It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Instances when life blindsides you, when your very hopes and dreams get dashed against the rocks of reality.
Having recently gone through a crisis of sorts where I almost lost everything I’ve worked for in the last five years due to an seemingly insignificant (at least at the time) mistake, here are a few things that I’ve managed to glean from the whole experience.
1. Ignore the naysayers.
There are always going to be people who decide that your problem isn’t really a problem. That’s their prerogative, but you would also be completely justified in minimizing contact with them for the time being.
Likewise, some people will think that you had it coming. If anyone ever comments with the phrase “I told you so” – ignore it and while you’re at it, put them on the ignore list too. When you’re at the lowest point of your life, the last thing you need is more negativity.
If it’s constructive criticism, chin up and take it. Chances are it’ll help you avoid making the same mistake twice.
2. Avoid destructive coping methods.
What people don’t realize is that the panic and/or depression doesn’t come first. It’s numbness. You wonder if you’re just dreaming, if this is all just some nightmare that you’ll eventually wake up from.
Some people cope by binging on food. Alcohol. Gambling. Drugs. Netflix. We all have our vices.
Others start brainstorming ways they can either salvage the situation or start over. One of these is more productive than the other.
Do give yourself permission to take some time to adapt and accept unexpected new reality, but don’t delude yourself. There’s a difference between taking a few days to accept the new state of affairs versus hiding away under your blankets in denial for the next two months.
The important thing you need to realize at this time is that there’s no need to make your situation worse than it already is.
3. You might be aimless at first and that’s okay.
Take a deep breath.
Reach out to your friends and family. Go online. Try and find out if there is anyone who’s been in a similar situation and what they did to solve the problem. If they succeeded, see if you can apply that to your own scenario. If they failed, learn from their mistakes.
Get in touch with a professional or someone who can help if you need to.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people.
It’s during times like these that you learn who your true friends and family really are.
They are the ones who will lend you a shoulder to cry on, a couch to crash on. They will tell you that this does not change how they feel about you, that they still love you. Your pain is not just another piece of gossip for them. If anything, your situation has a large emotional impact on them too, despite them being mere bystanders.
And, if you’re fortunate to have these people in your life, hold them close and don’t let them go.
5. Remember, you’re stronger than you think.
Like all things, this too will pass. But it will pass a lot quicker if you don’t fall into the pit of despair.
Finally, I think we all know some people that lead a charmed life – everything seems to work out for them no matter what happens. And that might be true – but it’s probably just a front. Like Facebook. There’s probably a lot going on under the surface that you can’t see. Their problems may not seem like much to you, but as I alluded to earlier, it’s a very real thing for them.
But even if that person did exist, that wouldn’t matter. Because for the rest of us, life is an unpredictable ride, full of unexpected bumps and sharp turns. Early on in childhood, we’ve were taught that life isn’t fair and it’s isn’t. You just have to work with the cards you’re dealt.
(Photo by Emily Long)