I was supposed to write an article last week and I had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about. The new season of Sense8 was out (and thoroughly binge-watched) and I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about loneliness and the way introverts connect with each other. I was very excited about that, but I never got around to writing it because, before I had a chance, I woke up feeling like I couldn’t get out of bed.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. Everyone has got one of those days when going to work seems too hard. Meeting people feels like torture, and our usual tactics for cheering ourselves up don’t seem to work. It doesn’t require a tragedy, sometimes you’re perfectly fine one minute, and then the next you’re not. Well, that’s what happened to me.
To be clear, I have not been diagnosed with depression or anxiety. So I cannot speak for those who have or tell you how to better work around those dreadful days. As for myself, I can only speak from my own experience. Sometimes, I’m sad and unmotivated for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t happen often, but when those days catch up to me, I have two main issues.
One: How do I even know I’m having a bad day?
As an introvert, I prefer my own company and cannot wait to get to my house. I have a “people limit” that is easily reached and I learned to accept and indulge that when I can. On the other hand, I also have a limit for my “Me” time, when I’ll begin to crave for the company of people and I’ll stop being productive by myself. And then, in a special category, there are the days when I can’t do anything. My motivation is at its lowest, and there aren’t enough positive thoughts or friends that can make me smile.
Sometimes, the lines get blurred and I’m not sure where I stand. There is a difference between not wanting to leave your bed and not being able to leave your bed, but that difference isn’t always clear to me. And it can leave me confused as to what I should be doing to make myself feel better. As introverts, I believe it’s easy to brush off our “bad days” as a desire to be alone when it might actually be worse than that. When I want some “Me” time, I work on myself, I do things that give me joy; when I have a bad day, I’m not thinking about myself, or even thinking about anything at all.
What I’ve learned from dealing with it repeatedly, though, is that I have to be honest about my feelings and not just ignore them until they go away. Did something happen recently that really bothered me? Is the way I’m feeling a reaction to a particular event? Is this hormonal? Have I reached “Me” time limit or my “people limit” and need to recharge either way? If the answer to all of these (and hundreds of other questions) is “no”, then I’m in a very special place called “I have no idea why I feel this bad but I do”. Or, as I like to call it, “the sonata”.
Yes, I call my bad unnamed feeling “sonata”, I recognize the pretentiousness of it. I learned, as a trick from long ago, to give this feeling a name. It doesn’t make you feel better, but it sure helps make the feeling a lot less scary. When you’re feeling “sadness”, you know that crying will help. If you’re feeling “anger”, then you should probably punch a pillow. But if you’re just feeling “meh, I don’t know, it’s bad”, it’s not always easy to know how to react to it, so I gave mine a silly name. That way, it feels like a concrete, valid feeling, something that is familiar to me and that I’ve been through before.
Whenever I feel this terrible and can’t get out of bed, I tell myself, “I’m feeling the sonata”, and I immediately know that I’ll be okay, eventually. I’m not crazy, I just have to deal with this particular feeling. It sucks and it’s bad, but I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
Which leads me to problem number two.
Two: how should I deal with it?
Calling a friend doesn’t help, but I wouldn’t want to discourage you from trying that. When “Me” time limit has been reached, then yes, for sure, some time out with the people I love will boost my mood and energy. But not in this case. I can pretend for a couple of hours and then I’ll get back inside and crash. It’s like I never left my bed to begin with.
Things that usually give me joy when I’m alone, such as writing, also don’t work to cheer me up. My creativity becomes seriously impaired on days like this and I find myself numbing away the hours on YouTube, doing absolutely nothing.
Does that help me feel better? It doesn’t. However, I find that our urge to feel better no matter what is overrated at times. Some days, you just have to feel bad or sorry for yourself, and unless that interferes with your life or your bad days turn into bad weeks or months, you should be fine.
Along with giving my confusing feeling a pretentious name, I also had to accept that “bad” is just as legitimate as “sadness” or “anger”. And if you need to cry your eyes out or punch a wall to get over those, then “the sonata” should be given the same treatment. I would have to deal with it my own way.
Our brains and our hearts don’t always work the way we tell them to. As a result, we can get stuck with feelings we didn’t ask for and that can make our lives difficult. It sucks, it really does. I hate how it throws off my schedule, the guilt I feel for missing out on social events I actually wanted to attend. But I need to allow myself to feel terrible sometimes. And, shockingly, the moment I admitted that, it became easier to go through it.
What do you guys think? Should we embrace our bad days or is it better to find a way to cheer up? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments below!
Edited by Viveca Shearin