I’ve been having a bit of a mental health wobble lately.
Nothing too serious, just one of those situations where you were already juggling a number of different things at the top number of balls you know you can keep track of, and then someone chucks another one at you. When this happens we can feel like we’re somehow expected to catch the extra ball and keep juggling without dropping any of the balls.
But let’s be fair, how many of us can grow an extra hand to keep things airborne without any one area bearing the brunt of a bit of necessary neglect? Something’s gotta drop.
In my case lately there’s quite simply just been too much going on to process it all. My mind has been scrambled to the point that I’ve started forgetting things, getting confused and overwhelmed. I’ve noticed a return of racing thoughts which haven’t been around since the too much Sauvignon Blanc days.
This is all really concerning and I’ve been trying hard to keep on top of it and refuse to allow the crazy to take over. It’s been a tough few weeks.
But today I realised something that helped. In fact I’m going to go so far as to call it a turning point.
I’d booked a day off today so I could visit a friend I’ve not seen in way too long and have an overdue catch up. On the way I was testing out a new set of earphones and stuck Katy Perry’s Roar on.
I like this song. It’s a massive screw you to all the people holding you back and I always feel a few inches taller at the end of a listen (let’s ignore the fact that it’s about Russell Brand).
Usually when I listen to Roar I picture a different person to fling the words at. Maybe a person at work or school who was cruel or a bully. That sort of thing. But today I didn’t picture anyone. I realised that just now I actually don’t have a single person in my life who isn’t supportive. I’ve got a brilliant husband, awesome friends, fabulous family. At work things are hectic but everyone is working together, no one is putting obstacles in the way of goals or causing awkwardness. There’s no office politics, we’re just busy. None of these people would make me feel bad or think I was rubbish for not instantly getting everything done in life at any given moment.
What I actually pictured during the song was me talking to myself. It’s a cliche but genuinely at the moment I am the only thing holding me back. I’m pushing myself to the breaking point, scared to admit that I need to take things more slowly or not stress if something gets pushed to tomorrow because there are other priorities.
I don’t have to do everything at once. I don’t have to finish projects in a day, give every person an instant answer, shed half a stone overnight and get PB’s in every race at the weekend while I’m at it. If I need to take half a hour for a walk to clear my mind, go to bed early or turn a race into a more enjoyable run in the sun then who’s stopping me? There’s no bogey man, no dark and mysterious figure keeping tabs in the shadows. There’s just me.
I’ve become my own bogey man.
How horribly unhealthy.
And it’s so unnecessary! Nobody’s perfect, and in all honesty who wants to be? Perfect people must be so dull, with no interesting rough edges or pretty flaws that catch the light just so. I wouldn’t know anyway, I’ve never met a perfect person.
So no, whatever I do I’ll never be a perfect person. But I’m a decent one. I work hard and I try my best to achieve the desired results at work. I try to eat well and be healthy. I follow my training plan and try to progress sensibly. I try to look after our home. I try to be a good wife and support Mr Duff as much as he supports me. And I try to make time for my friends and, when that’s all done, time for myself as well.
I try. That’s all I can ask of myself. I can cut myself some slack, but I’ll keep trying.
And if I keep doing that and stop putting so much pressure on myself then it’ll be ok. Things will get better. My thoughts will stop racing and quiet down.
And when they do that I’ll be able to hear myself think.
I might even hear myself Roar.