You want a reason, a label, a point-to, a know-how. You want to know why. Why you sleep through the night, but feel exhausted when your alarm goes off. Why you suddenly have no taste for the morning, no desire to get out of bed. Why the days are getting shorter and so is your patience. Why your hips and knees and neck and back hurt. Why waves of exhaustion hit you square in the face and if there ever was a good reason to call out sick due to feeling kind of tired, this would be the week to try it out. Why reality seems a little fuzzy. Why your nihilistic streak is streaking loud. Why you know you have so much on your to-do list at work, yet come home and sink into bed or the couch. Exhaustion. Why you are so exhausted. Why stress gets under your skin so easily. Why overwhelm and why perfectionism, why trying to do more than your best and why managing your time is a challenge. Why you swore you wouldn’t crawl into bed fully clothed with your dinner in hand this fall, why you know it’s a tricky habit to get into, the shrinking of the world to your bed and closing your bedroom door. Why lying in bed under your weighted blanket feels so safe. Why you know you can’t choose comfort and courage at the same time but you know your default is comfort, is safety, and always has been. Why courage seems slightly out of range at the moment.
You want to know why the numbness is creeping in. Why, even when you know it’s better to feel pain and grief, know you feel more alive when you’re actually feeling this pain– why, even when you know in your core emotions are what compose your life– why, even when you know better, you’ve faded back into the woodwork default of disconnect. You want to know why you have been so spaced out. Why you forgot to get off the train last week and wound up miles away from home before you realized. Why engaging with the world, why connection, why common humanity– why these themes seem so foreign. And why again, why again so foreign.
You know about trauma. You know that this framework is one that makes the most sense these days. You don’t know what to make of it, though. You know about all sorts of other labels- you’ve been on the receiving end of a diagnosis so many times that it’s lost most of its meaning. You know that you don’t know what to call what’s happening these days. You could call it depression but you know it’s not. It feels more like exhaustion, overwhelmed, falling flat on your face. Fight or flight or freeze– you’re running away from these feelings. Whatever you call this, you know you can’t know why– you know you can’t stick a label on it and understand it tonight. But you know this wave will pass. You know the fall is stressful, you know the shorter days are scary, you know that you don’t know the half of it. You know you can’t know. You don’t have to know.
You don’t have to know.
You just have to choose:
Choose baby steps. Choose kindness. Choose a hot shower and hot meal. Choose compassion. Choose to take care of yourself. Choose to move through this wave. Choose hope.
Choose to be okay with not knowing why.