This is how I feel right now: Nothing I’m doing matters and everything is terrible.
The past few weeks of my life have dispensed heaps upon heaps of trash garbage upon me, leaving me physically exhausted, mentally drained, emotionally ambivalent, and financially fucked. Whether it was gross oversight, an honest mistake, or genuinely someone else’s “fault,” the result is the same: nothing I’m doing matters and everything is terrible.
The good news: This is not entirely true. Everything I’m doing is making a difference, and not everything is that bad.
The bad news: Knowing this doesn’t stop me from feeling the opposite. Not immediately.
I have some methods of coping with this stress that I’d like to share. They align pretty well with my accessible self-care practices, but this is a desperate time that calls for some real talk.
Here’s what helps me:
Sit with the feeling
Let yourself feel bad. I am guilty of always trying to push aside my emotions because I truly hate crying. I used to cry maybe 3 times a day, but recently, I’ve reduced that to maybe 3 tears a month. I’m an angry crier – I will only allow the heart poison to surface if I’m overly frustrated. This is not good. Just cry about it. Be angry about it. Following the anger, recognize it’s just a feeling, and (much like the happiness that was destroyed by one email an hour ago) it’ll leave soon.
What I’ve been doing: Crying to my friend on the phone, crying while furiously typing text messages, now sitting on my couch being angry. I almost feel relieved.
Acknowledge what you are doing right and believe it
Let yourself enjoy your successes and feel good about your actions. If you did all you could, you did all you could. If you performed spectacularly but always feel undermined, well, you know you did the damn thing and you did it spectacularly. If you know you are right about something but are being questioned, stick to your guns but be open to the other side.
What I’ve been doing: Literally chanting to myself, “I am on the right path, I am doing so well.” I’ve been repeating this every time I slip into sorrow. It’s helped me survive the past two days in particular.
Acknowledge what you are doing wrong and accept it
Chances are, you have fucked up and are having a hard time reconciling it. Someone may have made you feel worse about your oversight or honest mistake. Acknowledge your wrongdoing. Acknowledge you are human and you have done something that wasn’t the best. Just as you will continue to do good things, you will also continue to do stupid things, no matter how genuinely you try to avoid it. You are human, and that is okay. Thank people for being patient with you. Thank yourself for acknowledging your mistake.
What I’ve been doing: Seeing my issues clearly but reminding myself that being mad about it and punishing myself with negative self-talk will not make the situation better. I’ve apologized, I have remedied, and I will now move on.
Become okay with the fact that the feeling may linger
I know that once I get into this particular negative headspace, it will take me a while to get out of it; it is not a fleeting feeling. This is a huge, active part of my disorder, but that does not mean that it makes me a Horrible Person. Feeling like nothing I do matters and everything is terrible is going to be the case for a few days (maybe even a week), but it will not last forever. I will be okay – but not right away.
What I’ve been doing: Finding ways to accept this while stopping the negative self-talk. I’m writing this blog post instead of crying over how I’m going to feel this way for what seems like (but isn’t) “forever.”
Say it out loud
Verbally communicate with yourself in the mirror, your best friend, your dog...literally talk it out. Verbalize the problems, the feelings. I firmly believe hearing it out loud helps reconciliation and understanding – and I didn’t always feel this way. Tons of people swear by mirror work, where you speak positive affirmations to your reflection in the mirror in order to facilitate self-care and healing. If you choose to speak to someone (a friend or family member, or even complete stranger), you are totally allowed to ask them to not give their opinion. You can *just* talk to someone. Consider saying something like, “I really need to tell someone what’s going on, but please know that I need you to just listen. I’m not sure I want advice just yet.”
What I’ve been doing: I grew up in a family where “talking to yourself” was normal. I speak to myself out loud quite frequently, but I’ve had to switch it up a bit. Right now, I’ve been telling myself “you have a fantastic brain and so many friends who will listen” every time I’m around the bathroom mirror. After doing this about 10 times, I actually said, “Thank you!”
Do something kind for yourself
Now that you’ve been actively trying to rectify the emotional damage caused by your negative self-talk, it’s time to treat yourself. Take a nap. Listen to Harry Styles’ debut album. Watch a terrible TV show. Shower. Be kind. Even if it’s five minutes of silent meditation or five minutes of silence period.
What I’m doing: Excitedly preparing to watch the first episode of Season 2B of Shadowhunters on Netflix which I am sure is going to be cringe-y. I am now exhausted from sitting with my feelings and acknowledging and accepting and talking. I need a fucking break; I need Old Spice Guy as a Werewolf.
You will feel like nothing you’re doing matters and everything is terrible. But you do not need to stay there and you definitely do not need to beat yourself up over it. Take your time, but don’t take it out on yourself.