A Month of Doing Alright, Actually

by thethreepennyguignol

“2022 is going to be MY year!” I murmured happily to myself at the turn of the clock last December 31st. And then the universe did a big long cackle and pushed me into a puddle.

A small puddle, in the grand scheme, but my trousers were still damp at the hems nonetheless. The first half of this year has been extremely and exceptionally irritating, difficult, depressing, and sore-throaty for reasons I’ve already covered, but honestly, this last month or so? It’s been alright.

Well, because my book came out, honestly. But mainly because I have been making an aggressively cheery attempt to make it that way. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’ve just managed to think and yoga myself out of a bad corner, because that’s not how it works – my brain has been playing ball a bit more lately, and I’ve been able to take that and run with it a little to try and keep my mood out of the absolute doldrums day-to-day.

My main focus has been meditation, which is something I really struggle with a lot of the time because my brain is constantly going at one million miles an hour, with intrusive thoughts and compulsive urges and wondering if that wet patch I stepped in this morning was actually a little bit of cat sick. Something I’ve found really helpful is walking meditations – there are some great ones on Headspace, and I occasionally use Spotify to look up random ones too – because it gives me something to focus on so I can quiet my brain down enough to actually chill for a while. While a lot of them are focused on nature walks and suchlike, I’ve really enjoyed the ones centred around urban spaces – it’s really given me an appreciation of the city I live in, even when I’m not able to get out to any of my local parks or green spaces.

And getting re-focused on activism has lifted my spirits a lot, too. Sometimes, it feels literally overwhelming to get anywhere close to engaging with the state of the world right now, and it’s something that has a huge impact on my state of mind, as it does so many people. While it sometimes feels pointless to do anything, when the problems seem so enormous, I’ve been pushing myself to get involved in some local causes to help make a difference in the campaigns that matter to me, and honestly, I’m already feeling a whole lot better about it. Taking matters into your own hands, even in a seemingly-small way, can give you back some of the control that often feels so far out of reach.

As corny as it sounds, positive changes, however small, have helped me keep the buoyancy of my brain’s improved serotonin afloat. I’ve been trying to show myself a bit more compassion in quantifiable ways – cooking myself nice dinners, heading out to fun places without waiting for someone to keep me company, using all those fun bath bombs I got and then just hoarded like a cotton-candy scented dragon – and it’s helped. It has. I’ve still had some shit days, as one glamorously does, but I’m starting to shift towards the “getting better” I wanted at the start of this year.

So what I’m saying is I have entirely cured any and all mental illness for all time ever, and you can send your thanks to me in the form of one of those big fuck-off bars of hazelnut-praline filled vegan chocolate. How has your month been? What have you been doing to lift your mood or help get yourself out a slump? Let me know in the comments below!