What To Do When Bad Stuff Happens

stuffed geese? golden eggs?

It’s the kind of thing that sets you up for paranoia. Just as you’ve hulked out your old shield and sword for one battle, something else bares its teeth and dares you to feel terrible about yourself. Before you know it, you feel like the world’s a domino race and its your life that’s toppling.

And y’know, they say bad things happen in threes. But they also say good things happen in threes, and if the proverbial they had their way they’d tell you anything to keep you sane. Until you went insane from figuring out everything ‘they’ said was all proverbial codswallop anyway.

A while ago, I got a nasty case of the Over-Whelms. Everything I’d tried at being a journalist had thus far failed – officially, about 5 times at going official. Around about the same time, my overdraft bent back on itself. And then to top it off, I was passively forced to quit a job I enjoyed very much. Other stuff in my head was still happening too – a selection being all these irrational fears of getting left behind in the world, not doing enough for the people I loved, never finding time for anything; all the neuroses of fearing looking like a grinch at the age of 30 from stress of aforementioned things, etc, etc… While I’m still figuring things out (which is completely OK if you’re in your twenties, surely?) nothing’s ‘fixed’, nothing will ever be perfect (for perfection is terrible, it cannot have children)  but at least the anxiety’s waning. If there’s one thing. talking to someone who listens and if you’re lucky, understands, is good. Doing something  -anything- productive and relaxing; and even coming up with tips to help other people who might be going through the same thing also helps a whole bunch. I guess writing publicly like this shows some sort of courage.

Anyway. Here’s a few tips on how you can sort out your head and make the demons go away for a while.

1. Release the frustrations

Get them out, all of them. Bottling might work, but its efficacy is short-lived. Better to run with limbs failing through Central Park than rigidly around-and-around. Talk to someone. Write an imaginary letter. Post it. Or don’t post it. Watch your favourite film. Watch a new film. Watch Louis Theroux. Go for an actual jog – as all joggers and runners know, it’s a form of healthy escape. The word catharsis exists for a reason, so be the word.

2. Go Find Some Really Annoying People

They are everywhere. It might be the guy whose own Brent-style failings make for a more hilarious workplace, especially because he doesn’t know he’s like that, all full of nervous laughter and tiny ego, ha!

Annoying People are on trains, who don’t move their bag from the next seat when loads of passengers are standing up. They can also be in cafes, talking about how they ‘smoke for real’ because they inhale; or talking about how their “friend” is “nice and everything but she’s really ugly and a fucking weirdo and I want to kill her.”

Remember: annoying people are here to remind you that you, no matter how anxious you get, you will never be this annoying. It’s nice to know that you’re nice. The view from the high horse can (sometimes) be pretty good.

3.  You’re Not Alone.

stuffed geese? golden eggs?
RF getty images

4. Ask for help.

Parents are nice if you’ve still got them. Friends are too. So’s your partner. And your best work-mate. And the stranger next to you. (Legit, licensed) taxi drivers are wiser than you might think when it comes to the furry spiky little vicious and cute honey badger we call life.

5. Make Like Ennis and Hurdle That BS

Oh look, something else bad happened.  Oh well, better do something about it! Crying and moping and  getting angry doesn’t do anything except make people think you’re moany little arse. Unfortunately this is the way people (you mistakenly think are happy all the time) will look at you, because they don’t want to be reminded of when they, too, were also a moany little arse.

6. Give Up The Pity Games

Gimme sympathy! And yet no one likes an Eeyore except in Winnie The Pooh.

7. Do something you haven’t done before

You kill two scary birds with one stone: you shock yourself into being, and then to follow through the idea of doing something new (which we like doing, as humans) you make a huge effort at dragging yourself outside of the old oft-quoted ‘comfort zone’. It’s also called getting off your nelly arse. Getting a shock and making an effort is good for you. Unless you life is like the movie Alien.

8. Have some good things happened to you, when you think about it?

Take a step back from it all. I once got told to do this physically, as long as I did not wear stilettos and made sure no-one was standing behind me. Kinda works actually. For example, I asked for a slice of cake with my cuppa and the gent serving me gave me the biggest piece on the plate. SCORE. What are the little good things that have happened to you today?

9. Try really hard not to give up.

I’m getting to step 9. See you there!

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