So I am using this picture as a metaphor for those times in your life when you feel buried. Buried by anything from a break-up, unemployment (c'est moi), the loss of a loved one, or just that depressing monotonous feeling that sneaks up on most people at different points in their lives. I see evidence of people feeling buried everywhere...on the blogosphere, amongst my friends and family, and even this cashier at the grocery store today who literally looked on the verge of tears. Like that original hippie blogger, Thoreau, once said, "we all lead lives of quiet desperation."
But then, what do we do with this buried feeling so that we don't lose our friends and family in the process of trying to make it go away? Because feeling buried spills out and onto the people who love you most. It hurts them so to see you sad and they become frustrated when nothing they say or do makes you better. That's because, truly, and like my car situation above, you need to dig yourself out (or perhaps find someone who is not a loved one to help such as mental health professional).
In my last semester of grad school earlier this year, I saw a therapist every few weeks because I felt like I couldn't handle everything that happening - some health issues, an accelerated graduate program, working two part-time jobs, a long-distance relationship, and a not-so-great living situation. I really liked my therapist because not only did she have no connection to my personal life but she was direct and neutral yet kind and sympathetic. She used cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which is a goal-oriented form of therapy performed on a short timeline (in my case, it was 8 sessions). I liked the structure and focus of our time, and one of the greatest revelations from our sessions was when she came right out and said, "you are so hard on yourself."
Something so simple and yet so vast in how I have lived my life. That phrase became the primary tool I would use to pull myself out of the rubble....rubble that was often there because I buried myself with it. It is not a perfect system. But having this truth to hold on to has helped over the past months. However, I have not been very successful at it lately in the wake of not being able to find a full-time job and all the financial woes and self-esteem issues arising from my unemployment.
But I love Natalie's post this morning because it resonates a lot with where I am. Some years are amazing and some years are terrible. We have waves of light and dark and it is often darkest before the dawn. It feels pretty dark right now, so I am hoping for some dawn soon. And I know it can always be darker.
In the meantime, as my friend Cynthia so wisely said, the best thing we can do is to know things will turn out okay and to not allow the unhappiness of others to get in our way. Sometimes hope is all you have but what a beautiful thing to have perched in your soul to sing a tune without the words that never stops at all.*
Note: to give credit where credit is unduly due, the last sentence was paraphrased from a poem by my namesake, Emily Dickinson.