The trouble is, we look at each others’ social media feeds and have very little idea of the real stuff going on behind the scenes. It looks like everyone else is sailing through life, when the reality might be far splashier.
Here are some of the things I remind myself when I’m going through sticky patches…
This too shall pass
I always joke that I’ve been on and off anti-depressants over the years like a kiddy on a roundabout. But I’ve never felt any shame in treating an illness, you know?
What I have found from my years of experience with mental health struggles – take it from Grandma! – is that the sun does always come back out eventually.
New life and growth is inevitable
When I feel stuck or like life has got a bit ‘Groundhog Day’, I remind myself that nothing stays the same for very long.
Things do shift: situations improve and problems eventually resolve.
As with daffodils, beautiful things can spring from unlikely places!
Your ability to feel things might also be your strength
I remember my Dad suggesting a way for me to handle the soul-destroying criticism I faced at Art College:
“Water off a duck’s back, love – that’s what it needs to be.”
But I never mastered the whole ‘duck’s back’ thing. That water seemed to permeate and sink into my very core – I felt every harsh word intensely.
But I realise now that being vulnerable is part of being the me that I’ve been made to be.
I’m a feeler, a creative, and I’m prone to the blues; it’s who I am and it’s okay.
Choosing gratitude helps
I was walking up the hill in the rain earlier on today, feeling pretty fed up.
The printers had been closed so I couldn’t print out my new kit, and I was already slap-bang in the middle of a challenging week, so my spirits were flagging.
But I decided to battle the slump with positivity.
“Thank you that I have legs to walk up this hill,” I began.
It sounds daft, but after a few more statements, I did manage to shift my feelings out of the driving seat!
Be gentle with you
Okay, so today didn’t go as planned. And yesterday didn’t either. In fact, the whole month has been a bit of a hot mess.
When we go through low patches, it’s as if we lose our elasticity. Life knocks us down to the extent that it doesn’t take much to send that brittle version of us over the edge.
We need to give ourselves so much more grace! We need to talk to ourselves as gently as if we were encouraging a child and remember that there’s always another tomorrow in which to have another go.
“Morning by morning, new mercies I see.”
It’s okay – even if it’s not
It’s my favourite Rob Bell quote and there have been times when I’ve needed to remind myself of it.
When you fear a bad health test result or when something really upsetting has happened. When it feels like the bottom has fallen out of your world and you’re not sure where to go with your feelings, it’s all so raw.
We have a God who promises to never leave nor forsake us. A God who promises a Heavenly home for his beloved kids when we leave this earth. Even the end isn’t the end with Him.
We have a God who promises to walk with us through the very darkest valley: it’s okay: even if it’s not.
My favourite podcast listen when things are truly overwhelming is here.