I was tempted to make yesterday’s posted uplifting in some way, but I didn’t because it would have been fake. In those moments and days and weeks of despair, nothing seems right. But then the day was over and I fell asleep.
Going to sleep is the human equivalent of turning off your computer and rebooting it. I woke up this morning feeling better. I’m not thinking anything different, mind you, I see no sudden cause for hope or change in my situation. But my feelings have shifted a bit and I have more energy to get through the day. My myopic focus on my sadness is adjusted. I laughed at a couple of little things this morning. I enjoyed my hot coffee. My mood has changed, and that’s because I didn’t try to fake it yesterday. I didn’t hide behind a wall of alcohol either. I just sat in my funk and rode it out.
If one part of moderation is finding the stop button (that lets you have one or two drinks and then stop), then the second part is finding the reset button – some way to get relief from being stuck in painful feelings. I’ve used alcohol as an escape hatch, but the problem with that method is that when you return through the hatch, you are right back to where you began. Retraining yourself means finding different ways to reset your mood without alcohol and without looking for an immediate escape. Self-care lifts my mood – a hot bath, a workout, a warm tea – but sometimes when nothing else works I just have to sit it out until it’s time to go to bed.
I’m never going to enjoy that process, but I’m getting better. It’s weird because I think that I need some kind of epiphany to change my mood. Some insight or revelation that will lift me out of it. But that’s not how it seems to work.
Power down. Reboot. Start fresh. I’m sure today will bring some problems, but they will be a mix of old and new ones. Just like me – a little bit different than yesterday, and that’s all I need to pick myself up and start trying all over again.