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When You Can't Get Out of Bed

“It’s easy” they say. “Just put your feet on the ground and get up.”

But it’s not that easy. And you don’t know how to describe it. Like invisible bricks on your chest weighing you down onto your bed. Like your pajamas are sewn to your sheets. But they can’t see it, and they think that getting up is as easy as “throwing your feet on the ground and getting up.” Maybe you want someone to crawl into bed with you, maybe you want to be alone. Maybe you can’t stop crying, maybe you want to cry but can’t. Maybe your anger holds you there, maybe it’s your sadness. But you would get out of bed if you could, and the fact that they make it sound easy feels cruel.

I can tell you that they don’t mean to be cruel. If anything they are most likely trying to be kind. They want to see you ok, and they believe that getting out of bed will make you ok. To the average person it does sound easy. To get out of bed, one gets out of bed, right? I, myself, may have the same mentality if I had not felt my own pajamas sewn to my own sheets. Maybe there’s no way to make them understand, and maybe that can be ok.

All I can say to you in these moments when you can’t get out of bed is this: it is ok. You are allowed to crumble and to fall apart. You are allowed to feel deeply, you are allowed to feel nothing, you are allowed to break down. Allow yourself this day to stay in bed. Allow yourself to be in pain. You have been through enough to allow yourself this time to grieve. I don’t know what has put you in this bed and made it so difficult to live, but I can tell you that if it were me with the bricks on my chest weighing me down on my mattress you would not be telling me to “just get up.” You would be so beautifully compassionate towards me. You wouldn’t tell me that “It’s easy.” Your heart has been made tender and loving through your pain, and you would extend that love to me. I am no more deserving of your kindness and compassion than you are. If I can stay in bed all day, so can you.

Today we can stay in bed. We can weep, scream, eat 7 large McDonald’s fries, or stare blankly at the wall. Today we can heal a little bit, even if it doesn’t feel like healing. We can extend compassion to ourselves, and not judge ourselves for needing a day to stay in bed. We can understand that it’s not easy. Maybe we need 2 days, or maybe we need a week.

Soon, however, we need to get up. The power is ours to give ourselves the time we need to be sad, but to stay in bed a day longer than we need would be a disservice to ourselves. While we owe it to our pain to feel it as deeply as we need to, though it may be debilitating, we also owe it to ourselves to get up and try to participate in life again. Caring for ourselves isn’t always what it looks like on Instagram. You don’t have to eat a salad, go for a jog or buy yourself a new outfit. Stay in bed, but don’t allow yourself to wallow there. Caring for yourself can mean staying in bed, but it also means that soon, we have to get up.

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