“My head is full and my heart is heavy”. This was the only way I could describe how I am feeling to my husband this morning. Full, heavy, weighed down, overwhelmed.
I know that so many people are going through tough times right now, the air feels full of worry and stress, like when you get off a plane in a hot country and you can’t catch your breath. No matter how many deep breaths you take, you can’t seem to get enough oxygen. It is trapped and smothered by anxious thoughts and mild panic.
I wish I could pin point what is making me feel this way, but nothing is ever that black and white is it? It is the many shades of grey inbetween that dissolve the colours of life. Turning the technicolour of glorious life into an old, scratchy black and white movie. I am hopeful for the day that I will step into Oz and my eyes will see colour again.
I have a lot going on, the continuing saga of life with chronic illness, the stupid bloody hernias that haunt me. Then I slipped a disc in my back a few weeks ago that left me bed ridden for a week, it is better but still causing jip. I have a lingering UTI that I am fairly certain is ignoring the antibiotics and just sticking to the stress and keeping warm in my bladder. My awesome daughter left for university a few weeks ago and I miss them dreadfully. My eldest son has moved home with his lovely fiancé whilst they are between houses, my youngest has started college and a new job. Then there is the ‘stuff’, you know work, study, chores, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, taking the cat to the vet weekly as she has damaged her ligaments in her leg, sometimes it all just feels a bit overwhelming.
I feel like running away. I would happily take my husband, kids and friends with me on this escape. But man, life is a lot isn’t it.
I am usually a glass half full person, I can find the silver linings even in the shittiest of clouds. And I do still feel like I am that person. But everything just feels very full at the minute.
A friend told me of a story about a flower that droops and withers, no matter how much it tries to find the sun. And there comes a point where you have to stop blaming the flower for failing to thrive but look at the environment it is in. Without nutrient rich soil, sun and water, the flower will always struggle no matter how cheerful it tries to be.
Now, I know I am extremely lucky and privileged in many ways. I have a nice home that is safe, warm and mine. I have a great husband, kids and friends. I have money in the bank and I am not (too!) stressed about paying my mortgage or bills this month or next. I have food in the fridge and an oven to cook in. I am luckier than most people in the world.
But years of poor health and the mental health struggles it has brought with it has worn me down.
I know I choose to fill my days, I take on things that I probably shouldn’t because I have to prove to myself that I am here and valid and ‘normal’. That I can work and study and do extra projects because ‘this illness won’t stop me!’ And honestly, I love a lot of what I do. But right now, today, my head is full and my heart is heavy.
I want to simplify my life, remove the stuff that I do mindlessly, that wastes time and causes me sadness (instagram reels, news, scrolling through endless hateful internet comments). I am reading a book at the minute called Homesick – why I live in a shed by Catrina Davies about consumerism and simplifying your life and your surroundings.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, either immediately or in the long run.Henry David Thoreau
She quotes Walden by Henry David Thoreau when she reminds us of how it is quicker to walk anywhere than it is to work to pay for the ticket to arrive in style. And this simplifying of life feels very attractive to me right now.
I look at the waste produced each week by me and my family, the stack of boxes plied awaiting recycling collection from the crap we have bought over the internet from companies that don’t give a shit about the environment or the people who work for them. I see the monthly outgoings that seems to get more each month. I feel the weight of the possessions I have collected over my lifetime. And I kind of wish it would just all disappear. That I could live more simply, smaller yet more connected, connected to people I love, to community, to good, to nature, to creativity.
Perhaps it is that I turned 40 this year and suddenly feel the rush of the years gone by and realise how quickly the next 40 years will go. And I wonder how the things we do, the things we buy, the need to live in a bigger house, a better area, whether these things become the chain that holds us back.
If I could snap my fingers, my life would look different. I would live by the sea, close to nature, I would swim and walk and grow vegetables, tend to my chickens. I would throw away my phone and just use one to actually speak to the people I love, I would untether myself from the tangle of social media. I would live in a little house in the woods with my husband, buying little, creating much and feeling more connected to the earth.
Then I wonder what is stopping me?
As I sit here, taking tablet after tablet of the medication that keeps me going, I do start to wonder if I changed my lifestyle, would I improve my heath, my stress.
I wonder how to make my head less full and my heart less heavy.
I wonder if now is the time to make some changes.
Peace and love