I never thought of myself as someone who fears change. In fact, I believe I am quite open to change that brings more happiness and positivity into my life. Over the years, I’ve changed my approach to running from worrying about PRs to longevity and enjoyment. I’ve changed my diet by eliminating animal products, which was not initially an easy thing to do. I’ve changed jobs, I’ve changed schools, I’ve even changed which side of the car - and the road - that I drive on! Change is something that I’ve always been open to exploring.
But while I love pushing myself outside of different comfort zones, I also crave stability, structure and routine in my life. The dichotomy of change vs. stability is a very fine balance. And it appears that change is harder for me than I thought.
Our family has been through a great many of changes over the last few years, each time confronting the challenges before us with open minds and open hearts that ultimately lead us to grow in some area of our lives. Our approach to this move has been no different. We put intentionality behind every decision and things have truly gone pretty smoothly.
So why have I felt so lost and out of sorts?
This move has exposed some areas of my psyche that still need a lot of work. Issues that I thought I had confronted, addressed and put behind me have risen to the surface in an unexpected way. To be honest, I feel disappointed with myself to even admit that I am in this headspace...again.
Yes, it absolutely beautiful here. And yes, I am so lucky to be able to take a year to be a student again, to explore an exciting new passion and career as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor. I am fully aware of what a privilege it is to experience life in another country. I have an incredibly supportive husband and, for the first time in 8 years, we even have extended family around us who want to make life easier for us any way that they can.
So what’s the problem? Why am I struggling?
Well, that’s what I am going to explore. You see, when you move to a new place, you can’t leave yourself behind. The deep-rooted issues I dealt with for years didn’t simply go away, they are still there; I merely figured out a way to manage them so effectively that I naively believed they were gone forever. The structure I had in place in Oklahoma to keep these demons at bay is still in Oklahoma, but I am now in Ireland. And all this change has exposed that my issues with depression are still very much with me, following me wherever I may go.
This is not a bad thing. (It took me a week to actually say this out loud.) This is not a bad thing.
I know from past experience that for me, there are two important steps that have to happen for things to get better:
SAY SOMETHING. Admitting I am in this space is not an easy thing to do, but I know it has to be done if things are to get better. And really, all I need in these moments is someone to genuinely listen
GRATITUDE. Finding gratitude in the smallest of things has always helped me crawl out of any negative vortex that may have its hooks in me. We can always, ALWAYS find something to be grateful for!
So today, I am grateful that I recognize this struggle now so I can work on creating a new structure to deal with it moving forward. This is not about going back to Oklahoma or leaving here in hopes that things will just get better on their own. No, this is about confronting myself, accepting this aspect of who I am and how I am wired, and working on finding solutions that will help me find that happy place in my head again. The reality is, these issues will follow me wherever I go and it’s up to me to fix it.
So what’s next?
I have identified that I have an intense need and desire to belong to a community, to serve others face to face, to share a journey of friendship built through social interaction and common interests. For me, that means, I need to find a running group, or at the very least, a few running friends. While I enjoy running in solitude now and again, I know I need to get out there and find a tribe who is willing to accept me as I am.
Sharing this challenge on my blog is my effort to hold myself accountable. It’s scary to put all this out there, especially in a world where images on social media are often censored to perfection. But I know I am not the only person in the world who is challenged by this issue and I'm hoping that by sharing my challenges, others may feel compelled to share theirs. Tell me about your experiences in the comments section so we can support each other in the struggle to find mental health and wellness.