The past 45–60 days have been insanely busy for me. Since October 10th, I’ve been on a plane every week except for one week, when I was sick as a dog and couldn’t even stay awake for more than a few hours. I’ve been to Massachusetts, Maine, Paris, London, California, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Many of these trips have been for nearly a week of travel. I don’t have the number of miles I’ve traveled at hand, and it probably wouldn’t be healthy to tally it up, but it sure feels like I’ve been around the world. This does not count my driving to local appointments or the activities that I’m involved in with my son.

The autumn always feels compressed. There always seems to be too much to do and not enough time. This is probably due to the fact that we lose daylight rapidly in the fall. Our days get cut short and the angle of the sun is low. Everything feels constricted in the fall. With the addition of the travel schedule I’ve been maintaining, I’ve had a perfect storm for anxiety. And then there is the whole election, which has stirred up even more anxiety and venom. I’ve finally done what I said I’d do last Saturday and deactivated my Facebook account after what can only be described as a relapse of bad behavior.

My mental health has been declining steadily under the pressure. I have little desire to cook dinner. I have little desire to do my job. I have been restless, irritable and discontent. I have not been making meetings — because I’ve been so busy. Last night, I went to the first meeting I’ve been to since before the election and I felt sullen. I came home and felt depressed. I did not feel the usual uplift that I expect from a meeting. The topic was Gratitude. I have to confess, I’m sick of hearing people talk about their gratitude. I feel like it’s one of those topics that people choose when they can’t think of anything else to talk about. I know that this is probably a very unhealthy reaction, but it’s my honest gut reaction to the topic.

The speaker last night said, “if you love the topic you are probably feeling gratitude and if you don’t you probably aren’t feeling it.” While this may be true, I felt that it was judgmental and preachy, and it didn’t sit well with me. I have plenty of gratitude. I have many things that I’m grateful for, but right now, I’m not feeling it. I don’t like the topic and I’m not “less than” because of it. This is part of the ebb and flow of being human.

I’m sitting at my desk in my home office for the first time in a while, grateful for the fact that I don’t have to go anywhere today or tomorrow, and that I’ll be taking the week off next week. I need this time to rejuvenate. Over the next few days, I plan to answer my phone and email as little as possible. I plan to take some long walks, preferably in the woods or in fields without other people. I plan to take some pictures with my camera. I plan to make a few more meetings. I plan to decompress.

Maybe after I do that, I’ll feel more gratitude. Maybe even more acceptance. I don’t know. But I do know that I need to take some time for myself.

11 thoughts on “Current Status: In Need of Self-Care

  1. I would be most ungrateful in the circumstances you just described. I need solitude to function in this world. I need down time. A lot of it. I have heard that there are people who thrive on the kind of whirlwind travel you just described, but I find it to be exhausting and depleting, both physically and spiritually.
    I am so glad you are giving yourself time to decompress. ; )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Damien… You need another meeting, brother.

    Less than?! Gratitude isn’t a more than/less than scenario. Going by what you wrote, you’re just a little beat up so your not feeling it. Happens to all of us, even those with decades with our feet under the table. Keep coming back, man. And think of gratitude as more of a rubber band. When you’re stretched out, it’s hard to feel good about much. Once you release the tension, you bounce back. You’re stretched out, that’s all.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hey, one more thing I thought of last night when I got my coin that I should have included in my last comment: Always remember one thing. You’re are a living, breathing miracle Damien. They say about three percent of alcoholics make it to where you are. You’re breathing rare air, brother.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I get it, too.
    When I was teaching, I was a mess at times.
    I never could catch my breath, and my anxiety and depression worsened.
    Then of course I drank trying to feel better.
    I am really glad you are going to take time to decompress.
    I read that men need at least a weeks’ vacation to keep heart attacks away!


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