Welcome, readers, from the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!
I haven’t blogged much about the Sadness lately, or all the reasons behind it. I have been thinking about it daily, even hourly, as I sometimes struggle to face a day, take care of myself in the simplest of ways, or continue to rage against the fear that always looms in the dark shadows. But I have been trying to focus on the now, to be in the present moment, to look forwards sometimes instead of always looking backwards.
And that, in a nutshell, that’s what works.
It’s hard being in the present. It’s hard living wholly within my body. It’s a constant challenge to respond to my current circumstance instead of reacting to my past. And it has required some substantial reconstruction in my vision of who I am, what I can do, and what I will never be.
I’ve had to learn to listen to myself and accept a lower standard of daily productivity. I used to be a whirlwind of activity, pumping out piles of fresh bread, overdone homework, and an endless stream of crafty projects. But that dervish-like activity was a way to distract from the oppressive force of depression and anxiety that threatened to overwhelm me if I stopped moving. Now I sleep more (too much, I think, but that’s a discussion for another day). I stop and listen to myself. I make time to go to the bathroom. And I slow enough to spend time listening to how I feel and why that might be. Sometimes I withdraw from everything to just lay on my bed and cry.
It is not easy to do these things. Laying around trying to feel the Sadness instead of pushing it away seems lazier. But it is an incredible amount of work – work I’d rather not be doing.
But I’ve also found that when I can do it, when I can hold onto the present, stay within my body, and move through that darkness, it passes more quickly. When I push it away, it lingers for days, weeks, months. It’s a foggy cloud over my every waking moment. But when I sit with it, try to focus on it, and listen to it, it dissipates. It moves on. And I feel better, sometimes within minutes, often within hours.
And to that end, I often focus heavily on tactile sensations that I love. I use a new bar of soap with strong, 90 degree edges. I pick a couple of lilies or holly hocks and focus on the silky sensation of the petals. I go out and smell my roses. I shave my legs and change the sheets. I take a bath and wrap up in my best, most luxurious bath blanket. I cuddle with my cat. Or knit with my most indulgent yarn. I cook something fragrant. Squeeze my stuffed bear, Boris.
Being present and accepting my reality is what works. But heavens, that’s often such hard cognitive work that I refuse to do it. Then, obviously, it doesn’t work. But I’m getting better at it, at taking little steps that bring me back and help keep me here. This beautiful here where I belong.