What To Do When Life Sucks
Sometimes life just sucks. I know you hear me. Things just don’t turn out how they were meant too; the world turns upside down and nothing makes sense.
I experienced this not too long ago. I’d decided to go on an adventure up the top end of Australia to finish my studies off. Far gone was the girl bound by ‘severe depressive and anxiety disorder.’ Back then, I never would have recognised myself as the woman I am now, choosing to take a risk by moving away.
I had chosen to not just survive, but thrive on my journey, and it was time to grow once more. Home had been a safe place for me to heal and learn how to manage anxiety and depression. Now it was time for me to learn who I was when I was put in a foreign environment.
Fast forward to being on the actual adventure: I thought I was set, but then the tides turned and it begun to suck. Certain events and people had caused my world to crumble, and I was thrown for six. I ended up sitting on my front stoop one afternoon, wondering what on earth had convinced me to try something new.
I was falling asleep crying and waking up the same way. A knot of anxiety the size of a bowling ball had formed in my stomach, and I was pretty homesick. On my phone calls back home, my loved ones had begun asking me about my mental health. It was only natural, after all someone in my situation would grasp for straws, and many people including myself, were unsure how I would cope. Thankfully what I had learnt about self-care kicked into gear so I could find my way through the tunnel. Hence, I present to you:
WHAT TO DO WHEN LIFE SUCKS (e.g. How to self care)
A guide for you, should you ever find yourself wondering if the world turned on its head while you were sleeping.
1. CALM YOURSELF
When things erupt around us, its normal to have a reaction. Some cry (like me), others get angry, and some people try to close off and pretend everything’s normal. There will be a lot of emotion going on inside of you and maybe some confusion too. Let yourself stop for a moment and breath. Try and relax your muscles.
2. GO SOMEWHERE RELAXING
Taking the time to sit in a peaceful place and evaluate how you are going is essential in gaining clarity. It is also key so you can figure out how to walk through this time healthily, with purpose and hope. My go- too place was the river. For others, it’s in their bedroom or the park.
3. WRITE/DRAW/EXPRESS YOUR EMOTION
If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself struggling to express how you are feeling. Journaling is a great outlet to ‘word vomit’ privately as much as you like. If writing is not your style, try drawing how you feel. Alternatively, finding a secluded space and shouting and stamping your feet can be really helpful to get all the pent up emotion out. As long as you’re not hurting yourself, hurting anyone else, damaging property or breaking a law, you can be creative in expressing your emotion.
4. ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS:
Take a step back and ask yourself these questions:
“AM I SUICIDAL?”
It’s quite normal for people to have suicidal thoughts when distressing things are occurring, so it is important you be honest with yourself. If you have had any suicidal ideations, plans or thoughts of harming yourself, you need some extra support.
If your answer to this question is yes, then it’s important you talk to someone as soon as possible. Tell a trusted family member or friend, call 000, or ring LifeLine (13 11 14) for immediate support.
“WHAT EVENT/S HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THESE FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS?”
Something/s have occurred for you to be feeling like this. It can be helpful to try and identify these things so you can monitor if certain people or situations trigger these emotions again. If these events seem too overwhelming or traumatic to recall, that ok. When you feel ready, you can talk to a counsellor about them.
5. GET SUPPORT
TWLOHA coined the phrase ‘People need other people,’ and it’s one of the greatest truths I learnt while I was away up North. It’s ok to need other people to support you, and it’s ok to ask for help. In fact, it’s one of the most courageous things you can do.
Make a list of the people who will support you. These are people you trust completely and who you feel safe around. These people should be really great at listening and have your back, no matter what. Maybe it’s a parent or mentor, a close friend or a counsellor.
The best way to get help is to ask. It is scary, but you can trust your support people. Send them a text, or give them a phone call. If you are having trouble identifying who to talk to, call Lifeline to have a chat (13 11 14).
So, there we have it, Five Things to Do When Life Sucks. I used all these tools while I was up North, wondering what the heck was happening to me. It was difficult and confronting, but in the end by doing these things and following them through, I found myself on the other side of the situation. Because of this, I ended up thriving, just as I had hoped.
I was scared when I started feeling so many emotions and life unexpectedly became unhinged. I’m not afraid to admit this now, and you don’t need to be either. We all go through difficult times, and we all have the strength within us to make it through them, we just need some help along the way.
To be vulnerable is to be human, and it is important we give ourselves what we need to make it through these times. Let yourself feel. Let yourself process. Let yourself be loved and supported by others. Let yourself get the help you need. You have the strength within you and around you to get through this.