I recently experienced a really really terrible week, which followed several weeks prior that weren’t much better.
Faced with countless deadlines, challenging situations in all of life’s areas, a seriously ill loved-one and me feeling generally unsupported, I hit one of those awful places in time where I was finding it difficult to get up in the morning.
I was stuck on where to begin, how to ask for help and to see things in a different way.
My mood matched that of the now-wintry grey English skies.
As one to usually be able to drag myself out of feeling miserable, I found myself in a place where I didn’t know what to do next. I was depressed, teary and withdrawn.
I waited for the clock to tick down at work each day, feeling utterly awful, and even more down because usually I’m happy there. I enjoy my days and make a point of trying to make someone else’s day a bit brighter too.
Ironically, someone I turn to for genuine and useful advice was also having a terrible week. While I appreciated the odd bit of sympathy gained here and there, I basically felt really alone.
Seems to be the way when down times hit. I’m sure you know the feeling well – we’ve all been to this place.
There’s a difference between feeling a bit down and being depressed, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. I was depressed.
Thanks to the tools I now carry with me though, I knew it was up to me to crawl out of it, no matter how hopeless I felt.
And while I insisted on hiding under my warm quilt covers instead of going to the gym in the mornings, and despite feeling like I was easily set-off at every tiny little thing that could be perceived to be going wrong each day, during my morning commute I endeavoured to try to lift my own spirits.
Friends know I’m a huge fan of author and speaker, Gabrielle Bernstein, and her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, had been sitting on my Kindle for a few weeks.
I felt like it might be time to open it up.
On the bus each morning, I read just a few pages at a time, absorbing one small idea a day and taking it with me into work.
The one thing that struck me in the opening pages of the book was Gabrielle’s discussion about how we are the dreamers of our dream; we are responsible for what we see.
I knew that I was feeling sad and disappointed, and that there were reasons which had led me to that place. I have learned that it’s ok to feel down about things sometimes, for a little while.
But, I knew the way I was feeling was not how I wanted to continue feeling; I didn’t want to be taking it with me everywhere and I sure as hell didn’t want to be projecting it into the world, because I’m well aware that what I put out will come back in larger doses.
I wasn’t even sure where or how to ask for help and didn’t have any idea how I’d be able to shift what I was seeing in front of me.
I highlighted in Gabby’s book:
“You don’t have to be a world leader to have a radical shift in perception. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to perceive your job with more gratitude or your family with more love.”
I practised this in my head and in writing, and it helped a bit.
I knew if nothing else, just trying would raise my energy (and therefore what I was attracting) just a notch.
How to ask for help and to see things differently
I was still in a horrible place and this didn’t help me move through to anywhere significantly better. I felt particularly low that I was lost and without an idea of what to do moving forward.
Which is why this next part of Gabby’s advice was particularly helpful and as always, timely, and why I feel compelled to write a few words about it.
You see, I’ve realised in recent years that we don’t have to have the answers all the time and we don’t necessarily need to worry about figuring out what to do. (This coming from someone who feels very uneasy without a plan!)
All we need to do is ask for help.
“I need help. I want to see things differently.”
I am completely aware of this strategy but typical of being in a hopeless funk, we often forget to follow the advice we give to others.
I’ve used this strategy previously when I’ve been at the end of my options (or seemingly so), and when I have wanted to make a difference to loved ones having a hard time, but feel helpless to do so.
I stop and ask for help – a miracle even. And, I must say, I’ve seen it work each time.
The part about seeking a different perspective is reasonably new to me – or at least, specifically seeking a new perspective as a strategy is novel.
But how would it work?
I wasn’t sure, but it seemed straightforward and something that I could call on even when I was feeling hopeless.
I went about making this my daily mantra – asking to see things differently.
I fumbled my way through the week still feeling like a right old miserable mess, and half feeling like my crazy self-help strategies were failing me.
But being the believer that I am, I persisted.
“Help me see things differently”.
And then it happened, out of literally nowhere, some news that changed the way I would view a scenario that was getting me down the most.
Something that had felt hugely disappointing turned out to be hopeful.
Then the next day, additional information came my way that lifted a veil of uncertainty over another upsetting situation that I’ve been holding space for.
I’d asked to see things differently – I had no idea how any of it would go, after all, that’s part of the reason I was feeling so depressed – I couldn’t see my way out of problems I was perceiving.
I kept asking to see things differently, and low and behold, that’s what happened in a relatively short amount of time from when I started asking for help!
Apparently the universe does have my back, and I’m glad to have had the chance to witness it.
What do you think about all this; would you try this strategy for a week to see what happens?