By Brieanna Knepper
Sometimes what you need the most in times of struggle is to remind yourself that one small step in the right direction can make all the difference. This idea came from a string of days when I felt unbelievably less than myself. I was feeling anxious, depressed, and utterly hopeless. I think it’s an easy place to get to in this time when everything seems scary. Uncertainty and isolation are two triggers for me because of my past abuse. Even though I am thanking my lucky stars that me and my family are safe and doing our part to help, darkness can still creep up without warning.
It started with a really bad nights sleep. That rolled into a lazy day of mindless eating and feeling crappy. Then I added in a big dose of the news which sent me spiraling into my anxiety. After a couple of days of this on repeat, I had wound up in a pretty dark place. I didn’t want to do much of anything. I just wanted to curl up in my darkness. My husband, bless his heart, was trying everything to get me out of this funk. I didn’t have the energy to even want to try. As I was carelessly scrolling on my phone I came across a quote that seemed made for me to see:
“All you have to focus on is one small thing you can do today to get you closer to where you want to be.”
That ignited just enough of a spark for me to start thinking of one small thing I could do. I knew where I wanted to be, which was far away from my current mindset. I decided I would take a bath. Sitting in water seemed easier than showering and maybe it would help perk me up. I found some bubble bath, lit a candle, and hopped in. The first few minutes were not super relaxing. My mind kept shouting that I was being silly thinking this would help or that I’m a terrible person for feeling this sad when others have it worse. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. Long, deep breathes. In and out.
Slowly I started to drift back to the present moment. I chose to think of things that were happening right now. I am taking a step to take care of myself when I didn’t want to. I am enjoying a nice bath in my safe home. I can smell the relaxing scent of the bubbles. I can feel the warm water against my skin. These are all things that I can be grateful for in this moment. I started to relax and do a mental scan of my body to release any tension I was holding. By the time I felt ready to get out the water had already started to get cold. I got up, wrapped myself in a towel and stood in front of the mirror. I looked at my reflection and could see a little more life in my eyes. My face and body that have already been through so much, yet here they are standing tall and ready to keep fighting.
I took a moment to thank myself for taking that step. It wasn’t easy. I fought myself tooth and nail. I let my mind beat me down because I didn’t feel worthy to have these feelings and then made myself feel worse for it. It’s OK to not feel great, even if others have it worse. It’s OK to get down and feel a little hopeless. It’s OK! We are human and sometimes that can be hard and messy. BUT, you have to find that one small thing that puts you back on the path. Call a friend or family member, get outside, dance, watch a funny show, snuggle your pet, or reach out for help if you need it. One small thing that that gets you to put one foot in front of the other. Something that helps reignite that little flame of hope!
Taking a bath was not what I had intended for this weeks story to be about, but it’s where I’m at. Hopefully next week will be better. That’s all we can do. Try our best and keep focusing on one small thing that keeps us heading in the right direction.