The Up’s and Down’s of Life (We’ve All Been There)

ups & downs

We’ve all been there.
 It’s that day, that moment, when everything suddenly feels overwhelming.
 It’s like that inbox you’ve been neglecting. The notifications are piling up for weeks, months. So many that it’s almost too much to handle. You don’t even want to handle. You literally can’t even handle.
 It’s the inbox of real life, and the messages have been piling up for some time: the to do list has gotten way too long; the little inadequacies you see in yourself keep interrupting; the friends you want to be there for you don’t seem to be around. Every slight, every hesitation, every agitation piling up until one day, one moment, it boils over.
We’ve all been there.
 I’ve been there, quite recently.
Clichédly speaking, life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes the ups are higher than you can ever imagine, sometimes the downs really fucking suck.
 Knowing this will happen to you once in a while — knowing we’ve all been there — that doesn’t make it any easier, especially when you’re in the thick of it.
 When you’re feeling overwhelmed, pissed off, shitty, I say just feel it. Wallow in it. Don’t put on a fake smile. Don’t push yourself to pretend everything is fine. Just cry, scream, be angry.
 This is all days, if not weeks, of pent-up negative energy you’ve been putting off, ignoring, pushing to the side. When you allow yourself to feel it, when you’re present in your emotions, that’s when you can begin to process it.
 Write down how you feel. Verbal diarrhea all over the keyboard. Say it all. Say the things you’ve been meaning to say to yourself for years. Say the things you’d never ever tell another soul in your life. Get it out there, for yourself. Reread it. Marinate in it.
 Talk to the people you love, because we’ve all been there. Send an text, make a call, go out to dinner. Maybe you think they won’t understand. Maybe they actually won’t understand. Who cares? If they love you they will care.
 That doesn’t mean they’ll react the way you want them to or have the advice you’re looking for. In fact, they might only have horribly naive advice to give. But at least they’re sitting there across from you, listening, wishing you the best. Having someone to talk to, even if they have nothing to say back, it’s cathartic.
 The truth is, once you allow yourself to wallow, marinate, process, and express your emotions, you feel… relief.
 Not that the problems themselves have gone away. Nope, they’re all still there. But what you get from directly facing them is perspective. The fog clears, just a bit, and you begin to see a path forward. You see the potential. You get the energy to do something about it.
We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again.

I can’t tell you whether it will be easier or harder the next time around. But we can learn from this bout in the ring. We can learn to tackle our problems head on instead of letting them fester. We can learn how to be better people in the process.

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