An all or nothin’ gal

“I know there is love that doesn’t have to do with taking something from somebody”  is currently singing softly into my ears as I contemplate what I should write about. (Thanks, sis, for the recommendation; Francis Quinlan- Rare Things.) What happened this week? What is relatable and helpful for people to know? Should I write about my distaste for PSL’s (pumpkin spice latte’s) as a person that identifies as basic (as my one friend urged me to do)? Do people perhaps want to hear about my recent dates? Maybe they would like to know about my most delicious meals from the week? Or how I almost impulsively bought a cat? Which I am glad I did not because I found out my roommate is allergic. Or would it be more interesting to write about my month long of visitors?

I think I will start right here. Right here in this coffee shop on the verge of tears. As I sit in my feelings I will say today I feel down. I was riding a 4 week high only to crash into one of my lows. 4 weeks is the longest I can remember feeling content. I’ve never gone 4 weeks feeling stable in any feeling really. An accomplishment, to say the least. Yet, on Monday when I woke up feeling like maybe getting out of bed was too much work; and perhaps brushing my teeth would cause physical pain; and probably washing my face was too much to ask for.. I was taken aback. A bit of a shock to the system really.

My therapists words echoed in my head “this is just a story you keep telling yourself. You have to pull yourself out and keep fighting.” Okay, I thought, I will keep fighting. I pulled myself out of bed. I ate breakfast and showered as each step felt heavier and heavier. I went to work and listened to other’s sad stories and absorbed more sadness. I cried on my lunch break. As I wiped the tears away I took a deep breathe before entering the building and said ‘keep fighting, Sarah.’

That night I tried to reason with my emotions. Perhaps you could leave now and, hey, why today? Then I decided to take a step back and look at what happened within the last 4 weeks: I ended therapy because I was doing well. My parents came to visit, then my friend, Kitty, came to visit and then my old roommates came to visit. I started dating again. I texted my ex. I drank alcohol. *Not in that order. I didn’t exercise. I ran out of probiotics. I ate amazing food. I spent a copious amount of money. I wrote an amazing blog post about my sister. I worked. I had my first Saturday off in a long time.

BTW, I know what you’re thinking… ‘She skipped right over that whole ex text pretty quickly. Blame the alcohol and the ex text, for sure.’ Fair thought and def. not my finest moment, I admit. However, I don’t believe that was the catalyst for my low. I think about my experience with him often and have messaged him before even while I felt happy. I’ve come to terms with the fact that moving on from that experience is just going to take time.

What was the trigger then? I skimmed through every conversation I could remember and every scenario that I thought potentially brought on these feelings. It was a lot of processing.  Then, to add some humor to it all, as I am feeling this way (with my whole shtick being honesty and bravery mind you) I post a picture to instagram sharing how much love I felt and how happy I was. The caption reads “My heart is so full I’m at a loss for words” and even as I was posting it I thought ‘this is everything I hate about social media. Why am I lying?’ If I were being honest the caption would read “I can’t think of anything to write because I feel extremely sad and I don’t know why, but here are some hella cute pics.” They truly are hella cute pics.

Then it hit me. Between all the laughter and happiness over the last four weeks, there were other emotions that I was pushing aside. I was clinging onto this idea that I was “cured from feeling sadness” even though I know that isn’t how it works. It was as though my therapist saying I don’t have to come in weekly anymore translated to ‘you’ll never be sad again’. I know from my training that all emotions are valid and normal, yet as soon as I got a glimpse of happiness it’s all I wanted to feel. Every moment I thought I was even feeling anything other than sadness I distracted it. I wrapped myself up in happy activities to push away anything else I could feel. Then, when I woke up feeling sad I immediately went down he rabbit hole of ‘this was all I was ever meant to feel’. Again, logically, I know this isn’t how emotions work. We are not all or nothing creatures, even though my type A personality wants it to be that way. I’m an all or nothing girl in a not so all or nothing world. I think it’s because it makes it easier to keep track of in my head. I know how to handle one emotion at a time. When I start to mix them all together I break down. CANNOT COMPUTESYSTEM OVERLOAD.

Yesterday, when I was still feeling down and trying not to fall into this boxed thinking, I thought back on my feelings of happiness and on my previous bouts of depression. Currently, I don’t feel suicidal. I feel tired and even that isn’t debilitating. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize my sadness is actually warranted. In the past there wouldn’t always be a reason for feeling low, sometimes it just was what it was. This time around I was feeling triggered by different events. I was feeling depleted of energy because I pushed myself as a hostess for four weeks. I didn’t take any personal time to recharge between visitors. Now, as I am writing I am also realizing that although I feel sad, it doesn’t mean that I can’t also feel happy. Heck, I can feel sadness while I am happy, anger while I am sad, happiness while I am angry and so on and so on. Again, my type A personality would beg to differ, but she’s going to have to get used to the flexibility.

On Sunday, when I could feel my energy depleting, I decided that I needed to do more tasks that help me feel grounded when my emotions started to feel overwhelming. So, I started reading again, something I stopped when I moved to Alaska. Even in these last few days, it’s brought back this new power in me, where I can feel like I am learning again. #imissschool I forgot how much I missed reading and how much it encourages me to keep writing. How words, when strung together just right, can send a surge of energy through me when I didn’t know I needed it. Even sometimes my own words heal me in a way I didn’t think was possible.

I started this post feeling stuck in my emotions, I even considered skipping it for the week- I am glad I didn’t. As I wrote and unpacked it all, I am feeling lighter and as though life is just a little bit easier. Our emotions are part of being human. If you are feeling stuck in your emotions today, know you are not alone. It may be helpful to write it down or draw it out or even say it out-loud. Say I am human and my emotions are just a part of the ride in a way that feels like a release to you. We all go through it and how powerful is it to know that?

A[wo]men


no words can make you heal

but

touching a pencil to paper

or

the grace of a hand on a keyboard

or

the sound of a booming voice

or

the rhythm of a body matching gentle sounds

having your works etched into the universe

that is where you find healing

-the power of your art

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