Please help me … I am sad. I think I’m drowning, I don’t know what to do and I don’t know where to go. I feel suffocated and strangled by the weight of my emotions. I feel like I’m lost in this dark tunnel of excruciating pain that just doesn’t end. It just doesn’t go away.
I wrote these words as a teenager in a journal that I’ve long since left to collect dust, but the truth is that I still feel this way sometimes. I’ve often found myself returning back to that dark, consuming tunnel of emotions when I feel rejected, mistreated, misunderstood, lied to and slighted, and the same story tends to repeat itself over and over again:
Everything sucks. I will never feel happy again. Nobody can be trusted. Life is unfair.
Do you feel this way? Have you experienced the world crumbling down around you so suddenly that you don’t have time to even take a breath? Have you felt your emotions become so intense, so overwhelming within you that they seem to form a vortex; a black hole of despair?
I want you to know that although you might be suffering greatly right now, your suffering is not without a purpose or a meaning. We will explore what I mean by that together soon.
I Am Sad … What Can I Do to Feel Better?
You have come to this article to feel better. I understand that. And I welcome you to be gentle with yourself and learn as much as you can from this article. I am teaching you how to feel better because I have taught myself how to feel better; there is no other way that I could have written this article.
Like you, I have experienced a lot of pain in my life: emotional pain, psychological pain, and chronic physical pain. I am a wounded healer; a shamaness, in my own right, who has learned to transform my own pain into my own medicine. This sacred alchemical process would have never started so early in my life without the help of my teacher and Shaman, Mateo Sol.
Although I still feel the harsh stings of pain, I am learning to transform the experience into something for my benefit. “How is that even possible?” you might ask, “I am sad, terribly heart-broken … how on earth can that work for my benefit?” Well, I can attempt to show you how, but the rest is in your hands.
Here are a few key things I want you to know and/or put into practice to help yourself feel better:
1. Find a quiet place of solitude.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but in order to feel better, you need to take some time out from people and life. You might like to shut the door of your bedroom, go sit on a quiet park bench, take a solitary stroll, or find any other place that gives you time to think and process what you’ve experienced.
The more noise, disruptions and distractions there are, the easier it is to get sucked into a mindless cycle of unquestioned misery.
2. Ask, “is that true?”
Once you are quiet and still, you will naturally relive the moment, words, actions, situation or person that brought you such great sadness and distress. Your mind will replay the moment over and over again because you are trying to understand it. Allow yourself to do this, but also realize that your mind will easily attach to any conclusion, assumption or misconception that arises. For example, you might instantly assume that the reason why your partner has criticized your weight is because they think you’re ugly and they don’t love you anymore. In this situation ask yourself, “Is that true? Do I really, truly know that this is true?” Likely, your answer will be “no, I don’t know whether it’s absolutely true or not.” This opens a space to consider other possibilities: perhaps they were insecure about their own weight, perhaps they were guilty about their own food choices that day, perhaps their snarkiness had nothing to do with you personally, and so forth.
I will use a personal example. Yesterday I received a strange email from an author I had been collaborating with on my book. This author had previously agreed to review my book, and when I asked whether they were happy for me to publish their review on the back cover, they said “yes.” However, all of a sudden I got a random email from them saying that they “don’t think we’re on the same page” and that they don’t want their review of my book to be published. That’s it. No explanation. No anything. Good bye.