The following is a bit of a rant. A bit of vulnerability. A lot of real life.
Content warning: Explicit Language. You’ve been warned! 🙂
This was my Facebook status on Friday morning. I reached critical mass with my illness and straight up got pissed off. I’ve had bronchitis all fucking week, having to miss four days of work. This would have been a blessing as I have been completely overwhelmed with work… but, I’ve barely been able to move around my house. I spent the first two days laying, the third day sitting, and then decided day four I’d go back to work. Then, I proceeded to not sleep all night, coughing my lungs up in a lovely fit that would restart every time I got comfortable. At 2:30 AM, I found my way downstairs to write substitute lesson plans, then downed a cup of lavender honey tea to hopefully soothe me to sleep. Didn’t finally drift off until sometime after 4 AM.
Sometime Friday morning, I took my temperature to find out that it was going back up despite having been on antibiotics for three days. I figured for sure by now I should be seeing a drastic improvement, but I most assuredly was not.
I suddenly went into full blown angry witch mode. I pulled out crystals, essential oils, herbs, and started witching up various remedies. Then, I found myself standing at the altar, laying my stones out in Brigid’s cauldron, and lighting some yerba santa. I began chanting a prayer. “Goddess Brigid, may I…” The statements that followed were things like, “…overcome this illness,” and “…find a new job.” This went on for a few minutes until I said something like, “Goddess Brigid, may I remember the ways of the earth…”
Suddenly, I broke with a sob.
I’ve been disconnected from my spirituality for a few months now after a spiritual re-awakening. What has made it so hard? My absolute state of frazzled overwhelm. My work is sucking my soul out. I hate getting up in the morning to go deal with people that provide only toxicity. The building I work in is filled to the brim with negativity. There is no appreciation. There is no love. There is no compassion or gentleness. And as much as I might try to bring of those things, my efforts are simply cast aside. I’m so burnt out, so done, and so damn alone in that building that I’ve broken.
Getting up in the morning to go to work is like signing myself a death sentence. I go. I survive – sometimes barely with any sanity in tact. I’d regale the stories here, but it’d take up so much space, and the point of this is to get the feelings, not the situations, out in the open. When I get home, I find myself empty. Dissociated. Feeling like I’m an imposter in another life. I pray to Brigid, “Goddess, may I find room in my life to be spiritual again.” Then, I sit down in a chair or on my bed, and I can’t move again.
I have no energy for friends. No energy to really enjoy the games I love. No energy to write, paint, dance. No resource. I’m depleted in the first real 8 hours of my day, spend 2 other hours driving, 1 getting ready in the morning, usually 1 doing errands, and then the four-ish that are left absolutely catatonic. All I can do is check out. Sometimes I manage to read a little bit. Once or twice a week, I watch a show with my partner. The rest of the time, I find myself looking at my to-do list and daydreaming about all the stuff I want to do – but when it comes time to follow through, I just can’t. Its like trying to lift my hand and drag it through 6 feet of mud that’s already hardened. I just don’t have the strength.
My resources basically are used to get up and go to work, support my partner’s band, be in individual and couples therapy, and read the occasional book. Much as I may love the latter two, it’s not much of a life.
I know I can’t sit around and wait for the perfect opportunity to “break free.” I’ve got to forge the path. I’ll be teaching a crystal class starting in March which I recognize could be exactly the breakthrough I need to launch a career as a healer. I’ve got my license to be a therapist now and I’m just waiting to hear back from the jobs I’ve applied to. There is so much potential brimming on the edge of my periphery and its just out of reach for now.
One of the worst things has been the lost of connection to my online “tribe.” I am not a super extroverted person, and I love my real life friends with a desperation. I won’t mention them all by name, but in particular, my partner’s band and some of their partners are so important to me, which is why supporting the band is high up on my priority list. I’d love to spend even more time with them, if my resources would allow.
As an introvert though, I had an online tribe. I was someone in an online gaming community. I hosted bi-weekly community vlog chats as a host, an internet personality by being a moderator for an upcoming online video game, and a well known writer producing community content. But, at the beginning of this work year, that all changed. The website I used to chat with those friends during the day was blocked from work, inaccessible on my PC or phone. I’ve been so exhausted, too, that I have no creative energy to contribute. I had to back out of being on one of our livestreams because I’d had such an awful day at work that I couldn’t stop crying.
One of my online friends, upon hearing about what I was going through, said the following (edited for clarity):
“With you getting your license and having the ‘option to leave card’;on the table regarding teaching, it is magnifying the stress of the position for you. Before, you had to endure because it was the sole viable source of your income, which addresses one of our core base instincts.
Allow me to indulge in an analogy. Imagine that the only thing you had to do to get your paycheck every month was walk 20 feet on a bed of broken glass – you dislike it, hate it, it’s a pain, but knowing it is your only option you do it, and grin and bear it. With time, unpleasant though it is, you become accustomed to it.
With more time, you realize there is an alternative – a bed of grass. You work hard for it, study for it, whilst still enduring the bed of glass every month. Now there is hope, something that is a core feature of our thought processes and VERY powerful (it is one of the key roots of most belief systems/religions). Where you are now is walking along the bed of glass still, and to fuck with your head, the bed of grass is right beside you – soft and lush – you can smell it, see it – and yet, for now, you have to stay on the bed of glass, and the shards that you have become accustomed to now in contrast feel sharper than ever.
Rest assured that you will make it to the bed of grass (just be aware that snails with sharp pointy spikes live there, and though not as numerous as the sharp shards of glass, can be just as painful ).”
This made a whole lot of sense and while hearing it did allow me to realize that yes, the end is in sight, I still don’t know how long it will take. That, in of itself, is hard.
But, finding that angry witch still buried inside me was useful. It lit a fire in me that hasn’t existed in some time. I am furious with my circumstance, not just my illness. I am pissed off at the system I’m working in, at society for accommodating it, at myself for remaining passive in it. Yet, I know I must approach myself with so much gentleness, compassion, and understanding. Trying to beat myself out of my depression will only force me deeper. Trying to DO too much when I just need to prioritize what will get me through and keep me sane will only deplete my current reserves faster.
I can make a plan and try to stick to it. I need to remember not to fault myself if my plans go astray. Hell, many of my plans have veered off the rails lately. The most important thing I can do is offer myself the same understanding I would a friend and hope that in the meantime, my friends can offer the same to me while I’m down.
So, to those of you reading this – please hear this.
- I’m trying.
- I’m out of spoons (I dumped the whole godamned drawer somewhere and I can’t find it).
- I cry. A lot.
- If you’re struggling, too, it’d really help me to know that and to experience mutual support.
- I love you all.