The other day I was feeling really low….
I mean the world and my entire existence went to grey, and all of my drive and motivation was sucked right out of me.
It was like I was forced into slow motion and every task was a tremendous mental strain and physical effort.
And let’s not forget that, for a moment or two, I actualy thought that I might not even ever emerge from this!
Plus, I won’t lie, there was a moment when I questioned if it’s okay for me, the therapist, to even be in this state of mind at all!
Was I letting my community and my clients down? Was I a fake?
And then, just as bed time was winding down and I could refocus on myself, my low mood took a sudden turn and I started to feel a mounting agitation and a growing sense overwhelmed.
I could feel my breath shortening, my heart beating and my mind racing.
It was like my body was screaming out to me to pay attention…
So I did.
Standing by my kitchen counter, bracing my sink, I noticed the thoughts, feeling and sensations churning and spinning in me like a wild storm….
And then, almost instantly… it all stopped.
It was this lucid moment of clarity when it was so evident to me what was happening.
I know exactly what this is!
I was panicking.
And despite thinking, “Holy poo I can’t believe this is happening”, I was able to acknowledge what was going on for me.
And as I payed attention to the sensations in my body, I began to notice the tidal wave recede, leaving a quiet sense of acceptance.
“Oh, wait, I’m not losing it,” I told myself.
As my aroused emotions simmered down, I was able to reflect on the sensations they provoked and understood that what I was experiencing was, in fact, my body calling to my mind to pay attention to those emotions that were calling to be felt.
Even though my low mood stuck around, it was suddenly less scary.
“I mean, this feels really crumby,” I thought, “but I know what’s going on here and I know what I need to do”.
So I gave myself permission to pay attention to the sensations in my body and just be with them as they ebbed and flowed, I took it easy on myself, exercised some serious self compassion, connected with my needs and (pushed myself to) reach out for support.
And guess what?
Today I feel a lot better.
Not because I overcame or vanquished those thoughts and feelings, but because I was willing to make space for them and let them be, without judgement or an attempt to change them.
By giving myself permission to encounter those hidden parts of myself and accept them as they are, a part of me, I was able to move through my grey and stormy mood and reconnect with my sense of joy and purpose.
This won’t be the last time I will be challenged by a low mood and called to encounter my deeper experiences, but last night’s storm was proof that when we work to uncover, understand and accept every depth of ourselves, facing the ups and down in life become easier to tolerate and manage.
I too am working for years on emotional well-being. I think my biggest mistake is thinking that because I’ve learned about it and practiced it, these kind of storms will not happen. Every time I have to remind myself that emotional well being is knowing how to deal with these storms. Not not having them.