Note: This is one of those posts where I sit down to work on my “stuff” and I find out what’s going on. What you see is literally what I did to work with my anxiety.
I am feeling *very* frustrated. And anxious.
Having a meltdown that looks like this:
“Gaaah, I’m never gonna get anywhere, I’m never gonna move forward, I want to do all these things and I cannot do anything, for whatever reason I cannot do anything, I’m going to die having done nothing, GAAAH!!!”.
It’s taken me a whole day to realise where this feeling was coming from…
I tried, for the best part of last week, to write a mini e-book about Mental Health and Political Activism.
I wrote and wrote. And re wrote. And wrote some more. In fact *goes off to check*, I wrote around 5k words. I’ve been at it for *days*.
Guess what. I don’t have an e-book. I became so “muddled”, tried to push so hard, that I eventually gave up.
It got to the point I no longer had a clue what I was doing.
And all the while, this thought screamed in my head “who on Earth is going to find this useful???”. A thought I only noticed… now.
(Which probably goes to show it pays to sit down with your feelings and write about them)
It’s not just the time… or the effort… It’s all the feelings of “failure” that come with having worked so hard and not produced anything of value.
All the fears that “this is irrevocable proof that I’ll never make any money and I should just give up and I’m not meant to be doing what I’m doing. Oh, DOOM.”
Hang on! A monster!
Even I can see that that line I just wrote was uttered by a “monster”. It’s the word “Doom” that gives it away.
So, here I am… Noticing what’s going on. Compassionately asking myself questions, not because I want the answers, but because they are a way to show myself that I care about me.
“Oh, sweetie… you worked so hard. I’m so, so sorry it didn’t turn out the way you expected. I’m sorry you feel this is proof of your intrinsic “suckyness”, I’m sorry you feel this is proof that you’re not meant to be a writer, I’m sorry you feel this is proof you’ll never make any money and you’ll be poor forever.
I’m sorry you feel your dream is impossibly far away. I’m sorry you feel that everything you try turns out to be wrong.
I’m sorry you feel that even the smallest step is too big for you. I’m sorry you feel that there are no steps forward you can take, and that everything is out of reach. I’m sorry you feel you have to forever stretch yourself further than you are able to if you want to get anywhere.
I’m sorry you don’t seem to have found a way to do what’s “easy” for you. I’m sorry nobody seems interested in giving you a helping hand. I’m sorry there isn’t more magic and wonder in your life. I’m sorry you feel so lonely. I’m sorry you feel the world is against you. I’m sorry you’ve never had a “break”. I’m sorry you fear you’ll never have a “break” because you’re not one of the “cool kids”, or the “cool feminists”.
I’m sorry so many projects have not worked out. I’m sorry not more people are reading what you write. I’m sorry you feel you’re there for other people but nobody’s there for you.
I’m sorry you won’t be able to have Christmas with your family.
I’m sorry nothing seems to get better.”
And then I cried. And cried some more.
Now I can see this is clearly what I needed: self-compassion.
Then I went to Havi’s blog for a dose of wisdom,
And I came across this idea, even if this is not what she actually said:
Well. Today I cannot give you an e-book. But I can give you a post modelling how I practice self-compassion when I need it the most.
Here’s what’s downing on me as I write this: demanding from yourself more than you can do, is a form of self-abuse.
Accepting your limitations, even when those limitations are “undesirable”, “annoying” “frustrating” and “wrong”… is a form of self-acceptance.
More connections: YOGA!!!
Of course. Yoga. At yoga I get this: don’t force your body to do stuff it doesn’t want to do. Listen to your body: does it want to stretch? Awesome. Does it want you to back off? Then you do it.
I don’t demand from my body more than my body can do when I’m practising yoga. I *get* it.
I have this understanding with me, I just need to apply it to my emotional life.
This is how I accidentally stumbled upon Self-compassion.
And here’s my hope that you find this post useful.