I have one last resort when things go wrong. When I am suicidal or incapable of doing anything, and want to give up, I turn to this document that I keep on a shelf by my bed.
Thankfully, I don’t have to turn to it very often, but it’s become my lifeline for when I feel horrible. I tend to work my way down the left side of the page and have found that, for the most part, by the time I get to the fifth or sixth question I’m feeling better. Your experience may vary and there’s nothing wrong with jumping around with the questions or doing some and not others.
This document isn’t a rulebook, but if you feel at the end of your rope, if you do enough of these, chances are you’ll feel better after a while. Your problems won't stop, but this document pulled me through a handful of dark times.
Last winter there was a snow day from work and I had a difficult time feeling motivated to do anything. I was disliking my job at the time quite a bit and was feeling hopeless and unmotivated with my life in general. Thoughts of suicide entered my mind. I had eaten and drank water. I had even showered. But I realized I hadn't been out of my apartment all day. So, once the snow eased up some I put on my boots and coat and trudged around my neighborhood. The lack of sound in the city made things quite eerie. Yet I found it very peaceful to see the snow lightly falling. I could tell the exercise and a change in environment were helpful. Things didn't change dramatically, but it was enough to pull me out of my severe doldrums.
I’m not exaggerating when I say if you deal with problems of suicidality, print this list out and put it by your bed. These items aren’t relegated to only the times you feel horrible—they’re good activities for general daily living. But they’re especially helpful if you find yourself at the end of your wits.
Transition can be a very difficult thing for me. Even when it’s something I put upon myself it can be hard. It’s the uncertainty and the fear of all that might go wrong that gets to me. But change can also be a good thing. Let's look at a few of those positive reasons below.
1. Change can inspire us
Change can be a good catalyst for getting a new perspective not only on the environment in which we find ourselves, but on ourselves. Travel inspires me to get a new vision of my life and serve as a reset. Change in what we’re doing in our lives as far as a big move or career change can do the same. It forces us to question what we want and who we are.
2. Change can show us a side of ourselves we may not otherwise know
In going through a change, especially in a new career, we can learn we are good at certain things we may not have otherwise thought. A few years ago I took a chance and became a tour guide. I had no idea if I’d be good at it but discovered that it was something at which I not only excelled but enjoyed. Who knew that I, an introvert, would enjoy being social? But if I hadn’t taken a chance at that change I would’ve missed out on something that has now become a livelihood.
3. It can expand our minds
If we’re willing to take a chance with change we can learn new things. And learning new things can make us wiser and more open-minded, which can only inspire more empathy and kindness toward others. (Or at least that’s the goal for me.) By taking a chance to move to Seattle back in 2006 I grew so much as an individual in only two years. I learned about what I believed, spiritually and intellectually. I also learned how to adapt to some of the most jarring change possible (new home, new friends, new job) all at once. But it was worth it and I’d do it again.
4. It’s a reminder to take care of ourselves
Moments of change are the most important occasions to do self-care. It should almost be a default setting in our minds: change = taking time to take care of me. That’s something important for me to remember as I start a new job. To stay healthy I need to hit the gym, get enough sleep, and not overtax myself with other responsibilities. All these things (and more) are good things to remember when you and I are going through changes.
This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.