I most certainly have been in an unexpected and seemingly out of the blue, funk. I haven’t been feeling particularly creative, or inspired. I find myself perpetually questioning everything I do, which makes it impossible to connect with my instincts, which in turn takes all the joyous “release” out of “creating” in general. I’ve been feeling the pitiful pangs of rejection (I’m forever told: “you must be so used to rejection, you’re a performer”…let me inform you it is an entirely different/far more painful experience to be rejected by a PERSON then a JOB. That’s neither here nor there.) and it’s chipped away at my self-confidence. In short, I’m feeling extra vulnerable this week and in-sync with my out-of-sync comrades.
I find that when you feel down, low, heartbroken, confused, disappointed in yourself, insecure, overweight, unattractive, overcome with anxiety… it can seem as if you will feel this way forever. It can be hard to imagine ever feeling good, whole, and healthy again. But please remember that everything is temporary. Especially feelings. A wise woman once told me that sometimes you have to crawl through the mud to get to the other side. I remind myself of this every time the walls seem to be crumbling (or closing in) around me. It’s hard to confront the demons from the past, heal after a bad-relationship, and attain real confidence that goes deeper then your mirror’s reflection, the compliments you receive or the numbers on a scale. While the process of ending the war you wage against yourself can leave you feeling completely out of sorts, it’s much worse to run from it. The monsters, the toxic relationship, the depression, the eating disorder, and the substance abuse issues do not disappear by merely “avoiding” their existence. In fact, these problems only escalate by abandoning them. It’s like leaving an infection untreated, diabetes unmanaged, or disease ignored.
I experienced over a decade of swallowing secrets, anxieties and fears. Keeping quiet and swallowing my shame didn’t work in the way I oh-so thought it would. Instead of digesting them as I hoped, all of my unresolved issues manifested themselves in the form of severe, debilitating panic attacks, codependent relationships and high-risk, destructive behavior. Even the comforting numbness of prescription medication couldn’t calm the hurt within myself for very long. Band-Aids are not designed to last forever. It wasn’t until my entire life blew up, that I finally broke down and decided it was time to face my past, my truth, myself. While I’m still in the process of working through it (and it’s a difficult process), I’m so grateful that my world turned upside down. It forced me to look in the mirror and examine who I really am, and what kind of life I truly want. It challenged me to look deeper into my fears, and figure out why they exist to begin with? Once I began to develop a more honest understanding of myself, all my inner demons began to slowly lose their power. I started feel more in control; like I was taking all the tiny shards of broken glass and piecing my life back together, the way in which I truly wanted it to take form.
When life breaks you down, it can sometimes serve as the best thing that will ever happen to you. Remember that. Sometimes it takes losing something (ourselves, our love, our jobs) to make us step back and reassess our lives. It’s serves as the (precious) catalyst of change, stopping you from sleepwalking through your life. It’s the ever-necessary wake-up call that in the end will provide you with a more free, truthful life.
7 STEPS THAT HELP ME THROUGH A BREAKDOWN
(and might help you!):
1. Write it out. Writing is such an incredible release, and you will feel physically lighter after pouring your heart out on paper (we all know how heavy sadness feels). Write honestly, and uncensored. If you fear someone finding it, you can always burn it afterward (which is cathartic in it’s own right).
2. Cut back on booze, cut out the drugs. When we’re at our lowest points, I empathize with the desire to want to numb the pain with cocktails or a drug of choice. The problem with this is all drugs have a rebound effect. As good as it may feel in the moment, you will feel one hundred times worse after a bender. When you’re feeling unstable it’s actually the most unfavorable time to be indulging in any kind of substance that can alter your already fragile chemistry (you need all the serotonin you can get, girl). Remember, alcohol is a serious depressant, and you’re already finding yourself depressed. It’s damn hard enough to be depressed, but a hangover on top of depression is a recipe for a serious, gut-wrenching, soul-crushing meltdown (maybe it’s also time to question if drugs/alcohol are playing a role in your current demise?)!
3. Sage out the toxicity in your life. Take a long/hard/cold/sober stare at the people you call “friends.” Distance yourself far away from those who don’t encourage you, put you down, use you, lie, manipulate, hurt others, or take without giving back. Be careful of friends who are overly caught up in the party scene, if you’re trying to cutback. Even if they’re wonderful people (which I’m sure they are, but hard partying triggers drama, hellish hangovers, and deep trouble that you don’t need in to add into your already complicated life right now). Also please note: misery loves company. I learned this the hard way. People with bad habits always want a partner in crime and will often prey on the vulnerable.
4. Take a break from social media. Social Media is a sure fire way to make you feel horrible about your life. However it’s vital to remember; people use social media as a tool to present the life they wish they had, not exactly the life they’re leading. Some of the most active social-media strumpets; the ones who are constantly posting about how happy/in-love/successful they are, are in fact the most broken. Most likely the perpetually “blessed” people online, in real life are the ones ultra loaded on a cocktail of anti-depressants, 5lbs on the scale shy from a nervous breakdown. The great falsity of the Facebook status update, mixed in with all the devastating/graphic articles and images posted all over your newsfeed regarding animal-abuse/child-abuse can make for a real mind-f*ck. Take a breather and read a book. If you don't read watch a documentary, paint your nails, doodle, organize your closet, journal, watch a bad reality show, watch a John Hughes movie, read a magazine, have a real conversation, watch stand-up, pluck your eyebrows, shine your shoes(just don’t go brow-rexic on me) --the options are endless!
5. Start to forgive yourself for the things you did in the past. All human beings have done terrible things they regret, made horrendous mistakes, hurt people who don’t deserve it, have wanted to crawl into a black hole from endless embarrassments, and screwed up a golden opportunity. It’s okay. Take what you learned from your failure, and move forward. This constant beating up/self-punishment you’re doing to yourself is downright mean and counter-productive! You can’t heal when the voices in your head are constantly screaming at you/criticizing you over something you can’t change.
6. See a therapist you trust and connect with. You can’t be expected to get through this alone, don't try to be a bloody hero. A proper therapist will give you that coveted outside perspective, support and will help you to figure out your patterns (thus, helping you break this seemingly endless cycle). I understand therapy can feel like it’s only a luxury for the rich, however there are tons of therapists who take insurance or will work on a sliding scale. Remember: it’s an investment in yourself (it also often cost less then one drunken night out!), which is the most precious investment one can make.
7. Start talking truthfully to your friends/family. One of the most harrowing parts in existing when stuck in sadness is the feeling of having to “fake it” all the time. I encourage you to speak honestly to those close to you and let them in on what you’re going through. You will be surprised how many of your friends will relate to you, offer their support you, and how much deeper your relationships will become.
Mental Health Gov.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Sexual Assault Hotline