Some of you will know that I live with Bipolar, anxiety and depression and that I can feel up and down, anxious and depressed, calm and manic simultaneously. My head is not always a nice place to be. But within all of this is where I can harness my creativity and my passion and live a lovely life and lead a great team and work with incredible clients. But it's not always pretty inside of my head or in the feelings that can at times take over my body.
I have a routine, daily actions and practices that for the most part allow me to function fully, yet like many of you, my routine over recent weeks has been thrown in the air and so to it have my moments of calm.
For most of the last three weeks I have woken with overwhelming anxiety, and I've breathed through it, and I've made a plan and I've allowed myself to feel what I need to feel and take actions to help myself and others.
Add to my mental state the fact that I'm an empath and an introvert, the energy I am picking up from others during calls and zooms and emails and texts and social media has been more than overwhelming. And I know I'm not alone in this either. And when my phone rang yesterday from an unknown number, I froze, and watched it ring. They left a voicemail and I called them straight back.
Today is not a good day for me. And on days like this I don't usually write or record, partly because I don't think it will help me and partly because I don't want to be seen in this state. This morning is different, thanks to two ducks. No I've not completely lost the plot.
I woke this morning, anxious, physically shaking and not knowing which way was up. I was frozen in the feelings that had taken over my body and my mind, but after an hour sitting with it and trying to meditate and journalling, I went for my shower. As I was heading back to my room, I spotted two ducks waddling across our driveway.
We're used to all kinds of birds and wildlife finding their way into our garden, but never ducks. And they caused me to pause and watch them. They waddled to one hedge, the male went through first and the female waited. The male popped his head back out and they waddled some more. The male jumping in and out of the bottom of the hedge and then they waddled off toward the gates and out of sight. But in seeing them, I realised more so that we are feeling a little lost and a little trapped in the current climate, but that doesn't have to stop us moving and keeping an eye out on each other. We don't have to stop being who we are or doing what we do, we just need a different approach and an acknowledgment that our usual way of doing things may not work for us today. So we need to be patient and just keep doing our best and trying to find our way.
In normal circumstances, I show up for whoever I need to show up for regardless of how I'm feeling, but today I'm allowing myself to be vulnerable and I'm going to see where it leads me, and that's ok. And I'm only going to do what's necessary to allow myself time to just be however I need to be today.
And so whilst I wouldn't normally write on a not so good day, I'm doing firstly for my own sanity, writing always helps, and secondly, for anyone who thinks that what they are feeling needs to be hidden.
I know I'm anxious because we are in a time of unknown. Yesterday I felt ready and able to speak to the bank about our finances, I've been promised a call back today. Today I don't feel ready, but I know it needs to be done. I don't know what will happen for my family, my clients, my company or my friends.
I'm anxious because I've been spending more time on tech. Tech never helps me when I'm feeling this way, I get sucked into the streams of social media and I want to save the world. Last night I deleted all social apps from my phone and I'm going to limit the time I spend on my phone. Probably not the best thing to do when it's the only contact with the outside world currently, but it will work for me.
I know I'm anxious because my diet has gone out of the window. And I don't mean a 'diet' but my food in general. Because we are making do with what we have, and what we have isn't helping my mood or my energy.
I know I'm anxious because my sleep has gone out of the window.
I know I'm anxious because my routine has gone out of the window.
I know I'm anxious because of the entire situation.
I know I'm anxious because of all the things I feel I should be doing, and all off the plans I had, and all of the things that are now late or will be late, the decisions that are needing to be putting on hold.
I know I'm anxious because I feel out of control, but I also know I can only control myself.
I know I'm anxious because I'm worrying about all of the things that I have no control, and for all of the people I want to help, and I know I'm anxious because I'm always anxious, it's just getting higher and higher at the moment.
I know I'm anxious because I'm still helping clients and wanting to make sure everyone else is ok. I know I'm anxious because of the amount of emails I'm getting and the number of Facebook group invites and connection requests are higher than ever with everyone wanting to keep 'me' updated and feeling good and feeling positive. But the overwhelm is becoming too much.
I received an email yesterday about dressing for video conferencing. Today, I don't want to dress for video conferencing, I want to sit in my oversized sweatshirt and feel safe and comfortable and that's exactly what I'm going to do.
I'm going to show up for the video calls I have planned, and then I'm going to spend the afternoon doing whatever I feel I need to do. No plans, no pushing, no forcing, I'm just going to go with it. Because now more ever, flex working will allow me to feel better.
There's a lot to be anxious about currently, there's a lot we can't change, a lot of things we need clarity on and a lot of things that feel overwhelming. There's also a lot to be grateful for. And so today, in my anxious state, I'm grateful for all that I am and all that I have and deep down I know that will pass, that we will need to find a new 'normal' (not that I really know what normal is), and I know that the more I can out of my head and into my body over the next few weeks and months, that the less anxious I will be.
But today, I'm going with it.
Today I'm giving myself permission to be anxious, and all that goes with it. And I hope that whatever you are feeling today, you give yourself permission to just go with it too.
Kelly is Founder of The Chrysalis Crew and a Global Empowerment Coach for Leaders and HR Professionals. She leads the crew with an open heart, an open mind and has the courage to challenge the status quo and do things differently so that we can change the world of work.