Two Choices:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My "Go-To" source for comfort and inspiration when I feel like crap is Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach... the March 24 Essay:

The Secret Saboteur: When You're Feeling Blue

"...When the dark days come, we need to remember that even if a secret saboteur--depression-- is at work temporarily derailing our progress... each day offers us a gift if we will only look for it. Sometimes we're sad for a very apparent reason--an overwhelming loss, for example, or worries over money or health. Other times we don't know why we feel so bad, which makes us feel even worse...

It's on days like these that you can barely get yourself dressed and out the door. You look like hell and couldn't care less. You can't remember if you took a shower yesterday or when the last time was you washed your hair. The children's voices are insistent and yours is shrill. You haven't any patience. Life seems bleak, not bright with promise. It's taking more work that you expected to discover who you really are, and now you are no longer sure you even want to find out.

When dark clouds hover, what should you do besides holding on and riding out the storm? You have two choices. One is to simply give in, stop resisting. You've got the blues, so sing them, baby. but before you do, ask for grace. Then have a good cry. Leave work early. Take a nap and try to sleep it off. Indulge--without guilt-- in something purely for medicinal reasons, like a piece of cheesecake or a bowl of Haagen-Dazs, but don't eat it standing in front of the refrigerator. Sit down, eat your treat slowly, and savor it. If you have the energy, fix comfort food for dinner tonight. If you don't, fix something simple like soup and sandwiches. Rent a three-hanky movie. Put the kids to bed early. Soak in a hot tub...Pull up the covers and snuggle down. Find five things for which to be grateful. Turn out the light.

The alternative blues-kicker is to shift gears. Ask for grace. Call a good friend and talk. Put the kettle on for a fresh pot of tea. Wash your face, comb your hair, put on some lipstick, perfume and earrings. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Straighten the living room so that you can find a place to sit down. Take a walk around the block and clear your head. If you're working in an office, give yourself permission to put off that new project at work until tomorrow when you can concentrate. Instead, clean your desk and organize your papers. On the way home, treat yourself to a bouquet of daffodils. Peruse your cookbooks and prepare something different for dinner.

No matter what route you take, within twenty-four hours the day will be over. Tomorrow should be better. But if it's not, nor the next day, or the next, then know that it's okay to ask for help from friends, a support group, a therapist, a doctor, or your Higher Power. Dark days come to all of us. Yet discouraging days bring with them golden opportunities when we can learn to be kind to ourselves. Believe it or not, today offers you a hidden gift, if you're willing to search for it."

If this only benefits me today, then this post will have done its job. But if any of you who were so kind to commiserate with me in the comments today on my other post can ALSO get a little comfort or permission to LET GO, then I am happy for that. Because this essay reminds me to see a bad day for what it is, embrace it, own the fact that it is NOT going away, and then proceed from there. I LOVE both alternatives Sarah gives. I have fallen back on both for different reasons at different times. Both are MARVELOUS.

So here's to COPING, and being nice to ourselves while we wait it out. It's can't be this crappy for the rest of our lives, can it?

Don't answer that.


  1. Simon8it8:02 PM

    I really needed that today. Thank you.

  2. My friend Anna sent me this post and I just wanted to say that I love it and it was much needed today. I think I'm going to print this off so when I have my next crappy day I'll have it on hand.


  3. What a perfect entry at a time of year when dark days seem more prevalent than usual. I'm not having a dark day today, but when I do, I know where to go.

  4. "The children's voices are insistent and yours is shrill."

    That really struck a cord with me because this is when I feel the most guilty, when I feel like I'm failing.

    Thanks for sharing and letting us all know that we are all "normal" for feeling the blues off and on, especially in the dead of winter.

    Hope tomorrow is brighter.

  5. sweet girl.... I miss you so much! I love hearing about your life and what you are up to.

  6. That is a cool essay. I hope that you are feeling better and that you DO cherish your day for what it is. *hug*

  7. Anonymous9:41 AM

    I'm a religious reader of your wonderful blog. A stranger to you, but a friend to your website.

    I needed this post. Thanks for reading my mind from miles away...


  8. I really need to get that book. Every time you share her wisdom, I feel like I can be a person who THRIVES, instead of one who just exists, trying to get by. Thanks for sharing that. I know you needed that, but I also know that the rest of us will need it, if not now, at some point in our lives. And even though I know you said not to answer, it will NOT be this crappy for the rest of your life because, despite dark days, you at least know how to see (and usually do) the flowers instead of the manure (i.e. you look for beauty instead of crap). Hang in there. Love is comin' at ya from across many miles! <3 <3 <3

  9. Taina4:35 PM

    hi Emily -- I've been having a lot of those drab gray hollow-inside days too, but when I read your post about the dreary bluesy days, what popped into my head was this snippet of song: "when the day is gray and ordinary, Mary makes the sun shine bright" -- yes, complete with the farm animal voices and Dick Van Dyke and the horse kicking the washtub. That cheered me up. Hooray for Mary Poppins :-)

  10. I agree with Laura. I am going to write this down and put it somewhere. Then, when I am feeling down I can read it and not feel so bad. You always come up with clever things. Love it! I hope your blues go away. I find it is always the month of January. Once February comes its a short month, and then we are into March when the weather doesn't seem so daunting anymore, and you become excited for Spring. Sorry this was so long.

  11. A simple thanks. Yup. Thanks.

  12. DITTO...thanks for this. just thanks. )

  13. Having recently discussed crappy days with some friends - I copied and pasted this in an email... Thanks for sharing (and thanks for doing the typing ;-)

    Love you.


CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan