I woke up today not feeling great. Though I’m still enjoying the latest shift my life has taken I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I woke up realizing I just didn’t want to be part of the world today. I experienced some difficult anxiety and decided I needed to take care of myself. I became upset because I also realized that though it feels like things are finally starting to make sense for me, which is very gratifying, that no matter how good I may be feeling, I’ll always have difficult mental health days.
It bothered me to be reminded of this. But I accpet that these challenges are just part of who I am. Being able to put my anxiety and depression on the shelf for a while has been great, even though I knew it was temporary. In knowing my good or “normal” feelings are temporary, I also know the ones that aren’t so good are temporary too. Remembering that this too shall pass, brought on a wave of relief. And in being able to remember that, I noticed how much progress I’ve made.
I’m much more in control of these experiences than ever before. I recognize what’s happening, and am able to give myself what I need. Before counseling I didn’t understand anxiety, panic attacks or emotional triggers. I also didn’t have the tools to cope. Now, I have begun to sense when I might have a difficult day, and some times even what brought it on. I’m also now able to take care of myself and prioritize my mental health without (much) guilt. And sometimes that means changing plans to accommodate what I can handle that day. And in that there is victory.
As I made the decision to rearrange my day to accommodate my mental health needs I saw an email from Morgan Harper Nichols, who I’ve featured here before. She wrote about the beauty of recognizing your progress and giving yourself credit even if you feel like maybe you’re not where you should be. Right before I’d read it I’d been able to appreciate how far I’ve come in this journey of dealing with my mental health and overall self-compassion. And the fact that it’s something I’ll have to practice for the rest of my life is ok. Nichols’ words felt like an affirmation.
We all have to manage our mental health and self-care needs. I’m not alone. You’re not alone. Please read Nichols’ soothing words below and let them bless your journey. This Thanksgiving, I hope you are able to give thanks for the progress you’ve made on your path. Please remember that every step matters.
You came into this season
not knowing what tomorrow would bring,
but you made the brave decision
to keep trusting, and to keep going.
And even on days like this, that means everything.
And on those days
when your progress does not feel like very much,
and you find yourself wondering
if you will ever be enough,
remember that a few hundred nights ago,
you were not sure you’d make it here.
But here you are, living and breathing
on the other side of those old fears.
And new fears may arise,
and you may feel the weight of your unknowns,
but no matter how heavy all of it feels,
you are free to let them go.
You are free to step into tomorrow,
with wide-eyed hope and expectation
that no matter what does
or does not happen,
you are going to grow
in the way you were meant to.
So keep your eyes fixed on Light,
ever-coming in the morning,
reminding you it is okay,
to awake and start anew again.
Take heart, breathe deep,
keep a mindful, steady pace.
You may not have reached those further mountains,
but you are still well on your way.
And whether you fly or whether you fail,
or you feel at home or out of place,
you are still traveling for a reason,
and you have not fallen out of grace.
So let it be grace that gives you hope
in the middle of the day,
glorious unmerited favor
that reminds you it is okay…
it is okay to slow down
and take moment just to breathe,
and be reminded that in the chaos,
you can still find the peace you need:
peace within your soul to know
there is no comparison for the journey you are on.
You are where you need to be,
and no one can replace you.
Remember how far you have come.
Remember the miles that you have traveled.
Even if you are not where you thought you would be,
you have already it through so many things,
and even in seasons like this,
that is still worth acknowledging and celebrating.
Morgan Harper Nichols