Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Life :: Learn to Love Yourself (Even When You Don't Feel Like it)
Two weeks ago, I found myself crying in my car outside of Target.
Coincidentally, I had cried in the same parking lot almost a year before, in the same car, but in different clothes. I had come down with an excruciating UTI during a stressful work week and didn't have the money to pay for my prescription. Fortunately, my sweet roommate happened to be close by, and he was able to loan me the money. But this time around, I had no one to call -- because there was nothing that anyone could do for me. This time, the only person that could help me was myself.
To be honest, I hate asking for help. In fact, I don't even like to tell people when something's wrong. I don't want to be a burden or a nuisance. I prefer to feel invincible, in control, independent. That may seem strange because I speak so openly about my life online, but it's always been easier for me to express my emotions through writing. I used to tell everyone everything, but I've learned over the years to keep many things to myself. This invulnerability feels safe. It can also feel very, very lonely. I'm normally more comfortable helping other people than allowing them to help me. It's something I'm working on.
But on that day two weeks ago, I barely had the strength to do anything for myself. The truth is, I was exhausted. I had been so strong during this pregnancy, so positive and resilient. Maybe it was the negative offline comments I'd received from others that were starting to get to me, maybe it was the fact that I didn't have insurance for two months and issues with it are still popping up, maybe it was the stress of single-handedly expanding my business right before maternity leave, maybe it was post-vacation blues after seeing so many loved ones in Michigan, maybe it was the news I'd recently gotten about my health, maybe it was the fact that we don't know where we're going to be living next month -- but whatever the case may be, I was hit with overwhelm. Even a Loudmouth goes silent once in awhile.
I've never been properly diagnosed with ADHD or OCD, but I tend to take on a million projects at once, and I want them all done perfectly. Fortunately, at this point in my life, I've trained myself to remain happy and secure even when I want to feel like a big fat failure. Sometimes, though, it's easy to fall back into the same pattern of not believing I'm doing enough.
And that's when I know it's time to do nothing.
Yes, my friends, you read that right. When you don't feel proud of your life and confident in who you are -- because, duh, you should -- you need to stop what you're doing and focus on you. When you're emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, the worst thing you can do is keep pushing through. That's a recipe for anxiety, and you can't concentrate when you're stressed or depressed.
I took it easy for the rest of the week. I barely opened my laptop for four days. I had lunch with a friend, got my nails done with another friend, read a book, watched a movie, went out to dinner with Brandon and took a yoga class. I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking and jotting down notes in my journal. I slept as much as I could, which is hard at this stage of pregnancy, but I made it happen with a heating pad, ibuprofen, and frequent trips to the bathroom. I continued to concentrate on what I have, and ignored the things I don't have yet. Those things will come, but until then, no need to obsess.
Usually, the biggest problems we face don't even exist -- they're figments of our imagination. Nothing bad actually happened that day two weeks ago; it was simply my thoughts that occurred. And when the voices in your head get louder than you, it's time to give yourself more love than ever.