I've been slowly building my yoga business. I now teach one Benefit Yoga class each week, a weekly Barre class, and have a private client each week, though that happens to be my mom, so I'm not sure I can count it as actually having gotten my first private client. Still, though, I get to help someone (and bonus, someone I'm close to) through yoga, and watch how yoga helps her with each week that passes, celebrate progress with her, and make headway into my private yoga business.
Additionally, my novel has been out for about five months now, and despite the fact that I anticipated making about $5 ever on book sale royalties, each month I get some royalties, and I've well passed the $5 mark. I also exhibited at my first book fair in October, which was a great experience, and I even sold a few books.
But still, I feel stuck. I know, logically, that this year has had a lot of milestones. I've made a lot of progress. But I'm struggling. Depression has been really rough the past few day I've spent a lot of time crying, though I don't especially know why. It hits at random times. Sometimes, it's a particular thought that induces it, but other times it just happens out of nowhere. And when it does, it feels like if only I could drain my body of tears, I'd feel better. Like I've been holding everything in, and it's finally spilling out, despite the fact that I cry numerous times a week, and sometimes, numerous times a day. Despite the fact that I go to therapy and I journal and I talk to trusted friends and loved ones, it feels like still, there's so much in some deep well inside of me that I need to get out. It particularly likes to dwell on every decision from the past twenty years that I now question, everything I wish I'd done differently, every mistake I feel I've made. It likes to live in "if only" land. "If only you hadn't done such and such..." "If only you had chosen xyz". Most of all, it likes to tell me that I be where I wanted if I'd only done things differently, and that therefore my unhappiness is all my fault. To be clear, I don't think my illness is my fault. But rather, my brain tells that the circumstances that I am unhappy about are.
And in some way, it's right. I made the choices I made. I took the actions I took. I made the decisions I made, many of which were gut-wrenchingly difficult, but I made them none the less. Or in some cases, they were made for me, and I chose how to respond to them, what to do in the aftermath. I also know that I tend to chase the dream, to be a "dive in the deep end and hope you know how to swim" type of person, and that once I have made that decision, I'm all in. I don't do anything - work, business, education/training, friendships, relationships, hobbies, passion projects, or anything else, half-assed. I'm all in, or all out. At the same time, I know that I often act, or don't act as the case may be, out of fear - fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of upsetting someone else, impostor syndrome (aka fear that I don't actually know what I'm doing and will be a found out), fear that I'm incapable, fear that everything negative anyone has ever said about me will be proven true. All of this combined - the blame, the judgement, the questioning myself, the fear - often leads me to feel like I can't trust myself, that I can't believe in myself.
And this, I believe, is what's at the core of everything for me. This is what my depression and anxiety (which, to clarify, I do NOT have a choice about because they are genetic illnesses) cling to. They hold tight to this lack of belief in myself, this lack of self-worth, this fact that I tie my worthiness, my enough-ness to external things like a job or having enough money, or relationships (of all types) or what others will think/say/etc about me, and they pull with all their might. They tell me on one hand that if I take this big leap, if I make these big changes, that I'll fail/be rejected/history will repeat itself. And then when I say "ok, so I'll wait a bit before doing that", they tell me that I'll never accomplish anything because I'm too afraid and don't go for it, that I'm not trying hard enough, that I'm lazy, that it's my fault I'm stagnating. They tell me to trust myself and when I do they tell me I'm doing it wrong, I'm incapable, I'm not enough. They get me in this catch-22, this tug of war where I feel frozen.
But so I have finally come to realize that my biggest goal right now, the thing I *do* need to be all in on, is not a particular career/job, not even to be successful at running my own business, it's not something specific within my external relationships, whatever type of relationships they are (family, friends, marriage, etc), though I certainly have these goals as well. My all-in goal is in my relationship to myself. To understand that my worth, my being enough, has nothing to do with anything outside of me, but instead, that I am enough and worthy exactly as I am. And that's not to say there aren't things I want to improve, because there certainly are. I love learning, I love working on my own growth, I love being open to new information and new experiences. And it doesn't mean that I don't compromise or adjust at times for people and circumstances in my life. It simply means my worthiness as a person, my enough-ness, is not intrinsically tied to them.
I want to be honest, I'm not a quite there yet in terms of believing this. I know it, logically, and on my good days, I can see it. But on my many tougher days, I'm not there. I understand it, I believe it for other people, but I can't truly believe it for myself. So I'm working on it. I've recently joined a group coaching community called The Clutch, and one of the tools that I've learned there are ladder thoughts - thoughts that help you get to the thought you actually want to have. They're not flashy, exciting thoughts. They're steps (aka rungs on a ladder) that help you step away from "I'm incapable, I'm not worthy, I'm not enough" and help you on your way toward "I am worthy and enough exactly as I am". So instead of trying to convince myself that I'm enough and worthy right now, when it feels like some sort of fairy tale that I'm telling myself but can't believe, I tell myself "It is possible that I am worthy and enough exactly as I am". Or I tell myself "It is possible that I have everything within me that I need to create the life I want". Or "It is possible that my worthiness is not connected to anything external". These allow me to dip my toe into the idea that maybe I am more worthy than I give myself credit for, without requiring that I magically jump from one end of the spectrum to the other. And this is especially helpful on days when depression and anxiety are in full gear, because on those days, it feels absolutely impossible that I could be enough and worthy exactly as I am, and trying to think this feels futile in those moments. It only makes me feel worse about myself, that I can't see it. So I practice these in between thoughts, that feel more possible, that give me hope, even in the darkest moments, that I might get there. And I realize that this might not seem like I'm all-in in this relationship with myself, but I am. Because I finally realize, really realize, not just logically know, that this is they key piece, that no matter what else I do in my life, no matter what else I accomplish, if I do not feel worthy or enough to myself, I will always feel like I'm missing something.
I know this is a long post, and a bit rambling. But I wanted to write it for three reasons - 1.) In case you, too, struggle with these types of thoughts, I want you to know, as always, that you are not alone, and that I understand and am here. 2.) Because part of this process is being really honest with myself, and sometimes I find it most effective to write it here - ,putting it in writing makes it feel really real, and while painful, helps me to move through it and with it, so that I don't get mired down in it. 3.) When I was thinking this morning, as I was crying ugly tears into my morning coffee, thinking about who I am deep down, what I'm really passionate about, and where I feel I've made any impact at all in my life, I thought about this blog, and the mood disorders group I started on Facebook. I thought about how so many people, often times people I had no idea where struggling, have reached out and told me how reading my posts, or being able to share in the group, has helped them. It reminded me that I do make an impact, that I do have something I'm able to offer the world, and that I do help people. And it made me realize that I've been away from this blog for too long, and that this is one of the things in my life that I'm truly passionate about, and so I wanted to share this here.
Thank you for reading this incredibly long post. As always, my messages, inbox, text, etc are always open if you need to reach out. Much love to you all.