I’ve mentioned previously that, ever since we found out about our little Gnocchi, things have become difficult. To make it absolutely clear, things haven’t been difficult because of her, but rather, we had a run of unfortunate coincidences that seemed to come at the worst time possible – a time when stability, security and the ability to relax as much as possible would have been really important. I’m not going to go into massive detail because a) no one cares and b) what exactly is making life hard is completely irrelevant to the message of this post, but I was expecting the past few months to go a certain way, and they have turned out to be the complete opposite of what I was anticipating.
The thing about the ominous tough times that everyone experiences every so often in their lives is that they seem to be never-ending. Sure, we run into problems and complications on a daily basis, we deal with them, we move on. But sometimes, the whole world seems to get into a funk and things keep piling up until you feel like you have so many things wrong with your life that you’re completely overwhelmed and feel like there is absolutely no way out of your situation, you’ll end up homeless, your child will starve, you’ll be completely unemployable and never find a job again, your partner will leave you for a skinny blonde woman with lots of cash and a Jaguar and you’ll die alone, forgotten and friendless.
Obviously, that list of worries got a little ridiculous towards the end there, but these are all thoughts that have, at one point, gone through my head. As someone who is rather prone to catastrophising anyway, I got sucked deeper and deeper into the cycle of desperation and self-doubt until it became near impossible to get back out.
Now that I’ve had a few weeks to reflect on our situation, I know that things really aren’t that bad. Yes, they could be better, and no, we’re still far from completely sorting everything out and being free of worry, but then, when is anything ever ‘completely sorted’? Jake and I are both doing whatever needs to be done to make sure everything is as secure as possible before the baby’s arrival and, if I’m honest, we’ve been doing pretty damn well. Things are moving forward, albeit at a glacial pace, and I have to admit that they always were, even if I couldn’t see it at all in my spiral of panic. I’m confident that things will be looking a lot better for us very soon.
So, if you’re finding yourself in a situation where absolutely everything seems to be going wrong, here’s what I suggest:
1. Take a Step Back
Treat yourself to a hot chocolate (feel free to make it as indulgent as mine in the picture at the top of this post if things feel really bad) and breathe. Relax. 90% of the time, things aren’t as bad as you think they are. Look at your position from a calm perspective and assess your options. Then proceed according to what you believe is right for you.
2. Accept Help
I really struggle with this. I like being independent and possibly have a little too much pride, so I’m always the first to say “thanks, but really, we’re fine”. Even though chances are that you are actually fine and could manage on your own, accepting someone’s offer to help you in whatever way can make you feel so much more supported, secure and at ease. Just don’t forget to say thanks and return the favour if there is ever a need!
3. Focus on Solutions Rather than Problems
As I mentioned before, I am the worst for this. I catastrophise every tiny situation and am constantly on edge, waiting for the absolute worst to happen and my life to be completely turned on its head. But guess what: it never happens. No matter how many problems you’re facing, how challenging they seem and how endless the cycle of bad luck seems to be, focussing on solving issues rather than wallowing in how hard your life is makes a huge difference. I realised this way too late and put myself, Jake and the baby through a lot of stress that we could have avoided if I had just kept a cooler head and attacked problems head-on rather than spending weeks panicking.
Now. If I can manage to take my own advice the next time something like this happens (which, inevitably, it will. It’s just how life works), we’d all be so much better off.
Have you ever gone through a really shitty phase in your life? What did you do to cope?