Life happens and we get ourselves so wound up, worked up, and pissed off, we succumb to the oh-so-awful funk
Disclaimer! Disclaimer! I know this site is about Bliss, but this post may meander momentarily down a dark, gloomy path. This is real life, y’all! Just stay with me though; there’s a happy ending.
I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. I’ve had a splitting headache for 3 days, I have PMS that could make a tiger cower like a kitten, and my left hip is creaking like an old rusty swingset. My son told me I have “mom hair” (never a compliment) and my daughter asked me why my teeth are yellow (also not a compliment, even if you like yellow). Reality has set in that I am never going to have six pack abs, and my thighs are like gelatinous gobs of Jell-o without the fun. And the wrinkles, don’t even get me started on the wrinkles.
I’ve got work deadlines looming over me like a dark cloud and my co-workers are looking to me (of all people!) to make important decisions. We are in the midst of moving, and my house is a minefield of precariously-stacked boxes and eerily-empty rooms. My son forgot his homework three times this week, and my daughter was mean to a little girl down the street and made her cry. Don’t these kids know they’re making me look bad?
Also, I can’t sleep because my mind is racing with thoughts of work and responsibilities, and I’m tired in that deep-in-my-bones, cloud-in-my-head kind of way. While we’re at it, I don’t want to make dinner, load the dishwasher, unload the dishwasher, make school lunches, go through the kids’ school bags, clean up, or help with baths and bedtime. I don’t want to color or play Barbies or have a dance party or construct a Lego palace or read a story. I don’t want to return any more e-mails or phone calls. I also don’t want to coordinate and remember every other solitary detail in our jam-packed, overly-scheduled lives.
I’m juggling work…kids…moving…marriage…home…health…friends…everything… and I’m so afraid something is going to fall SMACK on the ground. And this irregular heart beat is surely a sign that I am on the verge of having a heart attack. I feel like I…can’t…breathe.
Yes, I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, and I just want to go in a corner somewhere like a dying cat and CRY. But I don’t have time for such decadence because I have to pick my son up from karate, take him to his baseball game, entertain my wily daughter, and cram dinner in there somewhere. HELP!
We all have weeks like these. Life happens and we get ourselves so wound up, worked up, and pissed off, we succumb to the oh-so-awful funk. And once we fall into the funk, shaking it is like digging ourselves out of vat of swirling, stinking manure. It’s almost easier just to stay there, being miserable and stinky, rather than expending the great and grueling effort of pulling ourselves out.
As Carlos Castenada said, “We either make ourselves miserable or happy. The amount of work is the same.” So true! When I’m in the midst of a funk, I work hard to see everything through the lens of funkdom. The sun is shining, but it’s too bright. This 6-layer triple chocolate cake is amazing, but it’s making me fat (see thighs, above). My kids are so darn cute, but they’re so annoying. It takes a herculean effort to be this miserable, and to top it all off, it feels awful!
During my week in funkdom, I vowed to try to crawl out, with at least a piece of my dignity intact. Breaking out of a funk is no easy task, but here’s what worked for me (besides wine and potato chips):
- Get back to basics. When I’m listless and cranky and feel the weight of Planet Earth on my puny shoulders, I find comfort in reminding myself what is really important to me. At base, I always have my family. They will embrace me, support me, and if I beg, smother me with kisses. I always have that safe, soft place to fall and regroup. Everything else is really just details.
- Exercise, even if you don’t want to. Although the couch is so comfortable and seems to be wrapping its arms around you in solidarity, the couch is not your friend. Endorphins are your friend. Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders, even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood.
- Positive self-talk at all costs. This is a big one for me. My inner dialogue would make Deepak Chopra go into early retirement. Instead of saying, “I can never get these two grants done by the deadline. It’s too much. I can’t possibly do it,” I forcibly change it to, “I can do this. I can figure this out. It is challenging, but it can be done.” Whenever I feel one of those negative, self-crushing thoughts, I immediately stop it in its tracks and say something upbeat instead, even if I don’t entirely believe myself. This one feels obnoxious sometimes, but it really works.
- Re-route to the moment. When we’re thinking about the grievances of the past or the worries of tomorrow, we are not thriving in the moment. If we’re not in the moment, we’re not living! When I’m at work, I try to be all in and focused on doing the best I can there; when I’m at home, I try to be centered there with my family. For me, this is so challenging, but if I can mentally re-route myself back to the present moment and just be there, I can accept whatever it is, whether it’s a moment of joy or a moment of suffering.
Thankfully, I managed to shake off the funk, and I feel like myself again. Life is hard sometimes, and we are truly a complicated mess of squishy thoughts and feelings and hormones. It’s inevitable that every once in a while, we’ll all have one of these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weeks. Don’t give in to funkdom! We have to pull ourselves up, dig ourselves out, and let our light shine, shine, shine.