all last week. And now I feel like I’ve regressed a touch, so I’m trying to figure out how to pump myself back up again. I’ve been actively pushing back in my mind against my more negative thoughts and my often knee-jerk reflex to beat myself up in some manner. It sometimes makes me feel like I’m constantly arguing with myself inside my head. But even though it’s something I’ve resisted doing for a while (it sounded corny as hell to me in the past), it does seem to be helping. I find myself enjoying looking at pictures of myself again. The urge to nitpick is still there, but I find myself focusing more and more on the parts of the picture I do like.
Right now a lot of trying to pump myself up is also taking the form of really trying to figure out who I am, and who I want to be. My therapist mentioned that I often do that thing where I ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ myself to death, and while in small doses it’s not necessarily that unhealthy of a thing I get stuck in those loops and beat myself up with those thoughts. Reframing has been surprisingly helpful now that I’ve decided to try it. I’ve resisted it because it seems like it shouldn’t be that useful – I mean, it seems like I should still know what I was saying there, so why should it be that helpful. But it has been! It’s a simple thing that gets me moving forward again and breaking out of the downward spirals my brain gets stuck in. “I should’ve said this!” becomes “Next time I will say this.” Feels corny, yeah? But also been surprisingly useful. Spinning regrets into a more positive framework. “I want to be someone who walks everywhere,” which seems like a simple benign statement, has been picked apart a little and easily respun and even realized. It was also something that I think was helped greatly by my mind shift I wrote about in last post. Something about that day, moment, whatever, allowed me to go forward with less resistance. “I want to be someone who walks everywhere,” easily became, “Well, someone who walks everywhere is you know, someone who walks everywhere. So look, now I’ve decided to walk to and from my parking lot and take my dog out for twice daily walks and BAM! I am someone who walks everywhere.” It seems so simple, and yet when I was dragged down by depression and anxiety that change from the first to the second truly seemed insurmountable. And after that click, that shift, now for over a week now, I’ve been walking 3-4 miles a day when previously I didn’t even get in a 1000 steps a day oftentimes.
Saying to people that I’m lazy and like to sleep and not a morning person for so long now has been reflexive, and second nature. And yet, lazy people don’t walk 3-4 miles a day. So I don’t think that’s part of my identity at the moment (though my identity does seem to be something in flux at the moment, something shifting and evolving and still being discovered). I was texting with a friend a few nights ago, and something I said really struck me. I had mentioned how I had been waking up an hour before my alarm, and I had just been getting up and doing stuff, and I believe what I said was something about how it was weird, and I didn’t like it, and I didn’t even want to be a morning person. And I was struck that this didn’t seem to be true? I mean, it certainly used to be. Those reflexive self descriptors. But after I texted it I sat and stared and realized it didn’t ring true anymore. I WANTED to be a morning person. I was ENJOYING getting up even earlier, well before I absolutely had to. It just felt good, and I both wanted to be a morning person and seemed like I really was a morning person now (I almost fully attribute this to my new med kicking in and actually seeming to be helpful). This week, I’ve been sleeping through to my alarm, or almost, and I genuinely miss the extra time I had in the morning, and don’t enjoy how rushed I feel. So now I’m setting my alarm back a bit earlier. And I’m going to slowly push it back until I hit a time that feels RIGHT. Something I didn’t think I could trust myself to intuit before, and yet I really think I can now.
This post is a bit all over the place, but I think that’s a reflection of where I am now. I’ve burst out of the spiral and am looking around trying out all the things I wasn’t seeing before to see what fits and what doesn’t. So I’ll keep trying things on and keep plowing forward, and keep giving that fire that erupted in me some wood to fuel it. To keep it going even though it isn’t that initial furious hot burn it was those first few seductive days. I am a morning person. I am someone who walks everywhere.
What will I be next? I’m excited to find out.