Sometimes, it all becomes too much. There are those days when all the plates you were spinning are suddenly on the floor, in pieces, and you don’t remember dropping them but it suddenly seems like you weren’t spinning them on sticks, like you thought, but on the top of over-ripe bananas. You feel like a complete idiot. A fraud. Like it’s a miracle that no one seems to have noticed yet how completely hopeless you are at everything. All at once your to-do list is not just long, it’s impossible; you crawl around picking up the pieces of your shattered plates, apologising when you realise your clumsiness has broken someone else’s plate as well; you plaster a fake smile on your face and loudly mock yourself for ‘having one of those days’ or having left your brain in bed that morning. But you can feel your composure slipping and the creeping despair inside makes you want to cry.
Before you know it your thoughts are spiralling and work, life, everything feels completely overwhelming and you think “I just can’t do this”, but you know that you HAVE to. Suddenly, all the life you have ahead of you seems an exhausting prospect.
And then comes the guilt. You berate yourself for being so morose and melancholy. You scorn yourself for feeling sad and overwhelmed when you should be grateful and happy. You tell yourself you are being ridiculous and remind yourself of the millions of people in the world who have it worse than you and you accuse yourself because if you feel like this it must be YOUR FAULT.
Panic. Sadness. Guilt. Anger. Overwhelm. Panic. Sadness. Guilt. Anger. And on and on and on…
I think that everyone experiences these days, to some extent or another, but for some people these days are more frequent, and/or more extreme. It can feel like a bad dream from which you simply can’t wake, or all too real for comfort.
- You are not alone.
- It’s ok to feel what you feel and your present sadness does not diminish your past happiness or future joy.
- Life IS overwhelming and sometimes we need to be a little bit kind to ourselves.
- Bottling up those bad feelings only makes them worse, so consider that, if you haven’t already, it may be #timetotalk to someone.
- I read somewhere that what all your bad days have had in common is that you got through them and that’s a strangely comforting truth.
- This too shall pass.
It is a difficult but important thing to remember that it will not always feel like this. When you feel a little calmer, take a look at the things that you’re trying to juggle, the plates you’re trying to spin, and be honest about whether you’re expecting too much of yourself. If you have a trusted friend or family member ask them to help you do this – we tend to not be very objective when it comes to ourselves, so a second pair of eyes can help. Give yourself permission to put some of the plates down for a while. It actually is ok not to do everything all the time.
Remember that a lot of the ‘should’s that we put upon ourselves are expectations that come from outside, from a world that often demands perfection where, in reality, there’s no such thing.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.