I haven’t blogged in two weeks. I haven’t made soap in over a month. I only stepped into my lab twice in the last two weeks. I haven’t even logged into my business social media accounts to maintain them. The normal joy I feel from crafting was, strangely, just non-existent. Luckily, since the business is mine to run, I can choose when I want to work and when I don’t, but because the business is almost solely my responsibility, if I choose not to work, my sales plummet.
I try to be open about my anxiety and clinical depression. But we all know there is still a stigma and shame to those of us who suffer from depression – why can’t we just “snap out of it” or “get over it.” Believe me, and I think I can speak for most of us, I wish it were that simple. My whole business was born from my depression; my needing a moment to step away. To take me down from a panic attack, I would light candles of fragrances that would remind me of happier moments in my life….like my wedding cake. So I started making my own, and the rest is history.
But this blog isn’t about my depression, per se; it’s about recognizing when you need to walk away from things. It became obvious to me that I needed to walk away from my business and concentrate on different moments of my life when we adopted our rescue pup, Lucy. What started as a rushed chore to get home and take her out for a walk became my half an hour of peace. It was just me, Lucy, and the pavement. I didn’t have to worry about posting the right thing, or finishing something up, or some order; I had the perfect reason to put all of it aside and just be present with Lucy.
I’ve been torn about my feelings because I love my business and I’ve worked incredibly hard to grow it, but I couldn’t ignore my visceral reactions of flooding tears, overwhelming trembles, constant migraines, and persistent illness. Walking with Lucy, I felt a little freer, a little less trapped to my home office, a little riskier with my money. I specifically remember thinking that “I can’t be buried in my money, so they can bury me in debt” as I was walking. I felt like Atlas on a coffee break – alive, weightless, impermanent.
Unfortunately, this need to let go doesn’t always work so easily. For example, my day job as a teacher wouldn’t just let me walk out because I didn’t feel like it that day. So, we persevere and continue to push ourselves beyond breaking points causing irreparable damage. I started to feel damaged…like the sunken hole I was in had gotten so deep I couldn’t pull myself out of it. If I didn’t act in my favor soon, I would have crashed and burned. Lucy was a big proponent to this since I could not longer hide behind my screen all day. I had to make a choice, and I chose me.
I always preach that people should just learn to say “no,” and yet I always find myself in the corner of an obligated yes. I do believe that true friends will understand whatever you go through, but that can only go so far when all you want is to say no all the time. You can’t be depressed and a good friend.
The real trick is to listen to yourself before it gets to the point where you want to run and hide from all things in existence. Do things for yourself everyday. Light a candle, take a bath, go for a walk with your Lucy. I wish I would have listened to my signs before I felt broken.