*** Defying Shadows turns Two this August! To Celebrate, we are going to spend the part of the month resharing some of our favourite posts! Enjoy! ***
Those long, cold days of winter are usually what really get me. When you’ve got the blues, sometimes it just feels like you’re sinking. You long for a sunny beach and a healthy dose of vitamin D to pull you out.
Lately, I’ve had the blues and (thankfully) it’s nowhere near winter. I’ve been watching the news, like most of you have, and it’s been painful, disheartening, frightening. Our beautiful ally France has suffered immeasurably…again. Our country is suffering too, fighting against itself and tensions are higher and hate more prevalent than in any other time since I’ve been on this earth. I’ve had some extra stress and a super busy schedule (not a bad thing) that hasn’t allowed me much time to write and I need to.
Thanks to Crohn’s, I’ve had increased pain and too little sleep, and if you know anything about autoimmune disease, then you know that we need our sleep. The “anniversaries” of both my parents’ deaths loom a few weeks ahead. Let’s not forget hormone fluxes. (My favorites! Buckle up, 30-somethings. This is a super fun element of the otherwise empowering 40’s).
Add up these circumstances and I get why I’m feeling mucky. I try to be optimistic. I try to always encourage and never discourage. But as we all do, I have my days too. You know the ones: you feel like yuck, question whether anything you do makes a difference, wonder if you’re good enough and all that.
Call a friend: In fact, in the depths of singing the blues, my best friend actually called me. She gave me some perspective on things. We had a great talk. She gets me and understood what I was feeling. She actually inspired this post because I took her advice, did some stuff, and felt better for it.
Pray: Like Jen said, “get on your knees and pray.” She generously sent me some screenshots of prayers that have helped her. I silently wished that getting on my knees and praying was always my Plan A. The truth is, worry, anxiety and sometimes even panic are my Plan A and then I pray. I want prayer and giving it over to God to be my automatic plan of action.
Pamper Yourself: Also a suggestion from Jen. Do something special for yourself. Whether it’s coffee with a friend, just going in your bedroom for half an hour and listening to music and reading (her specific suggestion for me to do immediately), or a spa day, do something that’s just for you, to decompress and get your mind off things and find some peace.
Count Your Blessings: This is what makes me feel better. I literally start naming them, sometimes out loud. Family, friends, abilities, our home, jobs, freedom. Start praying for others’ needs too. It reminds you that there are good things and people in your life.
Get Out of Dodge: Take a vacation. Or a staycation. Whatever falls within your means of time and finances, do that. If you can only spare an afternoon, go. This is what I did. And I didn’t want to really. It felt like too much energy to go meet my best friend for the day. Even though I really wanted to, I just felt like such a sloth (no offense to sloths. They’re weirdly cute, deliberate creatures). But, being the true friend she is, she didn’t accept that and she pushed me a little. She made pedicure appointments for us and away we went, meeting in the middle between our separate towns and it was glorious. Just two gals eating, shopping and being pampered. (Sidebar: We did it on a budget. We’ve got teenagers! We had no choice.)
Maybe alone time is what you crave. Take a book and sit on the beach. Go away for a weekend alone. Shut off your phone and walk away from the social media mania. Unplug.
If you can’t shake these blues or you start feeling worse, please call your doctor and express this. He or she will help you in whatever way you need, so please let them.
If you’re like me, however, and you get the periodic doldrums that eventually lift, call your dear friend. Pray. Laugh. Unplug. Recharge. And restore.
Hang in there,
Melanie Pickett is a writer and blogger and is currently completing her first nonfiction book. She has battled Crohn’s disease and complications, has a now-healthy son who was born prematurely under challenging circumstances, and survived a 15-year abusive marriage and her first husband’s mental illness and eventual suicide. A wife and mother of two, she loves Red Wings hockey, reading, playing piano, and traveling adventures.