In today’s society, the power of positivity is all the rage. Social media is filled with people who appear to have it all. I am here to tell you underneath those smiles there is sometimes pain.
What people rarely talk about are the bad days. Unfortunately we all have them, some of us more than others. And guess what? You are entitled to have bad days! These bad days teach us resilience and coping mechanisms.
Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had an appointment with a gynaecologist/oncologist to discuss the removal of my ovaries because my sister has ovarian cancer. I didn’t realize how this discussion was going to affect me until it was too late. I was vulnerable and crying to a doctor I had just met. These tears were on behalf of my sister, my ovaries, and my sex drive! I know the last two may seem silly to some, but I felt it. I was worried and scared about how I will change as a person when I am forced into early menopause at the age of 34. Obviously, I know living is better than suffering with such a terrible disease, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I had feelings. Yesterday sucked!
Some days may suck more than others. The bounce back time is usually proportional to the amount of suck. For example, if someone annoys you in the coffee room at work first thing in the morning, but the rest of your day could still be filled with rainbows and fairies. Maybe you needed a little time out at your desk to drink your coffee in silence, but you can still salvage the rest of your day.
I am here to tell you, when life gives you a doozy of a day when you feel nothing nice inside of you, FEEL it! Take that day and cry, feel, sleep, have a bubble bath, or have a glass of wine. Take that mental health day from work. Your soul is telling you what it needs, so do it!
Here is where it gets tricky. Decide how long you are going to allow your pity party to go on, and set yourself a mental timer. For the majority of bad days, an evening of reflection, yoga, or whatever it is you do when you are sad is usually plenty of time to pull yourself back together and stare life in the face the next day screaming, “Is that all you got?” If a huge terrible life event happens you may need a little more time or outside help to overcome these things. When I had a miscarriage, a day or two couldn’t fix me. I went to my doctor and asked for two weeks off of work to deal with my emotions and grieve the loss of my unborn baby. I told myself “Jamie you have 2 weeks so you better feel all of the feels.” And I did just that. I cried a lot, slept, talked to my friends and family when I was ready to, and guess what? In two weeks, I was okay. I will never forget my unborn baby, but loosing that baby made me more grateful for the two babies I already had. I later went on to have two more beautiful children.
So here’s my advice:
- Do not avoid your emotions! Dive into them head first! I’m not going to lie, it’s not going to be pretty.
- Do the things your soul tells you it needs. Rest, alone time, meditation, a great workout, comfort food, a chat with your best friend, a good cry, a big ass glass of wine, etc.
- Set a timeline for your pity party that is appropriate for how shitty your day was. 5 minutes, 2 hours, an evening, a full day off work, etc.
- Bounce back. Time’s up, now you have to come up with your action plan. “What am I going to do about this problem?” Make decisions and move on.
- Ask for outside help if you fail at the bounce back. Talk to your family, friends, doctor, or a mental health help line if things get too heavy.
- Repeat on all shitty days.