If you follow this blog, you may have notice that I’ve fallen off my weekly posting rhythm. The last couple of weeks have been quite hellish in my head and in my household. My toddler got her first cold and came down with the terrible twos.(The tantrums and antics have been particularly pronounced!) My husband, daughter and I were all sick and sleepless (and still recovering). Although my husband and I did everything we could to ease our baby’s pain and discomfort, I felt helpless as a parent and a partner. It hurts to watch your child suffer. I also felt guilty preserving my mental health and avoiding a crisis by prioritizing sleep and taking my night meds while my husband attended to most of our daughter’s early morning cries for soothing and nasal aspiration. This doesn’t mean that I got the amount of quality sleep I needed though. Besides the time I got up and stayed with the baby at 5am to let my husband catch up on sleep, the baby either slept in our bed using my nipple as a pacifier (with her sharp toothie grip!) or I lay in bed semi-conscious as she cried while my husband attended to her. It was a tough time. And it also coincided with midterms and November’s lunar eclipse.
It’s not surprising the sh*t pops off during a full moon, but the possibility for things to go haywire is AMPLIFIED during an eclipse. The November 19 eclipse kicked off a new (almost) two year nodal axis of Taurus and Scorpio closing out the previous Gemini-Sagittarius cycle. According to astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat,
“Taurus and Scorpio nodes are the hardest nodes. This is because these are the Moon’s nodes and Taurus and Scorpio are the exaltations and falls of the Moon. The lunar nodes are about fear and survival. When the nodes are the Taurus and Scorpio, fear and survival are often felt through the anticipation of scarcity.”
And boy, did I feel the lack and the limited options and possibilities. When it came to school stress I literally experienced a scarcity mindset where I could not get outside of black-and-white thinking and the tendency to catastrophize. When a professor asked me to rewrite a midterm assignment, I interpreted this feedback as failure and projected academic setbacks into my future. One clarifying conversation a week later, I learned everyone in the class misunderstood the assignment and I was given the opportunity to refine my ideas given that it would serve my future doctoral endeavors. A weight lifted off my shoulder when I shifted my perspective from scarcity to abundance — from punishment to grace.
It’s exhausting to be a type A, high performing, high achieving, and high functioning person with bipolar. I’ve developed quite a few (sometimes toxic) coping mechanisms to maintain the level of performance people have come to associate with me. To cope with the fear of missing deadlines, I do the opposite of procrastinate. I push myself to get started as early as possible in the event that I will become unwell and my mental health sabotages my performance plans. I double the estimated travel time and leave for appointments earlier than necessary to manage the anxiety of being late. In both work and personal relationships, I try to pre-empt any tensions or conflict by being proactive. My mind is either travel backwards or forwards in time. I rehearse past mistakes to figure out where I went wrong and what I can do to fix it. I am constantly calculating the circumstances and planning future chess moves. All this extra energy expenditure can create exhaustion. It’s hard for me to be in the present and just be. Taking a break doesn’t come naturally to me. It pains me to ask for more time — for the extensions and accommodations I am entitled to.
To make matters worse, I don’t fully validate my own difficult feelings or acknowledge that I am having a hard time when I’m going through it. I tend to spiral when I don’t meet my expectations for myself or expectations others have for me. To add a cherry on top, I beat myself up for spiraling and for feeling bad because I’m not in a manic or depressive state. I feel bad that I feel bad; I shouldn’t feel bad because I am not at rock bottom. I guess prior to this, I was in a space of crisis for so long I never learned that some days are just bad days; and those days are just as valid and in need of tender love and care. And with that realization, I am finally emerging out of the wormhole.
The stress of finals and the sleeplessness continues as my daughter readjusts, but at least I’ve cultivated a little bit more patience and self-compassion as I’m dealing with the day-to-day and slowly finding my way through.
Collage Art by Nadia Naomi Mbonde found on Instagram. The caption says: “Currently jumping down a wormhole to get other side. It’s been one hell of a week.”
Image Description: Nadia’s legs in olive skinny jeans and beige stilettos being consumed by a blue galaxy in outer space.