Sometimes, I just can’t deal.
At least that’s how it feels. Chances are, you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. You might be in the safety of your own home, or you could be in the least appropriate place ever for losing it: your office. But no matter where you are, sometimes you just can’t deal.
Or, to be more basic, you “JUST CAN’T EVEN.”
I actually kind of like that phrase. If used in the right context, it’s actually the perfect metaphor for how you probably feel. Like there’s so much feeling welling up inside you regarding something that has happened that you can’t even… finish your sentence. It’s that bad.
But I digress.
It may be a breakup. It may be the death of a loved one. It may be a fight with a loved one. It may be financial struggles. It may be humiliation. It may be failure.
Whatever it is, when you just can’t deal, it feels like the world is ending. Your chest gets really tight, and your head throbs. If you’re at home, you’re probably sobbing enough tears to scrounge up a second Deluge. If you’re in a public place, you’re trying your hardest to keep it together long enough to get to a private-enough-for-sobbing place.
I’ve done a lot of both of those lately. It ain’t fun.
Here are the things you probably think when you just can’t deal:
- That this matters more than anything else has ever mattered.
- That nothing else will matter this much ever again.
- That you’ll probably spend the rest of your life thinking about this.
- That your situation is 100% unique from any other situation to ever occur.
- That, because your situation is so unique, no one else could possibly understand.
- That if you did try to talk to someone about this, they would just make things worse.
These all sound melodramatic, but let’s be honest; you’ve probably thought these things. You’ve at least acted like you thought these things, even if only in isolation.
And some will tell you that these are selfish thoughts and you shouldn’t think them and you’re being childish and ridiculous and I don’t want to tell you any of that.
I don’t actually believe that thinking those thoughts is selfish. I don’t believe that feeling those things is childish.
In fact, I encourage you to think all of these things.
It’s important to acknowledge these thoughts. Because at some point in your life, a lot of those things will be true about whatever you’re going through. You will experience something that matters more than anything else ever has or will. You will struggle with something that nobody around you fully understands. If you try to open up to people, they will make things worse. There may be things that happen that you will think about every day until your dying breath.
You have to acknowledge this so that you can best assess the situation. And chances are, whatever you’re going through now doesn’t fit that. But you can’t know that until you let yourself go to that place and mourn the situation how your heart needs to.
You have to let yourself think those things, remembering that thinking and believing are two separate things.
Only then can you truly tell yourself that everything is going to be okay. But realizing that everything will be okay doesn’t necessarily make anything easier.
So what does?
I’ve known some incredibly empathetic people in my short time in the adult world. People who actually care what I’m going through. People who listen to what I’m saying. People who, rather than applying an inspirational quote or Bible verse to my pain like a Band-Aid on a festering wound, hug me and pray with me and let me cry on their nice blouses so that I can heal from the inside out.
Going through life together isn’t the same as teaching each other. It’s so much more equal than that. It’s equally wounded runners leaning on each other for support. It’s commiseration and co-celebration, and it’s a really scary and beautiful way to live.
Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, said this about being together in this thing called life:“If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs on this November day, then there is still hope for you. Your story is still going. And maybe some things are true for all of us. Perhaps we all relate to pain. Perhaps we all relate to fear and loss and questions. And perhaps we all deserve to be honest, all deserve whatever help we need. Our stories are all so many things: Heavy and light. Beautiful and difficult. Hopeful and uncertain. But our stories aren’t finished yet. There is still time, for things to heal and change and grow. There is still time to be surprised. We are still going, you and I. We are stories still going.”
And when you just can’t deal, I think it’s important to remember that. So here are the thoughts you should make yourself have when you just can’t deal:
That this matters more than anything else has ever mattered.You may be feeling more hurt than ever before, but you are resilient. How far you have come is a testament to that fact. That nothing else will matter this much ever again.You get to choose whether you tend to your wounds properly. That you’ll probably spend the rest of your life thinking about this.You have the power to pull whatever lesson you want from this experience and let it guide you in the future. That your situation is 100% unique from any other situation to ever occur.YOU are unique, and that gives you a unique perspective. Use that to help others. That, because your situation is so unique, no one else could possibly understand.You have the ability to close yourself off or to open yourself up, and the decision is yours which you’ll do, but being closed off is awfully lonely. That if you did try to talk to someone about this, they would just make things worse.You will probably encounter people not knowing how to handle what you’re dealing with. But chances are, if they’re trying to say something constructive in the first place, they care a lot about you. Read between the lines for that.
And if none of that helps at all, take it from the majestic Brandon Flowers: “When you can’t hold on, hold on.” Or, to paraphrase: when you can’t hold on, hold onto me.
Because though your grip is weakening and your muscles are fatigued and you think it’s easier just to let go, the sun will rise and a new day will come, and you’ll be a little bit stronger as a result.
PS, I will legitimately bake you a cake if you catch the Firefly/Serenity reference in this post.