< Read part 1 here >
“One small thing at a time honey.”
That’s what I commented a few days ago on a friends Facebook post. She was sharing that she felt drained and overwhelmed by how difficult life was at the moment.
One small thing at a time. That’s what helps me. Even though it doesn’t FEEL small when you get up to do it.
One day, I made the phone call I was supposed to have made days earlier.
I also made arrangements for the boys trip to New Jersey.
I went home and went to bed early. That’s what I needed that day after doing the difficult task of working all day AND making 2 phone calls.
The next day, as soon as I got home from work, I grabbed the hooks and put that picture right back on the wall where it belonged.
Something inside me exhaled a little.
The mountain still loomed large ahead of me but I’d taken that first couple of steps.
One small thing at a time.
I rescheduled the dentist appointment. That one I just couldn’t do. I know my mental limits. I’ll try again next month.
I washed dishes and moved the vacuum cleaner from beside the dining room table to the “cleaning supplies/tools” nook.
As I crossed things off the list, my chest felt lighter.
Shaunie asked me what I was going to do next. “Put clean sheets on the guest bed” I said. She replied. “I’ll do it“.
Upstairs, I put a couple shirts in a drawer and the handbags that were lounging beside the bed went back to their rightful position.
On my way out the door headed to work, I picked up the politicians flyer that had been thrown onto my lawn and used it to dust away cobwebs that had formed between the light and the spigot attached to the house.
Small things. They help.
As of the publishing of this post, I am back to “normal”. The kids are home from spending 2 weeks with their Grandma. The house is pretty tidy although we haven’t done any unpacking from all our travels so there are 8(!) pieces of luggage packed into the den. We haven’t done any of that laundry either. I’m not worried about it at all though. I’m glad it’s the weekend and we don’t have any set plans. We will probably end up going to the movies or something equally chill. I am really looking forward to next weekend since we will be hanging out with friends and family from all over.
I recognize that my anxiety is not as crippling as other peoples.
I do not take it for granted that I have the ability to recognize my emotions for what they are. I know better than to make big decisions while I am in that state.
*Thankfully (and maybe because I know myself so well now) the moments of being down pass more quickly than they used to.*
I do not take it for granted that I am fairly good at dealing with my brain in a healthy way. Never turning to drugs or other dangerous habits.
I do not take for granted that I am lucky to have a supportive and understanding partner. She’s never dismissive or condescending.
I have gotten better at leaving a space open for love to seep in.
I know there was a line in part 1 where I said “How can I explain it to her?” … But she knows the full me. Before I ever hit publish on Part 1, I sent it to Shaunie. In the past, I would have held it all inside. Progress.
Truth be told, I didn’t plan to or think I would ever hit publish on it.
But here we are.
I still wonder if I am being too open.
I hope that if nothing else, my writing helps others to know they are not alone. I hope it makes people see that there’s no shame in doing what you need to do to keep your self sane.
I hope that people see that even though it’s scary to be vulnerable, it makes a huge difference when you let it be known that you need help and when you allow yourself to be helped. Whether that help is in the form of talking to a professional therapist, or taking a daily prescription medication, or just letting a caring and concerned loved one know that you need a break so they cook you dinner and don’t give you a hard time about wasting time on frivolous TV. Whatever you actually need.