Bad Things

We are conditioned from early on to accept that bad things happen and that’s horrible but eventually the bad thing will go away or get better and an equilibrium, a return to normal, will be established.

Occasionally that won’t happen. Sometimes the bad thing is here to stay and it’s awful and it will continue to be awful. This is difficult for so many reasons. I often liken it to falling down a bottomless well. You will continue to fall but eventually you will stop screaming and you’ll kind of get used to it. It can take a very long time to adjust. That’s ok, though. It’s not going away. You have time. You should allow yourself time. This is not a moment to take advice from people who might suggest the ‘pulling up of bootstraps’ or other such well meaning ‘tough love’ nonsense.

Eventually you will carry on and the bad thing will become a smaller and smaller part of your life and it will be ok. That will happen. If you have given yourself what you would consider a good long time and you are still really struggling to accept your new normal, you might seek professional help. Talking to your doctor or other health/mental health professional could be a good start. I have done this myself, with varying results. When you find someone who meets your needs, it can be life changing.

Fortunately we are very good at adapting to new normals. Sometimes people who don’t understand what is going on for you might suggest that you seem to be doing so much better or they are glad the bad thing is not there anymore. That is sometimes more acutely frustrating than living with the bad thing.

Once it has been established that the bad thing is not going away, a certain amount of self preservation and acceptance kicks in and it can appear from an outsider’s perspective that everything is now fine. Sometimes it’s worth explaining that the bad thing is still there but it’s not going to go away, so you’re learning to live with it. It could be that the best thing you can do is change the subject and remember that for those who are not living with bad things, it can be difficult to impossible for them to understand your experience.

People, for the most part, don’t know what to say when a bad thing is a permanent fixture in your life. That’s ok because really, if you’re honest with yourself, you can’t think of a damn thing that anyone might say that will make it any better either. There are rare people with what seem at the time like magical powers who do know what to say and it will make you feel heard and it will make you feel like you can do this, you can live with the bad thing and be ok. I wish everybody had at least one of these people in their lives. Others cannot be blamed for not having this ability. It is very special indeed and should be valued and cherished.

Everyone has bad things happen to them. Everyone will eventually have bad things occur that are life changing. The impact and severity of those bad things will vary but the experience is universal. It’s awful but it can also be ok with time.

A good life, by your own subjective standards, can still be lived, even if the bad thing is here to stay. It will almost certainly take some reframing and you will have to work at it. You might have to ask for help and you must allow yourself time to grieve. There are no shortcuts. The good news is that bad things, even those that won’t go away, do not have to ruin your life. You are stronger than you think.


One response to “Bad Things

  • Anabel

    For me the rare people are those that listen, They give you their full attention and their minds are at rest( free from judgement).
    And that is why their very being present and real with you (which is an act of love) can make one feel good.

    I agree it is very difficult when coping with the pain, trauma ,negative, thoughts and feelings someone comes along and says “how well you are doing” without consulting you at all.These people are generally ” asleep at the wheel” so I try to understand why they say what they say (ignorance and inattention ) and to not react.

    Hamlet said , “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. I don’t know if Hamlet suffered great pain, torture, loss and suffering but my state of mind( absence of thought) and being present sure helps.
    In this state there is no time.Time is of the mind a mind made construct.There is only one NOW.

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