By JG Lewis
The words of the illuminated advertising panel on a bus shelter captured my attention half a block away: “Feels like he can’t keep up with the demand.”
I’m not one to be easily swayed by advertising slogans or superlatives, but this message, even from a distance, hit home.
It is about feelings.
The he could be me.
I’m having a difficult time right now; actually, I have been for a while. I have ups and downs. You might call it depression, but I tend to use the word “glum” as I’m not always in a morose state. But when it hits, it hurts. I saw the advertising as I was walking to a scheduled medical appointment. I’ve had various appointments more frequently lately, dealing with a physiological reality that has presented difficulties in my workplace. The symptoms have spilled over into my personal life.
I have a visual disability.
The impairment is something I have learned (or am continually learning) to deal with or work with (or live with). I still don’t think it is severe, as many disabilities are, but that might just be the attitude that allows me a greater freedom to do, and try to do, the things I enjoy doing. Yet, I am enjoying things less and less.
Right now, I am having difficulties keeping up with the demand. My work is suffering, and my outside interests are suffering along with it.
I do not write, right now, in my usual prolific state. Keeping up with daily contributions to my website is, at times, challenging. My love of writing, and my need to write, keeps me going because it is something I simply do. I am finding it hard to express myself. My mantra of “write every damn day” challenges my motivation. I know I could do more. I know I could push myself a little further, or a little deeper. Yes, it is a demand I make of myself, but I’m feeling I can’t keep up.
As I have stated, I live with the physiological condition. A few months back I began to feel challenged mentally.
I started seeing a therapist weekly. I’ve also had further consultations with other healthcare professionals in an attempt to get my mental health back to where I feel it should be; in fact, I know it should be.
And I recognize it will take more work.
Therapy has been both a challenge and a blessing. I am looking at things differently right now. I’m becoming more of an advocate for myself. Self-care is taking on a greater meaning. Though, at times, I still doubt.
It has been a tough couple of years for all of us. I think the pandemic period of our lives taught us about resiliency. We need our coping skills.
We need to learn more about coping. Above all else, it is important to learn that there are people out there who can help. The toughest part is asking. That, itself, takes strength. When you think of it (and I have a lot) it takes a lot less strength to ask for help than it does to deal with some of the thoughts you end up having.
It’s about paying attention to your feelings
It is about taking care of your self.
J.G. Lewis is a Toronto-based writer/photographer. Formerly an award-winning journalist, he now writes mainly fiction and poetry. A latent oil painter, active pacifist, and avid procrastinator who doesn’t take the camera out enough, he enjoys the snap, crackle and pop of music on vinyl and hand-crafted correspondence. Currently J.G. is trying to figure it all out. He expects this goal will take time. You can read more and see more of his work on his mythosandmarginalia.com website or follow his daily breath on Facebook and Instagram.