It Is Okay To Stumble
It’s beginning to happen again. I can feel it slipping. The stumble.
The signs are there. Despite beginning this year on quite a positive turn, there is a void. A gap somewhere which is holding me back. There are parts of me still restricting me from being happy. I can feel them pulling at my mind, trying to drag me downwards.
I read recently that you cannot fill the void by jumping from achievement to achievement. You can’t expect success to fulfil you. Neither shall wealth, nor fame, nor anything else. These things only become fulfilling to those who are already content before the achievements have been made. And I have not been fulfilled of late.
I noticed it only recently. The familiar twang of stress. The fact that I wake up each morning with a sore jaw and a strained back. The fact that every nice gesture from people I love makes me irritable. I become more judgemental and resentful. And I begin to depend too much on external validation. I begin to compare myself to others and carry disdain for those who I perceive to be doing better than me. I become flaky, cancelling meet-ups and appointments at the last minute to protect myself. There are times when I give up on things. I lose the sense of enjoyment usually found in doing the things I love.
All signs of the slippage that is occurring.
What can one do in this situation? Recalibrate. Despite the disappointment in knowing my mental health is in decline again, I can take solace in being able to recognise it. That hasn’t always been the case. But knowing of its existence is not enough. Work must follow. Damned hard work in order to recoup and repair what has been damaged.
All of this gets compounded by a sort of pressure. An expectation, perhaps imagined by me but affective nonetheless. A pressure to always be in perfect mental health because I talk so keenly and so often about it. But I only talk so much because I struggle at times. There are many parts of our modern way of life that I do not fully understand nor synchronise with. And so I talk about mental health more often than not, for myself. To try and make sense of what is going on for me, and to try and help others at the same time. My ability to help others is entwined with a drive to figure things out for myself.
That is not to say that I am in a dangerous spot. I am in a familiar spot. My back is constantly sore and my mind is overrun with thoughts about things that do not matter. My screen time per day is way too high and I am constantly flustered by the opinions others have about things that have nothing to do with me. This has happened before, and all it took for me to recalibrate was stepping back and focusing on my mental health routine with discipline. It’s a simple solution, but isn’t necessarily an easy one.
I wanted to write this, not for some sort of attention or pity. Keep your pity for those who truly need it, and give your attention to causes that require it. No, I wrote this because I wanted you to know that we all stumble at times. Each and every one of us. This is just one of my stumbles. And hopefully someone can read this and be reassured by the fact that it is okay to stumble. It is okay to fall, but you need to be the first hand offered to help yourself back up. Bad days and weeks will come, and they will seem unending. But they always end, and the clouds part, and the sun shines in again.
And before long you’ll be looking back from a better place, and you’ll be damn proud that when you began to stumble, when you fell down, you were able to pick yourself back up.