My mind is being a butthead.
I'm having trouble thinking about anything positive.
I need to take a horse tranquilizer to go to sleep (kidding. Sort of. It's a prescription sleeping pill, but it's been added to a long list of other pills I take to curb my anxiety)
And in the evenings, I find myself regressing to old eating disorder habits of bingeing on food I don't even like, simply because it helps calm my insane nerves.
I'm not having a great time.
I know, I know, we are suffering through a pandemic and I am writing this before November 3rd, which means that we are still living with the worst President in history, who is fueling the hatred of White Supremacist douche bags by making them think there's actually a place for them in America (there isn't!) But, beyond the actions I have been called to do (phone banking, text banking, writing postcards, studying to be a poll worker, raising money for progressive candidates, signing petitions, etc, etc, etc) My sitting around pondering on the futility of life and why am I even bothering to exist when everything is so terrible...is not really helping anyone. In fact, if anything, it's harmful, because it can paralyze a person who would normally be motivated to help make a change.
Now, I have put in some work to help pull myself out of my pit of hopelessness (therapy, medication changes from my psychiatrist, journaling once in a while, sometimes I even cut up lemon to put in my water, and so on) But there was something that was missing...even with the on again, off again journaling habit...I still felt like nothing was going to get better and I was stuck in this haze of gloom.
And then I began to get curious about the gloom. Now that the meds I'm on were allowing me to get out of bed in the morning and not feel stuck in a tornado of my own thoughts at all times, the gloom had become sort of just...this quiet underling that followed me around. Since I was able to separate myself from the gloom, I knew the gloom wasn't me, and I got curious that maybe I could cultivate a more positive part of myself to help balance this gloomy part...
And that's where this experiment comes from.
Okay so...to explain the experiment, I need to also explain something about me: I love following influencers on Instagram. I love it. I love watching their stories, I love hearing them talk about the brands of false lashes they use, I love how many different discount codes they post with their name in it...the whole thing. There is something soothing to me about a person who's biggest concern seems to be what shade of white the walls of their kitchen should be (Go with the Eggshell, Jessica!) Most of all, though, I love how they always seem to be truly...well...happy. Even when they're not HAPPY happy, they're able to focus on how grateful they are, and that seems to bring them back to a baseline of happiness. Like...their stasis is happy.
I envied that.
Now, what occurred to me was not that I had to try to fake happiness, because that seemed impossible and phony, but there did seem to be a case made for cultivating a strong sense of gratitude to help me through the moments of sadness, anxiety, general paralyzing terror, you know the drill...
In fact, there have been TONS of studies on the benefits of gratitude. Research published by scientists from Harvard, Psychology Today, Positive Psychology, Forbes, and on and on and on, show that gratitude is such a powerful practice that it can actually have an effect on your neurological make up.
Well, fuck, I wanted that!
Now, obviously, after spending months wearing only sweatpants, barely washing my hair, not sleeping, zoning out in front of the TV, reading the news when I know it's going to upset me (even after having completed all the actionable things I can do to help, so the reading was just my being a glutton for punishment) And eating foods that tasted great but gave me terrible digestive issues (seriously. I have a favorite flavor of TUMS now, and I had to start taking a bigger dose of fiber supplements because I have not been pooping) I knew I wasn't going to suddenly be able to transform into the grateful, happy, put together human of my dreams. But, being from the theater, I also knew that old adage "fake it til ya make it." And I was ready to put it to the test.
And now we're here: my experiment. To try to be my most grateful self in an attempt to release the gloom from my heart and spirit. The medication and the therapy are really helping, and I'm hoping this might be the added step I need to start feeling like myself again...hell, maybe even better!
Now how does one begin this sort of an experiment? Well, if you're a Type A nutcase like moi, you do your research and make a list of all the different ways you can think of to cultivate gratitude through action. And now, because connecting in a positive way with others is a part of that list, I'm hoping you will accompany me on my journey! You can even feel free to join in and try out some of the ideas on my list!
We start November 1st...Or...I start...but I'm pretending you're here with me...so I'm gonna say "we." We start on November 1st.
Fingers crossed there's some gorgeous light at the end of this tunnel...or at the very least, I feel motivated to wear actual pants.