I am debating whether to split this blog into two separate pages – one recovery-related and one filled with general-life-stuff. Usually I must decide things IMMEDIATELY, and I mean RIGHT NOW – I am a big fan of plan and structure – but I’m trying this go-with-the-flow thing for a while. Hence I will be posting everything on this one page until I make up my mind. And so it may seem a little scattered or disjointed.
I have been feeling – dare I say it – happy these last few weeks, despite the continuing anxiety over gaining weight and the occasional panic about my (perceived) lack of control. I think in the past, I have found it easy to work on maintaining my happiness when I’m in an already-positive frame of mind; the challenge has always been motivating myself in those instances where I don’t necessarily feel so great, and the temptation is to crawl under the bedcovers or watch mindless TV all day or drink copious quantities of wine.
The reality is that it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed/put down the remote control/leave the wine glass in the cupboard when you know that it’s a quick fix for your blues. But that’s just the problem: quick fixes don’t last.
This time round in my recovery, I’m really trying to keep myself in as positive a state as possible, even on the mornings I wake up feeling anxious, or moody, or sad. Writing has always helped, but I only ever kept a private, introspective journal. I’m finding blogging – a sort of online journal - is a really good way of using writing to engage with others. Not just the writing of my own blog but the reading of others, too. (AND it’s not as terrifying as I thought it would be).
The Word A Day challenge has been particularly useful, a) because it involves both writing and recovery, so I’m using a tool that I know is personally helpful and I am also setting aside that time and space to think about recovery each day, and b) because it means that rather than start something and let it slide after a few days or when I lose inspiration, I’ve been consciously committing to logging in and posting. Which is an excellent habit to get into - especially right at the beginning of my blogging routine – and hopefully one I’ll be able to keep up once the challenge is over.
One of the things that people don’t tend to ask themselves in a conscious way is what makes me happy? I don’t mean the big things – although of course they’re important – but small, daily ones that you can introduce to increase your day to day pleasure in your life and surroundings. Do you love waking up to music in the mornings? Do flowers on your desk make you smile? What sort of smells do you like – clean laundry? Lemons? Does drinking tea from a vintage teacup make you feel whimsical and girly?
It sounds overly-simplistic - and of course having a pot of tulips in your bedroom or drinking tea from fancy porcelain isn’t going to change your life in any grand and crashing way. But it’s the cumulative effect of all the little things that increase your positivity and make it a little easier to keep on keeping on. And this applies to everyone, not just people who are or have been depressed or anxious. Everyone.
I love the smell of fresh coffee, so I bought a cheap French press and now I have coffee every morning. It lifts my spirits to look at photos of beautiful things – vintage interiors, delicate ballgowns, peonies spilling from a vase – so I make time every day to check my Tumblr, because the threads I follow post photos of these things. And it means that because I’m then in a pretty-seeing state, I tend to look for the prettiness in the rest of my day too.
It’s the little things that are important, is I suppose what I’m trying – somewhat long-windedly! – to say. And I do need to keep reminding myself (and others of that). And recommit each day to spending time in my Happy Place – whether that’s reading a book in peace and quiet, making a playlist of songs that make me want to dance, or folding just-washed, clean-smelling laundry.