Updated: Nov 18, 2021
One of the first things I ever spoke about with a psychiatrist was the highs and lows. Everyone can relate when I say there are good days and there are bad days; but what I've learned about anxiety is that most all of my best days are followed by some of my worst. It is hardly ever related to a specific instance, it is more of a naturally occurring wave of high and low mood changes.
I remember writing this post for the first time - it was Fourth of July and I truly had such a good time enjoy the beautiful weather and spending time with wonderful friends. I was riding the high all through the long weekend that a crash of a low wasn't even on my mind. But then Sunday night rolled around and I became distracted and irritable. It's difficult to explain to those around me when it happens, how do you tell the people who love you most you need to be without them for a while?
I listen to a podcast called My Solo Road, and recently there was an episode where she had her parents on to talk about how they've made their relationship work. One of the things her mother said was that it was important for her to continue to have alone time. It's the way she can best regroup herself. It's funny to hear "it's not you, it's me" but in an instance such as this, you can see how relevant that actually is. Whether you are an introvert or learning to cope with your mental health, actively engaging in alone time gives us the opportunity to process emotions and reflect on certain decisions and choices.
As strange as it is to tell the ones closest to you that you need to be alone, if you experience anxiety, it is one of the most important forms of self-care.
My need for alone time doesn't mean I do not value or enjoy your company, in fact it actually has nothing to do with you. As funny or cliche as that may sound, it is so true and I know I am not the only one who feels that way.
How I recognize when I need to spend some time alone with myself:
☽ Spending more time on my phone - if I wake up and the first thing I do is check social media, I know I'm no longer being present. Taking time away from the black hole that is facebook and instagram is good for the soul and allows you to reset.
☽Lack of motivation - if I find myself not wanting to do the things I love such as going to the gym, I'm too far from myself. A lot of times in this case, if I skip out on the gym I'll make sure to take my dog for a long walk just the two of us. I get to move and be alone with her for a while.
☽I become very irritable and do not enjoy the company of others - the less alone time I make for myself the less I enjoy being around my truly wonderful friends (which is not fair to them or me!)
☽I'm tired but definitely got plenty of sleep - this is a depressed state that I often find myself in. How can I sleep for 9 hours and still be exhausted? Instead of needing more sleep, I just need time to be alone with myself. This is more rejuvenating than you realize.
The best advice I can give, is to be open and honest about how you are feeling. The ones who love you most will want what is best for you; if that means more time alone they will be supportive of that - I promise. Spending time alone with yourself is not only perfectly OK, but essential for your mental health.