Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one who has the thoughts that run through your head day after day, or the really random ones that surprise you out of nowhere? Well, I can assure you it’s not just you. And neither is the depression and/or anxiety you feel – maybe related to lockdown, perhaps it’s always been there.
It can start along the lines of crazy ideas like “The cat has it so much better than me”, or “Why don’t we just have separate on and off doors on the tube/buses and make our lives that little bit less stressful”.
And then there’s the advert on TV offering you the chance to study at university – it’s accessible to everyone they say. £9000 a year, for everyone? Perhaps you’ll be upset because that’s not in reach for you. Or perhaps, like me, you’ll remember the chance you had 13 years ago, fresh out of a BSc degree, and the opportunity to study a Masters in a foreign country. Which I did by the way, but I quit before I got half way through because I felt that I wasn’t enjoying it, and I also no longer felt that academia was my calling. Several years on, after many more life choices, one advert makes you think, “What if I’d finished that course, how would be life be now?” and off we go into a spiral of over-thinking, un-helpful thoughts and that feeling that maybe, just maybe, one simple qualification could have made me happier in the present. It’s not as though there’s anything wrong with my life now, but “grass is greener” and “rose tinted glasses” syndrome will always strike even the best of lives.
This can take over my mind for several hours or several days, but there will be a point at which it calms a little, only for something else to jump in. From wondering if we should have moved country/house when did in the past – to wondering about the choices I made when I was only 18 (and couldn’t possibly have judged them any differently then because I was just too young).
If you ruminate on thoughts like this, you are not alone. I have periods of time when my mind is slightly quieter, but in general, it’s a mass of thoughts and jumbled thinking. Regrets and wonderings. But once I get hold of a thought, it’s very very hard to let it go – and that’s the painful bit, because sometimes I feel as though I am losing my mind.
Lockdown has very much exacerbated this, as many of my coping tools such as yoga or meditation are not always feeling like they work for me every time, and I don’t have the release of going to see bands, and eating out – two of my all time favourite things. I don’t completely know where I am going with this – there’s not a big reveal at the end, there are no fireworks of sorting out my mind. But I want to write down how I am feeling and put it out in the world. Maybe it will help someone else to know they are not alone.
All I am trying to do with myself is be kinder to me. Understand that I have to sit with these feelings sometimes and not just expect them to go away immediately. Understand and be patient. But that’s not easy either.
If you’re reading this and want to share your feelings – the comments box is always open. Sending virtual hugs to anyone who needs them right now.