“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have suffered with anxiety (and depression) for the past several years now. I've always been an emotional person who feels things deeply, specialising in overthinking (I'm sure I'm not alone on that one!). But circumstances in my late teenage years through my early twenties meant that I found myself in a very low place mentally. Without going too much into detail about that, after a toxic relationship ended I faced the long, hard journey of finding happiness again. There have been highs and lows (like almost having a breakdown in an Icelandic National Park) but in the past year I've felt more settled and like the dark cloud had finally shifted. Motherhood brought dark times, but mostly Eliza brings joy to each day. My life is good; I've just passed my driving test, I have a lovely house, a wonderful daughter, I'm doing my PhD and my debut poetry pamphlet is weeks away from being published. And on top of that, I'm beyond lucky to have Joe (my partner) who is supportive, kind and is basically my best friend.
But, despite all of this (which I don't take for granted), I've been feeling anxious and a little bit low recently. It really is an indescribable feeling. The only way I can convey it is that it is like a constant feeling of melancholy and as though the world is changing around me, whilst I feel still and almost stuck in a strange void. So that sounds a little bit dramatic! But, as I said I can't describe it, can't quite put my finger on it. I've been feeling more self-conscious, yearning for the past and feeling almost lost. Joe and I went to Manchester Art Gallery last weekend where 'Homesick' (image above) by Benoît Aubard was on exhibition. In the write up, it said that 'Homesick doesn't necessarily refer to home as a building' and this is something that got me thinking. Maybe this is a good way to describe how I've been feeling; I'm feeling homesick, yearning for a place of comfort which isn't actually a physical place. It's a mental space, a space of comfort, stability and content. Though my physical surroundings are safe and my life is healthy, I'm still working on fully residing in that mental space I'm yearning for. I've come a long way from the depth of my anxiety, PTSD and depression, but I still have a way to go. But that is, of course, okay. There's no rush, which I often need to remind myself. As I also do with feeling guilty - just because my life is 'good' doesn't mean that I won't have moments, weeks, months like these.
A good way of coping with periods like this is to write. Writing things down this way and also creatively. I've been busy organising the launch of my pamphlet and working on my PhD project/thesis, both of which I'm enjoying the process of. Some days the words don't find me, then other days the words won't stop. It's all a process! I'm really enjoying writing Haikus at the moment, they are definitely my favourite poetic form. Here is one for today...
Another day passed.
Bursts of sun, indistinct noise.