So I think I’ve hit my first road block. The honeymoon is over, to put it another way. Like with most new things I started this with endless excitement and enthusiasm. As the weeks wore on, that excitement, that enthusiasm waned. Now I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. I have things on my To-do List that need to get done, I have daily tasks I need to complete, but nothing significant is getting done. The worst part is that it feels like I’m worse now than before I started this experiment. It feels like, the harder I try to be happy, the less happy I feel.
Now, I’ve read Furiously Happy and I’m trying to keep in mind something Jenny Lawson repeated a few times in the book: “Depression Lies.” It made quite a lot of sense when she said it. Basically, when you’re depressed, your mind plays tricks on you and starts repeating your self-loathing reel. You know, all those things you tell yourself when you’re feeling blue, like, “No one loves me,” “I’ll always be lonely,” “I’m no good, I’m doomed, I’ll never get any better so there’s no use trying.” The worst part about this reel is that it’s so convincing. It’s much easier to believe the reel of self-loathing than to believe the daily affirmations.
It’s easier to believe the lie in your mind than to see the truth right in front of you.
I know I have heaps to be thankful for in my life. Top of the list is my wonderful husband and two beautiful little girls. I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat, even a little disposable income, thanks to re-budgeting. But it’s like those things disappear when the reel starts to play, and all I can see are the things I don’t have.
Having a habit certainly helps in these times. Forcing myself to do my daily affirmations, to Tweet something positive, and to check things off on the To-do List helps to lesson the impact of the Reel of Self-Loathing. But I worry. I worry about the day when I agree with the Inner Demon and say, “Screw it! This wasn’t working, anyway!” And quit all the things that keep me happy. I worry I’ll slip down into despair and just become a lump on the couch.
I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I remember what I used to do, but it just doesn’t seem possible now. I feel like I have a weight of responsibilities that prevents me from having fun, and all I can manage is a quick glimpse here and there; a short burst of fun before the responsibilities loom again. Maybe this is what it means to be a parent. Maybe this is why my parents always seemed grumpy when I was growing up. But this isn’t what I want to be.
Maybe the trick is to find the happy medium: a balance between the responsibilities and the fun. I know I’ve said this before, that it’s important to make time for fun and not let daily chores overwhelm you. It’s just so easy to get overwhelmed. And often my mind twists the fun and turns it into just one more chore to get done, which sucks all the joy out of it. Part of my problem there is I’m trying to learn something new, so I don’t have a flow yet. And I’m extremely self-critical, so it’s hard to have fun when you think you suck. But I must remember to give myself permission to be a beginner. And I think I’ll re-read Furiously Happy for a refresher on how to deal with this.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m fighting the darkness. I managed to get some much-needed cleaning done this weekend (which is an achievement in itself), so hopefully that’ll free up some time for me to have some fun this week. I’d like to paint again. I’ll keep you posted.
Anyone else out these struggling with this? Anyone have any suggestions? Please feel free to comment and share your stories!