Sometimes there are just days in life when it feels like everything sucks. Here are some timeless tips for what to do when everything sucks.
What to Do When Everything Sucks | What to Do When Life Sucks
What We Find in the Middle of the Pain
I’m finding lately that although we know pain is inevitable, no one can really prepare you for what it feels like.
I’m guilty of this – focusing only on the positive. And then, sometimes, when you fail or things fall apart or break down and you feel pain, you’re not prepared for it. You weren’t expecting it.
That’s not to say that focusing on the positive is a bad thing. Just to say that maybe we should spend some time shining light on the shadowy bits of life.
It’s like starting a business. You hear about all these stories of famous failures and movies like Mulan where the hero fails for a long time before finally succeeding, but no one can prepare you for what it actually feels like to fail.
No one can prepare you for the pain of heartbreak, of losing something you care about, or when you try your hardest and it’s still not good enough. Even if we focused only on the negative, there’s a difference between telling someone what to expect and actually feeling it firsthand.
But pain is there to teach us lessons that you can only learn from experience. There’s a difference between someone telling you not to touch a hot stove and learning what the pain of it feels like for yourself. In some ways the deepest lessons we’ll ever learn are the ones we learn in the worst ways, the lessons we never wanted to learn but had to go through anyway.
But we find something in the pain. And sometimes we wish we wouldn’t, or that we wouldn’t have to go through things the hard way, but life isn’t easy all the time for anyone.
In the middle of the pain, we find ourselves.
And that’s when we learn who we are and what we’re made of. It would be nice if we could become wise and sage with life experience by reading about it in a book or watching it on tv, but we’re only really hearing what someone else learned.
I can tell you everything I know about overcoming depression, but ultimately this is a journey you yourself must go on. There are just things in life you’ll never truly understand unless you experience them firsthand, for better and for worse.
We go into life knowing that pain is inevitable and that there will be suffering and bad days and disappointments and failures, but it still hurts when we feel it.
But if it’s any consolation, maybe it helps to know that there’s a purpose to the pain, and that you’re not alone. Everyone goes through some kind of pain, and everyone must walk through their own journey of life.
Don’t be afraid.
What to Do When You Feel Numb
When I was depressed, I spent years feeling nothing. I felt numb. No drive, no motivation, no dreams still out there to catch – or so I thought – and this was the one way I knew to feel something when everything else in my life felt so numb.
Numbness can be healed by passion. Find your fire and follow that light for your whole life. What cures the numbness you feel and I felt is dousing it with the fires of something you love and are passionate about. Every one of us has a hidden artist inside waiting to burst out and produce the creative gifts we’re meant to create in our lifetimes.
You were meant for so much more than confining cubicles, boring desk work, and staying chained to one place.
You were meant to fly, so use the wings you’ve been given.
I spent too much time trying to fit in and be everyone else’s example of happiness and success and not enough time listening to my own heart on this matter. It’s just a matter of following yourself and what your soul wants to do with this one precious life you have.
You are an artist and a creative spirit, so start creating. Use your beautiful talents to shine a light on the world in a special way that only you can.
Create, and never stop dreaming.
What are you passionate about? Meditate on this question for five minutes and then write down one way you will work toward your dream this week. Baby steps count.
After all This Time, the Sun Has Never Stopped Rising
Unless you live in the Arctic Circle, the sun always has and always will continue to rise each morning as long as earth is still here.
Even when there are wars going on, the sun still rises.
Even when no one notices how beautiful the sunrise is in the morning, the sun still rises.
Even when bad things happen in the world, the sun still rises against the darkness and spreads light for all to see.
Become the sun.
Be the light in the world.
Be the change you wish to see.
You being happy and loving and shining brightly is the best way to light up the world.
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
What to Do When You Literally Can’t Even
Ok, this title is tongue-in-cheek, but this is for all the young people who are tired and just can’t anymore. When you literally can’t even.
(Can’t what? Who knows? :))
When you find that you just can’t keep going, stop and breathe. The world is not going to end if you take a break.
You can even. 🙂 You are more capable than you realize. I bet if you think back on your life, you can think of times a lot worse than this that you somehow managed to survive.
That’s because everything always turns out ok in the end. It may take a long time, but eventually, you’ll get there. That point when things are ok.
When you feel like you literally can’t even, don’t stress out. It’ll be ok. I promise.
Things might really suck right now. Maybe you can’t see how this will ever get better.
But it will. Nothing ever stays the same in life; things are constantly changing. But you can use that for your benefit because that means that if things are bad right now, they won’t always be like that.
Things might be awful right now. And you feel like you just can’t do this anymore.
But you can, and you will.
One step at a time, one breath at a time, one day at time.
You have to keep going.
You probably haven’t figured out yet why you were put on this earth.
But one day you will, and then you’ll understand why you had to go through what you’re going through right now.
And everything will make sense.
If you’d like more depression tips, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.
How to Feel Better When Everything Sucks | Why Does Life Suck
(You’re not going to like this :))
Ok, so when you’re having a bad day being grateful is probably the thing you least want to do in the world. But it can seriously shift your perspective in just a few minutes and turn things around in your mind. Your feelings and struggles are still valid, of course, but you can choose to change the way you see things.
I say in your mind because there are times when you may – for some reason or other – have to stay in a difficult situation for a while. Maybe it’s not possible right now to actually change your circumstances, or maybe something happened and now you just have to heal from it. Changing your situation can definitely be a huge help for how you feel, but if you’re stuck with something for the time being, gratitude is one thing that will make it easier to get through.
So, how do you be grateful? Well, take this example. One time I was starting to feel really claustrophobic in my tiny apartment in the city. It’s was about 150 square feet back then, to give you an idea. I felt like I just had to get out of my apartment. So I did.
And while I was out roaming the city, I saw several homeless people just on the few streets I was on, though I know for a fact you can find homeless people in every corner of the city. Suddenly, instead of grumbling about my apartment not being good enough, I felt very grateful.
Grateful that I wasn’t homeless.
Grateful that I had a roof over my head.
Grateful that I had my own shower and bathroom (an upgrade from a dorm room!).
Grateful that I had cupboards and a fridge (ok, a micro fridge :)) full of food.
Grateful that I had a warm bed to crawl into at night and clothes to wear and choices for shoes and outfits and accessories.
Gratitude turns what you have into enough.
And when I got back to my apartment, it didn’t feel quite as small anymore. Nothing had actually changed about my apartment, but my attitude had changed. And attitude, in the end, is everything.
As Pitbull says,
“Any day above ground is a great day. Remember that.”
Setbacks Do Not Erase Your Successes
Ok. So maybe you’re reading this post because you’ve had some kind of setback in your life. If we’re talking about something like depression or anxiety, maybe you hurt yourself or blew up at someone or drank too much or totally freaked out.
First, just breathe. You will get through this.
Next, make sure you have a support system in place. Do you need to talk to a therapist, talk to a friend or family member, etc? To talk to a trained active listener online for free, you can use 7 Cups of Tea. Do you need to talk to your doctor or check yourself in somewhere to make sure you’re safe? Your safety and mental health is the number one priority right now.
Next, think about what’s going on. Did something trigger this, or were a lot of things just building up over time? It can be helpful to understand what causes you to be depressed or anxious so you can prevent it from happening again in the future.
What is your mood like right now in general? Maybe you want to journal about how you’re feeling, or talk about it with someone you trust. Try to process your feelings so you can get to the bottom of what caused this relapse.
Next, understand that recovering from anything is not a straight line. It’s more like the stock market. There are good days and bad days, and sometimes you feel like you’ve erased all the progress you’ve made so far, but historically, the stock market always goes steadily up in the long run, and you will also steadily get better over the long run. Just because you’re in a difficult time right now doesn’t mean you always will be. And just because you relapsed doesn’t erase your past successes.
Some people like to keep track of the days they have been self-harm free, sober, etc, and if that works for you, great. But if something happens and you get off track, try not to be hard on yourself. You don’t have to count the days, or maybe instead of counting how many days in a row you’ve been ok, you just count the total number of days (even if there are some bad days in between).
Whatever you do, just make sure that the tools you use to help you are actually helping you and not making you feel worse. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to or that makes you feel bad – even my suggestions. If it doesn’t work for you, no big deal. Just keep trying and find something else. 🙂
You can do this. Better days are ahead. Don’t give up.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” –Confucius
If you’d like more depression tips, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.