“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
― Viktor E. Frankl,
Yesterday. Yesterday just so happened to be one of those days, where peace finally set in after another storm. That’s a metaphorical storm and in my opinion, the worst kind. The state of rollercoaster sadness and heartaching despair is awful. I have these days, quite too many if you ask me, where life is barely sustainable. Times like these, where it becomes a task to just get through my daily grind and functioning to a reasonably normal standard in society is a challenge itself.
Hold fast to me here; I’m not going down some self-pity train of destruction, or taking an ego trip. Stay with me.
I think it’s quite common to strike periods where the grind gets tougher and shit hits the fan. It’s quite normal to have rough days (maybe not as many as my OCD laden self, but still.) You don’t get used to pain, but there are ways to cope, when the lightning strikes.
Let me just say, I do not consider myself even remotely graceful in suffering or painful situations of life, but I am still here and that means I survived life this far. I think of myself sort of like an elephant in a glasshouse, which to my astonishment and wonder aren’t breaking.
There are tools to get through times, despite things that actually include directly running in the opposite direction of the pain. I don’t try and run away from the painful states because (1.) It’s not durable, and (2.) even if it works shortly, it is just that: Temporary. Non-sustainable. (Like using alcohol or drugs to dull the pain.) I don’t run from fear, unless maybe at the exception of a lion, or something that will be of immediate danger to my existence.
The only thing I’ve found of long time sustainability is persistence and grinding it out. I know that ain’t the sexy answer, most would like to hear, but I have found that regardless of the situation, the suffering or pain never lasts forever. Though it may seem that way at times, everything comes to an end. Pain, happiness and even life itself at some point. (Another unsexy truth. I’m on a roll here.)
The second tool that I’ve found useful is continuing my daily routines, such as school, work and going to the gym to train, follow my mealplan etc. If this is possible, it is the best way to cope.
It isn’t good for me to give into suffering, I need to get out and get on with life. If I can pull off going to school, the gym and so on, there is a chance that I will survive yet another day, with my mind ‘sort of intact’. My life is most often better, after I have created meaning outside of myself and put in a decent amount of ‘Doing.’ It may still not be great or optimal, but most often it is better than I woke up crying and not wanting to get out of my apartment.
Too much time to think, will be potentially poisonous in the midst of a mental meltdown. Getting out (literally moving my ass, from point A. to point B.) and talking to other humans, is by far the best emergency plan I’ve come up with. The worst decisions are made without consulting others and letting my fears grow into monsters.
Yesterday. Yesterday was the first warm day, leading into summer. It was lovely and awesome. These thoughts are floating around inside of my being, not because I am sad in this instant. No, because I’ve just gone through yet another rough path. Everything seemed to be going to hell (but didn’t) once again, for no apparent reason. It is like losing a job or breaking a leg, like my whole world is collapsing, without evidence of reason. It sucks.
But now, it is better and lighter and lovelier outside, and I’m grateful for that. I am grateful to have this life, despite it’s challenges. It is a good life.
If you are looking for something to read, I can recommend ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. It puts suffering and pain in perspective and gives reason, or at least reflection to pain, loss and prosperity. It’s a book that I’m currently working though, since I’m going to Poland in the beginning of next month, with the sole purpose of visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps.
More on that later!
Thanks for reading,
Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
24th of March 2017.