I kind of disappeared this summer. I was travelling, doing wedding planning, playing ultimate, going to concerts, working full time, consulting full time, and generally planning for things while attempting to quit Starbucks (which I finally did, by the way).
I’ve also been dealing with a major flare up of my depression and anxiety.
I’ve written about it before, and I’ve been cautioned about writing about it by some well meaning people who think writing about it will hurt relationships or jobs or something like that… but I’ve finally come to the point where writing about it = healing. Even though I have long been an advocate for mental health awareness and the de-stigmatization of mental health illnesses, when I’m in the midst of it, I too can feel ashamed, and guilty, and blame myself for something that at the end of the day is entirely out of my control.
And as someone incredible pointed out to me the other day, maybe my journey back – from what has been a relatively crippling few months in terms of my symptoms – will inspire somebody else.
So here I am, writing. My current strategy is taking every day 15 seconds at a time. Next, I’m going to eat lunch. Then, I’m going to work on blog posts for work. After that, I will probably take a nap.
If you’re struggling with your anxiety or depression or general sadness as well, I encourage you to adopt this strategy, take a deep breath, and take fifteen seconds. Together, we will figure all of this out. Together, we will both find the light at the other end of what can be a seemingly endless tunnel.
I was choosing to ride without headphones. A dying phone, a sleepy mind. He sat beside me.
As I took off my sweater a simple remark – “it’s so hot today!” caught my attention. I smiled and said that it was, and apologized if I had elbowed him.
A simple decision to get on at a different stop so I could sit. The choice of chair. Leaving work late. They all led to me making a friend. I’ve recently been thinking about listening more, about connections and compassion, about paying more attention to my surroundings.
He asked me if I liked poetry. “I do,” I replied. “I don’t get enough of it.” Sure enough, he is a poet, and he gave me some of his poems to read. An act of sharing his work – not of forcing it on people or handing it out. A gesture of kindness and sharing and connection from one human being to another
A self described “global citizen and a pacifist working for gender justice and global peace” with heroes like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and John Lennon, Shiraz Ramji gave me back a piece of myself without even knowing it was missing.
Today I gained a hummus recipe, some poems, and a grain of human connection that was desperately needed. And a smile that lasted me all the way home.