Going Through the Motions
Recently I’ve been down in a dark hole. I struggle with depression on and off, but this was the lowest I’ve been in recent memory. “I know that I have wonderful people in my life and so many things to be grateful for and I am, so what’s my problem”, I will ask myself. Then I feel worse because I have no excuse to be so down in the dumps.
For me, being bummed out is a series of contradictions. I don’t want to go to sleep at night, yet don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to do anything, but don’t want to not do anything because that will give me yet another reason to feel bad about myself. I want someone to reassure me that everything is okay, but I’m convinced that it isn’t. Being around people is the last thing I feel like doing, yet it’s when I’m with people that often I feel slightly better, even if it’s temporary.
The worst part is feeling like I’m just going through the motions of my life. There’s still work, responsibilities, and even basic behaviors like taking a shower and emptying the dishwasher. Yet I feel like I’m doing it all with a big cloud of sludge surrounding me.
This brings up another contradiction. I don’t want to be fake. It doesn’t seem very yogic. I don’t like putting on positive, cheery front, if that’s not being true to where I’m at. On the other hand, I still have to hold it together. If I’m leading a volunteer group or teaching a class, I need to be holding a positive space for people. So is it better to act upbeat even if that’s the polar opposite of how I feel?
A wise person pointed out to me, “What if you just were to be where you are? What if you do just go through the motions and accept that that’s where you are right now?” For some reason, this took some pressure off. I still show up. I don’t have to be the life of the party, but I do have to put myself out there and do the best job I can. If I feel like I’m just slogging through it, that’s how it is right now. Going through the motions is a way of keeping hope. Even if I don’t believe things will get better, if I keep doing it anyway, eventually I can begin embodying the effort I’m putting forth.
The fog has started to lift. Yesterday I had the chance to do a long yoga practice. Midway through I found myself giving out a big sigh as a huge block of sadness fell away. I kept going through the motions of my practice, but for the first time in awhile, felt present in my body and okay with myself.