Good morning, afternoon and evening to you. Whatever time of day it is while you’re reading this, I hope you’re having a good one. I am. I’m currently residing in my happy place.
I woke up blah, everything is blah, my body hurts, poor me. Boo hoo.
The day didn’t start so well. I did the thing that I usually do: went to bed too late, woke up feeling blah and a little down. [Just so you know, this will be a running theme. I do not do bedtimes well. It’s probably my greatest challenge aside from not over-reacting and not taking everything personally. I don’t like to go to sleep with thoughts troubling me but my mind doesn’t like to let go of thoughts and so I stay up late until I’m really tired, in the hopes that I will fall asleep before I can start thinking when my head finally hits the pillow. One day I’ll crack the issue, I’m aware that lack of sleep is bad for me, but today is not that day. Or rather, night.] My back is aching from sitting down to create daily blog posts for two blogs, which means a lot of sitting down for a back that is prone to sciatica. It made for a night of frequent waking, aching. My neck is sore from staring down at a screen. Yes, I type with my laptop in my lap, looking down at the screen. I know it’s a terrible working environment and I will have to arrange a more professional and ergonomic setup now that I’m taking this blogging thing to the next level but it’s so cold in my kitchen that I don’t like working at the kitchen table and that’s the only suitable table in the house. Another thing for me to take care of…. but not today. I think I’m catching a cold too. And of course the sky is grey, it’s been raining and it’s cold. Like many people, I find winter a trial. Are you getting the picture? I woke up blah, everything is blah, my body hurts, poor me. Boo hoo.
You know that thing where for absolutely no reason at all your brain decides to play you a song…?
Feeling a little blue (or should that be grey?) I dragged myself down the stairs, made the kiddo some breakfast and fired up the laptop to see what’s going on in Blogland and to ruin my physical state a little more because I’m kind of a masochist and really stubborn. (I want to do daily posts for Webruary. Who cares if my neck and back muscles don’t like it? I have goalsss.) As the webpage loaded there was a tune running through my head that I couldn’t exactly place. You know that thing where for absolutely no reason at all your brain decides to play you a song and you know that you know it but you can’t remember its name so you have that annoying “on the edge of getting it but it just won’t come” mental tease? Yeah, that. I knew it was a Duran Duran song that I used to love way back in the day. I knew it was an instrumental B-side but its name? Nope. It’s a slow, soothing song with a smooooth saxophone, very eighties lounge-lizard style. I have it somewhere on a CD but I wasn’t about to go rummaging in the cupboard under the stairs for my Duran Duran CDs; there’s writing to do and I can’t stop or I’ll get distracted by the dishes waiting to be washed and the laundry piling up and I’ll still be writing this piece at quarter to midnight because Distractions.
Anywayyyy….the great thing about the internet is that everything is there, you just need to know how to look for it. Long story short, I found it within a minute of searching. Boom! Instant gratification. I’m listening to it now as I write this. I think it’s beautiful and hearing it again is making me happy, with its associations of youth and the discovery of new music, in a time when everything was a first and shiny and exciting and when life was still ahead of me and I still had so many decisions to make and options to choose from and so few responsibilities, and I was so in love with John Taylor, the bass guitarist. *Swoon*
That random, old song brought me back from the edge again.
That song took me to my happy place. It interrupted what was setting in to become a low mood. That random, old song brought me back from the edge again. Due to a long history of stressful circumstances, sadness, overthinking and making a complete mess of interpersonal relationships, my mind has learned to automatically default to a low mood and I have to work to bring myself up to a more “normal” baseline. I don’t even have to think of something particularly worrying or sad, it’s just where my mind goes if left unsupervised. If I don’t work at it, I slip gradually but inevitably into a withdrawn, blank state of bare-minimum existence where no emotion or pleasure can reach me. It used to scare me when I felt it coming on but these days I understand it’s my not-natural-but-currently-natural-for-me state and I deal with it, in the manner of a diabetic who has to manage their sugar level. I hope that as I work on creating a happier, more peaceful life my mood baseline will gradually shift upwards.
It’s important to understand that we are responsible for our mood.
It’s important to understand that we are responsible for our mood. We cannot control what happens to us and it’s not our fault what we feel in reaction, indeed no emotion is wrong – but it is our responsibility how we respond to our emotions and how long we allow them to control our thoughts and actions. If you are easily angered it’s up to you to discover the reasons for what triggers you and deal with it; if your happiness relies on certain people being in your life or living under specific circumstances then you need to find out what those people or circumstances represent and find other ways to satisfy the lack that is creating your mood-dependence. If you are feeling low and nothing seems to lift you, be aware that it could be physical; consult your GP, look at your lifestyle. If it’s an emotional or thought-related cause then set about identifying the problem. Is it unresolved issues from your past, or a skewed perception of yourself, or maybe expectations of yourself or others that might need reviewing? Are there people in your life that regularly affect your mood? Can you limit your contact or even cut them off? What can you do to ease the effects of your mood? What makes you happy, what makes you feel safe? What harmless thing takes you out of the now, even for a moment? What kindness can you do for yourself: music, a TV show, an absorbing book, a bath, a massage, a good meal, a long and refreshing night’s sleep? Simple, timeless pleasures.
Whatever the mood we find ourselves in, we can find a way out and we can determine how long we stay there. It might take time and effort to take control of our responses but we can do it. We don’t have to do it alone either. If you are struggling alone find someone you can confide in, even if it’s an anonymous voice at the end of a helpline. The key is to work your way from the extremes of emotion, be it hyper (too much) or hypo (not enough), towards the centre, towards a calmer, more peaceful existence. Today, for me, a step towards the centre came in the form of a song. Find your happy place today and spend some time there. You totally deserve it. We all do.