If You Can’t Fly, Then Run

If you can't fly...

Battling mental illness is exhausting, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up completely. Moving forward no matter how insignificant is a win.

I recently joined a gym with the goal of working out five times a week. Right now this feels impossible. In my current state of mind I doubt I’ll get there at all this week. I’m not being pessimistic, that is the reality of my energy level and my will. Days like this mean I wake up tired, I’m not interested in doing anything and my outlook on life is dismal.

If you can’t fly, then run

I have dysthymia so I don’t think I’ve ever been able to fly. But a really good day is a running day, and nothing holds me back. On those days life feels lighter and easier. It’s a day to make the most of my energy and my emotional high. Anything is possible.

If you can’t run, then walk

On the days when you have a wish to get something done, but everything is overwhelming, it’s time to break the mountain down into mole hills.

The days you can only walk, prioritize your tasks and do the bare necessities. Put on one load of laundry, the rest can be done tomorrow. Clean the sink, the tub or the toilet and leave the rest for another day. Break down your chores into manageable bits.

Today I decided to mow my lawn before I slept the afternoon away. I knew I couldn’t finish the entire yard, but I was determined to pick an area and get it done. When I finished I felt like I was productive, and the feeling of accomplishment was good for my self-esteem.

If you can’t walk, then crawl

Then there are days when everything feels impossible, and all you want to do is hide under a rock and die, be kind to yourself. This is not the day to worry about getting chores done or going to the gym.

When all I can do is crawl, I will walk to the end of my driveway to bring in the garbage and recycling containers or pick up the newspaper. That is all the exercise I’ll do today.

It will be a day of sleeping, cups of tea, and lots of television and the internet. I’ll strive to pick up after myself, but if I don’t then tomorrow is fine. Today I’m just trying to survive. Giving yourself permission to do nothing is a wonderful gift.

If you can’t stand being in your own skin, call a friend, a therapist, a help line, anything to get through the day without feeling you’re alone in the world.

Mental illness takes a lot from us already, but if we strive to move forward, it doesn’t have to destroy us.

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