What To Do When You Feel Like Your World Is Ending And Everybody Hates You And Nothing Will Ever Be Ok Again

8 Jan

Trigger warning: suicide

I am not always an easy person to be around.

I’m sure that most people feel that way, and to some extent it’s probably true. But there are times when I am particularly, especially, really awful to be around. What makes these times even more difficult is that they usually coincide with my periods of mental health crisis, which means that the point where my behaviour is most likely to drive my friends away is also exactly when my self-esteem is at its lowest ebb.

I don’t have a very good instinct for boundaries. I have a hard time enforcing my own, and I’m not always good at knowing how to respect those belonging to other people. I think that for a long time my personal boundaries were treated more as points of negotiation than hard lines, and by consequence I don’t have a very solid foundation when it comes to understanding how they work. If someone spells them out to me, that’s fine – but in my experience that kind of articulation often doesn’t happen until after the relationship has been damaged and feelings have been hurt.

I am a great friend until I’m not. I am fine except for when I am in a crisis, which in a bad year can last for several months on end.

I am a cryer. I am someone who panics loudly. I am a person who feels dread everywhere – in my teeth and the tips of my fingers and deep in my bones. There are days when I know with an absolute certainty that I am a miserable monster who will never feel happiness again.

I have sat in my living room at three in the afternoon and three in the morning and every hour in between consumed with an unhappiness so intense that I’m not sure how to describe it except to say that it just is. And it swells up so huge inside of me that it obscures everything else including my sense of myself and the passage of time so that there is no more past and there is no more future and there is just this exquisitely awful present that can only possibly be escaped through death.

I know. I know. But also that’s just how it is sometimes, you know?

And once you’re there, you just keep going further down the rabbit hole. All you can talk about is what an awful person you are, and the more you say it, the truer it feels. When your friend disagrees, you get angry and accuse them of not being on your side (the joke is, of course, that no one is on your side because what the fuck is your side). You show up at their place crying, asking if you can crash on their couch because you’re not sure you can survive a night alone at home. When they call to check on you, you say that you’re going through the medicine cabinet trying to figure out the deadliest combination of pills.

These are all awful things to do and I am ashamed to write them out but at the time they felt inevitable. I didn’t know how else to be, and every new friendship meant counting down the minutes until they discovered the real me, the awful me, the one who cries over dinner, in the grocery store, during a very normal conversation that shouldn’t be sad at all. I felt like I’d tricked people into wanting to spend time with me, and much of my mental and physical energy was used keeping up the image of what an upstanding not-awful person I was. That is, until the next rough patch hit and I couldn’t sustain it anymore.

I did not drive every friend away. But I can honestly say that I did drive some friends away.

*                    *                   *

When I was going through a particularly hard time in university, a friend that I often leaned on for support – let’s call her C – suggested that I make a list of all the things I hated about myself. “Once you’ve got that list,” she said, “you’ll know what you want to change.”

C was big on self-improvement. She did stuff like quitting the school’s meal program and buying herself a bar fridge so that she could better follow The Zone diet in the privacy of her own dorm room. She was the kind of person who always seemed to intuitively know what she needed – a new rug for her room, an hour at the gym, a quiet night in watching Sense and Sensibility. And, in marked contrast to me, she didn’t have frequent weepy meltdowns about how much of a mess her life was. So when she suggested writing out all the worst things about myself, I readily agreed. After all, if I couldn’t identify the problem, how on earth was I going to come up with a solution?

So I parked myself in the library’s atrium one afternoon to make this list. Another friend – let’s call her K – asked me what I was doing. When I told her that C had told me that I could improve my life by thinking up all the things I didn’t like about myself and then changing them, K said something like: “You know what will really improve your life? Getting rid of the friends who tell you to make lists of the things you hate about yourself. Maybe start hanging around with the people who want you to like yourself for who you are.”

In the decade or so since then, I’ve realized that both of their ideas have merit.

I should be able to expect that my friends love me for who I am, including the wailing banshee that lives somewhere in the shadowlands of my heart who believes that she is anything but loveable.

But I should also try to take what responsibility I can for what I say and do when that banshee does her best to trash the party and leave.

Because that banshee is me and I am that banshee and even though I’m still not quite sure what to do with that information I know it’s important.

*                    *                   *

I’ve seen a few debates lately about what the “right” kind of self-care is. Should you do the dishes or leave them in the sink while you take a nap? Should you make good on your plans and go out with friends even when you feel crappy or should you bail with some transparent excuse? Should you clean your room or hunker down with a good book and let your future self worry about picking up your clothes?

I don’t think there are any cut and dried answers to these questions. There’s no good way to have a mental health crisis. Sometimes it’s smarter to wash your dishes and sometimes you need a break and it’s hard to know in the moment which one is true. On the one hand, a messy apartment makes me feel like the world is closing in on me, but on the other hand the best prescription a doctor ever wrote for me said “do more things that you enjoy.” Maybe the thing that feels worst is not making a choice and spending a four hour stretch sobbing on the couch unable to decide whether you should clean the bathroom or make yourself a cup of tea.

*                    *                   *

Here are a few things I’ve learned after nearly two decades of weathering my own breakdowns:

  1. All feelings are valid, but they are not necessarily an accurate reflection of reality. Treat feelings as symptoms rather than the disease, which is to say do what you can to alleviate them while at the same time looking for a root cause.

  2. When you are down the rabbit hole, there is not a single thing anyone can say to make you feel better about yourself. The best they can do is hold your hand while you go through it.

  3. It helps to prepare for the bad times during the good times. I have a word doc of all the reasons why my friends probably don’t hate me that I go through and read when I feel like all of my friends probably hate me.

  4. Wait a day before ending a friendship or quitting a job or running away from the thing that you really want to run away from. You might be making the right choice, but it rarely hurts to give yourself some breathing room before committing.

  5. It’s good to create a safe space for yourself on social media – a group chat with friends you trust or a Facebook page where people can post stuff for you and commiserate about mental health woes. I know this isn’t everyone’s jam, but I live in terror of exhausting people with my shit so it’s better for me to have an opt-in system where friends can choose to participate if they feel up to it.

  6. Your survival rate up until now has been 100%. That is the best possible rate. You have made it through every bad day so far, and statistics are on your side when it comes to making it through the next one.

  7. I don’t know if my good days outnumber my bad and I’m not sure it’s worth counting them, but I do know that after each storm blows itself out I’m always grateful to still be here.

If you’re in a bad place, I hope some of this helps. Happy January, darlings.

3622298632

sometimes you need to find that internal weather map (not to mention that internal weather girl so you can get hot tips on her bouffant hairdo)

70 Responses to “What To Do When You Feel Like Your World Is Ending And Everybody Hates You And Nothing Will Ever Be Ok Again”

  1. listentothebabe January 8, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    That was a good list. Rare to find something that makes so much sense on a subject that’s difficult to make sense of.

  2. Cheney January 8, 2016 at 3:55 am #

    I love how you convey your feelings here – makes me realize that there are others out there who REALLY get it. Hugs.

  3. godofthunder85 January 8, 2016 at 4:07 am #

    I think it shows a lot of character and good self-introspection to display concern for how your actions may effect others during a severe meltdown. I’ve dealt with clinical depression myself, and I try my best to do that. There are still too many people with emotional problems who do not seem to care how their actions effect others, and feel their medical ailment actually gives them a sense of entitlement to do as they please to others. The fact that you care about how others feel makes it clear you’re a good person underneath all the pain, and for that reason, you’re worthy of every friend who sticks by you during the worst of times. And that shows exactly why they do, despite how difficult it can be for them at times. And the fact that you can publicly admit all of this also shows a lot of character on your part.

  4. lustyglutton January 8, 2016 at 4:08 am #

    Love love love. Also need. also very relevant to a piece I am in the midst of writing.

  5. darren January 8, 2016 at 4:27 am #

    Thank you.

  6. Shirley January 8, 2016 at 4:41 am #

    I found a book entitled How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me : One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner. Granted, I am only a quarter of the way but I am mesmerized by the validity of her feelings to which I can relate. So much of it also corresponds with therapy I’ve had for eating disorders which is not an issue for the author. If suicide has/is a thought for you, get this book. It isn’t an easy book because you are looking at yourself which is not easy for most of us. But give it a try. I found it at the public library but Amazon carries it.

  7. Maggie January 8, 2016 at 4:45 am #

    Many thanks for writing this courageous post. I suspect you and I are cut from the same cloth, so it does me loads of good to read this. Thank you.

  8. gentlenurse January 8, 2016 at 5:31 am #

    This is brilliant. I love what you wrote and the way you said it. Totally brilliant. You shine with Smartness. Thank you. I, too, have survived 100%.

    • lisamariagardiner January 8, 2016 at 6:27 am #

      Thank you for sharing, keep writing, you are helping others x

  9. ainsobriety January 8, 2016 at 5:51 am #

    #4. I try really hard with this one. Spontaneous decisions rarely work out for me.
    This post really speaks to me. Self care vs self improvement. It is such a fine line…

  10. catskillquilter January 8, 2016 at 7:29 am #

    Great, insightful post! Isn’t it ironic that even in the midst of the Dark Hole you can articulate what that feels like, and touch others with your words? At the age of (almost) 70, I can honestly say that, even with lifelong clinical depression, it gets easier as you get older. (I am not minimizing here; I did say “easier” and not “easy.!”) I love your list, especially #6, which had never occurred to me until I read it. I have kept diaries off and on throughout much of my life, and one day I chanced to sit down and browse through them for several hours. I discovered that the problems were the same, my list of what was wrong with me that needed to be “fixed”was the same, and I was essentially going around in circles for years at a time, seeking a personal perfection that was most likely unattainable and unrealistic. Since then I have tried to let all of the self-improvement nonsense go, and tried to live gently with myself and with those around me. It is an admittedly small step, but in the right direction. Thank you for your blog, and for your writing, which makes a difference to many of us. Hang in there.

    • belleliseuse January 8, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

      I love this, especially “live gently with myself and others.” Thank you!

    • zfunky February 1, 2016 at 4:42 am #

      this just made me feel so much better. thanks catskillquilter

  11. Carla January 8, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    I’ve been reading your blog for months now but this is the first time I couldn’t resist the urge to comment. Thank you for this delicately raw and detailed list. You have perfectly, with intimate efficacy, expressed all the guilt, shame and fear I have experienced for years but you have also discussed a presence of hope I am anxiously waiting to feel. Thank you so much for your eloquence and honesty.

  12. Joey Adelaide January 8, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    A beautiful and wise piece that really says it all

  13. indaylightblog January 8, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    What a great introspection, and I love your list! I agree finding balance is difficult. Braking away from shame and avoidance and practising self-compassion instead is very hard. Especially when depression is such a pervasive and consuming monster of an illness. Thank you for writing this and helping so many of us.

  14. M. A. LaMothe January 8, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been composing a blog entry along similar lines after having been going through a… slump recently. Truly a great post. Thank you.

  15. Department of Speculation January 8, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    Just want to wish you the best that’s possible in 2016. Whenever your posts pop up in my reader, I know I’m going to have something of substance and insight to take away. Thanks for that. To maintain lucidity in the face of mental health turmoil is immensely admirable to me.

    • Paul Hunter Jones January 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

      This is a very poignant post about the realities of a mental health crisis. I was transfixed in front of my computer’s screen while reading your words. I was impressed with your honesty and courage in sharing some of your darkest moments. You discuss a difficult subject with wit and grace. I know now that it would not hurt me to take time to look inside my own feelings and thoughts and not fear what I might find. Congratulations! From where I sit, you seem to be mentally in tune with your mental crisis. You can count me as one of your friends, through good and bad times.

  16. Shadiya January 8, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    This made me cry but thank you for articulating so clearly what and how it is. Happy New Year to all of us xxx

  17. 2mostrareaffections January 8, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    It’s funny, one of the things that helped me through my most severe depression was a notecard in my pocket with things I actually liked about life. That may or may not help everyone, and it didn’t “fix” me by any means. But that seems like the opposite of a list of things I hate about myself. That would have made me feel terrible! I’m glad your other friend stuck up for you. The debate about self care is also interesting. Sometimes it’s better to force yourself to do the dishes, and sometimes it isn’t. We’re all working on finding the balance!

    • bellejarblog January 10, 2016 at 3:27 am #

      One thing that helped for a long time was a card that said PORTABLE LOVE that my friend made me so that I could always have a reminder with me that she loved me.

  18. hopecollishaw January 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    I am so glad I read this

  19. Claudia Theriault's great grand daughter January 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Hang in there, Dear one. It will pass. It’s like getting a bad cold, you know that. Just as sloppy, too. Go make that cup of tea. Listen to your old, wise auntie. I promise, it will pass.

  20. lizeden January 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    One of the best things I learned in my struggle with depression is that we don’t have to pick one thing or the other, when trying to figure out something like self care vs cleaning.

    Let’s say your bedroom floor is covered in clothes. Where in your bedroom do your eyes go the most? Probably betweeen the bed and the door, assuming that you can’t see on the other side of the bed. So what if you took a five minutes to pick up the clothes that most easily are in front of your eyes? Just that part. Leave the rest.

    Or, let’s say dishes are in the sink. I play a game I can “____ Things”. I pick a number (when it’s a bad day, it’s a number like 3. When it’s a good day, it’s a number like 12). Let’s say it’s a bad day, and I picked 3. So now I need to pick 3 things to do. This can be:

    – Wash 3 dishes.
    – Put away 3 bowls
    – Put away 3 *each* of 3 things, spoons, forks, plates.
    – Wash 3 dishes, put away 3 bowls, and find 3 kitchen things in other rooms and bring them to the sink (maybe I left a glass in the living room, one in the bed, and a bowl in the living room)

    At the end of doing these things, I can say to myself “Self, you did SOMETHING. Even if you crawl back into bed right now, you still just did SOMETHING today. Do you want to do more something or go lay down?”

    Another thing I’ve done is fall into a book that I love, but promise myself that at the end of some chapters, I will get up and do one thing. Fold a shirt. Pick up a pair of jeans on the floor. Wipe out the bathroom sink. Or, if I’m watching something on Roku, I’ll pause at the commerical break space (or between eppisodes) and do one thing.

    Most of the time (but not all the time) when I’m in a bad place, I end up feeling a lot better at the end of the day. I got in my self care, but I also did at *least* teensy, weensy bit of something. And sometimes, I did a lot of little somethings that added up to getting a lot done.

    I really hope this helps. I feel a lot of empathy for that miserable feeling of Everything is Terrible and I Can’t Do Anything Right. I hate it when I feel that way. I hate not knowing if doing something pleasurable or doing something “responsible” (not that self care isn’t responsible, but there’s that part of me that says it’s less responsible than bill paying or cleaning or laundry, you know?) is going to be “the right thing” that really makes me feel better. When I started splitting it into doing a little bit of the “responsible” thing mixed in with the self-care, it really helped me to feel a bit better. A bit more like I was doing *something* to move forward.

    I hope – if you haven’t tried this before – that it helps you too.

    • Rosie January 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

      I love this.

    • bellejarblog January 10, 2016 at 3:25 am #

      This is great advice, thank you!

    • Josie January 18, 2016 at 5:43 am #

      Thank you, I found this very helpful ❤

  21. belleliseuse January 8, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts, even the bad ones. Your words are really helping me today. I was way down deep in The Black Hole this past Saturday. It is very frustrating and very sad.

  22. Mindful Riot January 8, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    This was very brave. I am grateful I have not struggled as much as you (and I am sorry that you do), but THIS I identified SO hard with:

    Maybe the thing that feels worst is not making a choice and spending a four hour stretch sobbing on the couch unable to decide whether you should clean the bathroom or make yourself a cup of tea.

    On those bad days it really is the worst when you are stuck between what you want to do and what you know you should do and then do you do neither and just cry. I don’t understand why this is so hard. I just use a shorthand for myself, “transitions are hard,” to try to minimize it, but this really doesn’t help all that much. Transitions ARE hard, though. Because once I am cleaning the bathroom or making tea I’m usually gonna be OK.

  23. Tippy Rex January 8, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    Who would tell you to make a list of things you hate about yourself??? For me, that’s awfully low-hanging fruit. I know feelings are not facts, but still…

  24. kyanabrindle January 8, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    This is honest and helpful and real. Thank you for sharing your shadows with us.

  25. Heather Sorrentino January 9, 2016 at 1:51 am #

    thank you.

  26. Happy 2016 January 9, 2016 at 2:38 am #

    You’re not on neuroleptic drugs, are you? Sometimes they can cause mood changes and super emotional states like what you describe above. Esp. when taken irregularly, self-dosing, or sometimes just because. Good luck.

  27. Happy 2016 January 9, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Also, I don’t know if this helps, but if you’re Christian and like God–the sermons at this site are very much alive, even though the pastor can be Mmm! sometimes: http://www.hmcc.net

    http://hongkong.hmcc.net/sermons/sunday/2015

  28. Happy 2016 January 9, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Or this: Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

  29. Jessica January 9, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    I feel that you are talking about two different things in this article. It’s one thing to work on your personality, we should all do that, but it’s a lost cause unless you get your mental health in check first. A switch of your mental health condition can completely change your outlook, your personality, you’re behavior towards friends, etc.

    In general, (since I don’t know the details of your circumstance and can’t judge.):

    The stigma surrounding mental health is most commonly caused by the refusal of acknowledging our own programming. We like to think we are completely driven by free will, and the fact that there is an organic mechanism of neurotransmitters behind the scenes robs us of our soul.

    I know the haunting depths of depression, and my mind has been hijacked by the chaotic insanity of mania, but it’s all in the past. If I ever complain about being depressed today, and I’m talking about clinical depression, not sadness, I hope someone smacks me over the head and tells me to get back on my meds.

    Pills don’t control you – when you find the right meds – you take control. You can be in the drivers seat of your life and push your mental health to the back seat, strap it in and tell it to shut up. really!

    The problem some have with this is that they can no longer blame the bad driving on something else. They are scared of letting go of their crutch. It scares a lot of people to be in control of their lives. It means being responsible, and taking responsibility. They can no longer cry and point the finger.

    Being on medication makes me think of a slogan used by the Seminole State College:
    “Be Yourself, Only Better!”

    And when you are better, the world is better for you and those around you.

  30. heretherebespiders January 9, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

    This made me think of you: http://good-mag.co/dontsaysorry

  31. starlitwishes January 10, 2016 at 6:32 am #

    Reblogged this on starlit wishes & butterfly kisses.

  32. Noor Elhayat January 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    This is my first time to come across an open honest experience of mental pain. Stating it as real. Not dealing with it as a disease which one should focus on curing only.
    It must be hard. It must be very hard. But I can sense power in those words and I can feel that you’ll be always fine.
    Peace.

  33. Raney Simmon January 11, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

    Wow. I can really relate to this post. Will definitely have to try out some of the things you’ve suggested.

  34. I Will Start This Blog, I Mean It! January 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    Hang in there, Lady. Your work is always an inspiration.

  35. fromdaus January 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    I can relate with number four because I am trying by best to find a reason not to quit my day job and put it on hold for just a few days more if not weeks.

    I have no problem at work, its just I feel like I need to do the things that matter more and closer to my personal goals.

  36. AMM January 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    I like most of your list, but #6 is sticking in my mind at the moment.

    I feel suicidal anywhere from once or twice a week to several times a day, and I keep reminding myself (and anyone I talk to about it) that I didn’t kill myself when I was 10 and 11, when my life was absolutely at its worst (and did the damage I wrestle with to this day), and I haven’t done so since, so I’m not likely to do so now, 50 years later.

    One thing that’s objectively better about my suicidal thoughts than 50 years ago: I no longer shame myself for not having the guts to go through with it.

  37. margecake January 12, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    deep post

  38. curiositydidntkillme January 12, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    Thank you for this, this describes everything I’ve been feeling for the past… ever; I’m ready to move forward and I think I’m going to take the list with me.

  39. Tiffany Lane January 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    Thank you for the honesty! It is rare that someone is able to be so honest with themselves, let alone the rest of the world. I am currently struggling with many of the things you speak of and your list makes more sense than half my thoughts lately.

  40. basicstoflowers January 13, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    This is an amazing post, things I relate too as well. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, but I’ve always had a hard time fitting in. And at times, you see your surroundings, and you see everyone fitting in perfectly fine. And its just you.

  41. Katrina Begg January 13, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    I wish I had the guts to talk about this as openly as you have. I have not felt suicidal in years, but I do still struggle with depression. I can relate to that feeling of not knowing what to do so instead I do nothing. It’s like I am paralyzed, and inside my head I just imagine myself doing whatever needs to be done, because that’s easier than doing it.

    Anyway I usually get through the worst of my moods by telling myself that it is a feeling that will pass. It is here for the moment, and it may not feel great, but eventually it will pass.

  42. Ian Timothy January 14, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Brilliant

  43. OGUNWALE OLUWABUKUNMI January 14, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on BUKUNMI'S DIARY and commented:
    Well Now you know what to do. Don’t you?

  44. Suvarna... January 15, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    I loved it. You have literally poured your heart out. I can relate with you so much that i felt you have written my own feelings. It takes a different kind of courage to openly talk about your internal struggles… ❤

  45. cracboumhuh January 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    ..Looks like you got the subject covered. Are you born on an april 6 1977 too? he he…just kidding nice to read a “raving banshee” I can relate to. I’ll come visit again. I also like the theme of your blog its inspiring I am a beginner in the public writing experience. Tootleloo!

  46. Shirley January 19, 2016 at 5:10 am #

    I have read most of the comments and do agree with some. I am going through my deepest struggle now in all the years I’ve battled depression. I’m not sure how this is going to play out but I am trying to do the “right things” to get through this. The suicide brain, I am learning, is so much like the brain of someone with an eating disorder (oh yes I’ve there for many years). I don’t that helps at all. What you say is much like I ‘m reading in a suicide prevention book. Even though I agree with much of that I am not sure I want it. I’m sorry I truly do not know how to state my thoughts right now. Didn’t mean to ramble.

  47. saymber January 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    You are a kindred soul – my greatest therapist through the years…Mother Nature. Thank you for sharing who you are and who you are growing to be. Whenever we write about our strength, experience and hope we help others and heal ourselves. Love to you.

  48. saymber January 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    I shared this on my facebook too btw. I have many friends like us.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What To Do When You Feel Like Your World Is Ending And Everybody Hates You And Nothing Will Ever Be Ok Again | musnadjia423wordpress - January 8, 2016

    […] Source : What To Do When You Feel Like Your World Is Ending And Everybody Hates You And Nothing Will Ever Be … […]

  2. Monday Links – Rhizomatic Ideas - January 11, 2016

    […] Read one person’s experiences of dealing with mental health crises in What To Do When You Feel Like Your World Is Ending And Everybody Hates You And Nothing Will Ever Be …. […]

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