When You're Too Far Gone For Self Care : The Valley Of Depletion
When I’m tired, I get crabby.
Here’s actual footage of me last time I was crabby:
But for real, I get really short with people and minor inconveniences send me into dissociative states. I truly DGAF, and it's not a good look.
At that point, I’m so far away from my emotional base, that I’m not even “sober” enough to make proper decisions that enact the self care I need.
- I should probably just leave this function–NO WHAT IF SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPENS #FOMO.
- I should probably take a nap, I'm falling asleep–NO BUT I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.
- I should probably just stop watching review videos on Diva Cups and just call it a night––BUT NO I NEED TO KNOW IF THIS COULD BE A GOOD OPTION FOR THE QUEENS IN MY LIFE.
- I should probably just take a shower–BUT THE DAY IS ALMOST DONE AND I COULD SAVE ON LAUNDRY IF I JUST DIDN’T.
- Get off Grindr it makes you hate your life, love yourself for once in your gottam life––BUT WHAT IF SOMEONE WITH JUST A TORSO MESSAGES ME
All of these things sound so ridiculous. The answers seem so simple. Just take a nap. Take a shower. Change your clothes. Leave the function.
But when it gets to that moment when you’re so far gone, it’s tough to make the most obvious decisions.
It’s even more complicated when you’ve ignored things before you even got to this place, and you’re seeing the imminent consequences of you unmet obligations. It all piles on and now you have so much to do that you don’t do any of it.
Since there’s not name for it as far as I know, I’m gonna call this phenomenon:
The Valley of Depletion
A phenomenon where you’ve initially neglected your needs so much that you're too far gone into emotional and/or physical exhaustion, that you can no longer hear your instincts of self care.
I think I’m in this place as I’m writing this right now actually. I know I should take a nap. But if I did, I feel like I would be wasting so much of the day.
Actually you know what, brb.
Ok so I literally just went to bed at 8pm. I woke up around 3am then laid around until I fell asleep again and woke up at 6:30am.
I feel GREAT.
Ok, now that I feel like I’m in a good place, let’s talk about how to get out of The Valley of Depletion.
There are several ways out of this situation:
You body forces you into equilibrium (making you fall asleep, breaking down, etc)
You friends make sure you get taken care of.
You have a “flash of sobriety” that allows you push yourself into a better situation.
The Divine Option: Prevention
1. Forced Equilibrium
The first one is not a great place to find yourself. Especially if you’re driving, or on the dance floor. (Side note, I’ve fallen asleep on the dancefloor).
Basically if you’re not listening to what your need, your body will force you to take it into consideration. Unfortunately, when this happens, you will not have control over it, and it will happen unexpectedly.
This situation is a moment where “something’s gotta give” and you body decides for you.
2. Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
Friends that know you well can recognize when you’re in The Valley. They’ll usually guide you towards a better place.
A drawback to this is that if it happens frequently, your friends won’t be able to always be taking care of you. Especially if you’re a Crabby Patty in this state. Sometimes it gets too much. Your friends want to have fun too, and it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself at the end of the day.
I can’t imagine receiving continued invites if you’re beyond your limit every time, causing you to damper the good vibes for everyone else. It's so off brand.
To reduce feelings of bitterness, talk with your friends honestly about what it looks like when you’re in this state, so they’re not caught of guard. Once they know, they’ll have a good framing of how to love you best in this situation. Be this for other people too.
3. A Flash of Sobriety
I’m not talking about alcoholic sobriety, but it’s the moment where for one reason or another, you find yourself with a flash of clarity. A total gift.
What it looks like for me:
It's that feeling when you realize that you’ve been trapping yourself in the situation and you figure out what you need to get to a better place.
That happened to me as I was writing this article. For a 5 second moment I was like, “wait what am I doing? I’m so tired. RV, just go to sleep.” And so I did.
The tough part about this is, sometimes you don’t choose to act on it. I’m sure there are many moments where we know what’s best for us, but choose otherwise.
The moment passes, and you’re back in the Valley.
4. The Divine Fourth Option: Prevention
The reason we get ourself into The Valley of Depletion is because we weren’t taking care of ourselves in the first place.
Prevention is always better than dealing with it when it comes.
Before going to an function/event, understand why you’re going. It can be as simple as, “I want to dance.” Surprises are gifts, but I find that knowing what I’m doing there gives me a solid base to make decisions.
Give yourself a “check in” time. Establish a time when you’ll check in with yourself and see if you want to continue being where you are. Act on that decision and stay present.
Take care of yourself before hand. Take naps, get hydrated, and charge up your batteries the best way you know how.
Develop exit plans: How do you plan to leave? Uber or Lyft? Did someone drive you? If you’re depending on a ride, are you okay with staying there until *they* want to leave? If that stresses you out, are you willing to either drive yourself, or take the cost of calling a cab? Make decisions that will help you feel powerful. Don’t be the bitter one in the corner waiting for your ride home. Most of the time, YOU have a choice.
Taking care of yourself can be a radical act. For one reason or another, we feel the need to keep going and ignore our needs. It’s not a surprise, because after all, in our current societal context, production is valued over everything.
Develop for yourself a self-care practice. Take time to know your limits, because no one can care about your well being more than anyone else but yourself.
Find your True North:
What kind of financial choices do you make when you’re in The Valley of Depletion? How does this state affect your money choices?
Is this state a good place to be in when thinking about money? What’s a good state of being look like for you?
Think about past situations where you’ve been in This Valley. What could you have done better to be more present in the situation?