Monday, January 4, 2021


We can all agree that the last year has, overall, been... interesting?  Challenging? Infuriating?  Heart-breaking? (Insert your adjective here.)  I don't believe the change of a calendar year will be the magical clean slate, although I do appreciate the optimism.  

2020 did lead me to understand some things.

I've had an unpleasant past 2-3 years.  Not consistently unpleasant, but enough sprinkled throughout time and space to throw off my balance.  Prior to, and in the early parts of 2020, the bad juju was easy to put aside.  There was photography work to be done, which meant flights, and road trips, and 15+ hour days for most weekends of the year.  It also meant team sports and real estate work during the week.  All of this was a good way to remain distracted.  And I was.

And if unwelcomed thoughts came onboard when I wasn't busy, there was dance classes which helped to put things away.  Dance has always been a form of meditation.

Then events in 2020 removed my mental sanctuary.  They took away the work.  And the classes.  And left me with nowhere to hide from my mind.  Initially, I blamed the sadness and loss on those things that were missing - the work, the dance, the routine.  Missing all this was (and still is) entirely relevant, although there was more to examine.  

The removal of distractions forced me to process some things - for better, and for worse.  The worse came first.  The worse brought me back to low and dark places of my late teens and early 20's - days when I couldn't fathom why I should be here, when I didn't think I had a purpose.  I revisited some of those places this year.  

I've never been someone who willingly talks about my own mental health issues or seeks out help.  In my younger years, things like depression and suicidal thoughts actually got me in trouble/punished instead of getting help.  Those experiences dissuaded my want to discuss them (being ridiculed for my past mental demons in recent years over dinner in front of family has certainly cemented that decision).  In more recent times, I still don't talk to people... I understand and empathize with so many who are dealing with their own flavor of demons, depression, sadness, loss... and who am I to unload mine on someone else?  I've also never been the therapist type.

On the upside, I'd been taught strategies for dealing with demons in the past and have acquired a few new tools and methods in more recent years.  Meditation and stoicism works.  Writing helps.  Spending less time in front of a screen and spending more time in the outdoors also works.  I've also had a couple of really good venting sessions with the one person who most often has my back.  

Due to events in 2020, I learned to come to terms with my turbulent mind and losses.  I highly doubt the demons will fully vacate the premises, but I'm no longer packing them back into their boxes in my mind.  I've put the low and dark places in the rearview for now.  While I'm not a resolution maker and I don't believe that the turn of a year instantly brings new and wonderful things, I'm in a better headspace for the year ahead - whatever is next for me on this path.

North Shore - Lake Superior, Minnesota
© 2020 Jayme Spoolstra/YelloCoyote Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment