I finally have gathered enough spoons together to attempt to do a write up of the other day…. its kinda long and rambling and doesn’t even go into detail or mention half the stuff that I experienced….! This is primarily focused on last saturday.
Low in energy and mood & becoming increasingly depressed. Especially around the thoughts of not being able to do the things I once could. Namely going out and partying through the night.
I had planned a productive day but after realising I had spent my 4 hours so far awake, in bed watching tv, surfing etc, I accepted that I wasn’t going to do all those things I had planned. I came close to cancelling my afternoon meet up/walk, part of me wanting to allow the depression to wash over me and carry me off into the dark painful oblivion of self pity and hatred.
But I said no to that. Despite this walk/meetup being one where I would only know 2 people there, a source of social anxiety, it was because of that fact, a great chance to try meeting new people and opening up my socializing possibilities. This was an opportunity that I craved for and I’d be a fool to miss out on it, especially if to feed the head demons and depression. Had I not been able to get on top of the pain and tiredness that would have been another matter but I simply wasn’t going to let the ‘bad’ head win.
I did not want to throw myself to the black dog, waste the day away wallowing in misery and feeding the negativity. And I knew I could pull myself out of it if only I put a little bit of effort in, so I tried.
I’d been emotionally sensitive for days, mildly tearful and very angry. Going out, meeting lots of new people and expending loads of energy walking, talking and socializing was a big risk. Though a worthwhile one, after all I can never move on and make new friends if I never go out and meet new people! Gotta do new and different things to develop a new and different life 🙂 so it was vital to me that I at least try, that I take that risk and I spend those spoons. Because there was the potential for great reward.
Grumpy, verging on tearful, touched by anger and an urge to turn around and go back to bed. I not only got ‘dressed up’* but left the house and started walking. Very slowly at first but gaining momentum and confidence as I went.
Speaking of confidence, I shocked myself by just how confidently I spoke and dealt with things once out. It was almost like watching somebody else, I could hardly believe it was me. And so consistently too. I did need to regularly withdraw into myself, I guess to recharge and check in, make sure I really was doing okay. Also I would become engulfed in a wave of tiredness and/or emotions and need to take a moment to just be with that, accept that I might need to cry, might need to leave, or maybe just pull away from the group for one minute while I regather myself, which I did many times. And it worked amazingly well
I met A LOT of new people and didnt freak out once, although I was anxious and felt awkward often. But I also allowed myself to be okay with those feelings instead of trying to hide or bury them, and you know what…..nobody said anything negative about it, pointed and laughed or tried to shame me because of some perceived weakness…not once!
I put a lot of me into creating possible new friendships and developing existing ones, the two people i did already know were more close acquaintances rather than friends, though i would now say they are much closer to being friends now 🙂 I was glad I had followed my instinct to spend more time with them. Of course there is a long way to go before I know the full extent of the relationships but so far so good 🙂
I have also do something so amazing I can hardly believe it, even more amazing that the confidence I was feeling though very tied into that. I have joined up with some of the group who are putting on an opera performance!!!! FUCKING YEAH!! All my life I have loved and wanted to be a dancer, singer, performer but because of some of the horrendous abuse while growing up I developed a learned fear of doing anything extroverted. I became cripplingly shy, and could not manage to be outside my head, especially when it came to using my voice. Even now I still apparently talk very quietly. I have done the occasional performance, and loved every one. but without the right guidance I would immediately retreat into myself and not pursue anything. A couple of years ago I took some dance classes, but i always struggled with the terror of being observed and criticized. Even though the tutor would always praise me I still couldnt get past the fear, particularly when there was anyone not part of the class around! But this opera thing, they were telling me about it and I asked to join them.
Fuck me, I still cant believe I did it!! i have been so excited and proud that I did it, I have thought about pulling out 100 times already, and I do need to make sure I can really commit to it, but….I REALLY want to do it!!
It was a day of being open and honest, to myself and to everyone around me. and it worked amazingly, it allowed me to say I wanted to perform, it allowed me to withdraw when I needed to and it allowed me to develop friendships. By being me and not trying to manipulate, fit in or say what I thought i needed to say I had some great conversations. Going into subjects close to my heart and sharing personal experiences, both good and bad, though without getting sucked into the gloom of negativity. It was slightly triggering at times, and I had moments where I was concerned about my sobriety with fears that I would/could lapse. I had been thinking about getting drunk for a couple of days, it happens when i am down and frustrated, the fear that is. In the 5 years since I stopped drinking though I have managed to avoid having a relapse. The fear is horrible but its kept me sober and I found myself feeling comfortable with others drinking next to me.
There were lots of conversations on health, addiction, work and madness. It was a very mixed group in many ways but also a gathering of like souls in relation to all those things. Despite some extreme differences we can relate to each other, all being somehow different from the ‘norm’. My abilities on the day to be confident and honest felt like I was being someone else, more like the idealized version of me. Even so, it felt right and natural so it must have been okay and not at all fake. Grabbing the chances in front of me unashamedly has led to some exciting possibilities.
During the last segment of the social/outside activity I caught myself doing a long established behaviour, phone checking. I quickly became down at the thought that no one had called or texted, feeling angry & hurt. which I then realised was silly as I was doing exactly what i wanted to. Sitting with new people! So I made the choice a second time that day to not allow the depression control. To take back that control, not get lost in wishing things were different blatantly ignoring the fact that I WAS doing something different. And to just Enjoy the Fucking Moment! So Proud 🙂
And proud that I, mostly, looked after myself, accepted that I was not going to be following the unhealthy dream I had been lusting after a few hours earlier, forcing my body into things it can’t do and forcing my head to follow old somewhat empty friendships (after all, they hadn’t contacted me to see how i was doing after I had told them that I was down and unhappy) but instead I was spending my spoons on developing new potential friendships. Enjoying myself, enjoying the company of strangers (something of a shock) being almost okay about tic’ing in public and practicing my social skills.
And when it was time, making the decision to go home. And being okay with it. Unlike years of unpleasant experiences, I did not sink into a horrible depression the instant I stepped away and headed off by myself, as I had feared might happen. Instead I felt relatively comfortable and pleased that I had made the right choice. Something rare and precious.
The whole day was precious, highs lows and . And so very full of new amazingness, I am still processing it two days later but looking back given me a positive warm and electric feeling, putting a smile on my face and in my mind. Even if nothing more was to come from any of it I have all of that to remember, I can use it as a resourse to boost my confidence and as a reminder that I CAN be the person I want to be.
*ie; not pajamas!