"It's okay to feel negative emotions"
That was one of the few stand out comments from my short time in therapy. It's something I've always struggled with. In the past I just avoided anything that would make me feel even the slightest bit negative. Now on the other hand, I see my negative thoughts and think "okay where's the positive? How can I be positive? how can I turn my frown... upside down!!" but aren't the two actions effectively the same? Don't they have the same outcome?
Everyday this week I've woken up feeling pretty shit. I've not wanted to move, I've not wanted to face the day. I've had to consciously go through a feel good routine.
Coffee. Food. Shower. Another coffee. Power pose. Push Ups. Mental Hug. Smile.
To be honest, it works, and if I get my head down and start working as soon as I feel able, then maybe, just maybe, there's a chance I might actually get a good days worth of work done. The truth is though, it just feels like I'm just delaying the inevitable. It feels like I'm one step away from falling off a cliff. It feels like each time I go through this routine the drop gets higher. I am yet to fall, but I've probably lost my footing a few times. However, If I do fall, I'll fall hard. Of that I'm sure.
What should I do? Should I succumb to the negativity? Should I wallow in it? To succumb would be to climb down the cliff face, It means putting myself in a non desirable place, but at least I wouldn't have fallen from the very top. The problem is I can't really afford to waste the day. It's the busiest time of the year and I can't really afford to not be sat down studying for most of the day. The next 4 weeks are critical for my degree and thus critical for my future. How can I justify lazing around when I've got such important work that needs to be done?
Another problem with validating the negativity: the thought processes that arise when in this state are completely bogus. The thought processes have very little merit. Negativity seeps in and affects everything you think. It affects it in such a way to perpetuate the slump but as I said, when you work to counteract and re-evaluate the thought process it feels like you're just avoiding the issue.
It feels like I'm in a no win situation. If I correct the thoughts I avoid the problem. If I succumb to the feelings I will avoid doing work, furthering the pressure and stress of life. Perhaps I'm looking at this the wrong way. I clearly need to find a balance. Hybrid mode. That's what I need.
If I can manage to acknowledge the negativity, but carry on working I should be alright. I'm currently looking at this as a balancing act but perhaps that the wrong way of looking at it. Rather than see it as balancing two conflicting ideas, if I rewire the act of getting work done then the work itself can act as relief. With a little shift of focus I might be able to sit down and work solidly without feeling like I want to bang my head against the wall.
Plan of action:
- View work as providing life, providing purpose and providing a future.
- Steer into the anxiety. Feeling anxious? Good it's life way of signalling what area needs work
- Be kind to yourself. Spend time with friends and family, read a good FICTION book for once.
- Understand that this time will pass, these feelings will pass. I am not defined by my feelings or thoughts.
- Eat well, and eat healthily. No added sugar!
If anybody has any helpful tips, I'd love to hear them.
(Also I know it was the 60's but damn Lichtenstein played up to gender stereotypes. Pretty stark contrast between the two pieces)
I hope you all have a great week. Remember, treat yourself as if you were treating a loved one. Be kind and be accepting.
(Images scanned from my copy of "LICHTENSTEIN: A retrospective" )