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- Personal Development
Round 'n' Round You Go, Spiraling Out Of Control
When you’re weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes…who you gonna call?
(“Bridge Over Troubled Waters” - Simon & Garfunkel; “Ghostbusters” – the movie)
The pressure continuously depresses you. All attempts to respond are deflected by interference and confusion. Panic is stealthily approaching. You’re a deer in the headlights. What’s next?
After falling this far, there are only two options. Flight leaves you falling deeper into the unfamiliar darkness, further from yourself each day. And, Fight, for salvation, must be found and nurtured from somewhere within, if you can find it. No promises but, hey, what’s to lose?
When your spirit and soul, your mind and your ego, are all on the post-iceberg Titanic, you have to find your happy place. Search for, through meditation or otherwise, the place where you can forget your troubles for a while and, instead, contemplate pleasant things. Good thoughts that soothe your spirit and influence the renewal of positive vision and energy, that conjure up a static period during which you can relax your worry-muscle and stop freaking out for a moment. Take time for a long, slow breath. Then, release a big sigh and all your troubles along with it.
It’s hard enough to think with conviction when you’re unquestionably confused about what to do, how to start, and where to begin. The spirit and energy required to follow through simply elude you. Or, maybe you’re just getting tired of it all, becoming lazy as you regress in maturity?
When your spirit sinks, it takes the rest of you down with it. Your spirit doesn’t mean to, it’s not a mean spirit, but it doesn’t know what else to do. It feels abandoned and lacks resolve and direction. It requires help from your embattled psyche but it’s not getting any. Your entire system, your whole self, your being and your very essence are going down, and John McClane won’t be dying hard to save your sorry-butt. Sorry.
Sunrise Over the Dump
Ah, to awaken to the warm sun, a bright, new, blue-sky day. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But, each morning brings at least a small sense of dread, usually more, always enough to keep you from feeling calm. Instead, you are constantly agitated. You wonder what has occurred, or gotten worse, or deteriorated completely in some impossibly inconvenient way, adding impetus to the already descending spiral that is, for now, your life in messy turmoil.
You aren’t happy about things, and it’s nagging at you. You refrain from answering the phone or checking your e-mail. You don’t wish to talk to family or friends because you don’t want to saddle them with all of your recently acquired baggage. You love them and you don’t want to be a gloomy-gus. You’d prefer not to hear yourself bullet-list your situation.
You don’t want to remind yourself about all the crap you’ve allowed to happen in the first place, all the stuff that has resulted in your life not really being OK, now. Oh, things could be worse; you’re not living in the street or out of the backseat of your car, you’re not running from armed men threatening your family. But things are worse than they’ve ever been, in your life, and you’re supposed to have more control over things.
Sure, you know people who care about you and you’re not in jail or the hospital. But, boy, you feel lousy like never before. You feel estranged, disenfranchised, left behind, and rudderless. It’s been going on for so long that you’re starting to get used it, a new way of life, becoming the natural way of things. You know it’s not but you can’t unscramble your mind enough to think past it. You can’t make it stop and you can’t take much more of it.
Yes, you are aware of others around you suffering their own personal problems and concerns that demand their indignant attention. Most of us have things that we need to “fix” or, at least, keep from getting worse. Why? When did these bad things start piling up? When did you start running out of steam, become apathetic? Is it too late for salvation? Are you now one of the “lost” or is there still hope, somehow.
And, since hope has now been mentioned, some part of you figures that that in itself is a sign; hope exists and is there for you to find. This little glimmer, this tiny realization; that you must find your own way back on track and reverse this decline now. You must find it within you to mount a decidedly uphill battle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Meanwhile, down you go. And go. When you think you sense bottom and feel that you must’ve fallen far enough by now, and that fate must offer you some kind of break…your descent continues down, down, down. You can’t keep up so you kind of let go, you go with the flow. It seems impossible to resist the fall. It can only be hindered by good thoughts and positive affirmations, but there are none available. Your predominantly negative perceptions only stoke the engine driving you downward, and your growing apathy adds more weight exponentially. Gravity is calling, “Come on down!” You are sinking, and sinking, and sinking.
Until, you stop yourself. Because, you must. Yeah, damn right, there is no one else to stop this all from rolling right over you, squishing the life out of you, flattening you like mortality does a lifeline. You’re the only one who can find a way through or around or past all this stuff. Winning is less important here, you only must survive, in the end. You won’t stand alone; there will be others who have survived and come out alright. And the problems that require your begrudging attention will still need attention but will move a little off to the side, away from center-stage, and await their turn to be recognized.
There is, however, no time to waste. You’ve let things fall apart to this point but you’ve already concluded that you will defeat this, you must. Your attempts thus far have been less than whole-hearted, but you know thins. Your smart enough to see what needs to be done and, hopefully, how to find the strength to overcome every fiber in your body that warns you to be careful what you ask for, and sure of your desires prior to settling for anything.
You weave along, choosing the way carefully, trying to maintain, and gain, any available energy and sense of purpose. Taking whatever you can because that is all that keeps you in the fight. You desperately watch for signs along the way indicating that you are doing as much as is practical, even though it’s taking forever and the results seem questionable. But, you are progressing, slowly and steadily moving towards a stronger stance.
That’s all you really want, a safe and dependable existence and lifestyle for your family, for yourself. Unfortunately, you never felt a burning desire to make money at someone else’s expense, never felt consumed by greedy notions. You did not aspire to be among those natty 1%-ers, with money to spare and much to share but too selfish to do so. Your occasional, serious ambitions were short-lived and failed to materialize.
Well, too bad you lacked those urges. That certainly is among the reasons that you never “made it”, that you’re still un-rich and have to juggle daily to maintain a mortgage, utilities, automobile and related expenses, maybe a business, a lifestyle, some kind of dependable and stable existence, etc. You already thought you were in control of those things but hadn’t really understood how tenuous they were.
You know, now. Not having that drive has dissuaded you from getting there. Being complacent was easy, normal, and dangerous. Remembering there are always others in worse shape than you are only allows you to feel luckier, to convince yourself that life ain’t so bad after all. And that is ridiculous. Others having it “bad” won’t make your life better or solve your problems (unless you’re a defense contractor or dictator). Your life is poop, until you do something about it.
Well, How About It?
So, OK, now you’ve realized that you can’t live in this tumble. You must stop falling, for good. You understand that you must focus on recent positives and begin downplaying the negatives. You realize that could require some problems to be set on the sidelines for now, with the proper consideration and minimal maintenance. You can’t ignore everything but you can manipulate it gingerly and put it aside while you work on your plans. Communication, no matter how little, is the key.
Deep breath, here. You hate this stuff, but so does everyone. Ultimately, be thankful for what you have, recognize what more you need, and strategize your way to it. It’s not easy, not at all. If the process is complex and uncomfortable, then you may very well be on the right path. The journey won’t go on forever, although it will likely be longer than you’d like. But, it’s doable if you establish reasonable expectations. You may have been Superman in the past but you are operating now with diminished capacity and drained power cells, so don’t extend yourself. Be realistic, even if it hurts.
Wow, you gotta be ready to share, too. You should speak with loved ones and friends, even if you feel like you’re dampening the conversation by talking about your own bad news. Maybe they want to talk about theirs? Might need your help; could take your mind off stuff for a bit. Take turns, have a pity party. But get it all out there, sound off each other, try to keep things positive.
Actually, you’ll find many of your close family and friends want to listen, at least once. No one wants to listen to you yak incessantly about “Woe is me” stuff. Folks can hear it once or twice before tuning out. Don’t be upset with them, your brain would glaze over, too. Their problems are as important to them as yours are to you. Take one or two opportunities with loved ones to “waaahhh” to your heart’s content. Take a good howl at the moon and figure out where you are, then prepare to move on.
So, choose your person and place carefully and let it all out, once and for all. Cry your butt off, kick around worthwhile ideas, determine and, then, set strategy. Perhaps benefitting from friends’ empathy and concern will strengthen your resolve. Cool. One thing is for sure, though. Your comeback won’t happen if you try and do it alone. You will find it much more difficult, maybe impossible, to succeed without help. Like Superman with Kryptonite nearby but out-of-reach; if someone else doesn’t help you move it away, say “Sayonara, Sweetheart”.
Now then, call on your own Batman or Green Lantern, and quickly, quickly, as Liam Neeson would say with a brogue. Climbing out of your existing plummet happens only after you’re already tired and bruised, have already had the wind knocked out of you. You are well into questioning the value of going on and struggling to find good reasons.
Coming back is not a short or easy process. The landscape can be strange and unrecognizable, even though you know it’s your life you’re navigating. You wonder how you got here and where you’ll end up. There are no guarantees.
Coming back features plenty of frustration and heartbreak. You must be strong and overcome these time and again, and just keep on chooglin’ until you find your footing. Moving back up the ladder will challenge you as much, or more, than your initial fall from grace. There’s a lot of work to do. Comfort and safety is no longer automatically yours to enjoy or to even expect. It’s like starting over but without the energy and stamina you had the first time around. Ah, fleeting youth.
On the upside, you should have some collected wisdom, righteous ideals garnered over the years. Rely on it to find the answers appropriate to every step in your recovery. Play it like a game but much more serious. It won’t be easy but you have to survive.
Best to Know First
Are you strong enough to guard against dark thoughts? Can you counter each negative occurrence and achieve from it rather than succumb to it? How durable are you in case this is the long haul? Can you handle many moments feeling alone and oppressed? Can you lock your focus on survival as life attacks all around you? Can you succeed in spite of despair? Is your belief in, and love for, yourself powerful enough? Can you fancy-dance?
Might as well get to it.