Not doing too well at the moment. Feeling exhausted, sad, battered by the world’s storms. I have had to start limiting my news consumption again because the news cycle is endlessly bleak and makes me despair. Twitter hasn’t been much better, just full of outraged howls about the state of our world and yet the evil still grinds on. I watch late night comedians like Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert because I feel like someone skewering the puffed-up buffoons who run the world means at least you can laugh at them. But lately even that is starting to feel too damaging. The problem is, it’s always been this way since time began, it’s just that nowadays we hear about every. single. detail. And I can’t let that be the foundation for my brain. I start feeling like I need to bear witness to and decry the awful things that happen, but at the same time, I have to recognise that it will erode me. And that’s not good. There are others made of stronger stuff who can stand in the breach. That’s why I support movements like Common Grace and Love Makes a Way and Collective Shout and the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.
Then there are things happening to dear, close friends that just hurt my heart so much. Multiple people I love going through immense pain and suffering and stress. And I pray and want to help and know that I can’t do anything but be a friend. Standing by just sucks.
I need to find a counsellor or psychologist, I think. It’s time. Need to shore up the foundations of this wonky brain-house.
Another thing pressing down on me mental-health-wise is work. There’s not much design work on at the moment and I’m too flat to tout for more (it requires a lot of positive mental energy to convince a client you can design anything when you just want to hide in the cupboard), so I’ve been taking on heaps of transcription work for an online company I am a contractor for. I’m so glad I have that reasonably reliable flow of work but I forgot that it is so hard on the body. You’re basically just sitting completely still at the desk for hours, voices chattering in your ears, nothing moving but your fingers. Even remembering to get up every half an hour to stretch and having an ergonomic chair and a sit/stand desk doesn’t alter the fact that the body wasn’t designed for this. My shoulders and lower back are absolutely killing me, and my ears ring sometimes from having headphones on all day (even though I try to keep the volume down as low as possible while still being able to hear the recording). It also doesn’t help that we have no idea of the content of the recordings we will be transcribing and while some are benign to the point of boring, others deal with some really sensitive, triggering stuff. So as well as leaving me physically exhausted, it can be emotionally and mentally taxing as well. And it’s not hugely lucrative, despite the effort involved…I still have no money (well we did just buy a car but hey) and that is one of the main ingredients in my anxiety stew. I hate feeling like I’m never getting anywhere. It feels like a Sisyphean task.
And then I stop and look around me and realise how good my life is (despite depression, despite anxiety, despite having no money, despite, despite, despite). So I have to go back to basics and remember to focus on what I’m grateful for. That’s step one in refilling my bone-dry emotional tank.
I am grateful for:
- being a child of God
- having absolute silence at night
- being loved
- having creative skills
- being able to sing
- writing my first song with a friend and sending it to the Word Song Live showcase. Even if it doesn’t get chosen, the fact that we did it is huge. And we’re teaching it at church this Sunday!
- auditioning to be a nun in Encore Theatre‘s upcoming production of The Sound of Music. Again, even if I don’t get in, the fact that I did my first theatrical audition in 20 years and belted out ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’ in front of a table of people was a great experience. I didn’t even have time to be nervous. The vocal director said she thought I was more a mezzo than an alto, which was news to me. She also encouraged me to join her choir which I hope to do next time they have an opening.
- having a short story published in Pencilled.In
- my black cat Mattie desiring nothing more than to curl up, purring, next to me while I read. I often think about cat-like characters in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake purring over wounded people because purring is meant to be healing…I like to think Mattie’s purrs are a healing balm.
- living in a peaceful part of the world
- having amusing chickens who are still reliably laying beautiful eggs
- being able to buy a new car (even though it is stretching me, short term)
- podcasts that make me laugh and think
- being prayed for
- being an ‘aunty’ to a few precious young girls who need one
- the amazing brownies I made last week
- seeing the seasons change
- being warm
- making friends at band (man that sounds so adolescent)
- having the courage to invite everyone from band over for a movie night (though I’m banking on the fact that they won’t all come because I can’t fit 60 people in my lounge room)
- the slow cooked meal we had tonight
- pademelons and bandicoots just wandering around the front yard
- my bed