Re-evaluating my life in the face of trauma (how’s that for a title that could fit into a self-help book’s chapter index)

Hi lovely people who occasionally glance at my blog (usually when I tell them to.)

I have recently gone through a very traumatic experience that I don’t want to share with the world. if you feel like you’re close enough to me to ask what happened, ask away, but use your judgment on that one.

I feel like my life was beginning to normalize from the past couple years (read this post if you want to know why my life has sucked) and finally I was getting my sh*t together. Then this happened. It feels unfair, crappy, and demoralizing.

This experience is causing me to re-evaluate my life, my values, my morals, my decisions, and my behaviour.

So this post is about how I am choosing to deal with my aforementioned traumatic experience.

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My unenthusiastic life re-evaluation thumbs up.

Firstly, I am following my own advice in the above linked post. Right now I’m still in the self-indulgent, wallowing faze. I bought a fancy face mask and I’m going to veg out and watch Lord of the Rings with weird stuff slathered on my face. I’ve also removed myself to my dad’s house for a little while so I can be around my lovely little brothers who always brighten my day, my super-supportive dad, and my thoughtful step-mom.

Secondly, I am reaching out for the support of my closest friends and my boyfriend. I have an unfortunate habit of keeping everything in and ignoring my feelings that usually leads to random breakdowns months after the fact. I’m trying to avoid this right now and talk about it. Maybe I’ll write stuff in my new Hobbit moleskin (yeah, I bought one, it’s exciting.)

Thirdly (this is starting to sound like every essay I wrote in grade 9 before I figured out more interesting transitions than “firstly” etc.), I am thinking really deeply about the people I spend time with. I’m referring to my acquaintances and not super-close friends. I don’t always keep the best company. I have some really great friends but a lot of the people I associate with aren’t really on the same level of human-quality as I am. I want to surround myself with better, more supportive, and more genuine people. This experience has opened my eyes to my misplaced trust in certain acquaintances and groups of people. So I’m kind of purging my social life a teensy-tiny bit. Fun right?

Lastly, I’m really going to focus on myself and my own healing. When my mom died, I focused more on staying emotionally neutral and being strong for everyone else. At her visitation I worked the floor like I was at a conference, greeting people, introducing people, comforting people. I really worked hard to be strong. I settled all the financial arrangements, planned out her funeral with my dad, made a slideshow for her funeral which involved looking through tons of pictures of her. I really did too much and tried to take on too much so that I didn’t have to think about the sadness I was dealing with. This time will be different. I am determined to just do what’s best for me. Especially if it means watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies on repeat for the next couple days and drinking copious amounts of green tea.

So that’s how I’m dealing with this shiznit. Wish me luck internet peoples.

So you had a shitty day, week, month, year, couple years or whatever

“This is the worst day ever”

“FML”

“Ugh I hate my life”

I often find myself saying these things… without any thought to whether I could actually qualify my day as being the worst I have ever experienced. It’s a totally hyperbolic statement made by most of us on a regular basis because something small went wrong: You missed your bus, you were late for your shift, you got yelled at by your parents/teacher/boss, Tim Hortons ran out of egg for your breakfast wrap etc. Usually, ten minutes later you’re feeling perfectly fine again.

But what happens when something big goes wrong? What do you do when you can actually fairly say that your day or month or year was HORRIBLE?

Well I’ve had a horrible couple of years. My grandmother and my mother died of cancer within a couple months of each other. I had my biggest heartbreak of my life. I had a nervous breakdown and messed up my school year. I had incredible drama with a couple of my good friends. And I had a couple more personal issues that I’d prefer not to publish.

Now some of you may be wondering how so much shit could happen to a person in the span of a year and a half. Others may be thinking “pfffffff I’ve gone through worse.” For me, this year was basically rock bottom.

I’m doing much better now so I thought I’d share some of the things that I did (or didn’t do but totally wish I did) to get through it.

  1. Don’t make any life-changing decisions. Actually… try and keep any sort of decision making to a minimal. Emotional trauma + big decisions = bad. [I moved to another city, started university and then got an apartment… None of which turned out very well.]
  2. Be a little self-indulgent. Go eat that tub of ben&jerry’s. Watch 5 seasons of your favourite show. Sleep in. Wallow in self pity. Buy yourself that ____ you’ve been wanting. [I did all of these things.] Just don’t get into it lest you become a depressed shut-in and your friends have to stage an intervention.
  3. Get physical. Put on some booty shorts and dance in front of your mirror. Or go for a run; bike ride; work out.. Whatever is your thing. But honestly – what is better than dancing in front of your mirror?
  4. Make yourself laugh. Watch the comedy network or YouTube stand-up comedy. Watch a hilarious movie. Cat videos. Hang out with whichever friend makes you laugh the most.
  5. Do yo thang, gurl. Dye your hair whatever colour you want. Try break-dancing. All your friends are taking gym but you want to take creative writing? Do it. This is your life and your life it going kind of shitty so YOU do what YOU think will make YOU happy.
  6. Escape. Go on a trip to visit your best friend in another city. Or go camping. Distract yourself a little. A temporary change in environment is freeing. And it can get you out of a funk if you’re in one. [hint: do this after you’re done wallowing in self pity…]
  7. Express yourself. Talk about it or write about it.

or twerk it out….