I'd like to think I'm a fairly positive person, but man. This last week kicked my butt good and proper.
It's been a week of wakeups averaging 3am, 4am and often being out of bed and ready to roll by 5am. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing, but continually so? No early night seemed to prepare me for this. By Thursday I was officially Not Coping With Life. We set off to playgroup with a grumpy two year old and a yawning four year old. P (2) was hollering after half an hour but we persevered.
All was going ok until I suggested we go to the toilets. P jumped up and down screaming 'NO I NOT GO TO THE TOILET', and I'm not quite sure how it happened. Her head met with my lip and chin and I saw stars. And tears. I realised that P was now crying and screaming, but I was concerned that I'd heard an almighty crack when she made contact. My teeth were thankfully intact but my lip was bleeding and I was crying and furious all at once.
Last night it was still hurting and when I took a good peer in the mirror I saw that two of my bottom teeth now have hairline cracks in them. FFS. The next morning I also had a bruise under my bottom lip.
I took myself to bed last night vowing that no small people would enter my bed. And so the stars and moons aligned, I had a decent sleep and I feel human again.
My point? Happiness is awesome. Positivity is the best. But how do you have these things without the flip side? I've always been terrified of not Being Happy, because did that mean I was depressed again?
Thursday was a huge turning point for me. The thought crept into my mind in the afternoon afternoon. I feel depressed. Ugh. The best bit was that I was able to honestly say 'Nope. I'm literally just so tired I can't feel my toes anymore. This too shall mo********ing pass.' And it has.
A few years ago one of Mr S' besties was staying with us after the boys had been on a huge hike. High on endorphins he commented 'I love feeling like this. You've got to have the lows to have the highs. It makes it all worth it.' I remembered this a few years later and it's always stuck with me.
I guess the difference is knowing how to navigate the lows so they don't feel all consuming, like a black hole threatening to suck you in.
Simple Ways to Not Let The Lows Bring You Down
- Perspective. It's a tough one I know. When you're feeling shoddy it can be hard to find, but search deep, take a deep breath and tell yourself that this is not forever.
- Acceptance and planning. Sometimes it's best to accept your mood and say 'It's okay, today I feel like this. But Imma be like Kanye and not let these MTV awards bring me down and Imma still come to the party. First, I need to have a sulk. Just like Kanye.' Translation: feel the mood. Let it happen. Then get fantasical.
- Make Believe. Feeling crappy? Pretend it's your birthday and do all the things that make you feel awesome. Go Shorty, it's your (kind of) birthday.
- Quadrants. Divide your day into four. Right now, I feel awful. Buuuut by 11am it's the next bit of the day, so I'll be awesome then.
- Connect. Call a special friend, pat the cat, lie in the sun with your kids. I find building the most awesome lego towers with my girls to be the best remedy for me.
Once upon a time an awesome counsellor I saw told me something super awesome and important. She said: 'Amy, it's okay to feel sorry for yourself. Have a pity party by all means. But here's the rules. You can't invite anyone else and it can't last for longer than a few hours. How many great parties last forever? Get it done and get it done quickly. Then move on.' So true.
There's a great article on Psychology Today titled '10 Quick Ways to Get Out Of a Bad Mood' and it's awesome. Go and check it out.
Sometimes these things can help. When they still don't seem to help I remind myself that SOON it will be bedtime and SOON it will be tomorrow. Everything always seems to look better in the light of a new day.
If you're feeling like you might need to speak to someone call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or check out Beyond Blue for strategies to cope and more contact details.