I feel I’ve been noticeably absent in many parts of my life recently. Half the time, I’m going through the motions and not feeling whole. Whenever my stress level increases or my schedule simply gets busier, that sense of dissociation tends to happen for me. But something has been different: I am crying at some point every single day.
I find myself to be a fairly emotionally stable person. While my life can feel chaotic at times, I’m able to ground myself to calm my anxiety before it becomes something greater. However, I haven’t had that level of control over my emotions lately. Why?
I posted last month about having an anxiety attack, which I hadn’t experienced in about 5-6 months. It felt seemingly out of nowhere, but as I self reflect on the past two months, it made complete sense. I’ve taken some time this month to reflect on my life, my happiness, and all the in-between. What I primarily noticed was how much I focus on others’ happiness rather than my own. Being a mental health professional, I have to fight that desire to be a rescuer for clients, but also friends, co-workers, and family members. The past two months have been me trying to be what I felt everyone else wanted (or needed) me to be. The key words there being “what I felt.” Nobody in my life was voicing their wants and needs, but I took it upon myself to decide that for them and fill that void. But how is that even fair to anyone involved? Not only am I assuming another person’s needs, but also setting myself up to let down that person, myself, or both.
When mental illness seems to be latching onto you and maintaining that grip on your well-being, please reflect on what it happening in your life and look for recent changes. Those recent changes could be very noticeable, such as new friendships, new job, new relationship, or they can be minuscule, such as choosing to leave the house early to stop at a cafe on the way to work, directly requiring you to set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier. Reflect on any recent changes you’ve been making and see how they’re impacting your day for the good or the bad.
Upon my own reflection of recent changes, I’ve also been trying to diet lately and found myself wanting to push through the hunger rather than taking a good look at what I was giving my body on a daily basis. By limiting myself so strictly, it impacted my daily function because I was not giving my body the nourishment it actually needs to make it through 14 hour work days. Feeling hungry, lethargic, and grouchy all day affected my mental health in a more significant way than I even realized at the time. Dieting also seemed to plummet my self-esteem, which has also taken lots of self-reflection the past month.
At the end of the day, you know you best. Listen to your body, your mind, your gut, your heart, all of it. We are always indirectly telling ourselves what we need and what we don’t need. It’s a matter of actually understanding how those messages are being delivered. ❤️