Got your attention, didn’t I? Greetings, Dandelions! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Far too long. It’s hard to share my crazy bipolar life when I have stuff to work on in my crazy bipolar life.
What is that “stuff?” That stuff would be self-care. And if you read one thing today, this is it.
The following statement I will need you to read between the lines for me. Ready?
It’s been zero days since last incident.
And that’s all I need to say about it. The world is stuck between a rock and a hard place, everything is so goddamn important, and everything is clamoring for our attention. We’re slapping smiley face stickers on sucking chest wounds and soldiering on. You feel you need to help. Everyone’s telling you, you must help. But right now, you don’t have the capacity to even help yourself.
Like they say on airlines: Place your oxygen mask over your face before assisting others.
You can’t help anyone if you’re suffocating.
Do I make sense now?
We have things like medications to keep us in balance, we require proper rest, and we must keep our bodies well and minds fortified for what’s coming our way. Because when you’re already mentally weakened, you can’t do anything about it. When you’re emotionally wounded, you berate yourself that you can’t do anything about it.
In my life, I could feel it all getting to me. I already had a general sense of “blech” trickling in. My sleep schedule was out of whack, and I wasn’t taking my medication on a proper schedule. Sometimes take it at the same time every night, sometimes two or three hours later. If I do that enough times, my mind isn’t in tip-top shape.
Compound this with the headlines, my daily life, the lack of sleep, the constant worry, the anger, the fear, the doubt, and feeding my depression. And as a creative-type, the lack of productivity. And when I don’t produce, I get depressed. My productivity goes hand-in-hand with keeping my spirits aloft.
What did I do about it?
First: I started locking myself out of social media via StayFocusd for Chrome, and Block Apps – More Productivity for Android. With both apps, you can set a scheduler and pick specific apps to block without locking yourself out of everything. So, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, all of that? I’m locked out until the evening every weekday with the weekends free. I set it to start running at 4 am, long before I’m awake. So, it removes the need for me to summon the will to turn it on because what’s one more Tasty video?
Once upon a time years ago, I was a hardcore gamer and fell into a severe internet addiction. I could feel that addiction coming back again. And it had to stop. So, I had to block apps, or else I’d go down the rabbit hole.
Second: I sleep with my devices out of my room. I mean it. I’ll repeat it until I’m blue. If you need an alarm clock, buy one. Otherwise, take your damned phone/tablet/whatever out of your room. If I had a nickel for every time I caught my father staring at his phone at 3 am in his bedroom, I’d own SpaceX. (And I’d really love to own SpaceX. I can dream!)
Third: The grand reason y’all clicked this link, I started taking yoga classes.
I’m not here to tell you that omg yoga is the best eeeeveeer and to suddenly go paleo or whatever. I do yoga because for starters, it’s something on a schedule. And it requires me to get up in the morning and leave the house. And I get to take a 20 minute nap at the end of class—er—meditation. Yeah, meditate. Yeah. That’s it. Totally what I said.
I saw a news clip about aerial yoga. Short version is it’s that stuff aerial acrobats do with the silks. Long version is check out this YouTube clip.
And I walk out feeling refreshed, well rested, and ready to take on my week.
(Because I totally took a nap during meditation time. Let’s be honest.)
So, Sunday was my first shot at aerial yoga. This’ll be fun, I said. This looks cool, I said.
About 20 minutes in of swinging in a hammock, I’m feeling queasy. About 20 minutes and 30 seconds in, the instructor mentions she should have asked if anyone experiences motion sickness, because this could be a problem.
And I mentally say, oh fuck.
But I got this. I can tough this out. We do some more poses, and a few more gentle swings, and I’m mentally telling myself to relax.
And then it hits me. It’s happening.
I discreetly excuse myself to the bathroom to…uh…worship the porcelain god. And I decide right then and there if I’m going to stick around and tough it out, or if I’m going to head home.
I decide, in the act of self-care, I’m going to head back to the ranch.
Two Tylenol, some noodles with butter, and a few glasses of water later, I’m alive enough to write this post. And I’m alive enough to look back and bust out laughing about it instead of feeling humiliated.
But that’s the point. I acted in self-care to try the class, and I also acted in self-care to leave if it got to be too much.
And that is the moral of the story, Dandelions. If you feel it’s an act of self-care to try, go ahead! Do whatever you think is best. And do what is in your power. Is it joining a protest? Making your voice heard? Blogging? Petitioning? Writing a novel? Or maybe dancing? Or writing down your feelings? Or is it simply cuddling with a pet and appreciating you are responsible for keeping this creature alive and this creature loves you?
But also know when it gets to be too much, and the world gets to be far too loud, you 100% have permission to act on self-care to leave.
You’re not failing anyone, you’re not letting anyone down. You’re collecting your thoughts, finding your center, and listening to what your mind, soul, and spirit are saying to you. Dearest Dandelions, we’re more sensitive than most. We’re more in tune with love, loss, joy, and pain. And those who think they’ve never seen the world the way we have, don’t understand why we have to back away. We feel deeply, and we hurt in ways no one can imagine. And we only have the capacity to care so much until it gets unhealthy for us. So, care in only the way you can.
As my yoga instructor says “If you’re being stretched too far to the point it’s painful, stop. Move only within your limit, and that’s okay.”
So, Dandelions, move within your limits.
And that’s okay.