I remember when I was teaching English Literature and Writing online and students would email me, somewhere around week five of the eight week course, completely overwhelmed.
They were behind.
They felt out of their element.
They were paralyzed.
As best as I could, via email (that wonderful, sterile communication medium), I tried to breathe life back into them.
You can do this.
One step at a time.
Do the next best thing.
Lately, even though I have simplified my life to bare bones minimums, I feel overwhelmed too.
I wrote a post last Thursday about how I was doing better, and when I wrote it, that was true. But my good days are often followed by bad days and I had a few very bad days after that post. I’m learning that “getting better” doesn’t happen the minute (or the week, or month) that I decide to start counseling or take medication.
I am exhausted. My brain feels paralyzed.
Just this morning, as I stepped out of the shower, my hand hovered on the cabinet door nob.
No…put on your robe.
Robe first? Or lotion?
It’s maddening, this fog, the indecision, the exhaustion: The Depression.
But I have to keep my head up. I have to keep moving forward. I have to keep choosing the next best thing.
Sometimes I wonder what that means, especially when the housework and the kids are all screaming at me. What is most pressing? What does “best” mean? How do I choose when indecision and uncertainty and exhaustion are smothering my brain?
I’m used to tackling the whole world. I like being super mom, super wife, and super friend.
But I am trying to heal right now so I have to choose simple over super. Right now, instead of saying, “What do I want to accomplish today?” I am saying, “What is the next best thing I can do right now?”
Sometimes that means getting dressed.
Eating a snack.
Snuggling on the couch with my two year old.
Loading the dishwasher.
Taking a nap.
Switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
Breathing in, breathing out.
It’s maddening, infuriating, really, to want to do All The Things when I just can’t right now.
I’m trying not to get angry with this process because healing takes time, but it’s hard.
I may feel paralyzed and overwhelmed right now, but I’m refusing to be stuck. I’m taking small, halting, baby steps at a time.
I’m doing the Next Best Thing.
I’m moving forward. It just at a different pace than I’m used to.
Are you feeling paralyzed right now?
Are you overwhelmed?
What is your Next Best Thing?
What is one step you can take to today to keep moving forward?