Do you ever have those days or weeks or moments where you just find yourself saying, and please excuse my French, f#ck everything? I had one of those days recently. Everything and everyone was getting on my last nerve. Nothing in particular was wrong, I just felt down. I felt a little depressed, I channeled my version of emo and sat in the dark all night watching mindless TV, which I NEVER do. Admittedly ‘The Royals’ sucked me in. I went to bed still feeling a looming sense of life- loathing.
I’m human and so are you. Not every day or week is going to go perfectly. We are going to get knocked around, shifted, kicked in the teeth and just plain tossed around by life. The good news is you’re not alone. We all have moments of weakness where our inner Debbie downer comes out in full swing. The other piece of good news is that you can bounce back when you feel the blues.
These are some of my techniques for combating depressed states or low points, whether they are fueled by trauma or just a response to the normal stresses of life.
First, I allowed myself a time out. I allowed myself to feel those feelings. I allowed that day to get chalked up as not one of my recent best. And guess what? It’s perfectly ok with me.
I can’t pretend that I don’t have times where I want to throw a temper tantrum or pick up a drink. They happen. It’s part of life.
And while I wont pretend they don’t happen I also won’t cover them up. When I feel that way the next thing I do is I let people who are close to me know what’s going on. I don’t hide or run. I sit with it and I feel through it as yucky as it can be sometimes.
What I don’t do is get stuck. I don’t let that nasty, bad influence of a voice in my head play tricks on me talking me into depression or relapse. I suit up and show up for the days, moments and times of LIFE. Because life gets ugly sometimes. It requires us to get dirty. We were given the ability to feel the full spectrum of emotions and feelings including those that aren’t so pleasant.
So, the next time you feel yourself wanting to scream, take a deep breath and give yourself permission to FEEL. Instead of being reactive, just sit with it. Quietly. Alone. In the dark if you want. Eat your ice cream. And cry if you must. Let it out in a healthy way. It’s much better to lock the doors and pull the curtains for a few hours than it is to lose tempers, give into addictions or vices that just leave us feeling worse or doing things we will regret later.
The idea around negative emotions and low points is not to suppress them. We can’t do enough yoga or drink enough green juice to make them disappear or never occur. It’s doesn’t make us imperfect or non-yogi. The answer isn’t even found in trying to meditate them away or circumvent them.
Instead we can decide to accept them as human nature. Sometimes these feelings are indicators of some part of our life that needs attention. Perhaps it is even just an indicator that we need a breather or to unplug and relax. There is nothing wrong with this.
I’m big on staying positive and living a life of happiness, positivity and feeling good, but that doesn’t mean having a bad day isn’t going to happen. When we allow ourselves the space to hold our feelings and actually feel them, we move through them with more ease.
A lot of people with addiction issues, and I’m one of them, try to run from these feelings or avoid them. However, the moment we realize all feelings, negative or positive, are merely sensations set up in our bodies to show us different levels of life, we can embrace the feelings with less resistance, which in turn allows them to pass much more quickly because we aren’t fighting against them.
In my recovery, if there is one thing I’ve learned it is this: We were built to experience life. That includes all of the ups and downs. We were given feelings, both good and bad, to complete our human experience here on earth. Embrace those feelings. And remember, this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent, including our feelings on bad days. It won’t last forever.
Remind yourself you are alive when you’re feeling the waves of life. I know this is something I had to do recently as a down moment came over me. Learn to swim with those waves instead of frantically paddling against them. When you are in the flow, allowing life to move about as it does, a sense of ease is cultivated over time. Those feelings and our moments of complete emo-ness begin to become more fleeting as we feel them wash away with the tide much more quickly and gracefully.