Life is full of ups and downs, one minute we can be feeling steady, and the next we can be blindsided by events that leave us hanging on. What’s important to remember is that this is the same for everyone, whether struggling with a mental illness or not.
When we have managed to get to a point where our good days out weigh the bad, life can feel like a constant balancing act. We are left frustrated when we aren’t happy all the time. Normal “Grey days” as my good friend calls them, can leave us feeling uncertain, and we can over analyse our thoughts and feelings.
I’m guilty of this, and I know many others I have spoken to do. Maybe because we have been through mental illness, and we so desperately don’t want to be back there. Knowing how fragile our health (both physical and mental) is and trying to make sure we don’t become unwell. It truly is like walking a tightrope.
I first heard this analogy when watching an interview with Wentworth Miller. He is very open about his previous struggles with depression, and I find the way he explains himself, his feelings and life in general, fascinating and inspiring. This particular quote is his explanation of finding balance in life, with our mental health, and our feelings and it has always stuck with me.
“…What balance is, is like a tight rope walker, we’re constantly having to make little adjustments so that you don’t topple over one way or the other. That, to me, is my new working definition of balance, and that allows me to be okay…”
It’s an excellent way of depicting the importance of keeping a balance. Of allowing the feelings of unease, anxiety and general “grey days” to be, and not to be toppled over by them. These feelings are, for want of a better word, “normal”. Everyone has days like this, it’s just not allowing ourselves to be consumed with the fear that we are suddenly becoming unwell again. It’s the same for self care, making those little adjustments, talking care of ourselves when we are feeling low, exhausted and depleted.
Now, if I’m having a bad day, I stop and think, “what do I need to do to balance this out to feel a bit better?” It’s something which, like many of the therapies & techniques I’ve tried in the past, takes time and patience.
Life is not a straight and steady road, but being aware of this, allowing the space and time for the little adjustments to stop ourselves tipping over, certainly can help make things a little easier.