Towards the end of last year, you might have read some fairly non-committal posts about a difficult time I was having. Whilst I didn't (and don't intend to) go into explicit detail about those months, I do feel like in the interest of being my truest, nastiest self, it's time to open up a little more about the not 'sexy' stuff.

There are times throughout life where you'll come to question yourself - not in a doubts and worries way, but in a deeper, foundation of who you are and who you want to be in the world kind of way. When you're in them, it feels all-encompassing and never-ending. It can feel like it's going to go on forever. Maybe it does - maybe it's all part of a cyclical process and we just experience different ways to move through pain and hard times. But these moments can dredge up every little thing from your past that you thought you'd put to bed, but hadn't. They can hurt and punish you in ways you're unprepared for. And it can seem as though your world is coming apart.

If you've lived through, or are going through this right now - this one is for you. On this 'Blue Monday', I hope writing about what helped me get through a very tough season in my life helps even in the smallest way and if you take nothing else from this, please, please know you're not alone. Please talk to people, even if you feel like they're sick of listening. They're not. One good thing about reaching a limit or 'rock bottom' is you'll be surprised at the unexpected ways life will show you to get back up again.

YOU'LL WANT TO FIGHT ALONE - YOU CAN'T.
During the time that I moved out of my own place and into a rented room, I realised how much I had leaned on unspoken support from people in my life, and how bad I was at asking for help once that support had gone. From friends I had never thought of came the biggest help - a car ride to shift stuff from one place to another, a day spent eating almost every item on the breakfast menu, an offer of a walk at work, just to 'clear the air'. Lean on people when you need them, but know when to distinguish those moments. Sometimes you can get too in your head - others are there to help keep you in the present moment. Coming out of your hiding place, in a physical and emotional sense, has to happen in order to let healing happen.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.
This might seem in opposition with the point above, but alone time can be good too. In fact, it was exactly what I was looking for last year. After crying for too long, when there was nothing left to cry about, I made a list. A list of where I wanted to get to within myself, and how I thought I might help myself get there. My list went something like: love myself, value myself, make myself proud. And to do that, I got back to writing every single day (my favourite and most effective form of therapy)*, I took up meditation and I made sure to write down my personal goals and get focused on my life again.

TURN OFF UNHELPFUL NOISE.
Another important step for me was taking half days to put my phone on airplane mode and disconnect from social media. I know some people don't need to do this or feel uplifted by being connected to others via these platforms, but working in social and then living on it in my free time was draining me of energy and making me feel inferior. In every perfect, styled picture I could only see how much I'd failed, and how distant I felt from my own life. No one makes posts about not eating because you don't feel comfortable going down to the kitchen, or brushing your teeth at work because that feels most like home to you. But that was where I was, and every day I was reminded of that in stark contrast to the lives of other people I followed who were happy. Getting away from that was so, so necessary.

IF THE ROOT OF YOUR PROBLEM IS A PERSON, HONOUR THAT.
For me, I was engaged in a toxic cycle that was taking me further and further away from who I was and keeping me trapped in behaviours that weren't real. I could pinpoint this down to one relationship in my life and one of the most painful things about that time was coming to the realisation and, eventually, acting on it. It isn't easy cutting someone you care about out of your life, but if they aren't making you feel good about yourself (or worse, if they're actively making you feel bad about yourself) or adding to your life, it's time to get gone.

BE ACCOUNTABLE, BUT DON'T BLAME YOURSELF.
In those weeks, I acted in ways I'm not proud of. I was absent, I wasn't a supportive friend, I lost my temper and blew up at people I love dearly and could see myself doing things that weren't in line with my values. It was easy to feel shit about myself. It was easy to blame, or guilt-trip. But by keeping yourself in that mentality, you perpetuate the cycle and keep yourself down, trapped in bad behaviours and bad thoughts. No one is perfect, we're all just trying to deal with our own shit in our own way. Try to remember that you're only human, and give yourself a break. That doesn't give you carte blanche to be an asshole, but if you've done wrong, apologise, make things right with those who are truly worth your time and move on.

EVERY DAY MIGHT NOT BE GOOD...
... But there is something good in every day. Try to practice gratitude as much as you can - it might seem wanky and lofty, but I promise - if you can find just one thing and note it down (mentally or physically), it can really make a difference. You'll just have to try it and trust me on this one.

I really hope you remember to take care of yourself first, and then others, and if nothing else, please don't forget to ask for help if you need it. I'm also here if you ever want to talk - in the comments, or privately via email. I'm extremely good at sourcing memes and puppy videos.

*Hi - just a note to say, writing might not work for everyone and that's okay! If you prefer something a little more physical, have you tried out Yoga With Adriene? She's a total babe.

4 comments

  1. For a long time when I was younger, I was in a terribly vicious cycle of self-guilt and blame and anger in general and it wasn't a nice time generally. Gradually, and over the years, I've come to learnt that not all days are good days and I'm okay with that. Being a perfectionist was an issue but I always remind myself to be grateful to be where I am today, whenever I'm feeling miserable!

    Cherie ✽ sinonym

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Cherie. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but it's amazing you're able to have the perspective you do, and you broke the harmful cycle you were in. I really hope this year is an amazing one for you. T xx

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  2. I'm really sorry to hear you've been going through such a rough time. :( I've been through major periods like that in my life too, twice actually, and you really feel like you don't know which way is up or what the hell you're going to do. Apart from several things on your list one thing you touched on that I also found really helpful was to keep a journal so I could write about whatever I wanted in a completely judgement free place.

    Sometimes it can be hard to tell certain stories or talk about things with people because of how they might react, or maybe you just need to sort through things on your own and make some sense of it before you can tell anyone or start acting on it, and for me being able to do that was such a big help. I imagine you're probably doing that too with your writing and although it's a bit of a cliche piece of advice it really helped me get things out of my head and face them once I'd been able to articulate them.

    littlehenrylee.net

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    1. Aw Jessica thank you for this comment, it really means the world. I totally agree with you - writing was my own form of journalling and if I hadn't had that outlet to get away from the churning thoughts in my head, I think I would have just stayed on self-destruct mode and done a lot of damage to myself. A judgement free place is so important. Thank you again for reading and commenting, it means the world. T xx

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