I track my footsteps, my water, my food. I have running plans and diet rules and a sleep schedule. Medications to take every morning and night. A handful of vitamins for after breakfast. My whole life is a self-imposed tightrope walk.
Often I try to tell myself that I don’t have a choice in any of this. That I simply have to do everything I do for my health, my mental wellbeing, my sanity. But lately I’ve been reminding myself that every day is a decision. There are rocks beneath me, yes. But laying down on gravel is never beyond the scope of possibility. Deciding to be resilient, deciding to fight back was not the only option I had. That’s the thing I have to remember.
But it’s hard to continue. When every day involves just a little more fight. Just a little bit more commitment. When I want nothing more than to turn off the alarm and stay in bed. It just comes down to a matter of grit. Of deciding to rally the energy and get going, even when I don’t think I can do it. Because there are going to be days when I can’t.
There are going to be days when the depression closes in too tight. When I will have no choice but to cancel the plans and draw the blinds. There will be days I will have to dissolve into the bed sheets. So I must seize any day that is not one of those days. I must close down tight around it and do everything I possibly can. I must continue to remind myself that I am not so fortunate as to have all my days be capable ones.
Even now, when the medication seems to be working and the days are dark, but not desperate, I have to remember that it’s not always going to be like this. Not dwell with the weight of the hopeless days standing over my shoulder, but remember how easy it is to slip back down that hole. Yes, it often comes without warning, but sometimes there are things I can do to avoid it.
Sometimes I can fight it off just a little longer. Sometimes I can say, “No,” and get up and put my running shoes on. Sometimes I can climb into my raincoat and take a walk. Sometimes I can go hug someone I love or take a nap. Sometimes I can fight just a little harder.
And sometimes I can’t. Sometimes there is nothing I can do. Relapses can happen for no reason in particular. Suddenly I just can’t seem to keep my feet under me anymore. And that’s something I have to learn to be okay with, too. I have to remember what I learned last time. Go back and read old journal entries. Think about how much better acquainted I became with myself through that darkness. When there was nothing in the world but me and my own brain sparing.
When I felt completely disconnected from everything outside my own head, what did I learn?