It’s just over a year since I opened up to the world (well those that are interested) that I suffer from depression. Opening up to the greater audience was daunting but something that I needed to do. The worry was that mental illness has a great deal of “taboo” about it and, while people were starting to open up about it there was a great deal still unspoken.
It got me thinking that humans are extremely emotional creatures with our daily lives being driven by a plethora of emotions; love, anger, boredom, drained, euphoric, happy, sad etc. That being said, the amount of “emotional energy” we have is not so abundant.
When it comes to emotional energy we don’t really look after ourselves. Lets face it, the most basic human instinct is to want to help others. While some may not agree, I believe that on the whole people do want to help one another but this can sometimes be to their own detriment as they don’t look after themselves.
Imagine, if you would, that you are sat at your desk and you have a pile of money. Your best friend comes to you and asks to borrow some money; you say of course…no problem. Then your brother comes along and asks to borrow some money, you say of course. Then a work colleague comes along and asks the same, once again you say no problem. This continues until you run out of money then you have to say “No, I’m sorry but I have no money left”. Now, as bad as you feel about saying no the fact is that you have no money so you also have no choice but to say no.
The problem is that we do not treat our emotional energy with the same respect. We continue to help others, usually to our own detriment. By the time you come to sit down at the end of the day, you are spent with nothing left for yourself. Somehow you make it right in your own head as you ‘need’ to help everyone. But you didn’t help everyone though did you? You left out the most important person of all…..you! Now that may not be a very British thing to do but you are no use to anyone if your are emotionally spent and just “going through the motions”. There’s a reason why they teach you on an aircraft to put your oxygen mask on first you know……because you are no use to your friends/family if you are dead!
The same goes for your emotional energy. If you need to recharge or have some time for you then learn to say no. Some people will be put out, but the people that really matter will understand that “emotional bank account” is empty and needs to be refilled before you can start handing it out again.
If you do nothing else, then spend a little “me” time today…..for your own well being!