Ever feel that you were a hot mess? I guess that’s the new way of saying, “I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.”
All around you Murphy’s law is in full force, and you are honestly having a hard time believing that so much could go wrong so quickly. This year could only be better, right? But you’re still having a hard time, and depression has taken root in your psyche so life is harder to navigate.
It hasn’t been a total disaster. There have been some victories: maybe a new job or a new place to live that are nicer than where you were. Perhaps you were able to extricate yourself without too much fallout from an entanglement that was quite toxic.
Perhaps you had several crises that were unexpected. Health issues and sometimes problems with the kids or relatives can throw a wrench into the works and make life difficult, adding to your depressive state and making it all so much harder.
Other times it can seem like everything around you is breaking: The roof may be leaking, or there are problems with the kitchen sink. On a more serious note, problems at work could be causing financial worries.
If you are in the Sandwich Generation, it can be very tough taking care of both kids and aging parents. But it is important to take care of those you love and who cared for you when you needed them. You should feel good about yourself for doing it, but your depression will only let you keep going and won’t allow you to feel good about yourself because your brain chemicals are sending the wrong signals.
It can get a little scary to venture into the world or to even open up your email, but you must know that all is not lost.
You have gotten through a couple of other dark times. They happen to most of us, sometimes for a couple of weeks, sometimes for a couple of years, but you have to learn to make the best of it and seek help where you can. Trying to do everything yourself when you are not at full capacity can be very tough.
Truthfully, no matter how bad your life seems, there are other people who have it worse. Remembering this can give you perspective.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed, just take a look at those around you, and see if you can find some balance. You may find that your problems are not so big after. In fact, by comparison you may find that yours are not “real” problems, but challenges and/or inconveniences that are just making it more difficult to navigate your life at the moment.
Now I know that comparing yourself to others can be a trap, one in which you usually end up feeling sorry for yourself. But in this case, it may make you see that your complaints of the moment, though valid, do not compare with what others are going through. If there is anyone you know with a terminal illness, just think about that person and it will help you find your own balance.
What this gives you is greater understanding of exactly where you are and can inspire you to pull yourself up and reclaim the life that you deserve.
When bad things happen to you, be thankful that you will have another day to fix what’s gone wrong. As long as there is air in your lungs, you can make it better. Seldom perfect, but usually better.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning therapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of seven books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 27 million readers. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Sundays and Wednesdays in the News-Press.