I’ve been off this blog for quite some time now…only making a brief appearance to help me process the deep sorrow of losing my grandmother. Since then, it’s popped into my head a few times accompanied with a nagging notion that I should really try to post more; that it’d help me continue to move forward, help me to heal. It’s hard to recognize that I actually need healing. Not only from the pain of losing someone I loved so deeply, but from all the wounds that I have accrued in my 30 years of living. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and thought of this blog again. I started it as a creative outlet to help keep me motivated and growing and learning, as well as with the hope of building a community, no matter how small, to encourage others to do the same. I consider crafting and creating to be a form of self-care and I’m sure I need it more than ever now. But in reflecting, I can confess that it’s been so hard over this last year to even do that. It’s shameful that it’s still taboo to open up about one’s “ailments” especially when they fall into the mental health realm. As an advocate for mental health, I’m almost ashamed that I still very rarely talk about my own mental health openly. The stigma that we face in doing so is so burdensome that it’s easier to stay quiet and continue to be hidden and suffer in our torment alone. It’s really, really hard to announce when you have depression and anxiety diagnoses, or a disease, or chronic illness…but it’s even harder to acknowledge and accept these things for yourself.
This last year has been a battle for me in trying to find out what is going on with me and to prove that I wasn’t going crazy. But I can only write this in the hope that I’m getting to the other side. When my health began failing a year ago and no one could figure out why or what was going on, that was struggle enough. But when you throw depressive episodes on top of failing health, often a symptom of my debilitating failing health, that was near impossible. Trying to be creative was absolutely out of the question because those are the days when even self-care becomes a challenge and the only thing you can convince yourself to do is get out of bed and that’s worth celebrating. Those are the days when you beat yourself up and break down because you can’t even find the energy to do the dishes or laundry, and paying that bill was all you could muster. Conversation is a challenge, thinking is a challenge, living is a challenge. You live in those days succumbed by fear and shame and the constant internal struggle thinking that you should be able to just push yourself through this and “get better.” But in those days, the reality is that you can’t.
I still may not have an official diagnosis; I may be an anomaly and an experiment; I may continue to have my brain observed and my body poked more times than I think is necessary while I’m just trying to get someone to listen to me; but I also may be heading into remission now and frankly, that’s all that I can focus on. Right now I need to continue to try to get better and return to life. The life that I once had. It’s for this reason that I jumped at the opportunity to take my most recent trip to Scotland and Ireland. I needed to. I needed to prove to myself that my life doesn’t stop and that I can continue to do th the things I’ve yearned to do. I needed to keep pushing forward and try to heal. And all at the same time, I needed a break. There were so many reasons why I shouldn’t have gone on the trip, but none of them could outweigh the one reason why I should have; I needed to. Life didn’t stop just because I got sick. Everyone else and everything kept moving forward while I struggled to stay afloat let alone keep up. I needed to hit the pause button especially at a rare moment that I was starting to feel somewhat better again. The emotional connection I’ve felt with Ireland has been a long-standing one, most likely due to my Irish heritage, so having this opportunity now at a time when I needed it the most wasn’t one I could pass up. And thankfully, it was the best decision that I ever could have made.
Though I haven’t been on this blog for a while, I endeavor to keep moving forward and creating. I may not post as regularly as I hope, but I will try in order to keep myself motivated, growing, and learning. For now, though, as the tragedy of France over shadows my highly sensitive emotions and I reflect on the horror that is inflicted on fellow human beings throughout the rest of the world without so much as getting a headline, I need to take pause and continue to practice self-care. Maybe we all do.