I've been sad for a while.
Is life terrible? By no means. I'm blessed with a family that loves me, a well paying job that I like, and so many other comforts and opportunities. I was still sad.
Work keeps me busy through the week. Sundays rolled around and there would be this realization that this dark cloud was trailing behind me throughout the week. It would catch up and I'd be drenched in loneliness and dread. My sketchbooks are filled with notes from these moments—written in cyrillic so that the person next to me wouldn't realize.
At some point I had decided that there was no use in slogging along anymore. This was my new lot in life, so I sat down in the mud and stared at my own feet.
I realize now that much of my sadness stemmed from this persistent thought that all I could do was think about the sadness. I thought that focusing on me would fix things. It's easy for me to get caught up in my failures, achievements, insecurities and what other people think of me.
In the last few months I've tried something new: making friends.
I've been spending more of my free time socializing and trying to serve others in the tiniest ways. I make myself go out and spend time with people. I look for small ways to show people that I was thinking of them. Making new friendships feels clumsy and awkward as an adult, but I knew that I had to figure it out.
The more I've worked at it, the better things have become. I suddenly had people to think about and invest my time into.
Today was a rough day at work. Lots of stress and emotion built up through the day. I knew I had a church activity to attend, and I wasn't ready for it in the slightest. I was driving home in silence, feeling overshadowed by that trailing fog.
Then I started yelling.
I yelled, "I can do it." I yelled, "I will do it." I yelled my Russian mantras that I've memorized to remind myself that I'm important. I yelled about how God and my family and friends have faith in me. I yelled everything over and over until I started believing it.
I walked into my church activity, and I ignored me. I looked for ways to help with set-up. I gave people hugs and made jokes and focused on how wonderful and lovely these women are. I left happy and reflective, and the pressures of the day just didn't seem to matter that much anymore.
This is a marker of my personal progress. This is a reminder for myself that focusing on others and pushing past my own (valid) stress and worries and sadness is honestly the best way to make it out of the fog.
I'm figuring it out. I'm grateful that I'm figuring it out.