My husband smiled at me on Saturday as I fluttered in my spell of anxiety. It loves to sneak up on me during the winters, and when it hits I fall into a spiralling pit of self-flogging.
Every decision, every word, every thought that comes out of my mouth is bitter and grey. I drift through rooms, unable to settle. Food no longer interests me. Writing, video games, and television no longer interest me. Yoga just feels like a chore. This is my shadow, unfortunately. It will always exist, and it always finds me at some point.
Therapy has worked wonders on me. It has helped me to identify this chemical unbalance the minute the scales start to tip, and my eyelids grow heavy. It has helped me to shape my day around it to find the best way to snap out of the darkness. No more days and days of crying, of panicking, of replaying the past over and over to see if I could have done something different.
What I am learning to value is when my family and friends recognize these signs. My husband sees the early signs immediately. The moment I’m quiet for a little too long, my movements grow slow, and my tone flatlines. He never grows angry. Nor does he ignore it. Instead, he listens and takes care of me when I cannot take on my normal tasks. He’ll take care of dinner. He’ll take on chores. And then he will ask me to just sit and relax. Which, let’s be honest, is not easy for me. I have the constant need to feel like I must keep busy. I need to be writing, cleaning, working out, seeing friends, watching a new show, reading, playing a video game, and so on and so on and…
Then I hit a wall. This is the new mindset I’m still learning to balance – relaxation with work. Luckily, I have a pretty amazing partner in life to remind me that it’s okay to sit. That sometimes, the winter months grow dark and cold and all you can do is take a bath by candlelight. Which is exactly what I did Saturday.
And what do you know! Suddenly, that dark mood started to lift. I started to relax into my weekend. The snow and cold didn’t seem so depressing. I was lighter; I could smile once more.
I hope my words can bring a small piece of joy and love to people like me. Take time for yourself, even if you feel guilty and worthless for doing it. Don’t get mad or push people away who remind you to do this. It just might be exactly what your mind and body need.
E. M. Vick