We’ve been talking about the big fat cycle and leading up to the big dark daddy–despair. This is when we’ve enjoyed the magical thinking, built up the fantasy and fallen down and given up. Despair is when we say always and never. I always screw things up. I’ll never succeed. I’ll never be happy again. And the hardest part, is in this hour, of hurt and desperation, it’s hard to hear anything else that anybody tells you. Even when you know they care. Even when you want to hear them, it’s difficult to make out their words over the crushing pain in your heart.
Needless to say, it’s better if you don’t get to this place. This is a real big incentive to stay off the big fat cycle in the first place. But if you are there, you have to deal with it.
I’m tempted to offer some glib one-liner about 5 steps to conquering despair. But in my experience, it just doesn’t work like that. I will make a few gentle suggestions though.
First, breathe. Take a deep breath in, blow a deep breath out and repeat. When our hearts hurt we forget to breathe and that only makes our hearts hurt even more.
Next, gently try to move away from always and never. Never say never is an oxymoron, but the reasoning is sort of sound. Despair makes us take “mostly”, “often” or even “sometimes” and converts it to “always” and “never”. When you catch yourself thinking always and never thoughts, breathe (that’s step one, remember?) and try as gently as you can to entertain the notion that it may not really be always or never but somewhere in between.
Also, find nourishment. Remember in the first week of January, we talked all about nourishment. Get a bowl of soup. Take in a sunrise. Put on your fuzzy bunny slippers. Seek comfort.
You might also seek to find a way to take a teeny-tiny microstep towards your goals. Something small and achievable. Write a letter. Make a list. Buy a pencil to write a list with.
Finally, wait. Everything looks a little better after a good night’s sleep. And things rarely end up as bad as they seem at first. Sometimes you’ve just got to give life a chance to work itself out.
But if it doesn’t work itself out, you need to find help, from a trusted friend or better yet, a professional therapist or counselor.
If you hate me for all this platitudinous advice, I don’t blame you. I’ve been there. But, even if you do hate me, I wish you peace and joy, and a smooth path to find it.
The Fat Chick