It’s gorgeously sunny outside. There’s not a cloud in the sky, the birds are singing and the hum of distant lawnmowers herald the summer in suburbia.
But I feel nothing.
On days like this, it’s easy to feel even more alone. I should be finding joy in the Kentish countryside, in my garden, in my crafts. But I feel nothing.
On days like this, when my world is grey but the real world is beautiful and happy, it seems like there’s no end to this. The sense of nihilism would be profound if I could feel. But I feel nothing.
To anyone else having a grey day, know that you’re not alone and that there will be an end to this. The grey will lift and you will be able to feel joy. Acknowledging the way you feel at the moment isn’t admitting defeat, it’s preparing yourself for battle. I will fight this and I will win.
On days like today you may crave solitude. Give yourself a little of that if it’s what you need but don’t allow yourself to become trapped in your own mind. Yesterday a dear friend messaged me and I invited her over. It was the last thing I felt like doing but it was good for me. I’d been trapped in my mind and in my house for nearly two weeks and I was sinking lower into the murky depths. Having a visitor for a couple of hours was wonderful and helped me think about things other than myself and my illness.
So do enjoy some solitude if you need it – I have escaped upstairs for an hour just now, but also accept the love and help and support of those around you. It is there, but you have to be open to it and accept it.
Today is a grey day but rather than beating myself up about it, I’m going to be kind to myself. I’ve sat in the garden for a bit. I’ve been for a short stroll. I’ve fed the stray cat I’m trying to rescue, I’m about to have some homemade cake and listen to a knitting podcast. And I’m writing how I feel on here. My day may stay grey, but in my own way I am fighting it.
Be kind to yourself. Your illness is challenging enough without you punishing yourself for having it.
And no, this post isn’t about me looking for sympathy or empathy: it’s taking a step. A step to talk about mental health and break the taboo. It was the taboo that prevented me from seeking help sooner and that could have broken me. Speak out. Be honest. Break the taboo.
A dear friend said to me: if you’d broken your leg would you be hiding? Would you be ashamed to be off work? Would you feel like you’d failed? Would you be scared to ask for help?
No is the answer to all of these questions. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Tomorrow I’m going outside.