“You won’t always feel like this.” These six words have saved my sanity more than once because jumping to the worse case scenario is what I do best. You know, when you think whatever you’re going through will last forever. But then I remember, “Oh yeah, it’s not always going to be like this.” A counselor friend gave me this phrase when I was writing my book on grief. It’s the first line in the introduction, but I’ve discovered since that it applies to all strong emotions that are weighing heavy.
I’ve often wished I was more manlike. This thought always comes to me during “discussions” with my husband, when emotions start to override my good sense. Finding a better balance between feelings and the practical is ongoing, but I’m getting better at dissolving the lump in my throat before it becomes tears or slightly irrational thinking. More testosterone would be nice!
Like most men I guess, my husband sees situations in a cut and dried way, and even though I’ve cursed that fact a time or two, I have to admit that life would be simpler without the emotional drama I attach to it. It’s true what he says about emotions complicating everything but, then again, I don’t want to be a robot. Balance would be nice.
So many situations trigger crushing sadness, when tears are continually on the brink. Coping with a death of a loved one and the death of a relationship are high on the list, but so is health decline, job loss, having to move, and worry about children (little or big!). The list is long, and ongoing depression needs professional help.
Emotions Are Temporary and Can Change In a Minute
Knowing sadness is usually temporary changes everything. Knowing these feelings won’t last forever has stopped the fear that my life was officially in the toilet at the time. I have a friend whose marriage has fallen apart, and my heart wrenches as she sobs through her pain. I want so much to help her but don’t know how. Then I remember… I don’t have to DO anything. Just offering up this little sentence might help her feel better, “You won’t always feel like this.”
The words remind me that it’s not the end of world, and I really need reminders. Especially in the middle of the night when drama is at it’s peak. I lie there for hours replaying something in my head until it builds to epic proportions. Eventually my brain wears out enough to sleep, and in the morning things never seem as bad as they did at 2:00 am. Intense feelings have faded and, thankfully, my perspective has changed.
This “obsessive” thinking often has to do with my children, where feelings of connection are so intense. What they’re coping with in their lives at the moment builds up in my mind during the night until I remember: wait, this is their life, not mine and, oh yeah, it won’t always be like this.
I envy anyone who can override intense feelings with a more practical viewpoint and plan. I went back to school for the second time when my children got through their teen years, this time to be a therapist. Two years in, I realized I could never be objective enough to do this. A therapist who cried along with her patients wouldn’t be in business for long!
One of my internships was at Planned Parenthood doing intake assessments and I was good at that. But then the training for Pregnancy Counseling started. That first day I watched as a young couple got the news of a pregnancy they hadn’t planned for. As I sat holding back my tears at their reaction, I watched in admiration as the seasoned crisis counselor calmly watched her as she wept… for a very long time… or maybe it was only five minutes. Then, as calm as can be, she talked about where to go from here. All crying stopped when they had to focus on practical solutions, and I knew right then this wasn’t for me. My heart was breaking for this couple whose lives were about to change forever. I eventually abandoned my major, but it was here I discovered a love of writing… and I’m grateful.
SECRET: Make yourself a little sign with the words “You won’t always feel like this!” Tack it on a wall you walk by often, maybe behind your computer screen, on the bedroom wall, or in the kitchen. Having a reminder handy will prepare you for the next time profound sadness takes hold. It’ll help stop your brain from exploding.