‘And how are you doing? How is your mental health?’
It was the last question asked by the Health Visitor a few weeks ago, she was calling to do the 1 year check up for our youngest. I replied with the predictable ‘yeah I’m fine, tired but fine’.
How do I say, I am not always fine but who is? That I am worried about how we are going to cope financially, what will happen if we get ill, am I pregnant again (nope), how will we survive if anything happens. A million negative possibilities fill my brain. But on the scale of the whole population I think I am ok, I am coping on the whole but sometimes fear wraps itself around me very tight. Sometimes it weighs down my insides and I feel I am drowning in the pain and despair of it all. I grieve a control and a freedom, that maybe I never had but I thought I did.
I feel swept along on the tide of ‘what the f#*k is going on?’ Desperately looking for a rock to cling to, for my girls, my friends and family, for us all.
These feelings aren’t everyday, but they are some of my more regular, unwelcome guests. I imagine, lots of us feel swamped by this fear. Whether its health anxiety, loneliness, job security or the unknown before us…many of us are in the same sea.
Tonight, I mentioned it to a friend, she sympathised and said ‘I guess all we can do is dig deep into our communities, drawing each other close and remind each other that we are in this together’.
So here I am being honest about the lows. Here are a few things I have found healing lately;
- This song; although directed at injustice, that line ‘if we stop loving on our terms, God will heal our wounds and if we stop loving on our own terms grace will lead us home’. The truth in throwing it all wider, not just restricting our love to those that love us first or fit n our small boxes.
2. Stony beaches. Often underrated and undervalued in contrast to their sandy counterparts. But there is something very grounding about a pebbly beach. They are often less busy, when the stones are warm from the sun you can give yourself a mini free hot stone massage, and you still have the sea which is pretty darn good anywhere. We have frequented this one a few times lately and its been very refreshing.
3. Being reminded of old songs you got the lyrics wrong to because your adolescence was pre Google. (Praise the Lord for that and the absence of social media). As my lovely friend, Rachel, pointed out being born in such a time increased our creativity. For many years I was convinced Mariah sang:
‘You’ll always be a part of me, I’m part of you indefinitely, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me, no darling ‘cos you’ll always be my baby, love will linger on, shine Conner ‘cos you’re feeling it strong, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me, oh darling cos you’ll always be my baby.’
I mean, who is Conner? Was I being prophetic/insightful and could foresee the dramatic storyline of Normal People? These random lyrics brought, and still bring me a lot of joy and laughter. I now have a 3 year old who sings all her thoughts, which is equally as pleasing.
4. My friend Clo’s recent post on her blog. It’s about her faith now after some deconstruction and home truths and it was beautiful. I cried when I read it because it was like a homecoming for me. You can find it here https://thinkandwrestle.wordpress.com/2020/07/30/handstands-god-and-overthinking/?fbclid=IwAR2XK5tK0D0Db5IUBt8ErRhb-3PrzdLpw4FQHQKVbWtOSIvpCxFUYU5BylY
5. Finally, and definitely less spiritually challenging..I saw this shared by my older brother a while ago, and it is genius and I love a squirrel!
Fear, is real and a bitch, but we can dig deep and be there for one another. For those drowning in it today, breathe deep, and just do the next thing you need to do. Look for the things that heal you, but also the sea is big but there are signs of hope.