Been in a funk lately…
So you haven’t heard much from me lately – maybe you’ve noticed? I think I’ve been in a bit of a funk as of late. And I notice it’s just starting to lift. Today.
Not that I am overjoyed and exuberant about life. But I’m beginning to have some words for what I’ve been carrying in my body for the last spell. For me that is always a good sign.
I’ve been trying to analyze why I’ve got the blues. What is it exactly that’s making me feel so low and has zapped every ounce of energy out of me? Why exactly am I. So. Demotivated. About. Everything.? What’s taking my joy away? What made me have more feelings of “I don’t care anymore” or worse, “I feel helpless and can’t see any possibility for change.”? Or made me gain weight (why all the mindless eating)? What is it that makes me wake up often during the night and then doesn’t allow me to fall back asleep easily? Why, why, why am I so TIRED, so down, so relentlessly irritable and not able to find the positive in anything? Why are my most coherent thoughts limited to “This sucks!”, or worse, “I suck!”. And why am I ruminating the same drudgery thoughts day in and day out?…
Ever feel like that? I think it’s pretty common these days….
Here are some of the “reasons” I’ve discovered that may have been contributing to how I been feeling:
- This friggin heat has been so grueling. It feels so oppressive and ominous. (Of course, Mother Nature put on a spectacular show the other night of lightning and thunder and warm summer rain… I’m sorry, mom, I know that terrifies you, but I loved it – that was actually a good reason to not be able to sleep that night!)
- Maybe it was Michelle Obama admitting to the low-grade depression she is suffering from, on her podcast, that gave me permission to connect to and name my similar feels.
- Maybe it was the horrible and selfish way, #45 treated the loss of John Lewis – a lovely man and selfless activist who fought with his own body for racial justice and the rights of marginalized folx – to be treated as human beings.
- Maybe it was also hearing/seeing how # 45 is treating and denigrating the post office, or peaceful protesters, or OUR RIGHT TO VOTE.
- Maybe it’s hearing from clients, family and friends how much of a toll this pandemic has taken on them – especially those who are alone or otherwise ill, or who have lost a loved one during this time.
- Maybe it’s feeling so invisible alongside a time when someone close to me has achieved remarkable fame and positive attention. And the ugly jealous feelings that come along with.
- Maybe it’s facing and confronting my own privilege and the ways I have inadvertently contributed to upholding racism. My reckoning with myself and my attitudes, practices, has been challenging, but important work I need to continue to do.
- Maybe it’s having been called a ‘racist whose attitudes are hateful and divisive’, for having said in a public format, things that were not favorable to Trump, and that I had left a certain southern California city because I didn’t feel I fit in with the white, blonde, beachy crowd there.
- Maybe it’s hearing the strain teachers are feeling as they return to school or the pain parents are in as they try to work at home while supporting their kids online schooling and finding it can’t be done, without great cost to themselves and their families.
- Maybe it’s the helplessness and sense of horror I feel every time I see more evidence of Covid’s impact on POC and the growing divide.
- Maybe it was attending a training session about Dismantling Racism, that got taken over by the white male participants in a defensive and “mansplaining/ranking/patriarchal” way, so that the POC on the panel had to struggle to have their voices heard.
- Maybe it’s feeling that these pandemics we are dealing with: coronavirus; systemic racism; and wretchedness from Trump – are so big and overwhelming, and I am too insignificant to make any change for the better; and the self-deprecation and self-pity that comes with that.
- Maybe it’s absorbing the feelings of everyone around me – missing their people; their old lives; their activities; their joys.
- Or maybe it’s seeing many folks who are doing so much good in their homes and in the world, despite the pandemic at hand – and comparing myself negatively to them that I am not doing anything at all.
- Maybe it’s because I took a fall and weeks later my rib cage is still hurting – or is that my heart actually sore and aching?…
I could go on and on I suppose. This is just the beginning of trying to trace the antecedents of my funk. All legit.
Yes, it is valuable and meaningful to me to articulate the hurts or slights I feel, the injuries I have experienced, or even committed toward myself. But it’s not the ‘analysis’ of it alone that is what lifts my spirit, so it gives me permission to move forward.
It’s the combination of many thoughtful acts like these:
- I have to PAUSE. Let myself just stop and take stock.
- I tried to apply mindfulness – just being present to whatever is present – with kindness and without judgment (I could be fairly present, but couldn’t really stop the negative self-judgment)
- I have to just BREATHE. Again and again and again. And then again again.
- I have to FEEL MY FEELS. Just feel them (the sorrow, the loneliness, the depression, the sadness, the overwhelm, the lost-ness, the daze, the disgust, the irritation, the relentless anxiety, the numbing, the anger, the little-pitiful-me-ness, the longing, the searching, the jealousy, the invisibleness, the vulnerability). Just feel my feels – even when they’re sucky.
- I have to have self-compassion. A good friend reminded me “It’s OK to not be OK.” Forgive myself for being in a funk.
- I have to walk, stretch, do yoga, get outside, notice Nature. I could walk outdoors pretty easily, but had a hard time doing the yoga extra bit. I stopped for a while taking photos of the beautiful outdoors, but once I resumed I noticed I felt a little better.
- I have to do some therapisty things. I did a RAIN meditation practice; I did some structured breathing exercises; I had a gently confrontative talk with myself, pointing out a perspective of reality; encouraged myself to challenge my perceptions, see things differently, have gratitude for my many blessings and privilege and connections; speak my feelings; journal; reach out. I even had a 2-chair conversation with parts of myself talking about how I aspired to be in the situation, and about what was getting in the way. I listened to some trainings and integrated valuable information. I remembered who I am.
- I have to connect to my culture, heritage, ethnicity, in food, dance, music, language, remembering my ancestors, honoring where I come from, doing cultural crafts, touching ethnic materials, using all my senses to awaken my cultural life.
- I have to lay all the thought and analysis to rest and just feel what I feel in my body. Listen. Be with where it hurts or with the changing sensations.
- I have to intentionally put myself in places that are peaceful and quiet, so I can hear my own voice, from deep within. Sometimes that means not jumping to respond to other peoples’ demands.
- I have to hear a child’s laughter, squeals, delights in the simplest of things, totally unaware of the heartache so prevalent in my grown up world.
These are some of the healing actions I try to take, when I’m in a funk. Some are easier than others. Some feel like they don’t always or immediately work, even though I teach them to others. Sometimes it just takes a while – A long while – to move through the overpowering waves of FUNK.
My guess is that you might be finding yourself in a blue time every now and then, especially lately. Maybe for similar reasons that I have noted or for a whole other set of concerns. What impacts your mood or your feeling about yourself in your life? What do you try to do to move through it more easily? What challenges you when you feel down? I’d love to know what helps or what’s hard.
And if you’re a POC and feeling a funk lately, don’t miss the final of my FREE series of 4 gathering/healing circles. We’ll meet Friday, August 21 from 4:45 to 6 PM PT, to share how we’re feeling and managing during this time of double pandemics – coronavirus and systemic racism; and we’ll do some mindfulness practices together, to help ease the stress and grief of the times. I hope to see you there. Please sign up at the link below. Bring a friend or share this notice with a friend who might appreciate the support.
In the meantime, take good care of YOU. And be patient with yourself if find yourself in a funk or two. Remember, It’s OK to not feel OK, and it’s OK to ask for help. You are not alone.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with feelings that are hard to handle during this coronavirus and racism pandemic time, please contact me for a therapy appointment.