This has just been a crappy year and I’m really tired of it. Eight people I care about have died; yesterday I found out a close relative has Stage 4 cancer; I had to give my dog away; my mom is facing serious health problems that are only going to get worse; I’ve been ghosted by my best friend (who I just found out is getting married and is pregnant); and I’m just tired. I’m trying so hard to follow your general advice to take good care of myself, but right now I don’t think I can push myself to go for a run and eat another salad. I just want to eat Cheetos, binge-watch a sitcom, and take naps for a couple days. It’s all I can do to not cry sitting here at my desk.
I know there is so much worse stuff going on in the world right now, but it’s hard to keep things in perspective. How do I keep soldiering on when every time I turn around someone else dies?
— Soldiering On
I’ll bet you’re tired. That is a staggering amount of loss in a short period of time — I’m so sorry.
As a past chatter once rightly pointed out, sometimes “self-care” is eating Cheetos, binge-watching a sitcom and taking naps for a couple days.
Going for a run and eating a salad is a valid and important break from the relentless negativity of your life right now, in part because it’s sustainable and restorative where so much is grinding you down — but if you never let yourself take a break from your break, then it will grind you down, too.
The touchstone is habit. Don’t allow anything to become a habit from which you emerge feeling worse.
I hope you also make an appointment with your primary-care physician, if you haven’t yet pursued any formal treatment for what you’re going through. Just because anxiety and/or depression is clearly situational doesn’t mean it can’t also be clinical.
Again, I’m sorry for all of the agonies at once. The pain will fade, though, as all pains do, so don’t be afraid to trust that.
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Re: Cheetos and a nap:
I think we need to kill this idea that bad things happen and so you have to pretend they didn’t. You’re supposed to be sad when bad things happen! You’re not supposed to be blase about people suffering and dying. It’s OK to feel normal human emotions, and it’s OK to mourn for a while. If you’d said, “I only want to eat Cheetos and nap for a month,” then you would need to start prodding yourself to remember the rest of the world still exists and these bad things aren’t the end of your entire life.
True, thank you.
This also gives me another chance to flag the self-negating, “I know there is so much worse stuff going on in the world right now.” This can be a useful thought exercise for dealing with disappointment, say, but for grief, especially on so many fronts? There’s no “first-world loss,” there’s just loss — unless your Mercedes has died.
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