It took food poisoning for me to take my mind seriously. My mental health was going between something of grand importance to an afterthought in the strive for productivity. Being that weak and vulnerable after being sick only reminds you how much grounding you need. Those who get it, they get it. Anxiety and/or the troubles of undiagnosed ADHD become a mental trap that becomes numb a vicious cycle of clarity and then terrifying concern.
The body aches and dehydration left me weak and vulnerable and that throwing up my morning medications didn’t exactly help anything. The physical and the mental took on a tag team effort. I was simply trying to assert that resting was best for me at the same time my mind was shouting and whispering all the worries it could. It felt like an impossible battle at many points, but it takes calling out your own mind to set things right. My inner dialogue had become that one scene from New Girl about sponges (see below).
My mind said “It’s time for you to reflect on some sh*t!” and while I did need to focus more on not feeling body aches and akin to a raisin, it made sense in the midst of the chaos. So here’s a little bit of what I reflected on:
You’re not weak because you got sick. You’re not alone in the struggles. The connections around you matter. Your body is recovering and doing the best it can right now. There isn’t an easy way to confront burnout, but it’s here and you have to face it. Acknowledge that anxiety became that b*tch and lied to you about productivity and meaningful existence. Every brushstroke, every photo, every word typed has a meaning because it means something to you. Your very existence is art and there will always be difficult days. You are not supposed to carry what you love with you as if it sticks thorns in your sides. Bringing priority to your mind and health isn’t selfish. You’ve got to reframe this vision of what we think will happen. Sadness and panic won’t disappear from life. There’s more power within you than you realize.
Mental health involves inner joy, goals, excitement, visions, dreams and everything in between. It’s so easy to slip down into that deep dark hole. Things can become exhausting, I felt that in more ways than one. But when it comes to pushing through, what can be found on the other side can end up making all the difference. I’m trying not to let the color of my life drain away, because I and my energy contain worth no matter what. It all depends on who is by your side, how you are kind to yourself (because you have to be) and acknowledging the privilege and resources you have in your circle because sometimes it’s larger than you realize.