Compassion Challenge

Sunday, December 2, 2018
Dear readers,

Hello dear ones. I am currently sitting on my bed, it's about 11pm at the time of writing this, and I have the fan on nearby which is providing some background noise. It has been warmer here in Perth - 32 degrees Celsius today and expected 37 tomorrow, I believe - and my aversion to heat has been coming up a bit. I'm working on it.

I have written previously about how I have been sicker than usual lately, and that's still happening. It could be happening for any number of reasons, but I don't really want to go into them at the moment. The fact of the matter is that it's happening. I had migraine symptoms last night, for example, and then managed to go to sleep without taking painkillers, thinking I was doing a wonderful thing trying to treat it with sleep, only to wake up this morning with worse pain, plus searing sunshine to boot. Tears were shed, I will tell you that much.

Something I have noticed over the past couple of weeks is that this prolonged period of being sicker than usual has begun to work on my mind and my mood. Depression is present, and anxiety is often high. I am feeling my isolation and sometimes loneliness acutely, and I have been feeling alone - rather than enjoying solitude. I am an introverted Highly Sensitive Person, so alone time is usually wonderfully helpful for me to fill up my cup and be able to be there for others. But it's just not happening that way - I feel like I fill up my cup and then something small happens and it just spills everywhere. I am left with an empty cup again, and a reasonable amount of frustration and anger. And sadness.

Many of my thoughts turn to the idea of whether I will be able to do the things I want to do - write, read, blog, vlog, learn Japanese, other things I adore - or if I need to let them go. I have been doing my best, but I have to admit - self-compassion, and thus compassion for others, has been at an all time low.

I like to think of myself as a pretty compassionate, calm, caring person. But at the moment I feel like a poor version of the self I was in my second year of Uni - mental breakdown, self-hatred, self-harm. (Please note: I no longer self-harm, and I do not engage with suicidal ideation.) I do not want to go back down that path, but I can feel depression at the edges of my vision, and I am noticing desires to lash out and hurt people because I hurt. That isn't who I am, so I'm going to change something.

Honestly the idea for this came out of a magazine - Womankind: Issue #15. The whole issue is pretty much dedicated to Tibet and, as part of it, the magazine asked several readers to embark upon a five day compassion challenge - be nicer to yourself, and others. Try to notice negative thoughts and turn them around, or at least forgive yourself for having them. And whilst reading this, I started to feel better. I started to feel like I wasn't so alone. Compassion is such a huge part of how I see the world, and I lost that at some point when I realised that I was going through a bad patch with my health. I want to change that.

So, for the month of December, I am going to try a compassion challenge - we're a couple of days in, but that's okay. I'm doing the best I can. (Compassion points already!) I'm going to try and notice my thoughts when they become negative, and gently try to turn them around - or at least give myself some hugs and love for doing the best I can.

If you would like to join me, I'd really love that. I may even make some vlogs about this over on my youtube channel, I'm honestly not sure at this point. I'd love to hear from you about the Compassion Challenge - definitely chat to me in the comments about it. I will try and post updates on here frequently to let you know how I'm going.

Love to all who read.

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you.
    I think compassion takes a prerequisite level of energy - if you don't have enough energy in the bucket, you can't be compassionate towards self or others. I don't blame you for struggling lately - your bucket's been pretty near empty lately.

    I love that you're doing this, and will support you as much as possible. I'll work on it too, and not give in to self-loathing when it emerges!


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