I like reasoning. I think we all do. I like to know why things happen. I like to know why people act the way that they do. And I like to know why I act the way that I do.
But sometimes, actually more often than not, life doesn’t provide a reasoning.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way — weeks even. But this week, for seemingly no reason at all, a cloud has been following my every move.
I wake up each morning with a cloud covering my head, and by the time I lay my head on my pillow at night it’s practically a thunderstorm.
I’ve tried everything. I’ve gone to yoga. I’ve gone on a hike. I’ve taken a bubble bath. I’ve read. I’ve tried to meditate. I’ve looked up inspiring quotes. I’ve called old friends. I’ve distracted myself with tasks. But nothing seems to help. No matter what I have done, I wake up each morning and find it incredibly difficult to leave my bed. All I want to do is sleep and escape the cloud. I find my eyes welling with tears with no explanation. And I feel my heartache for reasons that I still have yet to figure out.
Emotions are scary. They can make you do insane things. They can completely dictate the way you handle any situation. They can come out of nowhere like a semi-truck. And they can knock you down with no warning.
I’ve always struggled with some forms of depression, whether it be because of my chronic illness or because I feel things differently than others. But in the past four years of my life, I’ve grown more accustomed to the warning signs.
But sometimes our emotions, much like our lives, throw us for a curveball… and we’re left feeling confused and helpless as we go through the highs and lows.
This week has felt as if I’ve been walking through a cave searching for the light that will let me know I’m almost out of it, but not being able to find it. I search, I search, I search… and all I see is darkness. It scares me, and it angers me. It scares me because it reminds me that my emotions have a mind of their own sometimes. And it angers me because I know that there’s not much that I can do about it. It angers me because I hate feeling as if I’m not in control of my own damn body. And it angers me because it makes me feel weak.
I was speaking at my alma mater last week, and a college student asked me for advice. She was stressed trying to balance classes and an internship and the general anxiety of being a twentysomething with no idea what comes next. I’m no expert, but I told her that one thing I learned in college was that my mental health was more important than any assignment I would ever complete, and I meant it. It’s still applicable today. You, your mind, your body… it’s more important. It’s always more important.
When days, weeks, or months like this occur it’s easy to get scared, to feel helpless, and to want to hide. And it’s all too easy to downplay your emotions or make excuses. But it should be just as easy to feel what you feel and know that it’s going to be OK… that this too shall pass.
So today, I’m willing to admit that I have been very damn sad this week for really no reason at all. And that’s OK.
In my times of darkness I try to think about the sunrises each morning that come after a night of darkness. Some days it’s not very bright, some days you can barely see it all, but some days it beams right through your curtains.
It’s OK to feel sad, it’s OK to feel lost… but it’s never OK not to let yourself feel.
Just like that sunrise, I will always shine again. And so will you.