If You Find Yourself Back in the Valley Again

back in the valley

I have been crying a lot these past days. I haven’t been quite feeling myself all year.

It started with me giving up one of my last crutches. Wine took the edge off my anxiety and allowed me to feel more at ease in social situations, including family gatherings.

After giving up wine, my weight started creeping up consistently. My anxiety started amping up months ago and then rose to a place it hadn’t been in years. A very uncomfortable place.

I persisted with all the quality mood-supporting nutrition and supplements and the mindset work and self care that I always do. I pulled back, said no to great opportunities, set stronger boundaries around social media to give space for my soul to rest.

And then the anxiety seemed to leave finally, suddenly, but left me slumped in a low mood. If I am honest, which frankly I don’t want to be because you might judge me, we might call it depression. The same low-grade depression that has followed me around most of my life. The depression that tells me I am a loser to be here again. That questions why other people seem to manage life far more easily, so what exactly is my problem?

My girlfriend reminds me that I am loveable. She messages me all the beautiful things she sees in me and it helps. I tell myself that she is right and my feelings are temporary. I won’t live in this place forever.

But I am horrified to admit that I am back in the valley again.

I consider buying a bottle of wine. But I know that wine won’t fix this and then I will have to start the work of letting go of numbing all over again. I go for a really long walk instead.

I ask for help. I reach out to the psychologist who walked me through a hard time in the past. I cry with my girlfriend. I tentatively tell my husband how I am not really ok. Everyone looks at me and thinks because my house is orderly that I must be ok. When I was young I was an honor student so I must have been ok.

I talk to my doctor and she adjusts my thyroid meds again. She listens well and is kind but this is the third appointment that I have said something is not right and it is only now that my labs reflect to her a need for a change in dosage.

And maybe in a week I will be ok. But I’d rather not be here again at all. Even for a week.

But for now I am back in the valley again.

Telling the truth is hard.

Telling you the truth is hard. Please do not for a second believe that baring my soul comes easy to me. I do it because otherwise I don’t know what will happen to me. I tell you the truth not just because I want you to know you are not alone. I want you to see that we are all in progress. That we are all worth fighting for. I also tell you because it is one way of holding myself accountable; it prevents me from retreating and isolating and spiraling downward.

I fear I might lose clients. I mean, why would you come to me if I struggle myself? Although years ago my psychologist told me that all counsellors he knows go to counselling themselves and I have never forgotten this. And just yesterday my doctor assured me that I am not a fraud if I support you even as I get support for myself.

I feel shame at not being able to truly, once and for all, fix myself. I wonder if my whole life is going to be like this: a series of ups and downs. Because that is painful to think about. I wonder if I am just lazy or weak. But then I realize that as a young child I struggled and looking back I don’t think that little girl even knew about being lazy or weak. She just felt too sad. Too lonely. Too much pain and she didn’t quite know what to do with it all.

I fear I might be shutting the door on writing opportunities because I am not a neat and tidy “simple living” writer. I am a messy, imperfect human being. One who struggles. One who needs to speak truth and who continues to fight for freedom and wholeness for herself. And for you.

Maybe you will unsubscribe. You don’t like what you see in me. You only want cheery posts. I wish I had it in me to only offer cheery posts.

I don’t want you to look at me differently when you see me on the street. Or judge me when I am feeling better and back to writing about choosing joy. I just want you to ask for help yourself if you need it. If you have energy to think about some of the ways you could kill yourself, you have energy to pick up the phone and ask for help.

I am back in the valley again.

I don’t want advice; believe me I have spent years learning and researching and applying information to my daily walk. I want you to hear me. That is all. I want you to listen when your brother or your son tells you he is not ok. It doesn’t matter if their life looks great to you. No, they are not just being dramatic.

When someone asks for help, they will often ask only once.

As a little girl I told my dad I would be dead by the time I was 18. I meant it. He didn’t hear me. When someone asks for help, they will often ask only once. Please do not ignore them.

Despite what I know now I am not a fabulous listener; I’m still working on it. But I am also working on asking for help. Not hoping others read my mind or expecting them to meet my every emotional need. But taking personal responsibility for the full truth of who I am and what I need and using my voice loudly and clearly.

So if you find yourself back in the valley again, please ask for help. You are worth fighting for.

Krista xo

We are all imperfect but beautiful lives in progress. For more encouragement for the journey, sign up for my (mostly) weekly email. Krista xo
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56 comments on “If You Find Yourself Back in the Valley Again

  1. Gigantic, massive hugs to you Krista xxxx I know from experience it’s not easy to be back in a place you didn’t want to ever be again. The good news is when we share our struggles we realises we are not alone in them. Keep one foot in front of the other and you’ll be back up on the mountain again xxx

  2. I so understand your writings today, I too, am ‘back in the valley’. It’s so difficult to accept, because I was doing so well. In fact, I was doing so well I was arrogant enough to think that I would never slide back down.
    I fought it, denied it…telling myself it was a bad day…for 3 months!
    Again, I had to acknowledge that I am sick…that I do live with mental illness. So,the struggle continues, my doctor changed my medications and I am working so hard to climb back up!
    See you up there! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. I am a new reader, a mom of two young children, and a Marriage and Family Therapist who doesn’t have it all figured out. Thank you for sharing and being honest. I often feel this way with no identifiable trigger. Happy posts all the time from a blogger would only make me feel like I’m failing while everyone else has it figured out. I’ll keep reading 🙂 and I hear you.

  4. thank you for your honesty and transparency. it is hard to be ‘less than’ in a world that only shows perfection. you showing your vulnerability will help someone (like me) admit the struggles are real.

  5. Never being in the valley again would be a dream come true. Don’t think it’s going to happen in my neck of the woods though. But, at 57, I’m pleased most of the time to be IN the valley as opposed to UNDER the valley. The moments I get to spend at the top of the hill…..well, they’re a present that the Universe gifts me with every now and again and I enjoy those moments while they last. Don’t ever worry about telling us you’re not okay at the moment. Truth is always better than a pretty lie.

  6. I so resonate with this post especially the shame of not being able to fix myself once and for all. I have always been hoping for the “magic bullet” to make it all better for always, but I am slowly starting to accept some of this as being an HSP and living in a broken world. IT’S SO HARD. And lonely.
    Thanks for a safe + lovely space to visit.

    • Your reply made me pause and remember that the vision I have for my work is to offer a safe house to others on their journey to freedom. And how to offer a safe house we don’t need a mansion or fancy foods. We can patch people up with what we have. We can feed them the humble foods we have. We can offer a hug, a shoulder, a warm bed for a night. Nothing fancy but just enough to provide strength and encouragement and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. A humble but safe space.

  7. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It helps so much to know I’m not alone with these thoughts and fears. And it’s only through your honesty that you can reach someone else who is hurting.

    • Thanks for loving me, Anno. And for telling me you see in me wisdom, kindness, compassion, fiery fierce determination, grace, beauty, vulnerability, sass, and yearning. I’m not going to pretend right now I don’t wish I didn’t need to be affirmed or reminded of my worth. But I am grateful you are in my life and did some reminding recently.

  8. I haven’t been following you for long but I’m so glad I found you. I am always so inspired by what you write, and this post is no exception. If anything I find it even more inspiring than your words of joy. It makes me love you even more. Mainly because I think you just wrote this from my head. Wow. Reading this is one of those moments in my life I will never forget because you made me realize I’m not alone. I have a great life and nothing to complain about. But like you said, sometimes it’s just hard for me. Living a normal life can be a chore. When I’m happy it’s amazing, but some days I just can’t do it. I’m so relieved to see I’m not the only one. Thank you. Thank you for putting it out there. You have touched and comforted my soul. I too have given up numbing. It’s hard but it’s worth it. Virtual hug from a girl in New York that gets it. Your ability to counsel comes from your wisdom, not your perfection. I can’t wait to see what you have to say next.

  9. The honesty and sincerity in your post is exactly what keeps me coming back to your blog. Thank you, for everything. I too never seem to get “out” entirely from my internal struggles, and I suspect my mid-life work is to stop (finally?) comparing myself with others who don’t have the same needs as me. I just wanted to add my voice to the crowd to let you know that you are heard, and that many of us readers can empathize.

  10. I’ve been reading you for a while and what I love most here is your being a true person, with ups and downs. What you say is highly valuable exactly because you are honest and true.
    Never think “your downs” can affect our affection and trust: it is not perfection we need.
    What I need and find here is an endless love for being better, for fighting my shadowy side, for looking for my path.
    And above all, I need and find the joy I sometimes miss to seek all this. And this kind of joy does not lie in “ups” or in perfection.
    Take care of yourself <3

  11. Dear One… thank you for your bravery, for your vulnerability, and I echo the sentiments of others who say they wouldn’t be as interested in your writings if it was all joy all the time because that’s just not real life, not for anyone. This post will help more people than you can possibly imagine. Thank you for this gift. I wrote more to you on IG, I just wanted to say thank you here…

  12. As someone with an anxiety disorder and coming from a family with a history of bipolar disorder, I understand your situation. I understand the feeling of failure because I am not always happy and full of life. I recently stopped taking medication for my disorder for personal reasons and learning how to cope with the ups and downs again is hard. Emphasis on the IS. Life is full of ups and downs and the kindest thing we can do is accept where we are each and every day. Keep walking, keep reaching out, keep loving. Do what brings you small moments of joy and know that we are all on the journey together. Much love

  13. I hear you and I so appreciate you being brave enough to share this. Being honest and removing my happy mask and sharing the real me with others is one of my continual challenges. Your words and the words left here by other readers have helped me feel less alone in my own valley. You are the opposite of a fraud. You are an authentic, imperfect, inspiring human being doing the best you can every day. Sending you positive thoughts, hoping you find a little bit of peace in the midst of the struggle.
    ~A grateful reader

  14. Thank you for writing this. I was on the verge of suicide a week ago, then a friend got through the haze and reached my heart. Thanks to her, I am still here. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t think to, or maybe I didn’t think I deserved it or that anyone would help. But someone did. Thank you for putting this out there. Your posts have gotten me through so much. If nothing else, you — and my friend — are anchors keeping me on this planet.

  15. Thank you for your honesty and verbalizing the feelings and fears you have, and who you are in this season of your life. I have great respect for you and your courage. I have been struggling with “something” for awhile. I am starting many new tasks and ways of living, I thought would bring joy, yet I am feeling at odds with life, sad and uncertain (and eating too much again). I often have a hard time putting words to what I am feeling, your posting helped me find words and definitions needed. Reaching out with this post is brave and helpful. My thoughts are with you.

  16. Thanks for your post. The raw honesty is refreshing. What I am learning is to embrace all of the seasons of life. Our resistance is what causes the struggle. Being human means being imperfect so embrace the hilltop and the valley. They’re both necessary. Hugs

    • I was listening to someone on a podcast (can’t recall who) and she mentioned how the harder times are necessary to really know joy. Something like that. Not a new concept, I suppose, but a reminder to me that all of my darker times have produced fruit in my life.

  17. Krista,
    Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing! We will walk through this with you. Just went through this with my brother and we tried every possible cure but finally through much prayer and research found his answer. You will too. Don’t give up. We all have our own “Valleys” that require digging out of. I pray for peace and comfort for you during this time. Too many blogs are superficial and shallow and like someone else already said : We like you more now!!

  18. “Maybe you will unsubscribe. You don’t like what you see in me. ”
    Nope. Not at all. In fact this makes me connect with you better and like you more.

    “I want you to hear me. That is all. I want you to listen when your brother or your son tells you he is not ok. It doesn’t matter if their life looks great to you. No, they are not just being dramatic.”
    This is so true, I’ve realized in the last few years.

    Wishing you the best of health, physical, mental and emotional. Take care, Krista!

  19. I hear you.You can’t help someone else if you aren’t willing to help yourself so I think you are very well qualified to be helping others on their journey. All the best.

  20. It touched me reading about you being in the valley at the moment. as I learned at my recent mindful self compassion course I murmur – May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease. may she be happy, may she be well, may she be peaceful and at ease. may we all be happy, may we all be well, may we all be safe, may we all be peaceful and at ease. accepting that it is not always possible but that it is our human nature to wish it was.
    thanks for being honest.

  21. I have to say that the reason I keep reading your blogposts (and I pretty much quit every blog I sign up for after a few months) is because you are not glib and you keep your online persona real. I’m pretty sure that if I were to meet you in real life I’d easily feel like I know you because of that. And I, too, am walking the valley right now. I can’t seem to identify triggers and the ones I can, I am not able to fix right now (such as cool, grey weather). I’m thankful for your blogging and for books like “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown for reminding me that joy is a matter of choice and gratitude, and that life is not easy but most things worth fighting for don’t come easy. Keep your chin up, honey. You’re worth it.

  22. Thank you for being so honest, it is really refreshing to see someone being so transparent and authentic. I really hope this valley is a short one for you. We are always here to listen if you need us.

  23. It’s so brave that you are showing up for this emotion truly and fully and not numbing it. It’s hard, it’s heavy, it’s true and it’s difficult to face and admit to. It’s like you are being the best friend this depression can have – treating it gently, trying to hear what it wants to say to you and just letting it be seen, acknowledged and held.

    Thank you for being so authentic and sharing your journey. It brings courage to me and makes me think about putting down my own glass of wine and turning off the tv (another numbing activity for me) to be there for myself more! xo

    • Thank you for this, Katherine. Yes – I am trying to do exactly what I encourage others to do… learn to sit with the ugly, sometimes scary or hopeless, uncomfortable emotions instead of running and numbing. And it is far from easy. But here’s an equal truth that I put out there for some readers who maybe have not heard this before: unless I become willing to sit with the hard emotions, I never truly learn to sit and receive the beautiful emotions. The hope, recognition of when I do well, I live afraid to articulate my dreams, I have a hard time opening up to a word of genuine affirmation or a gift. I think this might be one of the things I need to learn right now. I am afraid to receive the good – it scares me. I still have an underlying belief of unworthiness that needs to be examined and released so that I can move forward on my journey.

  24. Thank you for being brave enough to openly share your struggles and you’re feelings of not-enoughness. As mama of a daughter with significant mental illness challenges, we try to talk openly about the ups and downs of our lives. The stigma will not lessen until those of us directly affected are willing to stop hiding and stop pretending everything is “fine” at all times….

    • I agree, Jill. Thank you for sharing a peek into your life. I try to offer my kids is a willingness to talk about anything – not shut them down- even if it makes me uncomfortable or we disagree. We need to talk and be real with each other.

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