in the midst of harder days

Oh, hey there WordPress.

I know, it’s been a few weeks. Actually, I had something planned for you week before last – a more personal post than usual, but it fell apart a bit.

You see, I wanted to write a little about navigating that tricky space between looking after yourself and wanting to grow. (And you’ll get that post, eventually.) But then Tuesday turned to Wednesday, Wednesday turned to Thursday, and I realised I was in a bit of slump. Not a writing slump but, by Wednesday night, a ‘ugh, I can’t even bring myself to watch TV instead of just lying in bed’ slump.

A ‘I cannot even think about that shit right now’ slump.

A ‘oh, I think this is one of those weeks where my depressive symptoms are coming back a bit’ slump.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face this year – a few years on from when I would say that I stopped continuously cycling in and out of depression – is coming to terms with what it looks like for me to be sad, as opposed to actually experiencing depressive symptoms. I feel like I’m only just starting to be able to identify my red flags for when it’s making its little rebellious comebacks. When I started getting better, I assumed that my emotional infrastructure was just fundamentally broken due to my past. For a long time that belief hid the fact that some of the symptoms I was experiencing weren’t ‘normal’ for me, were not feelings and thoughts that could coexist with my-mind-not-on-depression.

The last week, thankfully, has been a lot better. (Just incredibly busy, but when does life let up?) And for the most part, thankfully, this isn’t something I have to deal with a lot. But instead of pushing myself to try and get straight back into the thick of things and putting all sorts of expectations on myself, I’m trying to create space for myself to be at rest. To breathe. To ground myself in a peaceful but firm center. To slowly ease back into what I love, what matters to me, without allowing static goals or unyielding expectations to undermine the process of becoming exactly who I want to be.

Because for me, my goals and planning are a way forward, to cultivating and nurturing myself to grow into someone who can meaningfully live out my values and hopes for the world. Some of that is more ambitious – to work towards positive social change on the issues I deeply care about – and sometimes it looks more modest – to be joyful and at ease in my day to day life.

Although they’re pretty different, in a funny way I think that this post has inadvertently become a kinder, gentler version of the one sitting in my drafts. A few thoughts about how to love ourselves dearly and care for ourselves in the midst of harder days.

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