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A photo of two people from behind - a man gently hugging a woman around her shoulders.
Life & thoughts, Mental Health

Have Compassion for Those Who Are Suffering

A lot of people who overcame horrible things gained a great empathy from their ordeal.

But a lot of people who overcame horrible things lack a bit of empathy. They believe that if they did it, everyone can (and often, that they should it do their way). They may even look down on people who didn’t overcome their obstacles.

But while I believe everything is overcomable, not everyone can overcome everything at this very moment. It may require years of work. It may seem like too much. Not everyone has the right tools and someone to show them a clear path. Not everyone can find that clear path out of the pain by themselves.

Please, have compassion for suffering. It is real. All people try their best. Sometimes it simply isn’t not their time yet.

An image of a tree that has heart for leaves and in its roots, a big red heart is hiding.
Life & thoughts, Mental Health

A Month of Doing Only What I Love

In November, I’m going to do only things that bring me joy. No obligations, no work, just joy. Sounds almost outrageous, right? But the journey to this decision wasn’t a pleasant one. 

It happened like this: I burnt out. I burnt out badly. I currently sleep over 18 hours a day, and just 15 minutes of (barely) concentrating on work means several hours when I have to lie down and don’t even have the strength to listen to an audiobook. 

I have just started getting my life together after a bad breakup recently. We were together for almost 11 years. I still love him. But I’m beginning to see how our dynamic – dependent/codependent – was extremely unhealthy and how much my thinking changed for the better after the breakup. It still hurts, though. Knowing it’s good for my mental health doesn’t stop the pain

My first burnout several years ago left me unable to work at all, so I was financially dependent on him. I hate to write these words down, I hate that I feel so useless. 

And after the breakup, I had to start working, no matter how unwell I was. He promised he would continue to support me until I found my feet. So I began searching for clients, writing texts… and having impostor syndrome the size of a small planet. Because how can I be a professional, how can I be of any use to someone, when I’m in this state? 

My already bad anxiety had extremely worsened. The first thing I felt upon waking every day was intense mental pain, and fear of the day ahead. When I thought about work, my head started spinning and I felt like I would faint. Sometimes I had to lie down even when I was outside on a walk, in order not to collapse.

I vomited. My therapist had sent me to bed from an online session that I tried to have in between bouts of barfing. And the next time, when I was falling asleep from exhaustion. And the next time. 

You probably get the picture. And after three months of this, my body apparently decided it had had enough, and just shut down. 

Just as I was beginning to feel less fearful about my writing, just when I landed a great part-time job as a writer for a magazine that I was so proud of, just when I started to overcome my social phobia and venture among people on a regular basis – everything fell apart. 

I felt so betrayed by life. I had put so much effort in, just to have everything I achieved yanked from me. 

But I had to figure out what to do. And the answer became obvious: I need to stop working. At least for a little while. I negotiated a month off with my clients, including the amazing, shiny new job at a magazine. Yes, I recognize that this is a privilege. But so is being healthy enough to work.

I knew I had to rest, rest and rest. “Rest until you are bored to tears,” one person from a late-diagnosed autistic Facebook group where I asked for burnout advice wrote to me. “And then rest some more.”

Of course, I have to fight an immense urge to jump on my other projects. I want to start an online business, it has been my dream for a long time. And now I have a whole mont… no! No, no, no. Just rest.

And I realized that a part of resting is this: doing what makes me happy. Even if it was just for the 15 minutes a day during the time when I can stay functioning. So I do it. 

Yesterday, I edited a short story I wrote a while ago. Today, I translated it from English to Czech. (Yes, I had to translate it into my native language.) I changed my job position on Facebook to positivity blogger, and then once more, to authenticity blogger. And now I’m writing this post.

I decided to change the way I write on this blog to be more authentic. And I changed the motto of this blog to “Positivity despite adversity“. I wanted to keep this space focused solely on positivity, but I realized that it had felt forced. I had to force myself to write. It wasn’t the right way for me.

I decided instead to write about my mental health experiences, alongside the small joys. People say that they see my posts about mental health as positive. I usually get the best reactions when I don’t just gloss over mental illness and other hardships of life. When I write from my heart, the words come easily. They flow out of me like a river.

I feel fulfilled. Yes, I’m terrified about what is happening to me, when it will end, how long it will last, and how I will be able to take care of myself in the long run if it doesn’t go away… 

But when I allowed myself to just do what makes me happy, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t give myself permission to do things that just bring me joy for a very long time. Everything was planned, everything had to serve some purpose. Now I just feel… and do. And rest.

I don’t know what exactly I want to do for my online business anyways. I jump from idea to idea and I’m not completely happy with any of them. (Even if I have a little something that I’m slowly building now.) Maybe this time will allow me to discover what truly makes me feel fulfilled. To find my direction. And if not… Well, at least I will have a good time.

Yes, it’s apparently possible to have a good time even when I’m in burnout. I need to learn to respect the needs of my body… and to respect the needs of my soul.

Yes, I’m terrified. And elated. I’m curious about what this month will bring. How it will change me. 


P.S. I just realized the night after writing this post that most people call a month when they can do their active hobbies for 15 minutes a day just “life”. But whatever, I’m happy regardless. 🙂

Life & thoughts, My small joys

My New Friend

I rescued a white mouse. Someone left her in the wild, probably not realizing she will not survive.

So I went for my daily walk and suddenly I see a white mouse sitting on the edge of the road, calmly eating. I stared at her for a while and she clearly wasn’t afraid of me. I realized I can’t leave her there, so I caught her, carried her home in my bag, and put her in a pot, along with some paper tissues, oatmeal, and water. I was improvising with what I had at hand.

I named her Daisy. (In my language, Czech, that’s “Kopretina”.)

Later I went shopping for a terrarium and all things a mouse might need. She has been living with me for several weeks and she seems to be acclimating well. I tried to get her used to my hand by putting treats in my palm and offering them to her – she started taking them very quickly.

That’s when I discovered she bites. Not aggressively, not out of fear, but exploratively, just nipping, like she is thinking “What do I have here? I better taste it!” That can be the reason someone threw her out. She always starts by biting the nail on my thumb and continues to my fingers.

I had learned to move the tip of my thumb to prevent further biting. I have started to offer her my hand as a bridge to climb of that cage, and she runs up and down the length of my arm, on the top of her terrarium, and back. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of my hand anymore. I’m very happy that she recognizes it as safe. 🙂

I have never had a mouse before, so have to learn how to care for her properly. But even though she lives mostly at night and I see her only in the evenings, I’m glad to have another living being with me in the apartment.

I had her in a pot before I bought her a proper terarium. Girl gotta learn how to improvise 😀