I hit bottom last week. It snuck up on me. I told myself was doing well. Moving forward, taking charge of my life. Making plans, working hard. Keeping busy.
Too busy. Because Wednesday night, when I was too tired to move, and too anxious to sleep, my thoughts became quite muddled. I give up. It doesn't matter what I do or don't do. I am tired of working so hard and feeling so much pain. I was lonely and afraid.
Long story short, the good news is I woke up the next morning. But I had to face the fact that I'm not okay. I have given myself some very good advice in previous blog posts. But many things are easier said than done.
A long time ago, I read a book by Richard Swenson called Margin. He defined margin as "the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits," and explained the difference between overload and margin. "Overload is not having time to finish the book you are reading on stress. Margin is having time to read it twice. Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy. Overload is red ink. Margin is back ink. Overload is hurry. Margin is calm. Overload is anxiety. Margin is security. Overload is the disease of our time. Margin is the cure." Clearly, I am in a state of overload. I have no margin. What can I do to correct that?
First, I need to be more realistic about what I can accomplish in any given day. Although it is important for me to have a plan in order to accomplish the long-term goals I have set for myself on top of meeting my job and family responsibilities, I also need time to think and dream and stumble and discover and go with the flow. So I must allow for that in my daily schedule. So that I won't feel guilty and call myself lazy if I decide to spend an hour knitting and watching a rerun of "What Not To Wear." Or doing absolutely nothing.
Also, according to Dr. Swenson, of the four areas in which we need margin - emotional energy, physical energy, time and finances - emotional energy is the most important. I need to examine all four of them, but right now, my emotional energy is all but used up. So why do I keep squandering what little there is left? Talking to brick walls and driving down the same dead-end roads? Instead, I must focus on family and friends that feed my spirit, engage in activities that do the same, and say no to the everybody and everything else. And MEAN it.
It isn't easy, finding balance in the wake of disaster. But I am getting there.