So. Yesterday I engaged with my cold-meltdown and described the feelings & thought patterns that it brought up. Today, I writing about what helped.
Giving myself space
Despite the fact that this cold was not all that “serious”, (ie: I could breath through my nose most of the time) I treated it with utmost care. I gave myself plenty of space and time to heal.
I said to myself: “sweetie, you have a cold, you are not going to do any work and you are going to spend the day in bed. Yes, even if it doesn’t look “too serious”. You need to rest.”
I’m happy to say I’ve practised self-care since the moment I noticed the first symptoms. AND I noticed smaller symptoms than I used to. I am proud of myself for doing this. Sparklepoints for me! I treated myself with kindness and practised self care. This is major progress, and it wouldn’t have happened without the inner work I’ve been doing for the past 2 years. Awesomes.
Today I did yoga and tried to meditate. What I realised was that during the 5 days of my cold, my chest had closed down. Which means I could not take deep breaths.
Listen to this, because it’s important: if you suffer from depression, or anxiety or both (they nearly always come hand in hand) then you need to work on your breathing.
Nobody ever tells you that! But yes: anxiety has you only able to take small gasps of air, and that makes the “anxiety loop” eternal. Because when you can’t breath enough, the body goes into “PANIC” mode. And the anxiety and depressive thoughts get worse and worse.
So: deep, calm, relaxed breathing. Hard work, but necessary.
Being kind to ourselves means giving us space to suffer and feel crap and do no yoga for days and feel generally miserable without chastising ourselves for any of it.
That line is easy to read, isn’t it? But when you try to apply it, oh boy is it hard! It’s the “without chastising ourselves for any of it” that makes it essential . And nearly impossible.
I only managed to be patient with myself regarding yoga & meditation. I felt I was losing my marbles without practising: my depression was getting worse and worse. So I clung to the hope that I’d be able to move my body again in a few days’ time.
I said that I wasn’t able to notice much of my “stuff” because there was simply too much of it.
But it just so happens that any amount of “noticing” is useful. I know this, though I could not remember it during my cold-meltdown.
I noticed that I was feeling seriously angry and sad. I noticed what I so desperately wanted, ie: support, care, love.
It may have hurt like Hell to know what I needed and not be able to get it from anyone, including me. But noticing always helps, because some part of me knew I was on my side.
All this “I hate the world, and everyone”, all this “damn the revolution”, all this “WHAT ABOUT ME, YOU EVIL PEOPLE WHO NEVER THINK ABOUT ME?!?!”, all this anger and sadness… it’s a sign to “retreat inwards”. To forget about the world for one second and focus on myself.
It is important to remember this. It makes it easier for me to go “oh, right, I clearly need to spend time with myself and give myself what I need”. I can say to myself “this is not the time to interact with people, or read the news; this is a time for you to rest”. It makes it easier to practice kindness.
Saying “I’m sorry you are feeling so awful” helps. I remembered to do it. It may not sound like much, but it helps. Because a part of me knew that I was on my side: yes, I may have been feeling horrible, but at least a part of me could see that I was feeling horrible and that I didn’t want to. A part of me was on my side.
Wishing myself what I needed so much. Like, literally saying “Mary, I am here wishing you love and happiness. I may not be able to do anything in this state, but at least I can wish you love and happiness”. It helps. And when I read that line a few days later, I felt even better: a part of me was wishing me good. A part of me was on my side.
In case I have not made the subliminal message clear enough, here it is again:
Try to be on your side, as much as you can
Really. When all else fails, you can be there for you. And when you can’t be there for you, because you feel depressed and miserable and everything is pants, then you can at least wish yourself what you need. And when you can’t do that? You notice that you can’t.
Hope this helps.