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Recognising My
Own Feelings

The last couple of weeks or so, without sugar coating anything, I've really felt pretty down. I've struggled to be smiley and bubbly, and that means I haven't felt like myself. Not only have I not felt like me, I've also struggled to fully acknowledge how I'm really feeling. 

When you don't feel like yourself, it's quite easy to pass it off as an off day. A day where things just don't feel quite right and you feel like you can pat yourself on the back for acknowledging that. You've acknowledged you feel down and by acknowledging that feeling, you can start to recognise why it's at the forefront of your mind right now. 

But, you knew there was a but didn't you? I sometimes feel like if I acknowledge those feelings and start to recognise them when they arrive, I almost give them space to flourish. I feel like acknowledging feeling down, feeling off, feeling not like myself, gives those feelings room to breathe and they become a semi-permanent part of the current me. 

Do you feel that way too?

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I know chatting about mental health isn't the most exciting of topics here on the blog, but sometimes it's the only topic that comes to mind when you are feeling a certain way so deeply. I know we all have things going on, we're all affected by the darker evenings, we all have ups and downs - but I feel really quite down right now. I feel not particularly productive, I feel somewhat disheartened, I feel very not like me and even though the advice I would give to my friends is to just feel it, I worry that feeling it allows those feelings to grow. How do we equally acknowledge the things we're feeling and also work through them to feel more like our usual selves, without sitting in those feelings for too long? It feels like such a catch 22 for me. It's also hard to explain what I mean by sitting in my feelings so putting it down in words always feels helpful, as I know whenever I share topics like this there's undoubtably someone who feels or has felt the same way. 

Why does it feel so difficult to navigate your own feelings yet feels so much more natural to help your loved ones navigate their hurdles? I suspect we spend so much time caring for other people in such a heartfelt way but we actually spend far less time caring for ourselves in the same way, if at all. It should feel second nature to care for ourselves in the way that we so eagerly want to care for others. But the important things is I'm trying. Sometimes it feels like trying is akin to wading through quick sand but I know that often the smallest steps, like exploring how I feel in words, are what help me to navigate these times. I also need to readily remember that we've all been through a lot in the last 18 months and that although some aspects of life are getting back to normal, the weight of our experience doesn't immediately disappear. So many of us are still carrying the burdens and stress we've shouldered recently and those burdens are still easily overwhelming. 

I know that it's 'normal' to have ups and downs and I know that so many of us struggle with our mental health, but at the moment I really do feel like I'm carrying too much. I hate to use the term burn out because I feel I've been so careful lately to stay organised and not to get to that point, but I think diving back into life maybe hasn't felt as natural as so many of us would have everyone believe. I'm still missing loved ones so very much, I'm still navigating what the world looks like right now, I'm still working through my own feelings and it all just feels really hard. Cloudy. But I also know that it's temporary and that even if it's uncomfortable for me to recognise these feelings that we don't talk about enough, it's how I'll work my way through them. 

Sending love to everyone navigating something similar right now and I hope you know that you're not alone x 

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