I would like to acknowledge at this point that I have really been enjoying making these blog posts. I got some news today which made me anxious, but I didn’t react as badly as I usually do. I tried to remember that I can blog about this and it will be ok. I’m going to be starting work again on Monday. I was dreading this call for months: either it would be time to go back to work or there is no job anymore. Objectively, it’s a good thing but when you dislike your job it is hard to be excited about it.
Work has been a source of a lot of stress and sadness for me. I think I was never suited for my profession. I’m thankful for the opportunities and lifestyle it has given me, but I really hope I can eventually find something with a culture that suits me. I am hopeful; the way the coronavirus has turned the world upside down makes me think there will be better opportunities. Blogging has given me some hope, too. I’m not sure if it will get me anywhere, but at least it’s something I can work on outside my job. I feel really stuck sometimes and feel like I have nothing to show for all my schooling and work experience. So to be creating something outside of this makes me think I might find some meaning and fulfilment.
I also feel anxious about it because I have sunk so low in the past that I am always worried about my mental health, it feels fragile. After hitting a really low point last year (briefly described in my previous post), I had to pull myself together and get help. Thanks to intensive therapy and finding the right medication; I have come a long way and I feel like a normal person now. As with everything else in my life, I worry so much that this is all temporary and I will revert to the miserable old me. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. But will it? Sure, I will have my ups and down — mental illnesses never really go away. My therapist explained that I now have the tools to get myself out when it starts again. And I do feel like I do.
One of the tools I have had to develop was being “present”. When I first learned about mindfulness I thought I didn’t need it. Every time I tried it I would roll my eyes. But I stuck with it. Then after a while, I realised it’s just like praying. It’s a set amount of time where you focus on one thing and concentrate-blocking everything else out. Then it all started making sense and it helped me understand why, for Muslims, it is so beneficial to pray 5 times a day. Which leads me to the task for today:
ACTION: How will you be more present today?
I am always living in the future, especially before being at home all the time. I was always thinking about what was coming next, what task I had to do next, where I had to get to next. Being in lockdown has made things really different. In the beginning, I used to think, ok what do I have to do next? Where do I need to go? And then I’d stop and realise, there is nothing to do or nowhere to go to next! Life has slowed down a bit for me and it’s made me appreciate the little things. The way my husband smiled when he told me something he was excited about, the taste of a new dish I had made, the way the sun shone on the flowers on my balcony. It made me really appreciate what I have and realise how good my life is.
I try to be present and stop and appreciate what is happening in the moment. I can’t always do it and it’s hard to remember. Today, after I finished my exercise, I did a few minutes of yoga to stretch and took my time. I focused on my breathing. I concentrated on the way the mat felt under my fingertips. The sound of my breathing when I changed positions. When I feel really panicked or anxious I stop and concentrate on what is going around me. It helps bring me down a few notches. There are lots of great resources out there, I used the Headspace app a lot.
I’ve noticed now that I will try things, even if I don’t think they will work. I used to be resistant and I thought I knew what would work for me and what wouldn’t. I think it’s one more step to becoming a fully-fledged adult! Now I decide to do things because there isn’t much to lose, so might as well try — right?
Until next time,