Have you ever been in a hole that just seems to get deeper? When you are tired? Emotionally, spiritually and physically? When you get a burn out after a burn out after another one? When you are anxious, in despair and confused? Everything you try to do to help yourself fails. If you are lucky you get a day or two of being on a high then you go back to zero. You cry. You cry out for help to your friends. Even when that’s not the way you deal with things. Things are bad. You know it. Things are only going to get worse. You can feel it. And deep inside, you are afraid that this will kill you. Its already breaking you anyway.
I’ve been there. Our situation is definitely different, but I think a few words of ‘encouragement’ will come in handy.
1. Don’t Fight It.
Feel everything. And I know very well that when I’m telling you this, all emotions inside of you are ‘bad’. They are the things people tell you to avoid and run away from. But soak in it. If you wake up feeling anxious, feel it. Soak in it. Stop being afraid of despair and guilt and regret. Its at this point that you will realize that the world lied to you. Sadness has a claim to you as much as happiness. Don’t fight it at all. You find yourself walking and all over sudden, feelings of anxiety strike you, don’t fight it, don’t rebuke it, don’t try to rise above it, soak in it.
I can’t insist on this enough. But this phase will only get to its climax soon enough, when you stop fighting it. I know it isn’t the norm, it isn’t normal, but for your new normal that will be ushered by the end of this phase, you need to go through every bit of emotion. Especially the sad ones.
2. Its only getting worse.
Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound like encouragement, but its the reality. You see that hole you are in, it will only get darker and you will keep on hurtling downwards. This is pain accumulated. You have compartmentalized this pain for years. It will take a tremendous effort to retrieve it. Think of it this way, assuming you went through a tragic accident that you buried deep inside you. You’ve never recalled it ever again. You moved on. Nowadays you are kinda happy, you have your bad days too, but generally you are okay. Now, in your ‘current normal’ state, that tragic accident memory can not be replayed in the kind of mindset you have right now.
But its time for you to finally deal with that accident once and for all. And for that to happen, for those boxes to be opened, your mind has to be in the right state/frame to replay and deal with those memories. Which is why your ‘self’ is hurtling you back to a place of pain, anxiety, despair and hopelessness- because that is the only frame of mind that can open up those boxes. And unless you get to it, nothing will change. And by the time you are going through all this, its time for that change.
So now that you are not fighting it, realise that next week will only be worse. And the week after that, the worst. And on it will go until you reach the lowest that you can go. And only then shall you be now able to work a way forward. Which is why all kinds of help that you are trying to get now are backfiring. Because the place of help, the place of moving forward, is a little further on the way. Its only getting worse, more reason to stop fighting it.
3. Talk to God.
If you can’t talk, cry. This is not the time to pray what you ‘should’ pray. This is the time for bluntness. Tell Him if you feel abandoned. Personally, I used to feel as if God wasn’t being helpful enough. Here I was, I had brought my issues to Him( yes, I had admitted to myself and to God that I had issues), and I felt as if He was failing me. Like He was not doing His part. I was hurtling towards desperation yet I had run to Him for help. His word said over a hundred times that if you call for help, He will answer positively. And help was not coming. Or so I thought. Talk to him about that. The situation is still getting worse. But the goodness is that your friendship with God will be cemented. Because above all, God knows what you are going through. And at this point you will feel as if no one understands. So the fact that no one understands will work in God’s favor. He understands. Plus its better to cry to God, where there is hope, than to cry to nothing. Either way, you’ll cry.
4. You need a support system
When you finally reach the bottom of the hole, you won’t be the same. Your reputation won’t matter. Who people think you are will not matter. The things/behavior/attitudes/mindset you’ve held on to because they describe who you ‘thought’ you were will take a backseat. And now it will be time to unveil the new you. That you will do crazy things. Things that are not ‘you’. That you will fight for herself. That you will tread new territories.
In the middle of that, you will need someone to tell you its okay. Its okay to bleed. Its okay to take baby steps. Its okay to not be okay. Its okay to dare. Its okay to hurt others in the process. Because at times, your healing will require you to call out people who hurt you, and that may involve bluntly calling out the status quo.
Share the journey with someone. You will receive help and encouragement from really unexpected quarters. Take it, you will need it. Just don’t go through this alone. Share your pain. Allow yourself to cry on people’s shoulder. Disturb your friends. Call them at weird hours. Text them when you feel you are at your wits end. Your friendships will benefit from this.
But a word of caution, you will be dissed. 90% of people may not even understand your journey. They will find it unnecessary. Some will shut you down by the saying, ” everyone has issues, some even had it rougher than you”. Don’t listen to them. Its your pain. Only you knows how it feels like to be anxious and sad without knowing the source if it. Trudge on.
And finally, the worse it is, the better the kind of person who will come out of it all. Every new scale of pain, is a prelude to the lighter and free you. This is not the whole healing. But it’s the beginning of the healing process. Own it. Live it.
Its not okay, its not going to be okay for a while, and you will not come out of it okay. You will come out being You. A You who is not scared, who is ready to live her own life the way she wants. A You who will love herself not any less. A You who will prioritize what she wants. And who will fight for herself. A You who will strive to befriend herself and that’s going to be the best gift you ever gave yourself.
Its not okay. It has never been okay. You are not okay. And never were you meant to be. And to ever be what you were meant to be, this phase is not only necessary but also important.