So this week hasn't been a good one. And by a "not good one", I mean a completely disastrous one, where too many things have happened at the same time, and I reached a breaking point where I couldn't breathe, where I couldn't go on, where something had to change immediately. Among those things:
- An ugly, very possibly irreparable fight with that one person I love more than anything, on Valentine's Day to add insult to injury. I'll explore some other time why my love life has never been a long and tranquil river, maybe first I need to explore it with my therapist, and knowing myself I have a feeling that I won't be done exploring even when I'm 90 years old. Ah well.
- Family drama. I should be used to it now, but it's still not very agreeable. Indifference, lack of sympathy, lack of caring... And having to hear things like, "you're worthless", or being pressured to let very bad people back into my life, when I've done everything to free myself from them and get closure, because "it's all misunderstanding, [Narcissist] only wants you to be happy".
- A tense atmosphere in my housing situation (teenage misfit on the loose) and the fact that I am still unable to find a decent apartment. I have moved since then, and it is very much better, but I still need to be alone, to find a place, no matter how small, that is entirely mine, if only to keep my sanity.
- Add to this that due to the first point of this list, I'm not sure I want to stay in DC for the long term; happy memories tend to transform into panic triggers. Look at Montréal. Recently someone had brought me maple tea from Second Cup, my favourite back in 2013, and the smell was too much, it brought back too much.
- All this cold and snow that I would usually love, but now just make me feel gloomy, and bring back some memories that are not too good.
- Consequently, driving, which is something I'm very courageous about, is becoming a hazard and a stress source since, as it turns out, my little red PT Cruiser isn't very good in the snow. Try to imagine the gut-wrenching feeling when you're on a narrow road, at night, and it is snowing, and you hit the brakes only to feel them squid under your foot, to feel the wheel spin out of control between your fingers, and to think that you're just about to crash into a tree and die. I didn't, obviously, but driving in the last few days has been harrowing.
- Professional woes that I cannot elaborate here for obvious reasons.
- This nasty little voice in my head saying that my life is doomed, cursed, going nowhere, that I've failed, and I will always fail, whether it is professionally or in love. That I will end up, at 50, just like the person I've sworn I'll never, ever be like, dependent, ugly, bitter, resentful.
So what does one do? Yes, because I'm not going to make this enumeration of miseries without bringing a happier tone to this article, come on!
- Realise a lot of other people are struggling, and a lot have struggled and made it out just fine.
- Give yourself a break. Your mind is telling you to, and your body is telling you to. Yes, there's a hecatomb of hair on my brush, and almost everywhere around me, it looks horribly thin in the mirror, and I have eaten so many Riesen chocolates that my acne is flaring up again, and the cold weather doesn't help. Let's be serious though, I am more likely to compromise; I'll keep the chocolate but avoid candy and swap wine for herbal tea.
- Breathe. I know it sounds cliché, and I'm the last person who should confidently give out meditation advice, but if this one has worked for me, I'll give it shamelessly. Just breathe deeply and focus on nothing but your breathing. This actually helps me fall asleep, when I'm lying in bed exhausted but unable to find rest.
- Do the things that make you happy. For me, it involves cuddling in bed, listening to opera, watching Scandal and re-reading Harry Potter. There's nothing like Harry Potter to transport you away.
- Rely on your support system. My family is so-so, and I envy a lot girls who have a mother or a sister to call whenever mayhem strikes, without the fear of judgment or information being used against them. But I have my friends, and they are the best ever. Last week, I went to visit two of them (and their cats) for the day, and while I was only an hour away from DC, I was able to disconnect from my troubles and absorb some of their happy, positive energy.
- Think practically, try to distance yourself from your troubles. Knowing that the technical ones are the ones that can be easily solved, focus on them, so once you are done, you can deal with the emotional troubles.*
- "Relativiser". Remember all the times you've gone through worse, faced more serious trouble, and how they got better. If remembering isn't easy enough, then read your diary, look at your social media. Know that if you're around here, it's because you survived unimaginable s*** and that this is only another wave you'll have to ride on or surf on or whatever the terminology is, I speak French and have never surfed in my life, lâchez-moi enfin!
- Visualise yourself successful, where you want to be. Think about it, make lists, write it down diary-style if you want with a date (six months, one year), but make sure to password-protect the file, it's for your eyes only. I like to visualise, for example, the moment where I'll be signing a contract with an agent or a book publisher, and the subsequent celebration with my closest friends (remember to chill the Veuve Clicquot!). Taking a trip to Southern Italy to reward myself for my hard work that has at last given its fruits. My novel's launch party. I see it, It is happening, it is real. And I made it happen with my pure talent. And I am also surrounded by cats, but that's obvious.**
- Lastly, don't expect that if you apply those tips, they'll work around the clock and that you'll be perky and cheery in no time. You're human, and that's a fact. There will be those "f*ck everything" moments where you're angry, or hopelessly depressed and in the mood for posting depressing Facebook statuses. But it's normal, and all of this will come to pass.
*If what you are going through is too overwhelming, please get help. Call a friend, your therapist,
or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.
**I wouldn't recommend that when it comes to a person you have romantic feelings for, as it is rather unhealthy to imagine things that are not real, and that may not be real. You don't want to turn into Gollum. There's something else I sometimes do, that involves intense visualisation, and that is, to simplify it, some sort of a telepathic transfer of good energies and love to another person, but it can be too complicated to explain as it is more about intuition than words and instruction, and it is too personalized in any case.