When life seems to throw you one curveball after another, and you seriously wonder what rabbit hole you have fallen down into, it can feel absolutely impossible to hold on to hope. I wish I could tell you that I handle such things with amazing calmness and little stress and anxiety. But I would be lying. The fact is, that underneath my calm exterior, I am battling anxiety even on the best of days. That I am so accustomed to stress, that like a sailor who still feels themselves moving on dry land, even when things are going seemingly well, I feel stressed, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This year has not gone very well. It’s been full of struggles and painfully hard things. I am working overtime to try to hold myself together. Doing the difficult work of self -examination and self-care. Learning to lean on others, when needed. Working to find my brave. Taking my meds. Going on walks and enjoying the beauty of nature. Nurturing others. I find these things helpful in working together to keep me from completely falling apart.
When I was a little girl, the way I dealt with my difficult circumstances was to live inside my head. Inside my imagination. My dreams. And after I could read, books of all sorts. I would imagine that I was brave and strong and worthy of love even though I felt scared, and weak, and worthless. This helped me make it into adulthood, alive. Living in a fantasy world is addicting in its own way ,though. Today, it transfers into wanting to pull away from everyone and just read books and watch Netflix and not cope with all the everyday things. I fight to stay present and not fall down a rabbit hole of my own making.
This week, I am staying present, by getting my hands dirty and taking care of all the plants in my flower garden. There’s almost nothing more grounding than literally sitting on the ground smelling dirt and life. I stay present with snuggles and giggles with my eight-year-old son, who reminds me I am still needed here. I stay present by focusing on my breathing and giving my body what it needs the most. I stay present by seeing the needs of others and doing what I can to help meet those needs. In staying present, I find a way to grasp small amounts of joy and hope.
The hard truth is that for some of us, life will never be sunshine and lollypops and rainbows all the time. Some of us, have to fight for every speck of joy that we can grasp. Some of us have to struggle not to fall back into addiction to escape the pain. For some of us, getting out of our bed in the morning is a victory. For some of us, choosing to live, is the hardest thing we will do today. I know that there are so many of us out there. Know that I see you today. You are not alone. You are so loved. And I am so proud of you for fighting for joy, choosing presence over addiction, getting out of bed, or choosing to live another day in a hard, cruel world. Please don’t give up dear one. The world will always be infinitely better with you in it.