This year, I endured my own personal apocalypse. Personal apocalypses are highly embarrassing, especially when one has a blog titled "Awesome Your Life" and finds herself feeling radically, hellishly not-awesome. In the fall I sunk to feeling lower than I've ever felt. The basic gist of it is this: I got involved in a relationship with a beautiful, amazing person. The relationship got very serious very fast. And then I realized that though my partner was so dazzling in so many ways - he was also not compatible with me in some very deep, necessary ways. We ended the relationship. Because of everything that had transpired between us, and the level of seriousness we had reached - I felt tremendous shame about it going sour and ending.
I felt too awful to write this blog. For six weeks I felt too awful to do almost anything other than lay in bed, cry, call my mother, cry, pray, smoke cigarettes and cry.
For the first time in my existence, I seriously contemplated ending it all. Highly disturbed by that chain of thought, I made a hard bargain with the universe: "Show me how to get out of this hell of shame and misery and I will devote my life to healing others from this kind of terrible pain."
And - well folks, don't you know - the universe held up its end of the bargain. Less than three months after the whole ordeal I feel fine - ready to swim in the streams of life and awesomeness once more. I'm glad to no longer be in the relationship, and to be no longer buried by misery.
So as part of staying true to my end of the deal, I offer these suggestions for climbing out of your own Hellish Black Hole of Hot Shame-Covered Death, if you happen to find yourself in one:
1. When Life Sucks, Seek Help
When you've hit a rock bottom of hopelessness and despair, the idea of seeking help isn't all that inspiring. It seems pointless. You've fucked up (again!) and your crazy is irredeemable. No one can understand how much you're suffering. No one can fix you.
Except, what if they can? How do you know for sure? What proves it except that voice that says you're beyond help? That voice is itself part of the problem. Don't give in to it.
Therapists. Counselors. Astrologers. Medication. Friends. Twelve-step groups. Call them, go to them, take them as prescribed. Relentlessly. Refuse to give up on yourself.
2. When Life Sucks Tremendously, Make a Bodhisattva Vow
Maybe life is too painful for you. You know who else it's too painful for? A fuck ton of other people. Almost all sentient beings are overwhelmed by pain at some point.
The lucky ones who avoid abuse or poverty or heartbreak still grow old, grow sick, and die. Life is suffering, the Buddha observed thousands of years ago. And you've just come up against that fact.
So your pain gives you something deeply in common with everything else that's alive. Even if you're experiencing what feels like a uniquely humiliating and awful kind of pain - there's probably at least one other person on the planet right now who's experiencing the same awfulness.
Think about that one other person. You know exactly how she feels. You know the agony. Wouldn't you like to take that agony away and free her? Wouldn't you like to give your fellow creature happiness and sanity?
If your answer is "yes" then you're at the threshold of one of the kindest and most healing thoughts you can put forth. Promise to yourself, "I will get past this pain, I will get happy and free again, and I will do everything in my power to give happiness and freedom to others who suffer from similar pain."
You may not feel an immediate in-rush of strength upon making this commitment. But the more you concentrate on it, the more will you channel into it, the more quickly you'll be guided to your recovery. The universe supports and helps those who are willing to help others in magic, rapid and mysterious ways.
After you commit to being a force for healing, it's very likely that you'll be synchronistically guided to exactly the form of help that you need to get well. In my case, an important part of that help turned out to be something weird and woo-woo called Emotional Freedom Technique.
3. When Life Sucks Preposterously Much, Try EFT
EFT involves tapping on various accupressure points on your face and body while saying affirmations about your problem. The affirmations are set up like this: "Even though [insert problem], I love and accept myself completely."
It totally doesn't seem like it should have any power to do anything. But - astoundingly - it does.
In one session of EFT I felt the giant miserable knot of pain that had kept me contorted for weeks simply unwind and fade away. The sick, oppressive cloud of shame that had been completely distorting my perception just dissolved. I could think about what had happened with me and my former partner - and not feel upset. I felt like talking to people and laughing again.
This. Was. Stunning.
It was as if the tapping had completely healed a broken circuit in my brain. Apparently the theory goes that tapping does exactly that - it releases neurochemicals into your bloodstream that reprogram your emotional reaction to your problem as you're thinking about it. Far out.
Go ahead and check out this free EFT tutorial. You're welcome.
I'll probably have more to say soon about climbing out of the deep dark stinking well of horrid unbelievable pain - but in the meantime - have you had a personal apocalypse in 2012? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments section.