Notes on Busyness and Mental Illness

Lately I’ve been keeping busy. Some days are better than others, but I’m slowly learning how to hustle one baby step at a time.

There was a woman in my outpatient program who had matching stationery that all said “I am very busy,” on it. She explained to us, “I’m not very busy but I’d like to be.”

It reminded me of the law of attraction. She is trying to create a busy life by first saying she is busy and surrounding herself with the message that she already is.

Busyness gets a bad rep. It carries with it the connotation of doing a lot but not getting a lot done. We see everywhere on the internet ways to slow down, how to be less busy, and the importance of not being busy all the time.

But if you’ve ever suffered from mental illness or a mood disorder, you know that busyness can be a welcome sign of recovery.

In the depths of depression I felt like my life was perpetually moving in slow motion. I had very little to do and very few places to be. I spent so many months and years doing so little that I was never busy. I read a lot about slowing down and living life simply, but depression is perpetually slow. Inert.

So when I was making my way around doing errands last week I thought of how far I had come just by being busy.

I heard a great Joel Osteen quote this week: “Not every season is a growing season. And not every season is a harvest season.” Sometimes we go through slow seasons before we reap the benefits of what we have been toiling away at. Sometimes you do have to get busy and get to work and that’s fine too!

So embrace the slowness and welcome the busyness for both are passing through.

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