You know that feeling? The one that bubbles within you, starting in the pit of your stomach, rising in your chest, and finally making its way into your head, causing your neck to crane and back to hunch over in defeat? Yeah, that is the low. The low seems to come every time it feels like things are finally coming together. After a productive day, a social day, a anything day. It seemingly comes out of nowhere, with feelings of shame, in-adequateness, loss, and desperation. In an instant you're tired, not physically but on a level that's kept everything running for years. You wonder why. Things had been going so well, and you had plans. You were going to use that excess energy for good, for going out, and/or building a life. You had just gotten started, but now it's three AM and you're not sure what's wrong. You're not even sure that something is wrong. Maybe this is how you are, how you always will be? Maybe this all life has to offer. Maybe it doesn't get any better than this?
Do you find yourself shutting down after a good moment or two? Feel like dying right after you feel alive? Well, Now you don't have to. What you are dealing with is...
I hoped that writing that would help me find a cure to this. I say cure because it feels like a cancer invading your soul with each crash. It's debilitating, and exhausting. Just when things are turning good, you turned it right back around.
I've had plenty of these resets over the last few months, years, decade. They creep on you slowly, and even though I've gotten better at avoiding them and/or redirecting them over the years, they still slam into me and not only take my breath away, they take my hope away.
Hope is... how do I describe hope? Hope is such a crucial ingredient to the recovery potion that losing it crushes your soul underneath boulders of infinite weight. Losing hope, is by far the most exhausting of all losses. Hope is the thing that makes loss bearable, and without it it's unendurable.
But I, and we, if you're also going through this, need to remember that when we're physically tired we know it's a sign that we might need a nap, food, or some sort of physical comfort. This, our worlds falling apart, are our minds telling us that they are exhausted. Our lives are... as grande as they may seem, are surrounded by oppressive and abusive societies and cultures. Many of us are going through emotional and psychological warfare, internally and externally, every day. It leaves us exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes close to calling it quits. But we just need a break.
The question, is do we know how, and will we take one? If we've been awake 24 hours, we know we need to sleep, we know how, and most likely we will. But what about going through years of oppression and abuse? What do we do then? How do we learn to rest? How do we find the things that speak to our soul to reset us?
Standing up against oppression, and resisting the system can obviously lead to a better world where we are not dealing with these things constantly. There are thousands of things that can help recharge us until we come up with a sustainable solution. Here are some of the things that work for me:
1. Choices. Making even the smallest of decisions and owning it empowers me beyond belief. Last week, after a terrible low, I decided to clean my room. The next day, I decided to cut my hair, which had grown way out of control but I had kept because some of my friends liked it. This was me taking back the ownership of my life and signing a new lease out of the low.
2. Connection/Spirituality. I love nature, especially water. Being by a body of water is like a spa day, but so much better because no one gets near me. It makes me feel connected to the environment, to God, and to myself. Connection slowly starts healing the gaps in my life. I also connect with the work I'm doing. Thankfully I live with amazing individual doing great work with Muslim Community Link, which I'm a board member of, so it's easy to reconnect with the work. Journaling allows me to reflect on this connection so it's used for healing.
3. Running. Sometimes I need a new environment to rest. Normally I'd cross borders searching for safety. This time, it was as simple as moving my workstation from the kitchen to my room. A new location can give you a new outlook to be able to take that step back and innovate your life.
4. Give in. Some days I need to fall into the abyss, and as difficult and scary getting out might be, I need to stop fighting, rest up, to fight another day. Sometimes when you're worried your phone might die, you turn it off to use that little bit of juice later. This is my shut down moment.
5. Anything else. Each low is different, and the things that worked once might never work again. That's okay.try new things, and be intentional about finding the right one FOR YOUR RECOVERY, and you will find your way.
Lows might be a blow to our soul, but self love not only repairs the damage, it makes us see that damage is beautiful, unique, and worth fighting for.
What do you do to recharge? Let us know in the comments below.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, Inc. He is the co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, and a Novelist. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.