Experiences in the last few days have left me feeling overwhelmingly sad. As I’ve been thinking about those experiences, and the experiences of the last few months a couple of things have started to emerge.
One of my biggest fears was not knowing how I was going to cope with the isolation. The last time I faced this kind of isolation was when I first moved to New York, and I was incredibly lonely. I feared the same would happen this time. I’m still not sure how it’s going to go. I’ve been warned by friends that the path has many twists and turns, and that more really hard days are in my future. And I don’t have a tried-and-true method of dealing with “hard”. The thing I’ve turned to in the past has been food, but I’d like to find healthier ways to cope this time around. That being said, I have hope. I’ve spent a couple of years living alone and it turns out I’ve learned a thing or two!
Building (coding) things brings value to my life. There’s nothing quite like sitting down at a computer, staring at a blank screen, and bringing a thing to life. This, of course, is loaded, as most things are for me. Building has been a way to escape. A way to run away from hard (and scary) situations. A way to escape from dealing with my insecurities. And so, there’s also a lot of shame. A balance does exist, and now I have ample time to try to find it.
I really enjoy learning from my mentors (Derek Sivers, Jason Fried, Seth Godin, etc). Another way I’ve spent alone time in the past is consuming as much content as possible from the handful of people I really care about. I encounter new situations and learn how they handle them. I get exposed to new arguments and ways of thinking about the world. I learn a lot. I haven’t spent the past few months doing this and I’m itching to pick it back up.
Though I have hope (and some experience) dealing with the road ahead I still, at times, experience an overwhelming amount of sadness. And in those times I feel like doing nothing. I feel like laying on the couch and watching TV for hours and hours. But there’s also a lot of shame in that. Shame that I’m not doing something more. Shame that I feel sad in the first place.
My experience with my therapist over the past few months can be summed up into a couple of words: “don’t judge the feeling”. On a small scale, I think I’ve made great progress. I have a much better handle on the daily barrage of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are driven by my insecurities. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. This (the overwhelming sadness) feels different. I don’t have a patronus to fight it off before it becomes all-consuming. And I still judge the feeling, when that feeling consumes hours and hours of my day. But, I have hope. During an early conversation I had with my therapist I argued that the best time to learn how to deal with something is in real time, when you’re experiencing it. She argued that the best time was before you experience it. I now know I was wrong. Coping with overwhelming emotions requires trained emotional muscles. Thankfully, I started regularly going to the gym a few months ago. I’m not yet strong enough. But I’m hopeful.
On being comfortable
Figuring out how to find my own comfort, in such uncertainty, will be my primary focus over the next few months. Because I know the reward in doing so will last well into the future. And I have hope. I have hope because I’m better equipped. And because I’m not going at it alone. Malayna, thank you for being kind, and patient, and full of wisdom.