No one said life would be easy……then again, no one ever said it would be this hard either. I get so tired sometimes of living this kind of life. There are moments where I cry to the point of puking and slam my fists into my mattress as hard as I can to get out all the pain and sorrow. Everyone has bad days to be sure. We are allowed them and, in fact, it’s a normal part of living. When you have a mental illness though, bad days can be downright frightening.
Imagine if you will, taking a walk in a dark forest. You can barely see any light as you carefully step over stones and roots in the hopes you won’t trip and fall. But you aren’t worried because you are following a path that you know will lead you to a wonderous meadow filled with sunshine and flowers. Once you hit that wide-open space, you revel in its beauty and look back at the dark forest as a tough moment but one you can now move to the back of your memories. But what happens if you trip along that dark path, fall down, and become disorientated when you get back to your feet? You search frantically for the path and when it can’t be found the panic starts to set in. Although you know it must be nearby, you cannot quite find it. Maybe you sit down and scream or maybe you stumble around in circles trying to find the way out. Either way, it’s making you feel more and more lost and alone. Yes, you know the path is there somewhere that will take you to that beautiful meadow, but the fear of not finding it weighs upon you. The latter is how I describe my dad days.
I know that stressors and bad moments will happen, but I find it really difficult to always trust my feelings when they do. Sometimes it’s pretty simple, like the hair dryer has stopped working so, although super annoyed, I just go out and buy a new one. Other times are more complex, such as the loss of an opportunity or a stressful period at work. It’s in those moments where I must be the most careful and cautious; if I don’t then there is a real chance I could curl up on that dark forest floor and never get up. Trying to be constantly self-aware of my feelings and emotions, to discover whether I am having a common reaction or an embellished one, is exhausting to say the least. I’ve learned to do it on a daily basis, pretty much around the clock, and much of the time it’s like second nature. But, when it comes to those moments where things are too much, I must kick that tool in to overdrive and, honestly, it can wear me out. There are times I don’t want to use my tools – times where curling up on the couch is so much more appealing. I fear that no matter how far I have come in my healing journey, I may never have a day where I can say ‘it’s just a bad day’ without a piece of my mind worrying that my mental illness is overtaking me.
It’s okay to have bad days. It’s a simple statement but one that has taken me a long time to learn. I let myself have them now and I own the fact that I need to be careful in assessing what the cause is. When I am in that dark forest, I know there is light waiting for me and the best thing I can do is breathe and try to retrace my steps to find the path. It may take me some extra time and it may not be easy, but what awaits at the other end is always worth it.