Will you join us in hearing how we walk through our pit of despair without totally losing it because this may be helpful for each of us to remember the next time we get overcome with a wave of fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, misery or depression, whatever it is. This might make it a little easier.
I know for me it's helped me a lot to hear what others of us do going through these challenging times. First, it helps me to be detailed because when we communicate the details, then we can picture the situation more clearly.
Thank you for reading about day 187 of Happier People Podcast and I hope you enjoy it!
Walking Through Our Pit of Despair Without Totally Losing It!
Here are the details of my situation. I find sharing the exact details helps much more then generic references like "it was difficult" or "I was frustrated" because these can be hard to relate to. I went through through the pit of despair, the dark corridor last week for about 24 hours. Here's what happened as I originally recorded it 24 hours afterwards and then got it transcribed and edited here!
Last week I had been working on an event for Steem I was very excited about for about a week. We made the announcement post for it and there was a lot of initial excitement and good response.
24 hours after that, I wake up and see messages on my phone, missed calls, messages on Skype using words like "disappointed, frustrated," etc. I went online on the Steem post to find the words "frustration, disappointed, etc." were posted there frequently and I triggered off at that point.
I triggered into my own fear, anger, my own guilt and shame. I began the walk through the dark corridor of despair.
I tried to negotiate.
I tried to just make things better.
I tried to control the other person by basically getting them to stop.
I tried to be agreeable and edit my post and the name of my event, and none of that modified how I felt.
I shared about it with everyone who would listen. I went to my massage therapist. I talked all about it with her, I talked about it with the girl at the front desk, I talked about it with the business owner of the massage place, and I talked about it with my wife.
I talked about it with my mother, I prayed about it and after all of that I cried about it, I got mad about it, I plotted revenge, I thought of the amazing posts I could write, I thought of ways I could attack back, I prayed to try to be nice.
I went to my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and listened to two people talk about their experience drinking. I did everything I knew how to do to try to feel better, and the result was by the time I went to bed my mind was still racing.
I was still miserable.
I laid in bed for two or three hours without falling asleep after already being exhausted.
Thank God, I nodded off for a little bit at one point.
I then woke up at around 3:00 in the morning and laid in bed for most of five hours again in the torture chamber of my mind plotting revenge, thinking about, "I'll show them this. I'll do that. I'll do that."
I prayed, "God please, I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want all these thoughts. I want to go to sleep. I want to be nice. I want to be kind. I want to remember who I am."
Then, I woke up the next morning just exhausted because most nights I get good sleep and that last night is an exception.
I woke up just exhausted wondering how I'd get through the day and what I found was a motivation to talk about this, to say, "Look, I just got through a deep pit of despair last night and I'm here and I haven't hurt myself, I haven't hurt anyone else, I haven't gone through with any of my amazing revenge plans and I don't plan on doing it."
I've learned a few things that I hope are helpful to talk about because all of us go through this no matter how successful or a failure we are, no matter how young or old we are. It seems that our children handle that better.
My daughter is two and a half years old and she seems to go through these things very quickly, in a few minutes with high intensity.
Now, a lot of us as adults tend to take longer times to go through them, which to me seems like more of a walk in hell than a few minutes of crying.
I've learned a few things from going through this last night, which the last 24 hours have been a lot better than it used to be.
Here's what it used to look like.
A couple of years ago, I would be mad for a week about things like this. I would often have done much more than send a few replies and try to be nice and understanding.
I often fought back.
I would often make threats.
I would often go through with revenge schemes.
I would often take things out indirectly when, for example, I'd get mad at someone online then I'd yell at my dog or I'd be inconsiderate with my wife.
Yesterday, I can say I did a mostly good job with that.
I was just so upset, my daughter being close to me ended up feeling the same way.
I'm not sure if that was a result of me or not.
When we are so selfish, we think everything else that happens is our fault and our responsibility. I've learned that I'm not responsible for other people's feelings. If you don't like something I did, that's your responsibility.
Now, of course, it’s in my best interest to be aware of what impact my behavior has on others. I've learned it's my feelings that I am a hundred percent responsible for. I am not responsible for the feelings of another person who was angry or afraid because of something they think I did.
I am NOT responsible for someone else judging me as having done something wrong. What I am responsible for are my own feelings of being wrong, my own feelings of judgment and criticism on myself, and I can't fix these things alone, I need help.
Thank God one of the things that helped me fall asleep, a strategy that I hope is useful for you, and especially me for the next time this happens, if there is a next time, because this strategy helped me finally to fall asleep after hours in the mental torture chamber.
I started thinking at probably 1 or 2 a.m. of all the other people in a similar situation.
I started thinking of the other people laying in hospital beds agonizing over an outcome in their life.
I started thinking of all the mothers and fathers in bed worried about their children, angry and afraid.
I'm not sure if I thought of it exactly that way, but I'm putting it as best as I can.
I thought about tmy friends who told me about things they're going through.
I thought about one friend going through health issues and relationship issues.
I thought of another friend who recently went through a horrible ordeal in the hospital in the ICU unit.
I thought of another friend who just lost her partner.
I thought of another friend.
Well, I'm thinking of them now.
He's been having a lot of back pain lately and that's been pushing him to his limit.
I thought of all the people around the world laying in bed tossing and turning wishing to fall asleep, praying to God or cursing God for being in that situation, and I didn't feel alone anymore.
I felt in good company actually because the company for things like that is amazing. When we're in a state like that we're in great company.
There are presidents, there are celebrities, there are our janitors or cleaning people, there are our farmers, there's every kind of person we can imagine in that state at about all times.
Every day someone is going through that dark corridor, fear and misery, and we're lucky if we're not going through that every day.
A lot of us on this planet are going through that every day. That's almost all, a lot of us know anymore, and I'm grateful that most days, I don't go through that now.
I used to try to numb my pain a lot with things like drinking, and then other behaviors like video games to escape the pain. I used to live in a lot of that pain on a normal daily basis.
Thank God, I reach out and connect with other people, and it takes other people loving us because for some reason we are horribly critical on ourselves, and yet for most of us it's relatively easy to love another person.
It's easy for me to look at my wife and see that whatever she's agonizing over is not a big deal to me, and yet she can do the same thing with me. She can look at me and see that there are things I'm able to learn out of what I'm struggling with, and then it's not all bad.
What I do that also helps me walk through the despair faster, I think of it like being born.
Now, a lot of us don't consciously remember being born, however, we can imagine it relatively easily. Being born does not sound pleasant. We go from being in a completely, hopefully, protected space without any responsibilities or anything to do. You might argue complete freedom to relax and not have to do anything.
We then get pushed out or taken out through some kind of surgery in a very traumatic process either by being squeezed through relatively small space or being yanked out into the world.
We go from that not even having to breathe, we go from that out into this world all of a sudden that's bright, that's cold, that's alien from what we've known for the last nine months. Being born, one might say, is a most unpleasant process. That's why most babies come into this world crying.
My daughter certainly did, once she got out of the womb she started crying. It's unpleasant being born and yet we enter into an entirely new universe when we've been born.
We have completely new freedoms and opportunities when we've been born.
We are powerless to do almost anything while we are in our mother's womb. Once we come out as a baby, we're able to look around and see the world around us. We can make some sounds, we can try and grab things with our hands, we can then learn and interact and grow.
We get born into an entirely new world and this process while often painful is what we go through in order to grow. What I've noticed is that a lot of my painful walks down the dark corridor are amazing growth opportunities. These are the times where I'm becoming a better and better person.
When I am in the middle of it I consciously realize I'm being born right now, I'm being born into a better person, I'm being crafted, like a blacksmith's iron I'm being thrust into the fire now, I'm being burned with the pain of reshaping into what I need to be, to be of service in this world.
The process can be painful, but the more I'm consciously aware that that's the process I'm going through, I realize how quickly it passes. When we look at our lives, the process of birth is fairly quick, and yet all the rewards, all the opportunities and the growth we experienced from birth last a really long time.
Again, when I see it this way, it helps me a lot to say, "You know what? I'm being born right now. This too shall pass quickly."
Now, I ended up laying right on this couch last night praying to God, "Please! Please! I just want to sleep."
One thing that helps me walk through the corridor of despair is to take brief moments to just rest and relax, even if it's a couple of seconds to notice, "Oh, for two seconds there were no thoughts of revenge, there were no plots, there were no judgment or attack thoughts!"
For two seconds there were no thoughts.
Thank God. What a relief!
"Oh, there's five seconds, I made it laying on this couch without criticizing anyone, without running the story through my mind."
It comes down often to just appreciating those little moments where it didn't suck like, “Okay. Thank you God, for allowing me to appreciate my wife laying next to me in bed for five seconds. Thank you. That's a lot better than nothing.”
Sometimes when we reach out and pray we get immediate answers like, "God please, please, if you're real show me you're here."
I have a thought.
What was the thought?
It was something about my wife like, "Am I not next to you now?'' or something like that. I looked over and I see my wife and for five or ten seconds I just was grateful and appreciated.
"Thank God, my wife's here. Thank God, my daughter's here. Yes, for this moment it is enough."
Then, immediately the ocean of thoughts comes in.
"You know what? I'm going to write this post, I'm going to show that… I'm going to tear... I'm going to... I'm going to... I'm going to... Oh, God. Here we go again. It's been 10 more seconds. Please help!"
When I know other people go through the same thin,g it makes it not so serious.
"You know what? I'm not the only one going through this."
That's why I've made this, to share with you, because it helps to learn and get a hold of these things before it happens. When next time, when you pray, when you're in the middle of criticizing and tearing someone down, maybe it's me.
Maybe you're writing a post.
"I'm going to show him that's no good!"
You might remember, "Oh. He goes through this too. Okay, maybe I don't have to write that post. I had that thought, but maybe I don't have to go all the way with it and write that post."
It definitely makes it better to not go through with the actions. The thoughts are one thing, we often are powerless over the thoughts, but the more we take action on our thoughts, the more it gets worse.
I appreciate you joining me here on day 187 of Happier People Podcast.
I love you.
You're awesome and I hope this helps.
Thank you for reading this post, which was originally filmed as the video below.
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