I’ve been on a path to positivity for years now that it’s actually difficult for me to remain sad. I’ve become good at re-framing the situation to more of a glass-half-full perspective. I’ve been proficient at not sweating the small stuff.
Then my world shifted and I’ve been forced to face sadness head-on. In fact, I’ve been forced to welcome it with open arms and learn to be ok lingering in that state of negativity.
It started with the miscarriage. After which was a series of other events that just felt like the universe was kicking me when I was down. The miscarriage didn’t crush me. What I wrote in my post about it was absolutely true. It was devastating but not crippling. I had my beliefs to rely on and get me through. I came out of it remaining generally positive.
The miscarriage wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me. The worst was what happened next. I won’t go into details but there were a few events and situations over the few weeks following the miscarriage that broke me. I really got the impression that the miscarriage was supposed to break me and because it didn’t the universe started kicking me when I was down to a point where I couldn’t get back up.
I broke. I crumbled in pieces. My core beliefs shattered. I felt like I had no foundation to build myself back up. I’ve never felt so lost. I’ve never felt so completely unsure of myself. All of the trust I had built in myself and my intuition was gone. All of my reference points for decision making were no longer there. I had no idea what to do.
My entire world was in pieces.
I know this sounds overly dramatic but this is how I felt.
A few years ago, as I began learning how to shift my thinking to be more positive and happy there was a specific moment where it seemed like my world tilted. Everything changed in a big way but I describe it as a tilt or shift because all of the sudden I could look at every situation from a different angle.
The “shift” that occurred recently did not feel like a shift but rather a shattering of my foundation. A destruction of the most important parts of me that formed the foundation of every decision I make and how I approach every situation, including parenting Hailey.
I tried writing about it as I was going through it but it was far to dark and depressing to share. I wasn’t myself. I had no control over my emotions. I had very high highs and very low lows. I had violent thoughts that shocked me. I experienced anger and rage in a way I have never ever ever felt in my life. I felt out of control. I felt hopeless.
I felt embarrassed and afraid to talk to anyone about it other than my husband. I started refusing any social invitations, not feeling capable of putting on a show and not wanting to bring other people down to my depressing state.
I had absolutely no idea what to do.
I went through the motions each day. I never knew how I’d react to any situation. I never knew what would make me happy or cause me to sob or make me angry. I was on a mammoth roller coaster with lots of peaks and valleys.
I’m writing this almost 2 months after this breaking point so I can now see some light at the end of the tunnel. That foundation is being re-built. But it’s a slow and uncomfortable process.
I went to a couple of workshops on developing intuition and spiritual beliefs. These were particularly challenging because I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis. But I left feeling better than when I went so I attended a second workshop. I started meditating again, something I have loved doing for years but had been afraid to do since I fell apart.
I slowly started pulling myself out of my dark hole. I started feeling better. Not completely like myself but a vast improvement. I felt hope.
Then I snapped again.
I had another breakdown a couple of weeks ago that left me crying for the better part of 2 days. Unfortunately it was at work and ended with my boss encouraging me to take off whatever time I needed. Awesome. It was embarrassing.
I’m normally very put-together at work and am good at keeping many balls in the air. But things were falling apart. As I was standing in front of him crying, my boss commented that this wasn’t like me. I said that was the problem. I didn’t feel like me and I didn’t know what was going on.
The lack of control scared me.
The negative emotions were foreign to me. I had always been able to bounce back quickly when I got down.
I began forcing myself to make plans with friends. I started listening to the CD’s that had originally changed my mindset a few years ago. I attended a seminar to help me shift my thinking. I started telling friends and family I was struggling, something I had been too afraid to do up until this point, worried that I had somehow failed. After all, I am usually the one everyone turns to when they need uplifting. Now I couldn’t even apply what I have been preaching to everyone else for so long. Failure. Embarrassment. Shame. Failure.
I decided to take my boss up on his offer and booked a trip to Mexico leaving 2 weeks later. This was both the easiest decision and the hardest to execute. I knew there was a good chance that a vacation and change of scenery would help. The hardest part was telling my parents how much I was struggling and asking to crash their vacation. It was incredibly difficult to admit that I couldn’t do this alone and I needed help.
I’ve had several energy treatments with several different practitioners. Every little bit helps.
One thing I’m learning (which I absolutely hate) is that it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to spend some time in that negative state. It’s as much a part of me as all of the positivity and happiness. It’s the ying and yang that balances me out.
I had an ah-ha moment last week where it became clear that I am meant to learn something from the sadness and anger and darkness. And in the same way you may keep dating the same losers until you finally learn from them what you need to move onto your perfect mate I need to learn from the darkness. If I don’t, I will keep being forced into new situations that make me experience the same sadness and anger until I crack the code and extract the gems required to grow into whatever new and improved version of myself I’m going to become.
One of the other things I know and that I’ve learned through past misery is that some of my most devastating and difficult experiences are exact memories I use to relate to others and help them through their difficulties. I’m always thankful to have experiences in those particular moments. I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll be able to reference this very moment in order to help someone else.
It’s just hard right now.
I’m on the upswing right now which is why I’m able to write about this. Hopefully I haven’t depressed you too much. If you know me don’t worry. I know I will be ok. Help me along my journey and be ok if I need to be miserable. I need to go through this process for reasons unknown to me at this time but I trust I will know eventually.
I’m writing about this in case you are going through similar struggles or know someone who is. My hope is that although I don’t have a lot of the answers I can see some light shining through the darkness and my hope is to share more of my learnings along the road ahead.
4 weeks later….
The trip to Mexico with Hailey and my parents ended up being exactly what I needed. My parents were so great with Hailey that I ended up having a lot of time to myself.
The first few days I remained in my funk, crying more than I had anticiapted. I remember feeling discouraged. This trip would be a total waste if I went home in the same mood I left. I needed to change what I was doing. The change in environment alone was not enough.
I brought a lot of books with me, not really sure what I’d be in the mood for. I brought fiction and non-fiction, and books to help me change my thinking. I literally had to no idea what I could handle when I was packing. I threw in a children’s book at the last minute in case I needed a super-simple read.
I started with this book. The book was “Sara” by Ester and Jerry Hicks, part of the Teachings of Abraham. I had bought the book a while ago with the intent of one day reading it to Hailey. This booked proved to be the perfect choice for me because it had Abraham lessons (which I love) but explained in an extremely simplistic manner.
As I was reading, one technique jumped out and grabbed me. The fastest way to joy is appreciation.
I had been journaling a lot and writing about my feelings. This is often a therapeutic exercise to help clarify why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. However, it was also keeping me focused on my negative feelings. It wasn’t resolving anything.
I did an about-face and shifted my journaling to one of gratitude and thanks. Every day (and sometimes twice per day) I would write circumstances, situations, people, and events for which I was thankful and grateful.
I am thankful it’s sunny today. I am thankful Hailey loves to swim. I am thankful breakfast was tasty this morning….nothing earth shattering. I was simply learning to appreciate for the sake of appreciating.
My goal was to fill one page per day in my journal, equating to 28 items of thanks.
My mood started to lift within a day. By the time I got home (maybe 4 days later) I felt more positive and happy. I felt more like myself.
I told my husband I was feeling more hopeful and positive toward getting pregnant again, something I had thought I believed I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to handle only a few weeks earlier.
The week I got back, a friend told me he was expecting his first child. My reaction was immediate excitement. A few minutes later I noticed that I wasn’t saddened by this reminder that I wasn’t pregnant. A few weeks earlier I had received similar news from a different friend and had burst into tears. This was remarkable progress in a couple of weeks!
I’ve been doing my gratitude journal for about 3 weeks now and I credit that simple task for my improved emotional state and outlook on life.
I continue to give myself permission to feel sad. However, the bounce-back is much quicker. I find myself editing my thoughts, intentionally shifting them to feel slightly better. “I’m not emotionally stable enough to be pregnant right now” might shift to “I’m improving day by day”.
I’m learning so many lessons from this unpleasant journey. I even found myself writing that I was grateful for my miscarriage (what?). As crappy as my life has been lately, I keep catching glimpses of greatness as a direct result of this experience.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami