I've been in a real low head space the past few days. I struggle with what to share here, as I want to keep this a space of light and warmth and clarity -- but I also believe deeply that it should be honest. Mostly, when I get in this low place, I don't know how to communicate. I mostly just want to tuck into myself and ride it out, as I don't want to burden anyone with the heaviness I feel. I find it difficult to share what I feel because I can't quite trust what I am feeling -- I know that as the heaviness lifts, a lot of my thoughts worried out in that darkness will look different to me. But lately, its been the same worries grinding out over and over and the cycle barely shifts into a good spot before I've got myself worried into lowness again.
My body is so heavy right now. In the past year, my body has been pregnant twice and gone through essentially two major surgeries. I've gained (and lost and gained) what seems to me an incredible amount of weight. Everything aches. None of my clothes fit. This isn't the condition I want to carry myself in. I feel dumpy and unattractive most of the time, and mostly like a pack mule, with a babe at my hip and in my belly. The belly is really the only thing I feel good about. I like my belly (maybe because it is something of an excuse for the rest of me?) and I love what it signifies. Oh, but everything else...
But! When I get myself going in this stream of thought (which is hard to avoid, even without mirrors) everything else crumbles. And I dig so deep into it that I lose my tools for pulling myself out. If I can catch myself early enough -- or if Sebastian can catch me -- there are some things that help.
Maybe this could be considered an ongoing struggle with post-partum depression. Maybe it is late pregnancy hormonal issues. Maybe it is just one swing of the pendulum of the bipolar battle. Probably its a doozy trifecta of all three.
Maybe you know what I'm talking about?
I do know that, once I am in a place where I am able, talking about it helps. So do some other things...
- My tea. A special brew of red raspberry leaf, nettle and peppermint. I try and keep a pint of this infusion around at all times. I like to drink it with ice. It certainly isn't a stand-alone cure, but I always feel refreshed and lighter after drinking it.
- Geranium, sweet orange and lemon essential oils. If I remember, I wear some combination of these everyday. They're one of the first things Sebastian grabs if he notices I'm feeling down -- a couple drops rubbed into my neck and scalp are good, good, good.
- Listening to my hypnobabies relaxation and joyful pregnancy affirmations. This is definitely pregnancy-specific, but lying down in a darkened room with my headphones in, being talked through a deepening and relaxing exercise is often just the break I need from myself. Its also a good break for my body.
- A hot shower. I've been working on the Be a Beacon series this month, since Martinmas, and one of the first things we've worked through is taking time for personal meditation and reflection each day. Melissa encourages early morning meditation, but that doesn't quite work with our rhythm at this point in time. I do a lot of my best thinking in the shower, and have really been trying to turn this time when I am definitely alone and undistracted inward. On days when I am so low, it is best for me not to think on the things that I am struggling with (as they are already heavy on me, and I'm not in a place to work on how I might change them) but rather the things that I feel good about, that feel right. The way Pan has begun imitating certain looks I give him (with the requisite humor) and how far we have come in creating a rhythm that envelopes our days in a comforting predictability and sense of accomplishment. How smoothly our last move went, and how right this new space feels.
- Having a network of people who are so willing to cradle me in warmth and kindness when I let them.
Its an ongoing struggle. I think I've gotten better at working at it over the past year, though of course it doesn't seem that way when I'm stuck low in it. Sometimes it feels like it will never end. But its a significant part of my life right now, this tucking away into myself for days at a time, and it has a great affect on people I care deeply for. And so I think it deserves an honest airing out, as this is a space that is important to me, that I care deeply about.