Sunday, March 24

wish i were a polar bear

found here

It’s a cold gray Sunday, and although everything is technically right with my world, I have this insane urge to hibernate. I want to put my white bear skin on, snuggle up in a deep cave, and only wake up when I can cope again. I struggle with this fragility which engulfs me if things have been too busy, too intense, for too long. And they have been. Two weeks of extra stress is enough to tip my fine balance over. 

It used to be that stress affected me far more physically. It was the headache or migraine, the bowel trouble, the dizziness. That was simple. I could hibernate in a wish-i-were-a-bear kind of way and say, “I’m not well” to the world. Then I would cuddle up with my quilt until the pain had subsided, and emerge in a day or two when I had improved. 

But when you’re physically about the same as usual, and it’s an emotionally overwhelmed pain you feel, it seems different. Physical pain seems more legitimate than mental, in this world where mind pain is taboo. I didn’t want to write and say that I was ‘unwell’ to the person I was supposed to see today; because I was worried it was a lie. 

Was it a lie? 

In my state of no-confidence, I felt unsure and sick inside. Maybe it was a lie and I was a cop out? But the little intact part of me said no, it wasn’t a lie.

It absolutely was the truth. The mind is part of the whole body, and the mind can be unwell just as the body. ‘Unwell’ is still the term for it. And to be honest, it was exhaustion and dizziness and sore throat mixed in with emotional fatigue. If stress used to give me a migraine, and now it gives me a teary fragility, I still need it to let myself recover. I still need to let myself continue to travel along this road of getting better, and sometimes it means I have to disappoint someone. Sometimes, a mental health day is just what the doctor ordered.

Ben has empathy supplies beyond anything I’ve ever known. When I want to hibernate, he wants to be ten times bigger so that he can wrap me all up in his arms and keep me safe. I imagine that I’m a tiny Polly Pocket doll, and I just get to curl up and nuzzle in. When I couldn’t fall asleep the other night, he began to hum an old hymn which I grew up singing as a girl. 

It’s the most beautiful song of security, and hope.

It was penned by a rich lawyer in 1873, just after he got a telegram from his wife saying that their children had all been killed when the ship they were traveling on collided with another. He is rooted in the peace of knowing his God.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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