What an interesting concept! Allowing yourself to “just be”, to just rest your mind. What if it’s not a bad thing to give yourself a break, relax, and be alright with the idea of having nothing to do and nowhere to go?
To me, that’s about as foreign as asking me to stand on 1 leg for 15 minutes because that means something amazing is going to happen afterwards. Literally it’s the same thing as that, neither one made any sense to me until tonight. Well that whole standing on 1 leg thing still seems pretty ridiculous, so I’m not going to do that. Hell I couldn’t if I wanted too probably.
Talking in a recent session, I was lamenting the fact that the last 36 hours or so have been just unbelievably tough for me. I had some triggers hit me out of the blue that I wasn’t expecting, and then depression started and I was unable to fight my way out of it. This overwhelming exhaustion and feeling low just completely stopped me in healing tracks.
I’m the type of person that needs to keep busy to feel like I’m being productive. If I’m not doing something that occupies my mind in some way, then I’m wasting time. Even if I’m just playing my bass, cleaning the house, or going for a walk, I feel like that’s being productive. I’m using my mind to focus on playing, or I’m exercising to try and get healthier. Cleaning the house yields obvious results; the house is organized and the dust bunnies are fewer than when I started.
It’s the same thing for me in my recovery journey from abuse, bullying, and invalidation from my mother. If I’m actively writing, doing a podcast, reading a book on recovery, or anything like that, I feel like I’m being proactive and productive. I’m doing my part to heal. It’s literally an obsession of mine. I have a future post coming up about obsessions in recovery that I will link here when posted.
That Go Go Go, Do Do Do, mindset leads to me shaming myself when I’m not actively doing something that I feel is conducive to my trauma recovery. That cycle of non stop “doing” can eventually lead to burn out. That is something I cannot afford to have happen, no burnout allowed! More on that in a minute.
My recovery is too important to my overall well-being, my future, and my entire life, to allow myself to fall into any type of burnout and just give up. So something has to give, and that’s what I think I learned tonight. If I don’t learn to “just be” and realize it’s OK to not GO GO GO and DO DO DO, all the time, I will burnout.
Those words hit me like a truck and I’m just now starting to process them so that’s why I’m writing this post. If there’s one thing I’m fearful of at this point in my life, it’s burnout. However, it took someone else who’s looking at me from the outside in to bring this to my attention. I’m so laser focused on recovery that I might not ever have realized the path I’m going down before it was too late.
I spent 30+ years unconsciously ignoring my past and where did it ultimately get me? Nowhere. So then starting last summer I went to the other end of the spectrum and I’ve been nonstop healing and focusing on little else but healing ever since. Where could this path take me? Potentially to burnout and the feeling of all those years of not healing being a waste and then all this time of healing being a waste too. This cannot happen so it’s time to alter my approach a bit.
I recently was told, “the real healing happens in the scary middle“. That idea seems so foreign to me but if I stop and think about it for a bit, it actually makes sense. Here’s why…
My mind is going constantly, thinking of what to do next, and I don’t give it a chance to just rest. To just sit there and feel what I’m feeling and accept it. It’s OK to have off days. It’s OK to feel depressed sometimes. It’s OK that triggers hit and I can’t always just power through and keep going. It’s also OK that I don’t understand every single trigger right now, and also that I can’t control triggers. They just happen when they happen.
If I can allow my mind to rest, to take some time to just chill out and accept where I am right now, I can come out of that span of time feeling more rejuvenated, focused, and able to continue my healing journey in a more effective manor. I lower the risk of burnout and increase the chances of continued success.
That’s not to say that I just swing the other way and completely stop doing everything productive in healing, and end up laying around all day doing nothing. It’s about finding a happy medium, finding that scary middle where I have to let myself go and feel what needs felt, and rest.
In reality, and in time, I’ll end up feeling more in control, more rested, and more focused.
So take some time, allow yourself to rest and just chill. Take a nap, take a walk, catch up on your favorite TV show, or whatever floats your boat. Do something to give your mind a break, because you deserve that. Revel in your healing to date and feel refreshed to keep pushing forward.