When Resilience Practices No Longer Work
"I hear you whisper underneath your breath, I hear you whisper you have nothing left."
-- Lauren Daigle
It's been a minute since I've posted on this blog...okay, more like 171,360 minutes. My old friends, named Depression and Anxiety, came back for a visit this summer, and the resilience practices that I've shared here no longer worked. At first, it was insidious - I felt like I was reacting to the pandemic with more anxiety than other sane people around me. And then life piled on: job losses, non-COVID sicknesses; a friend was injured; hurricanes and fires battered our country. And my extroverted self was socially-deprived! My sleep was deeply disturbed and I judged myself for losing control of that again. I went for a physical, found out that morning that a family member had a fever and respiratory symptoms, and even though I told the medical center, I went into panic mode for fear of being exposed to COVID and at risk for spreading it, which sent my blood pressure sky-high.
I could no longer feel joy.
That's what did it for me - made me want to get help - that I could no longer feel joy. Before that, I was too busy judging myself and waiting for...what? A complete mental breakdown? Thankfully, thankfully, I've been down this road before and I knew that Zoloft (an antidepressant) would probably help me. And it did! I had already been in talk therapy; I knew from my experience as a nurse practitioner that adding medication was the right thing to do, and I am grateful to have the health insurance and support to get the help I needed. Now I am realizing - because I feel sooo much like my old self (think Tigger, of Pooh fame) - that I was depressed for longer than I thought. I can focus! I am motivated and can sleep. I feel strong and determined again, ready to make "good trouble" (RIP John Lewis).
I am writing this, not for sympathy (empathy is welcome lol), but to say that we CAN reach the point of needing more help than we can provide for ourselves. When I wrote about everyday resilience practices, I only ever wrote about what actually worked for me...and yet I worried that I sounded too much like a Pollyanna. Just do (fill in the blank) and you will be okay, you will stay in control. It doesn't work that way. My serotonin tank was on empty, and now it's refilled thanks to Zoloft, and that's a huge relief. And guess what? The resilience practices are working for me again, getting me through these unprecedented times. If this is resonating with you, please don't wait until you hit rock bottom to seek help. I wish I had asked for help a month or more before I did. The proof is in the pudding: I can feel joy again, and I am making a point to do so every. single.day.