Last week, I completely rearranged my room. Originally, I was just going to clean it from top to bottom (multiple times since a ton of dust had built up thanks to my pet bird whose full-time job is dust generation), moving things around so I could clean underneath them, but I got hooked on the idea of changing how my room was laid out so I would up permanently shifting almost everything. Rearranged my books, threw out a bunch of junk, set up a new shelving system so I’ve got space for additional books, and even figure out a way to flag all the books I haven’t read yet so I don’t forget about them.
What originally started as a project about taking care of myself and the spaces I inhabited turned into a sort of meditative rejuvenation projection. All the physical labor involved in moving every single thing in my room and the mental labor of figuring out how to improve on an incredibly packed room using what I had previously thought was the optimal layout left me with no energy to berate myself or get caught up in thought spirals. As a result, I was able to really clear my head for the first time in a few weeks and actually think about how I’m feeling after what had been an emotionally exhausting May and June. It felt good, once I got past the incredibly gross feeling of being coated in dust and sweat for nine hours.
Beyond just the fresh feeling of having a “new” space to inhabit, I feel like I finally got all of my emotional processing from my break up to finally click into place. There’s still some healing, growing, and changing that still needs to happen, but it’s all stuff that just needs time now. I don’t regret it, anymore. I also don’t really want to make any more “pronouncements” about my emotional state right now because I recognize that my feelings are going to shift from day-to-day as stuff happens and I continue to go through the post-breakup process. I’m sure I’ll have another day before too long where I’m upset about everything all over again because something will remind me of a part of my relationship that I loved and my OCD will seize on it so I can’t get it out of my head. If I try to deny that, I’ll only wind up in a negative thought spiral about my relationship and another one about how I shouldn’t be upset anymore. That wouldn’t be good for me.
After I’d finished the new layout for my room, finished processing all my emotions, and actually did most of the work of laying out my room, I settled into a couple of hours of putting things back to rights so I could occupy my room again. While I did, I thought about the difference between being emotional or mentally healthy and being able to cope with one’s emotions and thoughts. I am not terribly mentally healthy, thanks to how often I struggle with depression, anxiety, and OCD, but I’m actually pretty good at coping with my own emotions and thoughts. I process things quickly, can figure out what’s going on inside my head, and have healthy outlets for emotions that are not productive or useful in living a life that makes me feel good.
Sometimes, it can feel tempting to say I’m emotionally or mentally well-adjusted even if I’m not emotionally or mentally healthy. The problem is both phrases mean mostly the same things, so it can be difficult to find the right way to talk about this. When I meet people who would probably get a clean bill of health from a psychologist or psychiatrist but have almost no ability to cope with, process, or handle their own emotions, I wonder which of us is better off. I usually think it’s me, because at least I’m not a gigantic shitshow of a human being intent on making my issues into problems the rest of the world has to deal with.
These days, it feels like these kinds of people are coming out of the woodwork and showing up all over the news. Fans harassing actors, artists, writers, and other content creators online. Political extremists who know nothing but assume everyone who disagrees with them is some kind of monster. Horrible people who decide that shooting a bunch of people is an appropriate response to rejection or anger. It can be difficult to remember these people, for the most part, always existed and they only seem to be more prevalent than emotionally well-adjusted people because the current twenty-four/seven news cycle is almost entirely a platform for stirring up fear.
There is still a lot of important reporting that happens, but it tends to get lost in the constant stream of idiotic crap that spews out of “news” sources. I don’t remember who said it and I can’t find it since I don’t remember the exact quote, but someone said that governments and public figures used to mislead people by controlling what information they can access. Nowadays, governments and public figures mislead people by flooding them with information until they can’t tell what’s true and what is false. That’s a lot of what is going on, these days. The internet is flooded with crap until people can’t tell what is true and what is false. It’s incredibly frustrating.
I deal with this sort of frustration by writing about it, by talking about it with people, by trying to learn more about the problem and ways to counteract it. One of my favorite ways is summaries of recent news articles followed by citations from trusted news sources pertaining to said stories. A few people (including a friend of mine whose page you can find here) have taken it upon themselves to do just that and finding someone to help weed out the truth from the crap is great, especially when they cite their sources so you know whether or not you can trust the story.
This all went rather far afield from where I started and where I originally planned to go, but I wound up taking a break to read some stuff in the middle of writing this and got a little distracted. I hope you have a great day and find a positive way to deal with your frustrations!