Just breathe

Lately I have been under a lot of stress and my buckets are not only running dry but it appears I might have some sand at the bottom. Maybe even some tiger mussels. Is that a pop can?

I’m not the only one. A lot of people who are in my inner circle of friends and family are feeling stressed out. It’s like shoveling shit from a seating position and they keep bringing more trucks full of the stuff. Work, family, the things we are hearing on the news, the continued politicization of the pandemic, the cost of gasoline, ex-spouse shenanigans, and why is everything still so smokey outside?

There are times I feel guilty for being an emotional drain on those around me, so much to the point where I just withdraw. I’m not the only one. I’ve got baggage. I’m always honest about the baggage I carry around with others, but I’m not always honest about it with myself. I can handle it. I can carry it. I can do this without asking for help. I can do this all day!

Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you just feel these little earthquakes rumble up from inside of yourself. One more phone call or text or email that comes in and you hear yourself saying “Oh what the fuck else?!”

There’s a thing called spoon theory that I learned about from someone who had cancer a long time ago. It goes like this. Every day we get a number of spoons. Everything we do uses a spoon. When we are out of spoons, that’s it. No more energy for the day. We might get ten spoons. We might get three.

When people talk about spoon theory, you know that you’ve been reusing your spoons. You’re not just out of spoons for the week on a Tuesday, but you’ve been eating soup with a fork for a while.

Money, kids, your job, family, relationships, court, whatever is on the News, sickness, self-doubt, trying new things, fighting Resistance, getting out of your own way, deadlines, annoying people, Other People’s Problems, and just about any other ingredient in this awful stew we have to stir and consume every day.

I hate when things get like this. I hate how I feel. I hate what I put others through in dealing with my anxiety, insecurity, stress, depression, guilt, and lately it feels like a tapestry of the stuff that has been woven over so many of us these days. As a recovering co-dependent, it is hard to not try to take responsibility for how others are feeling. Sure, you can try to help others–and you should–but you cannot feel what they are feeling for them. That is something each of us has to do for ourselves and we are stuck doing alone.

I’ve been reluctant to write about self-care and mental health because there is someone who just loves to screen cap my blog posts and use them against me in court. I wish as some point someone would realize that is sorta stalkery and I also wish they would understand that I’m trying to help other people with my words. That talking about these kinds of things is actually healthy. What isn’t healthy is being afraid to express yourself in a safe and constructive way. What also isn’t healthy is knowing someone who hates you is probably your most avid reader. So, I just keep talking.

Silence never did anybody any good when it comes to stress. Being seen. Being heard. It’s okay to let other people in and ask for help too. This platform just has a wider reach.

I’m not a fan of meditation. In my opinion, it is like being stuck in an elevator with the most annoying person in the world who just won’t stop singing that stupid Lambchop song. Unfortunately that annoying person is called Overthinking. Some days it’s “the Song that Never Ends” and other days it’s “I’m Henry the Eighth!” (Second verse! Same as the first!)

I don’t do drugs. I’ve had a psychologist suggest cannibis, but then he recanted and said “Naw, you’re paranoid enough”. It doesn’t help that whatever paranoia I have is spurred on by someone actively trying to wreck my life. Sometimes those monkeys come over into your circus. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.

But eventually there comes a point when you have to stop overthinking, worrying, imagining the worst case scenario, and just close your eyes and breathe. Just a few deep, slow breaths. In and out. It is hard to accept happiness when everything that is running out of you is pushing it away. Just like breathing, you have to take in the good air and breathe out the bad. If all we do is breathe out, we can’t take in what is good.

I guess if I were a spritualist, I would have to say that it is just being present in the moment. I am me. Living in this moment.

All the things that came before are over and we really don’t know what is to come. For those few breaths, we know that we are breathing. That is a fact. That is something solid enough to build the rest of your day around.

So, just remember to breathe.