Sure, there are still a few pesky board exams to get through before licensure, but as far as my degree is concerned all I have to do now is show up to finish off clinic shifts and a couple of low-key classes.
If you read my last post you know that, not too long ago, I wasn’t sailing along so smoothly.
I recently hit a rough patch that lasted for a few weeks.
It was comprised of exhaustion and a smattering of blows to my ego, a combination which left me feeling desperate and depleted.
Before I go on, there’s something you have to know about me:
I’m a big-time dreamer and planner.
I regularly imagine the next steps in life, what kinds of things I’m going to create, and then come back down from the clouds to actively figure out what I have to do to fulfill my dreams.
I pride myself in being an optimist and realist rolled into one, and have successfully manifested numerous incredible adventures in the short while I’ve been blessed to be on this earth.
My experience has lead me to believe that if we really want something, for the most part, there’s a way to make it happen. And if it turns out to be impossible, then there’s something better coming your way.
Yet over the last few weeks I was feeling so down that I couldn’t even imagine anything beyond graduation without feeling a heavy weight on my back.
That’s how I knew my situation was bad.
Luckily, I also knew that all I had to do was jump through a few more hoops.
And I did, for the most part anyway.
I finished up my projects, I invested in a visit to the sauna and had a massage, I started getting weekly acupuncture treatments again, and I said no to everything that was extraneous and not immediately necessary.
My poor husband generously took the lead on household chores and kitchen duty while I gratefully laid around in a stress-induced stupor.
I felt guilty for not being able to handle life, for being moody, for not getting enough exercise, and for sleeping so much.
But I also realized that guilt wasn’t doing me any favors.
I was exhausted.
I had worn myself out and I needed a break.
I knew that if I didn’t give myself a break I ran the risk of falling into a depression, and if that happened it would be even harder to crawl out.
So I let myself acknowledge that it was okay to push the pause button for a moment to give myself the time and space I needed to recover.
And it worked.
After a short while of lying around, letting myself be grumpy, not forcing myself out of bed to exercise and instead sleeping in and watching bad television, I began to dream again.
I could see the hazy picture beyond graduation begin to come into focus, and instead of feeling overwhelmed I was actually excited to see it.
I’m still figuring out the details, but I know that the near future holds an exciting whirlwind of new creations and projects, I just need to take care of myself on the path to getting there.
I know my approach may sound counter-intuitive.
According to most of the literature out there my slothful behavior could very well have indicated that I was actually falling into depression.
Which makes this situation is the perfect example of how important it is to remember that everything is relative.
Had I not been at the end of a 5 year graduate program, had I not been working diligently both at school and on numerous outside projects, and had I had more than a day off in the past 5 months, then perhaps it would not have been favorable for me to sit around in my pajamas all day.
But given the context, doing a whole lot of nothing (with a little bit of pampering thrown in for good measure) was actually the best medicine of all.
And that’s not something to feel guilty about.