“Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life!”
– or some such phrase expressing the unbridled potential of each new day. Summon your favourite and we can get started…
Welcome to what I must admit is a rare, candid, somewhat difficult Honesty Hour. Today, I woke up on an interesting ‘side’ of the figurative bed. If you are like me and suffer from anxiety or depression, you’ll know what I mean when I say that there are many ‘sides’ of the bed that one can wake up on, populating the space that separates ‘good’ from ‘bad’.
I’ll skip the sob story about struggles with eating, body image and mental health that is so typical of this kind of blog post, I suppose. I wouldn’t wanna make me read that either. We’ve all struggled, we’ve all been there. The only important thing to note is the connection between the three.
Many moons ago, the reality and significance of the mind-body connection hit home. But, like most other creatures of comfort, I avoid unpleasantness and am slave to instant gratification. So, I’ve been in a comfortable, easy state of denial ever since.
Despite my resolution for 2015 being that it would be a simple, unremarkable “jeans and t-shirts” kind of year – where I saved a lot and focused on working – there’ve been a number of curveballs that have brought this important connection back to the fore.
To summarize: This year I came clean with the outside world about my depression. I finally sought help, which meant also addressing the anxiety that’s been fuelling my compulsive, aggressive skin-picking for over a decade. This year I was diagnosed with PCOS after an otherwise inexplicable 67 days sans period, which is not only linked to the the anxiety and depression – but also explains the 12 extra kilos I’ve been carrying around of late.
I can speak about it all now because it’s been a blessing in disguise and I’ve come to terms with it. That’s not to say that it’s been a smooth road, though. No, sir’ree! Things definitely had to get worse before they could start getting better, and 2015’s abundance of learning curves and potholes nearly cost me a fantastic job, a handful of loved ones – and once or twice, my life. (this last sentence is the pinnacle of the melodrama, I promise).
So, after the months of pity-parties, tears, magical potions, synthetic hormones and hours of research that ensued, I have accomplished very little. For me, printing things out and juxtaposing them nicely into promising charts and pretty vision boards has always been my downfall, because it was always pseudo-progress. Having ticked “be proactive” and “change your life” off my list for the day, stuffing something down my gullet in front of the TV with said vision board somewhere in the periphery (but not too near), I’d ease back into my warm, comfortable state of denial… Until I woke up on the usual side of the bed; depressed, in ill health and always, always picking.
No sh*t, Sherlock.
Then, this morning, having just finished another painful ovulatory cycle (hey, at least there was a cycle) – something amazing happened. Today, I woke up in the Right Place. I woke up on the side of the bed that I never thought actually existed without some kind of extreme spiritual rebirth or hundreds of hours of expensive counselling: the penny, she has dropped.
I like to think we’re all actually feeling our way around in the dark when it comes to these things. ‘Changing our stars’, turning our lives around, becoming the people we’ve always wanted to be. It’s a deeply personal experience and there can’t possibly be a one-size-fits-all approach, so we’ve got to find whatever works for us as individuals. I will be the last to prescribe to anyone else how they should tackle it, so there.
It is my gut feel that a healthy mind starts with a healthy, happy body. “As within, so without”. So, without further ado, I embark on my mission of doing just that.