aThere are so many days that I come here to write and have nothing to say. At least, that is what I think to myself. Then, I come to the page (err…screen) and discover that I am not an endless void after all. Today is one of those days.
Today, I pressed pause on my routine. I woke up with a headache and sore throat. Once I had solved those problems, I started to go about my day except that in picking up the toddler, I discovered that my lower back was not well. I sat with ice on it for an hour, added pain medication. Then, the toddler went down for his nap. Still in pain, I collapsed into my bed, laying yet another ice pack under my back.
I awoke with a groan of fatigue, but no back pain. It felt like a very, very, very small victory. With no excuses left, I returned to my daily routine and felt the crashing weight of a daily rhythm four hours behind schedule. I really don’t have words for this feeling, but its something like…
I think I may be a productivity fiend. What I mean is that I am sort of detrimentally obsessed with it. For instance, I am one of those people with tons of lists. I am always writing list, daily. Literally, I daily write down my quarterly goals and that is not even the start of it. I mean, there are grocery lists, Evan’s various to-do lists (foods to try, sensory items to buy, sensory items to make, applications for assistance, insurance claims to review, bills to pay, etc. Seriously, managing a special needs child’s lists…Well, it is a small military operation), business to-do lists, household cleaning lists, household maintenance lists, financial lists. I’m obsessed with lists and here is why.
I get to cross things off.
It’s a wonderful feeling, a high to which I am addicted.
Except, I also have major depression, along with a mood disorder. My life doesn’t quite flow like the average person. The morning I described above – pain, fatigue? Well, that is my morning 4-5 days a week. Incidentally, my list making obsession and productivity addiction become inner casualties to the ongoing battle of living with depression and a mood disorder.
Now, finally, I have arrived at what I actually wanted to say.
You are not your lists. You are not your struggles. You are not your depression. You are not your diagnosis. If there is something with which you measure yourself or your day, then pressing pause for rest also means pressing pause on arbitrary measures.
I know it is not easy. In fact, our brains are wired to detect abnormalities, make comparisons, decisions and judgements. In truth, the ugly thoughts I have, the judgements I make about my productivity – they never stop coming to mind. I’m guessing, if you have read this far already, then you may understand that a bit too.
When I say to press pause on the measures and judgements, I am not actually talking about the thoughts or the comparisons. I want to let you know that you can’t actually get rid of those. You can, however, choose not to accept them. Moment by moment, I must rise up and observe those thoughts. Acknowledge that on some days they are the very thing that helps me move forward. Today? Not so much. In fact, if I let those thoughts run the show today, then I would never have sat down to write these words. I would have laid in bed bemoaning my awfulness instead, which helps absolutely no one.
So here’s to pressing pause which really means rising up and observing our thoughts for what is helpful and what is not. Stay strong, folks!