A Guide for When the Really Tough Days Come Along.

January 20, 2016 7:03 pm

What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of some really tough days? Perhaps even feeling like you have no strength left?

Maybe you feel stuck? Fearful? Perhaps it feels like life has knocked you down one too many times?

My advice, from my own personal experience of this horribly unsettling place, is that one of the best things you can do, is wait it out and remind yourself….that this too shall pass.

I know that sounds like ridiculously simple, almost silly advice. But as someone who has been in this place, more times that I wish to remember, waiting it out, with a huge amount of self compassion thrown in there, is sometimes the best thing we can do.

This could apply to any life situation in which you feel overwhelmed or physically and emotionally drained. When you reach that place where it seems as if there is absolutely no strength left inside you.

It especially applies when we are in the midst of a setback with long term illness.

 


 

As someone who has lived with autoimmune disease for a big chunk of the last sixteen years, I am more than familiar with this feeling. It has so often been the case, that just when I have got back on my feet, beginning to rebuild my confidence in my self, my body and my life again, something else comes along and sends me crashing back down to a place where it seems as if every bit of progress I have made has evaporated into thin air.

There is no choice but to start from (what feels like) square one all over again.

But before starting from square one again, there is often a period of time where no starting from anywhere or doing anything can occur, because your body and mind have just come to an absolute halt. Especially when having just hit rock bottom again, with a huge bump, you feel completely disorientated.

When you are physically and emotionally beyond exhausted, and just having a shower brings you to tears each day, the future can seem overwhelming. It can feel as if you are being suffocated from every angle. When I have found myself in the midst of those physical crashes, despite the knowledge I’ve attained over the past number of years, it still hasn’t stopped me having moments where I’ve thought to myself, ‘how the hell am I going to get out of this one?’

It can be a scary feeling. Especially given that we are each responsible for our own lives. This can add an element of pressure.

The knowledge of being responsible for our own lives, can be empowering, but also bloody frightening. Knowing that it’s you who has to keep your mind as positive as possible, its you who has to make sure you continue to eat well, its you who has to decide when its time to try and take a small walk outside again, dragging your wobbly legs along because you know its essential to start somewhere in rebuilding your strength….it feels like a hell of a lot of pressure.

After a while, the really scary thoughts come in. ‘What if I’m stuck like this?’  That fear often stems from an amount of time passing with seemingly no improvement, the cruel thing being that time can often feel a lot longer than it actually is because you’ve been behind the same four walls in a strange sort of groundhog day for what seems like a life time.  Accompanying it all is a feeling of there being no strength at all left. Your physical body has nothing left to give. The exhaustion crushing. The part of you that usually drives you forward and keeps hopeful just wants to hibernate from the world. These feelings can be awful, even more so when you are usually an upbeat, positive person.

Your true essence and faith can sometimes feel like the only things that keep you hopeful that things will improve…but sometimes, it feels as if even those parts of yourself are no where to be found.

My advice to anyone in the midst of dark days is….

…. to wait

…. be gentle with yourself

…. let time pass.

Especially remind yourself that life is fluid. Feelings come and go. This is always the case. Sometimes, the only thing you can do, is ride out the place you are in.

This advice may make you feel like you will then become stuck as a result? Because by waiting you aren’t ‘doing’ anything?

Well, it’s true of course, that if you never do anything to improve your situation ever again, and just lay in bed eating pizza all day for years to come, things most likely wont change. But trust me, if you are usually a determined, motivated person, this inner strength will quietly come back, in its own time. Sometimes, when we are knocked down, emotionally, physically…however…we just need some time out.

To just be.

To allow ourselves this time. And whist we wait, we can nurture ourselves from that place. Do small things if you can manage it, but no harsh forcing or pushing.

For example, during my latest relapse, each day, I’ve got myself washed and dressed in clean clothes, and put body lotion with essential oils on to make myself feel nice. I’ve come downstairs, and I have eaten healthy, nourishing food. And I have done one meditation a day. That has been my basic promise to myself. That I would do that each day. Just that. Anything else, has been a bonus. But the priority, has been to give my body the rest and recuperation it has desperately needed.

To simply let time pass.

To be.

Knowing that behind the clouds of fear and ‘what if i stay like this’ thoughts, that actually, life IS fluid. Emotions are fluid. The human body knows exactly what it is doing and has an innate ability to heal. It just sometimes needs a lot of patience and some time.

There is that famous quote isn’t there ‘This too, shall pass’.

And its true.

 

Eventually, that glimmer of inner strength will return. Sometimes when we least expect it. And when it does? You’ll be surprised at how you can dust yourself off, and carry on looking to the future with hope and faith, just as you always have.

 

Mug and Blanket

With Love,

Emma (who has just been re-aquainted with her inner strength again) xx

9 Comments

  • Louise says:

    All the above. It’s a tough call.
    Being also positive, I get quite scared of allowing things to be. (This has not always worked out well) but that was without at the same time knowing that all is indeed fluid and in that worn out exhausted state of mind I would do well to accept, listen and yes wait and wait some more.

    Take Good Care Emma.x

  • Emma ~ Consciously Healthy says:

    Exactly Louise – sometimes, such as in cases of clinical depression, just sitting and waiting isn’t a good thing to do.

    I hope people also notice, that throughout times when I have experienced this, I continue to do what I can each day in terms of the basics. I suggest this for anyone – to keep at least a little structure.

    But mainly I am writing about that feeling that can come when you are in the midst of a setback/relapse and feel emotionally and physically spent. Where you feel overwhelmed by the concept of picking yourself back up again. When instinctively, you know you just need time to simply be.

    That as time passes, and I only speak from my own experience of course, eventually the motivation to move forward and dust yourself off once again does return.

    Much love x

  • Lorraine says:

    The motivation, and that little change in the big baseline drop that brings back some hope.

    It’s harder when alone, I have no choice but to keep the basics flowing, with a family, whilst at the same time accepting that more help is needed for me to do what I need to do at that time.

    Then its all about remembering to be really kind to yourself, and not expect to jump back in where you were, with acceptance.

    Love and thoughts.
    Lorraine.

  • Henrik says:

    Glad to hear you found that inner strength again. 🙂

    It can be such a rough place, the one you described, finding that new rock bottom you didn’t know existed and perhaps doing so while completely out of physical energy and mental strength.

    When I end up in that place I find that what works best for me is to allow myself to “give up” for a while. Not give up completely of course but to let go of all the pressure of “doing everything i can” to improve, just letting everything go – for now. Unstrap from the pilots seat and let the body do some auto piloting for a while, get that needed rest and nothing else really.

    After a little while there is this place where, oddly enough, I find more strength and determination than ever before! Things seem so clear, realizations of what didn’t work out last time and what I need to do instead the next time around. Even though we were just at our weakest, we are now at our strongest – we can make a change and we will!

    Each time, we learn something new, uncover another part of the maze. See you all outside the maze when we get there. 🙂

    • Emma ~Consciously Healthy says:

      This is exactly what I mean Henrik…kind of a complete surrendering and letting go of all pressure on yourself. Not to give up on recovery of course, but just to kind of have some time just being and stop trying so hard, and as you said….after a while, the strength and determination just comes flooding back of its own accord.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s lovely ‘meeting’ people who get it!

      Emma

  • Teresa says:

    Emma, you write and express yourself so beautifully. This was such a great post. I’m so happy that you have found your inner strength again. You really are incredible!

    I’ve come through the dip of new years and some difficult anniversaries. I’m feeling renewed faith, hope and acceptance and just this great sense of appreciation for whatever is to come.

    Life is beautiful!

    🙂

    • Emma ~ Consciously Healthy says:

      Ahh lovely Teresa. Glad you enjoyed. I’m so glad you feel a sense of renewed faith, hope and acceptance…lets hope this year brings wonderful things for us both (we are on parallel paths after all!)

      Emma x

  • Sarah Charton says:

    Hi Emma

    Just found this & it is so beautifully written. As always, I believe we find what we need in the moment…& this is certainly what I need today.

    At the moment I can’t see a way through all this but I suppose i just need to trust that ‘this too will pass’.

    Thanks for writing

    Love Sarah xx

    • Emma says:

      Bless you Sarah.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you found the post when you needed it. I have had so many moments such as you describe, where it honestly feels like there is no way through. But eventually, with time, things always have a way of working themselves out. I like to think of that buddhist analogy of muddy waters, that eventually, they become still and eventually clear.

      Better days will come.

      You hang in there…much love xxx

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