“Sometimes to self-discover you must self-destruct” – Robert M. Drake
They say misfortunes never come singly, and there comes a stage in everybody’s life when this saying becomes a first-person story.
So happened in mine. I’ve had the most amazing summer, half an year full of travelling, meeting incredible people, making friendships I believe will last forever, broadening my points of view, enriching my mind while getting to know other cultures and gathering tons of stories to tell. But when summer was over, so was my happiness. With the change of weather, there was an accident that completely changed the season inside of me, too. Of course, it came with several other ill-fated occurrences that made me question myself how much more bullshit I can take. A few of the most important people in my life were going through a whole lot of pain and there was nothing I could do to help them. This was one of those moments when you think it would be easier to have happened to you rather than watch your beloved ones suffer. It wasn’t long before I reached the point of desperation beyond which I had turned into rude, disrespectful, inactive person. I was not only unhelpful but I was also on my way to push people away from me.
Back in the days I had one or two breakdowns which I overcame, realizing that nothing is gone before it had taught you what you need to be taught. So this time I had some new lessons to learn and I also had to revise some of the older ones.
This article is not about the what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger cliché because we all know that most of the times what doesn’t kill you devastates you mentally. It’s about sharing some advice about how to go through the thunderclouds without getting struck, without losing your way to the sun and the clear sky.
Let people help you
During breakdowns most of the people tend to get locked inside of themselves with the unbearable thought of resigning from this world. Some hate to be felt sorry for, some refuse to believe that a friend’s support can get them out of the hole. But it sure can! Try not to become a prisoner of your grief. It’s not humiliating to take a hand that reaches out for you. It’s not shameful to admit that you need help.
On the other hand, there are people who tend to take it all out on their closest ones. Of course, they should be there for you when the world brings you to your knees, this is what friends are for. But they are human beings so don’t mistaken their patience and understanding with switched off emotions. Next time you shout at them for no reason, remember that there is no taller person than the one, leaning down to help you.
Watch out for the bad habits
When you find yourself lost and desperate, your will is what is being put to the most difficult test. One of the first things that we do because of our blurred appraisal is giving in to the bad habits. They seem to ease the pain at first but all they do is make it double. Before you grab a package of cancer sticks or try to drown the misery into a bottle of liquor, or swallow an amount of food you would normally eat for three days, take a second and think! Think about the fact that punishing your body won’t make it any better. Think about that starting another battle with something bad for you might as well lead you to another breakdown rather than get you out of the current one.
Focus on the positive things
Always, always, always remember that it could have been worse and be thankful that it’s not. By concentrating on how difficult it is, by being hateful, by desiring revenge you become a rotten apple, eating yourself out from the inside, making it even harder to recover. Focus on the lessons that this trouble is teaching you, accept the fact that as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair. Expecting your way to be only ascending is immature and will catch you unprepared for the times when life knocks you down.
Start appreciating everything before it has gone bad. Being able to walk, run, dance, enjoy the sun, work, eat, sleep, even do housework… it is all a gift we never know when it’s going to be taken away.
Make your pain your motivation
We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment, says Jim Rohn, famous American author and motivational speaker. And here’s the key word – discipline. During breakdowns people might get spoiled by the right not be all right and this can turn into negligence. Instead of lying all day, feeling weak and stuck, go for a walk, cook something good. When trapped in a cage of anger or constant frustration, go to the gym, run a few miles or take it out on the punching bag. Build in your mind the image of what will make you happy and imagine you are running towards it. Sometimes, because of the unfortunate circumstances, we are left with no other choice but to learn how to do things we have never done before. The stress is huge and it’s even harder but you will be surprised by how far beyond your expected abilities you can get.
This too shall pass
Time is the greatest cure. Remember, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, just don’t give up. It is Winston Churchill who said “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. Nothing lasts forever, not even the pain.
Really bad things happen everywhere and to everyone. Sooner or later everybody finds themselves in a dark place, where all the drama seems endless. “Why me?” is a question that I have asked myself not once or twice, without even thinking how pointless it is. In fact, it’s not only me and if life was to answer, it has the full right to say “Just because.”. It is how things work, some kind of a natural order, balance or law. Accept it, stay disciplined, look for the positive side, keep the quality people close. And never ever let yourself lose hope!
Image credit: Guilherme Yagui