True confessions: this has not been a very sparkly week, friends. A lot got stirred up in therapy on Saturday, and it kind of sent me spiraling. To the point that I was walking around in an utter daze and having very dark thoughts… which only added to my angst as I was like, “AH! WHAT IS GOING ON? I THOUGHT I HAD A HANDLE ON THIS!!”
Luckily, this intense, emotional period only lasted about three days.
I’m starting to think that, at least for me, as much as my tendency toward dark, suicidal thoughts can go into a sort of “remission” as I develop other coping skills, because suicide-as-a-way-out is how I’ve coped in the past, my mind sometimes leaps back there if I become very scared and overwhelmed. So I’m trying not to beat myself up too much for it, or wring my hands like “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME AHHHH.” I felt a lot all at once, I really hate feeling, and I had a brief period of darkness. That progression makes sense. THANK GOD I have enough awareness now to know that dark thoughts can and will pull me under very quickly, but that they’re ultimately just thoughts—I don’t have to listen to them. And my emotions will stabilize in time. Stormy days pass.
ANYWAY, here are a few specific things that got me through:
- Connection. Text with a friend about the “Lido Shuffle” and Tim Tams. (True story 😂) Go to therapy. Help a friend with a lip balm emergency. (Unfortunately, said friend had taken a nap by the time I got to her house with the lip balm, but she woke up while I was there chatting with her bf, so I got an “Are you in my house??” text—a hilarious first.) All of these things helped me to feel infinitely less alone in my whirling thoughts. And when I have darker thoughts, I’m usually feeling very alone, so this was clutch.
- Go to yoga. Although I go to yoga every Sunday, I was not psyched this week because we had a sub, and I always feel weird about that when I’m in an emotionally raw state. (I feel so awkward crying in class when I don’t really know the teacher!) So I tried to “warn” her about this possibility beforehand, and she reassured me that it was totally fine, welcome even—setting the tone for a really great, calming class.
- Pet an animal friend. This actually happened pre-therapy meltdown, but the video sure made me smile afterwards! This lil guy was even friendlier than the cat I saw a few weeks ago! What a cutie! He literally ran up to me, rubbed up on me, rolled around, and then bolted, ignoring everyone else in the parking lot! Considering the emotional meltdown I proceeded to have in therapy, it got me wondering if he sensed that I needed him, almost like how those trained dogs can recognize when their owner is about to have a seizure. In any case, there’s like 80% chance I’m gonna come home with a cat one of these days! Or that my therapist, who has never seen any of these cats, is making notes like, “Ok, Jess is seeing cats now…” 😂😂
- Journaling and therapy. You guys know these are just a *chef’s kiss* as far as I’m concerned! An hour of journaling was honestly the only thing that calmed me down on Saturday night! My writing was, at times, more negative and spiraly than I would have liked, but for the most part, it helped me to make sense of my feelings and, as a result, I felt calmer and less crazy! And even though therapy is what started this whole episode, and led to me being very withdrawn in Tuesday’s session, when we met again on Thursday, I was finally able to speak to the vulnerability under all the darkness and reflexive pushing-away. Considering this all played out with my male therapist (who thankfully has the patience of a saint), it was a real breakthrough for me.
- A small treat. I’ve gotten much more disciplined with my shopping habits over the past five years of budget posts, so I was shocked by how impulsive I was over the weekend—it was like the pleasure centers in my brain were screaming to be fed! WILD. As a result, I couldn’t talk myself out of a few unnecessary purchases, one of which was a candle at the yoga studio. However, lighting my candle has given me something to look forward to every day, and the lemon scent has helped to ground me in the present. (Plus, the whole experience convinced me to steer clear of stores for the rest of the week!)
- BONUS SIXTH THING: The triumphant return of Self-Care Nails! Not only is it just fun to have pretty nails, but it takes a good 30-45 minutes for me to paint my nails, and you have to have some degree of presence and focus to do it without being sloppy. So it was almost like a meditative act, in the sense that it pulled me out of my thoughts for a bit.
So that’s how I got through a rough week. What do you do in these stormy times?
Hope you have a great weekend! xo