With the year halfway through now, I thought I’d do this month’s resolution update a little differently. We’re gonna talk about why I made these resolutions, how much they’ve helped… and about how self-improvement can only go so far.
Barcelos, heal thyself
I made my 2018 resolutions because I was unhappy. I looked back at 2017 and asked myself, “Okay, what went wrong this year, and how can we avoid those mistakes this year? What are you unhappy with and how can you avoid those self-inflicted wounds?”
Some things were superficial. I had low self-esteem because I felt like I was fat. 190 pounds was not a healthy weight for me. I didn’t feel good when I looked in the mirror, or when I was engaging in any kind of physical activity.
And thus, my second resolution to keep a regular workout schedule was born. It’s been the most successful of the three.
However, I was far more concerned with the very negative mental space I was in. My mood and energy levels were going through massive swings. Sometimes I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS: hold down two jobs, be a part of two teams, volunteer for quidditch and beyond, schedule away every spare moment of my time. It made me feel invincible.
Then the swing would come. I would disassociate and spend hours on my couch doing nothing. I would watch deadlines coming at me and let them fly by, only stirring myself if failing to meet them would hurt other people more than it would hurt me. I felt overwhelmed and rejected by a world that denied a competent woman and chose a raging blowhard instead. Nothing felt worth bothering to do.
I told myself I was doing too much. I told myself I was focused on the negative. That’s where my first and third resolutions came from. I told myself that cutting that shit out would fix things. I would feel better.
That’s not what happened.
The hardest thing is asking for help
This year, my mood swings have gotten worse. The highs are not terribly high, but the lows have been deep indeed. I usually manage to swing out of them in time to get shit done, but I think my friends can tell you that they’ve noticed something’s up.
If I slept through an event I was supposed to go to, bailed last minute without much of a reason, or seemed hard to get ahold of: now you know why.
A few things happened in June that made me realize I needed to get help. First, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, two people I looked up to, committed suicide. It shattered my illusion of “Oh, I’ll feel better once I feel like I’m successful.”
June also marks the anniversary of when my grandfather, Padrinho Fernandinho, took his life. It’s never an easy day for me. I was the last person in my immediate family to see him, some small part of me believed I should have seen it coming and done something. Fixing things is what I do, but I couldn’t fix what I never saw coming.
While that is no longer the case, it’s been replaced with fear that something may happen to me. My unplanned hermit periods don’t come with thoughts of self-harm, but I never want to reach that point. Depression crops up in my family enough that it may be what’s making me swing so hard.
Next week, I will be biting the bullet and seeing a therapist for the first time. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I wasn’t lucky enough to have the insurance to do so, but I finally do and I am going to try my hardest to take care of myself. I am terrible at taking care of myself, but I’ve also come to recognize that what I have may be beyond my ability to fix on my own.
Thanks for reading, friends.