I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. When I’m happy, you know about it. When I’m not, the same applies.
Though, for me, happiness shows itself through smiles and hugs and boundless enthusiasm, while the opposite manifests through silences and sulks rather than overt sadness or anger.
And that’s that.
Or at least that was that until I discovered a whole new range of emotions this year as life as I knew it began to crumble, and my desperation for a diagnosis grew.
It all began with trying to keep a lid on my struggles. Trying to get through a day’s work each day when I was physically and mentally crumbling. I look back now and I can see outbursts of passive aggressive behaviour, of being incredibly short-tempered, of letting even the smallest problem weigh on my mind like the world had ended.
Once I finally cracked and stopped working, it was frustration that then reared its ugly head. Frustration about the things I used to be able to do but couldn’t, frustration at not knowing what was wrong with me.
Then there was the guilt at being off work, guilt at knowing my colleagues were having to work harder in my absence, guilt about the ‘okay’ days as that surely meant I should be at work.
On top of that, the worry. Worry that my employer thought I was pulling a sickie. Worry that my colleagues were talking about me behind my back. Worry that I was making up my symptoms and that it was all in my mind.
During the course of the last year I’ve hit emotional lows where I’ve wondered if there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve wanted to curl up in a ball in a dark corner on my own away from the world. I’ve hated myself for existing rather than living.
But something clicked about ten months into this ‘journey’. My mind shifted when I realised most of these emotions were actually a pointless drain on my energy. I’d begun learning about the need to pace myself and noticed that emotions that didn’t serve any purpose were flattening my valuable internal batter.
Frustration only reinforces the negative. If I focus on all the things I can’t do, I’ll just tire myself out and fall deeper into a hole. Instead, focusing on the things I can do helps.
Guilt about being off work was silly. I’m unwell and can’t get through the day without needing to lie down and sleep when I’m doing nothing, never mind if I was working.
Worry about what others are thinking is an utter waste. It won’t change what they think. And, besides, the rational me knows they’re not actually talking about me.
Of course this all sounds simple… but it actually is simple. Letting go of pointless emotions means my energy is less drained. My energy being less drained means I feel better. When I feel better, my emotions become positive. When I’m more positive, I realise I have so much to be grateful for.
Yes, I currently can’t do a full day’s work. I need a sleep in the day. I can’t walk far. I can’t hold down long, deep conversations. But I am awake for a number of hours. I can go for a short stroll. I can enjoy a short chat. And I can doing things like write blogs to share my experiences to help others.
I’ve not mastered it. There are days when I catch myself slipping. But I’ve seen the cycle enough to be able to catch it early.
What have you noticed about your emotions? How have you shifted yourself from the dark to the light? I’d appreciate your insight, as I’m sure other Zonked Club reader would. Get in touch… and once you have, smile knowing that you’ve made a difference.