When I told my husband I wanted to start a mental health blog, he asked which of my ‘Jaclyn Aurore’ posts would I want to use to put as substance on the new blog while I get started.
Three were an obvious choice: The Glass Box, The Cement Suit, and New Beginnings and Mottoes. If you haven’t had a chance to read these yet, I highly recommend them. It’s some of my best work, if I do say so myself…
Although they were written over four years ago, they are still relevant today. I still struggle with my glass box of fear. I still wear a cement suit each day.
There are days when this suit is so heavy, I physically can’t move out of bed.
But the post I keep coming back to is ‘New Beginnings and Mottoes’ because I’m a very different person now.
I am still the person who resolves to do better now as opposed to waiting until next Monday, or next month, or next year, or whenever a good time to ‘start’ is.
There will never be a good time to start, so I just start.
To lose weight, I must eat better and go to the gym. I’m still working on this. I’ll have four good days for every three bad days, and this is simply not good enough.
Today I will do better. Today I will eat healthy, and go to the gym, and feel great.
Tomorrow is when I have trouble.
The Exhaustion of Planning
If I plan too much going forward, I begin to have anxiety.
I have far too many responsibilities each day that I have to remember: which days I need to be in the office, which days my kids have their various activities, what meals to cook or plan, who will be having play dates and when, doctor appointments, what do the kids need to wear or bring to school each day.
- Is it pajama day?
- Is it library day?
- Is it pizza day?
These are the things that rattle my brain, each and every day. Yes, a lot of them are related to kids, but as a mother, that’s my job.
The problem is that it leaves very little room for me.
Let me be clear here, I’m simply talking about thoughts. I have lots of me time, and I have no regrets about my thoughts being consumed by my children.
It’s just that there is so much going on up in my head, that I have a hard time planning too many other things without having a nervous breakdown.
For example, I know that on the day we have gymnastics after school, we do not have time for play dates.
I have to pick both my kids up at the same time, bring them both home, then make sure one gets fed and changed for gymnastics, while the other can do whatever he wants as long as his homework is done.
These are the things that I will be thinking about come 3 o’clock.
When we get in the car to come home, my son will say, “When we get home, can I play video games?” He does this every day.
Lately, my answer has been this, “Ask me when we get home; I can’t think about that now.”
Truthfully, I’ve got enough up there PLUS driving. Because driving requires thoughts also. I’m basically saying, “Let me get you home safely, then you can ask.”
We get home and look around the house and I see that there are toys to be picked up, plus his daily job is to empty out his backpack.
So he does that before he asks me anything.
Any notes from teacher, need to be turned in. Any homework needs to go on the table. And most importantly, the lunch bag needs to go in the kitchen, if he would like me to make lunch for him again tomorrow.
He knows this.
He does his daily chore and then asks me about video games again. I say, please go pick up some toys, then yes, you can play.
I’ve also learned that my son needs unwind time, so asking him to do his homework immediately after school, just causes stress on everyone.
He acknowledges that he has homework to do by putting it on the table. That’s enough.
At this point, has anyone thought about what will happen tomorrow? No. Of course not. I still have one child that I have to feed and get to gymnastics.
Once she’s home safely, I will get myself ready for the gym.
That’s it. I can’t think about tomorrow because there is too much to think about today. Today I can focus on my health and have a great day.
Tomorrow? I can’t think about that right now.
I Can’t Today, But Tomorrow I Will
There are ways to plan, and I’m learning this. I recently bought a Living Well Planner and I’m excited to use this. I have to wait for it to be shipped still, but my plan is to follow that.
I’ve always used an agenda, but I just write down appointments and daily tasks. Nothing major.
This new planner, helps me plan my life. Not just the daily mundane, but all sorts of things.
Weekly, Monthly, Yearly. Household chores. Meal planning. Budgeting. Really, everything.
I want to have bigger goals and this planner will help me do it. I believe the idea is if I write it down, not only will it hold me accountable, but it will not be in my head anymore.
When it arrives, I will be sure to post more on the effectiveness of this.
The other thing I’d like to get back to, are the two relevant concepts of my “New Beginnings and Mottoes” post, which are “I can” and “Get over it”.
My outlook has changed since writing this, and although I still want to feel like “I can” and also “get over it”, it’s not easy. It’s not always practical.
As someone who suffers from ‘mental illness’ I can’t do the things I did before.
Did you catch that? I can’t.
Writing this blog is supposed to help and inspire others who suffer. If I go about telling everyone ‘I can’ and therefore ‘you can’, I wouldn’t be doing any of us justice.
I have lots more to talk about on this issue so I’m going to break it out into further posts.
My bottom line is that I’ve changed, and that’s ok. It’s ok to admit that you can’t.
Today I can’t.
Tomorrow I can.
Let me get through today first, and then tomorrow I will try again. It’s ok to put aside things for another day.
Today my cement suit is really heavy and I can’t leave my glass box of fear. Let me cope with today and not worry about tomorrow.
- I will not feel like a failure because I need more time to adjust.
- I will not feel bad because my body is telling me to rest.
- I will not feel abnormal because others don’t struggle with mundane life.
We cannot compare ourselves to anyone else.
This is super important. It’s easy to say, “well I struggle, and you don’t, therefore I’m not like you.” But too many of us struggle alone.
Just because someone has not come out and said “I suffer from mental illness” doesn’t mean that they don’t.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle with their day-to-day stuff also.
We cannot compare ourselves with anyone, whether they suffer from mental illness or not, because we don’t know.
We don’t know how hard it is for them today.
What we need to acknowledge is when we say, “I can’t”, we’re not saying, “I can’t forever”, we’re just saying, “I can’t right now.”
I can’t right now, but ask me again tomorrow. Tomorrow is a brand new day, but I just can’t think about that right now.