I first heard this quote on the series finale of Sex and the City – it’s the last thing Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) says at the end of the final episode. It’s one of those ones that has stayed with me since.
Without meaning to sound conceited, it really set me on a path to get to know myself better – a journey that began around 2011. And it’s a journey I’ll continue on until the day I die.
I used to live my live life thinking everything could be fixed – that everything around me had to change in order for me to be happy. That, and that achieving goals would fulfil me and give my life purpose.
As the years went by I found myself getting more miserable than I ever had in my entire life. I suffered anxiety and depression in my teens. At the time it was one of those subjects I didn’t know anything about; and it certainly wasn’t talked about back then. I continued to bottle it up throughout my 20s and 30s – seeking external sources as a distraction, believing I was living my life to the max. All the while I didn’t realise I wasn’t addressing the problem.
I’d read several books, watched many films, found new hobbies and interests and careers and even took part in several courses, including therapy. I can’t say all those methods have been perfect but I can say I’ve honestly learned something from each of them – some more than others. Some I’ve throughly enjoyed.
The time I spent in isolation while the rest of the world was getting on with their lives was difficult. I was depressed and anxious a lot of the time and it wasn’t an easy thing to cope with. But now I look back and can see how it was all part of the process – getting to know myself better and what made me tick. I had great days, I had bad. And whether good or bad, I learnt something new each time.
Something in my thinking was affecting the way I felt both emotionally and physically. Ultimately it came down to choices. Every thought presented me with a choice – and that included what thoughts I chose and how I identified with them.
Now I’m summarising here. Sharing a brief story of my experience. I don’t mean to downplay and oversimplify my experience or to preach or make bold claims. But now the world is on lockdown and we are all being advised to stay at home – I”m sure this is a shock to the system for hell of a lot of people. Some may not even realise that it is. But being at home all the time, whether you live alone or with others, is not always as wonderful as it sounds if you don’t have a routine or you aren’t used to managing your mental health.
I guess what I’m saying is today is a chance to start getting to know yourself a little better. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious – even just a little bit. It’s okay. You may even want to just ride the wave and let it pass – I still do. I tell myself: “Remember you are the one constant thing in your life – so you will never truly be alone if you get to know yourself. Take the time to find out who you are not and who you want to be.”
Just tiny, little steps – one day at a time.