Sometimes, life deals your hand from the bottom of the deck. There’s no reason for it, necessarily, but it happens. For some people, “Life sucks” might be no date for the prom. For others, it might be getting a phone call as you and the children are decorating the Christmas tree, saying your spouse was just killed in an accident. You may suffer from chronic depression, such that even though you know how good things look on the surface (to others), life couldn’t be worse for you.
Examine your situation. What’s causing the pain you are feeling? This is going to be key to working your way back to positive territory.
- If it’s situational—for example, you got fired, it’s pouring down rain, and on the way home with all your office belongings in the car, that little spare tire that you’ve been running on gives up the ghost, leaving you stranded on the other side of town—you’re going to need a different set of “positive” tools than if you have been diagnosed with a melanoma.
- If it’s physical or mental—maybe you’re bipolar, or suffer chronic depression—you must balance any attempt at “being positive” with an understanding that the reality is, it’s going to be an ongoing battle for your own survival. Because depression will undermine even the strongest of wills, you will need help to maintain—or at least be reminded of—a positive outlook. Counseling, psychotherapy, and the right combination of medication will play a crucial role in helping to keep you from sinking into that very dark place that is the essence of depression. Be patient, but don’t look for miracles. It may be that you will need the help of professionals throughout your life to maintain a generally even keel.
- External factors can be dealt with by taking positive steps to repair or at least address the root problem as best as you can. Whatever the primary cause of the problem, that cause must be addressed first. You may or may not be able to solvethe problem, per se, but at least knowing you’re taking positive steps forward is one less weight to have to carry, and it will help you improve your outlook. It will not be easy, of course, or we wouldn’t be calling this “sucking.”
Take care of your body and soul. Given that you are probably an emotional wreck in a world of sewage, swimming in the debris of whatever damage the suckage has wrought, this is not the time to become a world champion hotdog eater, consumer of tubs of ice cream, or finding the bottom of the bottle of Jack. Treat yourself well, even though you feel like hell. How, you ask? Here are some ideas:
- Eat as well as you possibly can. Even if you have very little money, make it a point to eat a more balanced, more healthy diet than you do when all is well. Lots of greens and colored vegetables, and a variety of fruit and nuts, are all super healthy for you, and they’re much less expensive than meats, cheeses, and processed foods! Their nutritional value will elevate your body, and knowing you are treating yourself will elevate your mind.
- Give your pet some love. They know you’re not their normal human, but the beauty of pets is unconditional, unquestioning love. Be playful with them, find a simple game that amuses both of you (the fake ball-throw is always a canine favorite), and let yourself forget your troubles for 5 or 10 minutes. It won’t solve your problem, but it will lighten the load.
- Also, look for foods rich in vitamin B12 and Omega-3. These include dark green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Don’t give in. When you’re in the middle of a suck vortex, those words will have little meaning, because everything you know in your bones to be true is telling you that giving in would be so easy to do.
- People will tell you “just get over it,” or “get a grip.” They know—and you know—that if you were to look objectively at the sum of your life, that it’s not as bad as it feels; there are many people whose lives are measurably worse than yours. So what! Their lives, no matter how terrible, are not your life, and your situation is unique to you.
- Don’t try to “get over it.” If one could “will away” depression, there would be no need of doctors or drugs. What you can do is understand why you feel like you do, and explain to your would-be counselors that you wish it were that easy, and that you appreciate their concern. Don’t push them away—at the very least, you can be positive that they are there for you, however clumsy and unaware their platitudes may be. Who knows, their bumbling efforts may even provide some amusement or distraction!
Cut back on the caffeine drinks. You don’t need to quit, but cutting back will help reduce chemically induced anxiety and stress, and smooth any recovery time.
- Exercise your body. It may be a sport you enjoy, yoga, cross training, or even a simple walk in the park. But keeping your body active will help your outlook.
- Join a community that you’re not already part of. It could be a support group for whatever you’re going through, or a group of people that share your love of Lord of the Rings, or a charity such as Habitat for Humanity. You may find solace and purpose in ways you never imagined.
- Throw yourself into a hobby you enjoy. Whether it’s art, photography, music appreciation, or building a ship in a bottle, focusing on something other than the suck factor will give your mind some time off for good behavior.
- Sleep. You don’t need to be told this. Your body is probably begging you for it when you are in the middle of hard times. You may actually be drawn to sleep all day. While that might feel good at the moment, it only puts off the inevitable, so try to maintain good sleeping habits. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, but allow yourself some leeway. If you sleep fitfully for half the night, then finally fall asleep at 4am, don’t get up at 6:30 unless you absolutely must. Let your body get about 8 hours for the best results.
- Do not crawl into a hole and disappear. Your friends and loved ones probably know your life sucks. They may or may not be able to help you directly, but they can give you emotional and moral support.
Seek help immediately. Yes, life sucks. Sometimes, it can become overwhelming to the point where you figure that swallowing a bottle of pills, or a 9 mm, will be preferable to another day of pain. If those thoughts start to invade your senses, deal with them as if your life depended on it—because it does.
- If you’re just starting to have those thoughts, speak to your physician or your therapist. They may prescribe something to help steer you back to the center, emotionally. It may be the act of talking about it is therapeutic enough, but don’t assume that. Leave that call to the professionals.
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