Last month, I had a day where I was feeling “blue”. I woke up that way one Thursday. The type A part of my personality immediately jumped to, “is this the anniversary of a sad event?” and “did I have another bad dream last night?” Being down is not my usual way of walking through the day. I wasn’t depressed or distraught, just down, and I wasn’t sure what to pin that on. Since I don’t typically feel that way, my first line of defense was to “figure it out”….which meant being in my head, instead of listening to my spirit.
On her drive to work that morning my daughter, Erin, and I were having a phone conversation about a guest speaker who had been at her hospital. The woman was very charismatic and she made an impact on the audience, when she talked about “reframing” (my word not hers) how we spend each day and the impact that has on others. I shared with Erin that I was feeling a little down and that I wished that I, too, would make that kind of difference. She said to me “you DO make a difference Mom, a big difference, in this world. Think about all you do for the people around you, how you add so much to our lives, all you do for your husband and your children and your grandchildren. Who else would say to me ‘that lipstick makes your eyes pop!’ It’s not just Peace Full Home or the people at church or your friends who you touch. It’s so much more than that”. I wrote down what she said, word for word, so that I could hold it not only in my heart, but in my thoughts as well. I needed that. Thank you, Erin, for being a bright light on a day that was a dimly lit.
There are several different sources that could be the origin of the idiom “feeling blue”:
-a deepwater sailing ship that loses her captain at sea flies a blue flag
-feeling “blue” is a metaphor for dying and death because the color of our skin gets “bluish”
-it’s related to Greek mythology because when Zeus cried, it would rain and blue was related to rain and storms
Regardless of the origin, however, when you’re in that space, it’s tough to imagine the sun shining, isn’t it?
Even those of us who are fortunate to have “glass-half-full personalities” have the occasional “off” day. When I’ve gotten to a place where I’m feeling “blue” I’ve been very hard on myself. The self-talk with: “how dare you feel sorry for yourself when you’ve been given SO much”, or “what the heck’s your problem, you know how blessed you are” is right there ready to jump out and remind me of all I have. The problem is, at that moment, I don’t “hear” that voice. I get caught up in the kinds of thoughts that I wouldn’t typically allow in.
That day, I was sad because my Mom was on the other side. Even though she died six years ago, I missed her physical presence and the ability to simply call her and have a conversation. (I still have “conversations” with her, but obviously it’s different now.) I felt sad, because I recognized (for the hundredth time) that I couldn’t hold onto my parents and that I can’t hold onto my children or my grandchildren. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing enough in my life. Honestly, I felt like I wasn’t BEING enough. I felt overwhelmed and scared and not at all in control. There was a dull ache in my heart that couldn’t be soothed. I felt sad, in a mind that’s generally happy. I felt vulnerable and I felt small.
I don’t know if it was the weather or lack of sleep or simply (or not simply) too much on my plate. What I DO know is that I had to walk through that Thursday. I couldn’t jump over it; I couldn’t run around it, I couldn’t even really hide from it (although I tried). Like most situations in life, I had to be there and move through it. I was back to my usual self the next day, but those moments of dipping my toe in the pond of “not enough” were scary. I’ve always believed that we ALL have the potential of “walking off the edge” given certain circumstances. I think the line between mental health and mental distress can be very fine, and I thank God that I’ve never had the mental health challenges so many people have to work through.
If you have a lot more “bad” days than “good” days, know that you’re not alone. What we “see” painted on the faces of a heck of a lot of folks isn’t always a true representation of how they’re REALLY feeling at that moment, in that space. There are times when, I imagine, most of us “fake it ‘til we make it” (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing).
Whatever your walk, today–THIS day– know that you’re okay because you’re you, and that YOU is all you ever need to be–even if your “color of the day” is a little more blue than usual.
©2015 Peace Full Home
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #34. Get organized so everything has a place; YES!, and while you’re at it get rid of anything you don’t love or use!