This is how it is sometimes: I flow with life during my day; I meet its challenges with equanimity and good humour; I enjoy the beauty of the day and the vibrancy of my colleagues’ company; I leave the office knowing that I have made a difference, and that the world is a little better for how I’ve spent my day.
Then I get home and slip into bleakness. There’s only so much vibrancy I can do; there’s only so much I can give, and even when I’m not sleepy, I’m tired. Not necessarily physically, but spiritually. Intellectually. There are nights when I want to look at pictures of cats on the Internet, or stare into space, or soothe myself with things that mean nothing: junk food for the mind. Nights when I don’t want to have to think, when I don’t want to produce anything worthwhile or challenge myself. When I can barely bring myself to do those life-affirming things that usually feed me: get my music together for tomorrow night’s choir rehearsal, write, read, email someone I love or leave a comment on a friend’s Facebook post because I value my friends and that contact is vital to me. Nights when it’s too early to go to bed but I want to anyway, not because I’m sleepy but because I want the day to end. Because I’m fucking tired and I want to turn everything off, just for a while, before I put my game face back on tomorrow. And there’s not necessarily a reason for it – nothing in particular triggers it, it’s not a reflection of anxiety or stress or even the difficulty of the day – it just is.
I don’t know what causes it or how to deal with it, other than to just roll with it. Give up for tonight and start again tomorrow, in the hope that it will be a better day. Tell myself that I’ve done well to get this far: eaten a healthy tea, played the string game with the cat, done the washing-up, and now written a blog post, even if it is just a long-winded complaint.
And even if tomorrow’s not a better day – even if I’m assailed by flashbacks or undermined by the insidious creeping anxiety which strikes without warning – I’ll still do my best. I’ll still choose to be vibrant while I can, and to value those things in my life which give it meaning. I’ll still engage with friends and colleagues, work hard during my day, put all my effort and my soul into tomorrow’s night’s rehearsal. Even if the life that tomorrow presents me with is bleak, I’ll still choose life. And the day after that, and the day after that.
And, in my year of care, I’ll try as hard as I can to care for myself in that. And, in my year of enough, I’ll remind myself that my best is sufficient.
And for now, that will do.