When I was in college, I used to turn my flip phone off for days when I felt I needed to disconnect from the world. I was not depressed or perturbed. There are just moments when being around people and the conflict that comes with it is too much, and I need a recess.
In the day of smartphones, this type of disconnect has proven impossible, especially now that I monitor my blood sugar levels from my phone.
Maybe this merely demonstrates weakness of willpower? But there have been other methods I’ve used to disconnect from all that makes me unhappy or stressed. Sometimes, though, it’s not enough. We all break at some point.
And I don’t know what triggered this recurrence of negativity lately, but I recognize something is off. It’s not depression or frustration or even insecurity. When I look at my life as a whole, I am happy with it. So, maybe I’m simply burnt out? It happens, even in the most creative realms. And for someone like me who’s self-awareness is so present it’s almost nauseating, I need a break from processing emotions and the chaos of life that has become the norm.
Shutting Myself Away
Back in school when I felt particularly irritable and done with the world, I shut myself in my room for hours and sometimes days on end. My parents often joked that if they didn’t know where to find me, just check my room. I did a lot more writing back then.
And after hours of being shut away, I eventually arose from my hole with a renewed sense of self and perspective. I felt a calm inner peace and could tolerate (even embrace) circumstances around me. But having grown up (I think), adult responsibilities no longer afford me this latitude.
I have to work to maintain my financial independence, to afford my diabetes and to take care of ones I love, including Norm. And while I am not averse to taking a mental health day when needed, it’s a lot harder to take a week off (especially when allotted so little vacation time in this country).
So, I keep going. And I use the small reprieves of time to recharge and find a tiny ounce of renewal. Just this weekend, I’ve savored getting to know a beloved steampunk series again. It’s one of my preferred methods of healing, but I need more time. My friends have certainly come to understand and respect this process. I can’t be a friend if I don’t first take care of myself. And I can’t manage my diabetes properly if I don’t first take care of my mental health.
Taking the Time
When I look back on 2017, I realize that I survived a lot of emotional upheavals. I usually downplay my trials and tribulations (except, maybe, when it comes to Type 1 diabetes), but in the comforts of my bedroom, I admit this has been an exhausting year. All of that overused energy is starting to affect my everyday, and while I take the little wins when I can, I recognize that it’s not enough.
So, in a few weeks, I plan to take a vacation where I can completely disconnect, where I don’t have to think about the future or the emotional challenges in my life. I mean, I can, but I am going to choose not to. I probably won’t have cell service, and I definitely won’t have internet. I will be among family and friends, but for a week, I will be able to leave this daily life behind with the hope that those five days will give me the reprieve and renewal I need to re-enter my creative chaos and dream anew.
I’ll keep you posted.