Who am I? Sometimes this is a question I ask my many personalities. Scary, right? You just thought, “Did she just say that?”. Yes, I did!
I am in awe of the many moods we swing in and out of in any given day, week, HOUR, second…ha-ha. My moods sometimes catch me off-guard where I am wondering why in the heck I am in such a bad mood or why I am happy. Crazy it might seem but I realize that I am not my mood and my ability to dis-identify with a mood gives me perspective. However, this is not always the case.
Last night I was very anxious going to bed. I could not get something off my mind in anticipation and I awoke with the same feeling. Within an hour of getting to work my mind shifted dramatically to a happier state which led the way to a GREAT day. The anticipation alone caused the anxiety and if I was truly able to dis-identify it would not have consumed me. The reality of this is far greater than a mood, it is a state-of-being for a moment or moments in time and if we are not cognoscente of that we can and do make decisions based on that moment.
One of the ways I attempt to find perspective when anxiety, anticipation or worry get the best of me is to ask myself the question, “Will this matter in five years/minutes/days?” The answer regardless of the time frame assigned is usually “NO!” Admittedly the time frames has to be shorter; asking myself if something will matter in five years is too far of a time for me to consider in a world I navigate at 80 mph. While I would like to believe everything can be solved by this “reality check” it simply cannot. It is when the “no” is not the simply answer that I have to consider my next tactic.
The inability to see the “temporary” in any situation is that which feeds mental illness and its effects. When you are in such a dark place that you cannot see a tomorrow, another way, options, you cannot make decisions. Forget about the decisions’ relevance; right or wrong…you simply cannot make any decision. The paralysis of mental illness traps you in a state that feels isolating and the longer you stay in that self-isolation the more amplified the darkness. Yes, this is the core of suicide. By the time someone makes that decision, the decision to “end it all” they are so far beyond help that they likely could not be reached had someone been standing right in front of them. (Yea, I know that got deep…fast. Tough.)
This is WHY it is so important that you are in tune with your emotions, moods and states of being. If you are reading this blog you are old enough to be in touch with all of these things. You know how you feel in each of these moments and when you are “safe” and when you are not. Knowing is not enough though; unless you know when to ACT. The act of asking for help, the act of reaching out, the act of doing anything to get back to a “safe” place. This is WHY Mental HEALTH is key to preventing and treating Mental Illness.
Let me offer one simple analogy and then we will climb out of the depths of the “deep”. You absolutely know when you “feel” good or bad physically; it is impossible to NOT know when you have a cold. You are stuffed up, coughing, feverish. You go to the doctor if it gets beyond the point of a “common cold” to prevent a more serious condition, pneumonia, upper respiratory infection, etc. There is no difference when you “feel” good or bad mentally. However the way we treat it is VERY different. When we feel “blue” we might tell ourselves to “snap out of it” and sometimes that might work, but when it doesn’t how far are you willing to go until the blue becomes dark and you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel to know how to get out…again WHY Mental HEALTH is key to preventing and treating Mental Illness.
I offer my insight on this tonight because I recognized that within a range of four days I have gone through a WIDE array of emotions, moods, states of being unexpected and unintended. I felt physically exhausted Saturday, excited with anticipation and then later emotions mixed with confusion, gratitude and disbelief Sunday, grief-stricken Monday and then moderate on Tuesday…not to mention the anxiety and anticipation described last night and today as I started this blog. My mental health is in good standing because I prioritize it as high as my physical health which I simply do not compromise. Even with a strong base there are days that suck. When you mix exhaustion with any one of these emotions it can be a recipe for a fast decline.
My hope is that regardless of your “mood” as you read this blog that you have tolerance for the “swing”. Our highs can be as dangerous as our lows and if we are not paying attention while on the “swing” we can find our feet swept out in front of us as we lie flat on our back from the fall. Next time you are in a “mood” hang on tight and control the “swing” it’s easier to balance when not pushed!
Moody and I own it – L.
p.s. Committed to Love and Transparency – Judgment has no place here.