I could not get into my groove last week: I wanted to hide from the world, just stop (and never start again if possible). I was running a permanent fantasy in my head of climbing back under the duvet and staying there until, well until I could be bothered with life again. But I forced myself to ‘show up’ for everything, in an attempt to jump-start my sparkle. I did my usual feel good tactics: exercise, best friend therapy, writing, reading inspirational stories, a lovely weekend with friends and Hubby. I even threw in some Daniel Craig and Green and Black’s for good measure. But none of it was enough to shift the grey mood. (And I definitely don’t suit grey, my mood is normally red or pink or purple.)
As I spoke to other friends, I soon realised I was not alone. Whether it was going back to work, the weather (which was stormy and blustery here) or the post-Christmas sugar comedown (or maybe it is the post-Christmas bulge that makes looking in the mirror an act of bravery), it seemed like everyone was feeling off their game.
But that I was not alone in my grumpiness did not comfort me – I after all should know better; as part of my recovery I also – obviously – became superhuman.
When I was poorly, plastered to the bed or sofa, unable to take part in normal activities, I would promise myself that once I was well I would make the most of every second of life; that I would appreciate life in a new way; that I would be grateful for everything I would be able to do. So imagine my disappointment in finding out that my bubble of ‘isn’t life amazing’ happiness was well and truly burst and that I was, dare I say it, actually moping around; that I still have ‘bad’ days; that I still feel low sometimes; that I am human.
I was so angry with myself too, angry that I couldn’t snap out of it. There was plenty of internal ‘get a grip woman’ moments.There was after all nothing wrong, nothing ‘bad’ had happened, I was simply out of synch with my inner zest.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting wellness to transform my life into a perfect life, for life to be suddenly free of challenges or problems. But I was expecting that I would handle everything differently; that nothing would phase me now; that I now have the secret to life and happiness. Because (and here is my rather excellent logic) once you have had your life taken away from you in some capacity, you damn well appreciate it when you get it back. And you have a greater sense of what is important, knowing not to get upset over the small stuff (or at least you’re supposed to). Now I am well I expect myself to be making the most of my life every second of every day. Yes, oh wise ones, this is exhausting!
And not only have I discovered that I am not superhuman, it turns out I am exactly the same person as I was before all of this. Well, maybe not exactly the same, I mean presumably I have learnt something along the way. But I am still me: I am still a drama queen, I still worry about stuff not worthy of worrying about, I still have insecurities, I still have off days – I am still bloody human.
I can’t tell you how disappointing this is! I was so convinced that I would come out of this journey new and improved, permanently floating round in that bubble of happiness; that nothing would pierce the sheer joy of just feeling strong and healthy. And of course, this ‘grey’ week is a small challenge compared to what has gone before, a better quality of worry if you like. But still.
Maybe I can find a way of turning off my high expectation button, or at least turn it down slightly, and utilise my appreciation of wellness in a less demanding way. And maybe remembering the range of emotions that comes with ‘normal’ life is just another stage of moving forward. Having feelings – good and bad – about a whole variety of things, and not just recovery, is, I guess, normal.
And I have used a lot of the techniques I have learnt on my recovery journey to help pick myself up (which I am glad to report have started to get me grooving again) techniques that I didn’t have at my disposal seven years ago. So maybe, just maybe I am slightly improved after all! Or as my friend sweetly said to me at the weekend, maybe you didn’t need improving anyway…