I have a bad habit of not checking the weather. I can have all kinds of plans in my head regarding what I’m going to wear or what I’m going to do the next day, but I do not do my homework to see if what I’m planning makes any sense. For example, I once traveled to New York in the fall with summer-ish clothes (because that’s somewhat normal for North Carolina weather). I froze my hind-parts off because I didn’t pay attention and properly plan for the change in temperature that inevitably happens when one travels north! I never know when it’s scheduled to rain. I’m usually last to find out that the forecast calls for wintry mix. And when there is word of impending snow in my area of the Carolinas, I never stand in the grocery store lines with milk and bread. I’m terrible at checking the forecast, and therefore I’m usually reactive to my atmosphere as opposed to being proactive.

I wish I could tell you that my lack of inquiry truly ends with the weather. However, to tell you this would be a lie. I have another bad habit of not checking the “weather” of my mind, heart or body. I mean, I’m better at mindfulness and self-awareness than I used to be, but I still have a long ways to go. Truth be told, even when I can sense my “weather” changing, I tend to ignore it until it’s too late.

This has been the case for the last couple of months. Almost every day, I have had trouble getting out of bed. When I’ve managed to get up, I’ve been incredibly tearful and sad. My patience has been thin. My mentality has been rather negative. And no matter how much I’ve tried to curtail toxicity, it seeped through my pores. I’ve been in a bad way.

Ladies and gentlemen, while I do live with severe chronic depression, THIS is not the result of a depressive episode. This is the result of my lack of personal boundaries as well as my proclivity to exhaust myself to the point of a nervous breakdown. This is the result of my top two saboteurs: hyper-vigilance (which keeps me running on the wheel of general anxiety), and people-pleasing (which often hinders me from setting and/or upholding personal boundaries).  This is the result of watching generations of work-a-holics in my families, and me feeling like I need to work until I can’t work anymore…typically to the point of sickness.

I startled myself just the other day. When I couldn’t handle it anymore, I finally decided to take a personal day. In a classic Freudian kind of way I said, “I have earned a break.” When I heard myself, I was mortified at what I had let fall from my lips! Why in the world do I think that I need to earn rest?  Why did my subconscious need to alleviate anxiety and guilt around taking a break? Furthermore, why didn’t I pay attention to my personal weather forecast so that I wouldn’t get so far gone?  

Life is funny. Anytime I am being invited to grow, patterns and themes emerge repeatedly. I am having to determine what is truly best for me, even if it means disappointing others. I am having to say no a lot more than I used to, and that is incredibly uncomfortable. Apparently, my psyche has been trying to work through these things almost every night because I’ve been dreaming about confrontations with people, running for my life, or downright fighting big animals. One of my best friends said, “You need to go away and sleep for a week.” My big brother told me that I need to completely vacate so I can stop emoting all over the place! No matter how funny these things are (now), the bottom line is that I need to do a better job of tending to myself so that I can better handle the world within me.

I need to lovingly pay attention when: my mind is cloudy; my body is tired and aching; my heart is heavy; my stomach is in knots; or my body is carrying tension.  I need to pause and take care of myself when I’m feeling “partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain.” I need to check the forecast and plan accordingly…before it’s too late.