Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, someone whose life is filled with sunshine and rainbows 24/7. Your family is healthy, you’ve got all your limbs, and you never burn your tongue on your soy latte. To those of you who fit this description, good for you. I don’t think you exist, but if you do, give yourself a nice pat on the back.
For the rest of us mere mortals, life can sometimes suck a lot. Take it from me – my mom was my best friend my whole life and then, the summer before my sophomore year of college, she was diagnosed with stage four gynecological cancer. Eight months later, she died. Ugh. The worst thing ever, yeah?
And, so, I present to you, my mortal friends, three mostly-obvious-but-still-useful steps to go from paralyzed with horror to fully functioning after your Worst Thing happens (deities forbid).
Self-medicate, you guys! I don’t mean the kind you get from a pharmacist. I mean food and harmless entertainment that (however briefly) takes your mind off the pain you’re feeling. For me, it’s macaroni and cheese, hot cocoa, and stand-up comedy on DVD. Maybe you have a sweet tooth or a love for bad ‘80’s movies. Do what feels right. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to laugh. Repeat as needed.
Ask for what you need! Once you’ve started to get back to your normal routine, you may find it hard to concentrate. Your brain is still clogged with the latent sad thoughts that the artificial cheez from Step One didn’t cleanse away. This is normal. Luckily, most people are nice, and they get even nicer when you explain your situation and ask for the help that you need. My teachers at school were extremely accommodating, and my guess is that yours (or your boss or your friends) will be too.
Channel your frustration! No matter how much time passes, there will always be a little twinge of ickiness in the back of your head. This is also normal. I find that the best way to deal with this is to use it as inspiration for whatever creative endeavor you love most. Write or draw or shake a tambourine or make balloon animals, but use your unhappiness as fuel to make it even better than before.
You might feel hurt or broken or hopeless right now, you guys, but trust me: there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s cheesy but true: you’re going to be okay. Now go flop on the couch and enjoy the stereotypical pint of ice cream.