Foreword: This is probably the most self-serving post I have ever written, but I hope that it helps at least someone who may, like me, be going through a difficult time.
Thousands of movies, novels, and news stories show us that life is not always a fairy tale. There are hiccups and bumps along this road and some of them can completely devastate you. Everyone goes through hard times. The most common theme is loss. We lose family members, jobs, and spouses. It’s painful and we may become unresponsive zombies in the wake of the overwhelming grief. Tears are shed and hearts are broken during these periods of wallowing. So, how do you deal with an emotional tailspin? Here are some hopefully helpful tips to get you through the days where even breathing is difficult.
If they don’t work, there’s always tequila and cookie dough.
For the Distraction:
It’s very easy to get caught up in a sea of sadness that finds you drifting alone in your own feelings. You have to find a way to swim through the sadness rather than drowning in it. One of the best ways to do this is to keep busy. Throw yourself into your workouts, volunteer for a project at work, take someone up on their offer of a night out on the town, discover a new hobby. There is a lot you can do to redirect your focus in a positive way. You just have to get out and do it.
For Your Health:
I cannot tell you how important sleep is when you’re upset about something. Things tend to look a little rosier in the morning after a proper night’s rest. It can be difficult to silence the mind from replaying events and conversations, but sleep can help you do that. Recently, I have suffered from nightly insomnia. I can fall asleep no problem, but I wake in the middle of the night with a racing brain and an inability to put those thoughts—and my body—back to bed. I have tried a variety of techniques to exhaust myself (working out daily, counting backward from 100 by 3’s, etc.), but night after night, I am awake at 2 or 3 or 4am as if my alarm clock has just chimed. Any suggestions for staying asleep or if anyone knows how I can bribe Mr. Sandman would be greatly appreciated.
For the Support:
Friends and family are incredibly important in the healing process. They offer a shoulder to cry on, a drinking buddy, and a voice of reason. Rely on them. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re hurting; they have been there too. Maybe not the exact situation you find yourself in, but through the onslaught of emotions you are going through. We all need people that we can talk to who will listen and love you when your face looks like you’ve been in the ring with Mike Tyson and your floor is littered with tissues. They will be there for you, you just need to reach out and accept the support.
For the Recovery:
When your emotions consume you and you feel like you will never be happy again (I liken it to a Dementor attack from the Harry Potter series), trust in one thing: time. You are going to feel like shit and your heart will ache. It’s normal and natural not to snap back to your happy self as soon as the moment is over. If you can, you probably never cared in the first place. They say “time heals all wounds” and it’s true. It may not be overnight—in fact, that’s something you can count on—but the pain will dissipate and with time, all the hurt you feel today may be just a distant memory.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.