A Rough Week
I had a very different blog post scheduled to go up on Tuesday of this week. It was about Bali, it is still coming later this month, but I couldn't bring myself to finish editing it. Considering that today is National Mental Health Awareness day back home I figured I'd write this instead.
I've had a rough week.
It is currently 3:45pm on Thursday afternoon, it's pouring rain, and the sun is just barely peeking through the clouds. I haven't really done anything productive today. I woke up at 11:30, got dressed, brushed my teeth, put my hair in a bun, drank half a cup of coffee, ate a slice of banana bread, called my best friend, watched an episode of my new favorite show, and made an instagram post. That's it.
This week has sucked. Which is frustrating because for the past two or so months I've been doing really, really well. That has been a struggle for me because since I was doing well for so long I started to feel like I would never have to deal with any of those old negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions again. Which isn't true, I know that now.
Last night I had a panic attack. It was the first really bad one I've had since July. I still haven't really been able to pinpoint exactly why it happened. It was around 1am, I had just made a cup of tea, everything was as fine as it could be, and then thoughts started swirling and I felt like I couldn't breathe. Around 1:30 I finally got up out of my bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and went to sleep. I don't have a clear memory of in between the panic beginning and getting ready for bed.
When I woke up I picked up the cup of tea from my desk, poured it down the drain, and replaced it with a cup of coffee. It's instant coffee and it sucks so the half full mug is still sitting next to me as I type this.
If I had to take a guess as to why this week has been so rough I would blame it on the return of old thoughts and habits, along with the upcoming changes in my life. I don't like change, I've written about that before. It scares me, I like to be comfortable in where I am and who I'm with. I have finally felt that way about Australia and now my flight home is looming closer and closer. I want to go home, I do, I can't wait to hug my mom and see my dog. However, two months after I get home I board a flight to London and will be studying there for six months. Just typing that sentence makes me sick to my stomach. I want to go, it is a wonderful opportunity and I can't wait to explore Europe. But the thought of being put into another entirely new environment with complete strangers and having to acclimate myself again is terrifying.
The fear and anxiety that I've been feeling towards the upcoming change in my life has made me fall back into bad old habits as I mentioned before. I know that I've grown because I am aware of the habits and that they are bad, and I try to stop them each day. For me those habits are restricting eating and pulling away from people. They're sort of like defense mechanisms for me, when I am scared or anxious I pull away and then try to control whatever I can and that just happens to be my eating. In order to help myself instead of hurt myself I have been talking and writing.
I told my best friend and she helped to talk some sense it to me and remind me that everything is okay. I wrote for an hour in my journal last night. And I am writing this post now. It helps me to write things instead of just thinking them. Writing is less permanent than talking, I have a backspace bar. Also, no one has to read it if I don't want them to, but I still know that it exists in the world, and that if I ever do want to share it I can.
Along with the bad habits comes negative thoughts. In a lot of ways I think those are worse than the habits. The thoughts drive the habits. My problem is that I tend to spiral down a hole of all the bad choices I've ever made in my life: tests I failed, relationships I ruined, projects I never finished, things I wish I never said, things I could of done better, and the list goes on and on for an eternity. I get stuck on certain ones and then that's all I can think about all day and it turns my inner dialogue into one of self criticism and hatred that is then reaffirmed by the spiral of thoughts.
This is a hard one to overcome, it is so easy to become stuck in your own head. Writing helps me with that too, I write down all of the negative thoughts, then I read over them. Then I can physically see them and read them, and I can also reaffirm myself that everything is okay. Yes, I have made mistakes in my life and those bad things did happen but that doesn't make me less deserving of happiness in my life. Then I can write down the good things about myself and have those to read as well. It helps.
So, yes, I've had a rough week. I haven't eaten like I should, I haven't been as productive as I should be, and I've pulled away from friends. All of those things are true. However, what is also true is that I ate breakfast this morning, I am writing a blog post now, and I made plans to study later with my friends. I am trying and that means that maybe next week won't be as rough.
It is okay to go through rough patches or to relapse. It happens to everyone. What isn't okay is ignoring those rough patches and giving into them. It is hard to be actively aware of negative thoughts and habits, and to try to work through them. But it is worth it. Even though it won't feel good while you're doing it, you'll probably feel just as shitty as I do right now, you'll feel better a week, month, and year from now when you're no longer in the rough patch.
Always remember that your thoughts, feelings, and emotions are valid and real. Always remember that it is okay to ask for help and to reach out to any and all resources you have. Always remember that even when it feels like you are the worst person in the world and no one cares or loves you, that they do and I do-I promise.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health, so take care of yourself.