Today I have dealt with “bipolar” emotions – although I had my sort of “normal” daily things to do, the total of these things wasn’t great, and I felt, as I have been feeling more and more over the last few months, that I have been slipping into something like a very deep depression. HOWEVER, one “asset” that I have on my side is my absolute conviction that complacency is the root of all evil. You can quote me on that (and you should quote me on that if you reiterate it because it is my quote!) if it helps you in any way to do so. At any rate, to make a long story very short, I ran into an “adventure” of sorts I had set myself up for (without really knowing the consequences of it) and I took myself and my feeling sorries for myself with me and took said “adventure.”
Again, to make a long story short, this “adventure” was very small in nature and very minute in terms of its “impact” on anyone or anything or on the world at large. HOWEVER, for today, at any rate, it did give me a sense of purpose. (And I am just throwing in this sentence to make this paragraph … paragraph-able!)
One of the many anathematic aspects of chronic illness is that it often steals from us our “sense of purpose.” Referring to my recent post about “missing your 20s,” it steals your friends and partners but it leaves your sense of love and your MEMORY of what love / friendship IS. It steals your feeling of being “valuable” to society while leaving untouched the recognition of the meaning of “social importance.” I could really go on fairly indefinitely with this list, but what I am driving at is that when we are so sick for such long periods of time that we do not feel that we have an ultimate “purpose” on a daily basis, the little touches of circumstantial depression start to accumulate and (at least in my experience and to my knowledge) really begin to alter your brain “chemistry” in a detrimental way. I don’t know that there is any way to avoid that part of it – that is, that being slammed time and again by bouts of illness that make “functionality” absolutely impossible is inevitable when one suffers from chronic illness and the “situational” depression that arises from that inability is also inevitable. WHERE YOU CAN FLIP THE SCRIPT, so-to-speak, is when you FORCE yourself to have a purpose – even if that purpose is seemingly minute and even if that purpose changes on a daily basis (or perhaps even more frequently than that). We really MUST grab the bull by the horns here, because if we do not, this is that “DANGER ZONE” at which people fall into the two categories of “victim” and “victor.” Do not allow yourself to become the “victim,” even if you are very much victimized by your illness / disability. Do whatever you NEED TO DO to feel as if you have a PURPOSE on this earth, even if that is writing a message to someone you admire on your Instagram account or even if that is drawing a picture that expresses what you are feeling inside. The “what” doesn’t matter; the “WHY” is EVERYTHING.
I know I have touched on this topic in this “blog” before, but I really do feel that it requires (re)iteration and discussion over a series of posts because it is that important. Having a “sense of purpose” really can mean the difference between being okay and moving one foot in front of the other (however slowly) and between not being at all okay and giving up (and the ultimate form of giving up is something I believe is just … dark. That is for many other posts … if not books….). At any rate, if you have been “down” lately (and this time of the year really doesn’t help with that – even for “healthy, normal” people), I want you to do at least ONE THING every day that makes your presence on this earth MEANINGFUL. It could be as simple as holding the door open for an elderly person. It could be as simple as complimenting someone’s outfit or jewelry. As I have said now time and again, it doesn’t matter WHAT but the WHY is EVERYTHING. Because without a sense of purpose, we do start to become synonymous with our illness(es) … and I don’t know about you, but I have never shaken hands with an illness.
I hope to be back soon to discuss more of my thoughts – and get in the posts to which I have alluded over time and simply haven’t gotten around to writing yet! Please feel free to comment or to contact me directly if you are feeling like you need someone to listen or you feel like you are just not okay (or if you just don’t want your “comments” to be public!). I really do hope you are all having a happy and healthy day today wherever you are in the world and please remember that YOU are the only YOU there is and that YOU have a very distinct and UNIQUE reason for being here – it might take some time and trial and error trying to find out what that “reason” might be, but I guarantee there is one.
Just know you are always in my heart!
❤ Always, Beth