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How do you deal with the down side of life?
Old 02-21-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
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How do you deal with the down side of life?

I suppose that I am not a fundamentally happy person, given life and choices to date. However, lately there has been a collection of bad outcomes (major illness for DW's and my dads, work turning very toxic in a short time, one dog dying another on a short timeline, etc.) and I would greatly appreciate hearing how others deal with tough times in their lives. I am not a terribly religious personfor all that I went to a Catholic high school and was confirmed, and seeking solace in liquid form is not a long term solution. I am also not real interested in counseling. What else does one do? How do you make peace with things when life turns into one big sh!t sandwich?

"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

- Will Rogers
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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Sorry about your problems ! The first time I went through a really rough patch after my husband died I tried over the counter supplements, reading about surviving tough times and shopping therapy . It worked but then I went through the hardest time of my life .The death of my son and frankly nothing but anti depressants and grief therapy worked . After a rough period you have to go through the sadness and the why me to get to the other side .

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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You could explore (non-religion-based) meditation. Bodian had a decent "Dummies" series book on the topic. It can help if you are receptive.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
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Brewer, I am sorry too that you feel that you are currently struggling in life. My main antidote to feeling down is other people. If you have a church in your neighborhood that is open to new families- ie is not a closed club-that is one of the best things. Adult education, various support groups, nights when the men cook dinner- all of these may seem hard when you feel down, but they can really help if given a chance. Exercise helps too, and even more if people in your gym are friendly. Even an evening walk around your neighborhood can often lighten your cares, especially if made into a habit.

Post how you are feeling from time to time, and let us stay involved with your progress.

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:44 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear about this, Brewer.

Family time, and hanging out with people who make me laugh. (With them, not at them.) There's also working out, even if it's just a long walk.

Would this be a good point to affirm your employers' support of the family leave policy to spend time with your fathers?

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:53 PM   #6
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I find running or some form of exercise to be very helpful, maybe some hiking or kayaking or whatever interests you. It's a big stress reliever and can be good for eliminating nervous energy and also for assuring better sleep at night.

I'd also say to be sure to spend more time with your spouse, kids, your friends and extended family, rather than to turn away and isolate yourself (even though sometimes when things are lousy that might be your first instinct). "Team Brewer" will always be stronger than Brewer alone.

Best wishes to you as you are working thru this rough patch.

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:59 PM   #7
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Hang in there, B. You are, if not the smartest, at least in the top--ah, no, you're the smartest person here. Sometimes supersmart people seem to have trouble finding and recognizing happy things, which are there even in the midst of pain. Your fathers falling ill and your dogs are hell to deal with but also are part of the circle of life; the toxic work environment could be dealt with, but at least you have the end in sight in a couple of years.

One thing that might help is to reconnect with old friends. A lot of people, especially men, are so involved with their careers that friendships are sacrificed, but they are still there, just dormant, and you can revive them.

Also, when I was going through an overwhelmingly difficult period about 10 years ago, it helped when a professional told me to just do whatever I found made me happy. I hope you can find something that makes you happy.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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I, too, am sorry to hear about this Brewer. About five years ago my DH & I took care of our respective parent(s), and it was tough. There were two things that helped. I talked about it to family members and friends. I talked and talked - and went through the grieving process. Second, I got back to a hobby I had as a child: painting. The sharing helped me to empty, and the creative activity helped me into a world of fun and renewal.

I also think that meditation is a wonderful option; yoga, too is great for stress relief especially for toxic work environments.

Of all the options, sharing with a caring human being was the most effective.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post

Also, when I was going through an overwhelmingly difficult period about 10 years ago, it helped when a professional told me to just do whatever I found made me happy. I hope you can find something that makes you happy.

I got the same advice and it really did work .
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:06 PM   #10
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I am sorry to hear that things are not going well for you at the present, however, you have to live with the confidence that these things will pass. I have found that getting out and talking with people helps quite a bit. I don't go for counseling, but I do see a personal life coach on occasion. She does not examine the past but instead helps me get where I want to be in life. Things were pretty bad, beyond what I mentioned here,before I set foot in that office.

My son died as an infant and I thought that would be the worst thing that I would have to face in life. Twenty years later my late wife passed away, but left me with 2 wonderful children. My wife is gone but now I have a wonderful girlfriend.
My son was 10 at the time so I found myself in uncharted territory raising a 10 year old. That has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

My mother who is now 93 is in assisted living and is a hospice program because of her feeble general health. I take great satisfaction in being there for her and visiting her on a regular basis.

I have been almost bankrupt and have had millions. I too went to Catholic School but later converted to the Jewish faith. I am not religious but I do seek to find the spiritual side of life.

I try to look for the good in life. I alway attend an event if someone invites me. I try not to set my expectations of life too high. Life is always changing and there is much we do not have control of. You have to keep moving with the changes. There is always something rewarding that you can take away from the most difficult of circumstances.

As far as the office goes, some of the most entertaining moments come from the sheer stupidity in the office.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:08 PM   #11
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When you feel down due to a situation that is not easily dealt with, be sure to give yourself a break. For me, that means allowing myself some "me time" on a regular basis even if that meant taking vacation time from work. So, maybe instead of a week and a half at Disney, you might use your vacation time to take every Monday off for a couple of months (and use that Monday for your "me time"). A few years ago it meant finally giving up on mowing the lawn and hiring a lawn guy, even though I was trying so hard to save for ER.

Be sure to get enough exercise and the right amount of nutritious food, and sleep if you can sleep. You need to be in good physical shape to deal with big problems.

To be honest, yesterday was the first day since ER when I actually felt upset about anything (an incorrect bill that was huge, right after finding out that I had a nice tax refund). I got it straightened out today but couldn't sleep at all last night. Fixing the problem really did help. Of course that was a small problem compared with some you have been facing lately, Brewer.

A lot of people at my former workplace had their doctors prescribe antidepressants. It was ghastly to realize how many were on these "happy pills". I don't personally like the idea if something else will work, though I realize that sometimes people just can't get out of their depression without them. Certainly that is something you should consider if things get too stressful or if there seems to be no way out.

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Old 02-21-2011, 07:22 PM   #12
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These days when I am troubled by something, I try to get some perspective on the matter from one of my dear, close friends. My friends have all weathered lives marked by loss, family or employment issues, in some cases a health problem or a tiff with someone. I find it gives me some perspective on the problem and makes me feel better to share it with someone whom I trust to be discreet and also to give me their best take on what to do.
Long walks and yoga are great stress relievers for me. I sometimes lose myself in a favorite book. I remind myself that I am not the only one with problems and that in most cases tincture of time is a great healer as in "this too shall pass".
At my worst, lowest period following the death of my husband, I was on antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds and a sleeping pill plus talk therapy with my doctor on a weekly basis. I got weaned off the meds over the course of a year or so and made some changes in my life that made me feel better...moved, got another dog, got back into an exercise program, improved my diet, and trained myself to quit fixating on things I had no control over. Pulling myself together for my son's sake was a great motivator. I didn't want him to worry about me.
Good luck with things. Take it from me, it will get better.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:32 PM   #13
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Not sure I have an answer, but I understand the feeling. I have had those "extended rough spots" where it seems like the bad just keeps coming.

What helps me - but certainly doesn't solve the problem - is to make a long list of why I am unhappy. If I can do anything about any of them, I go back and make a note of that. Then I make a long list of what I should be grateful for. And then I read those two lists every day for a while. And really think about them.

It helps me put things in perspective. I get to acknowledge that there are some crappy things in my life that I am entitled to be sad about. It also makes me accept that there are some really good things that I forget about and am taking for granted. And the good list grows, as I start thinking about all the really crappy things that could be happening.

Anyway, it doesn't make me happy - but it does help me feel better. It also helps me not feel guilty about not being happy all the time.

Sometimes it is okay to say "life really sucks right now", as long as we don't lose sight of the fact that "life could really suck a lot more"....and for some people it does.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:36 PM   #14
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Can't give advice.

Based on the original question: Can discuss how I dealt with life's travails. I had a fairly rough kidhood. Then switched countries, learn new customs, language, essentially re-starting from scratch at 17, then military etc.

Anyway, being the technical type from early age, all hardships were sort of a troubleshooting exercise, looked at as problems to solve. So each difficulty while seemingly insurmountable early on, and often gut wrenching, still became a problem to solve.
For me the divide and conquer, or the salami analogy - slice it thin - to manageable bits worked and still works very well.

Ultimately the the will to survive is what got me through all of the difficulties. One instance involved getting sloshed with multiple Martinis, the resulting blahs, convinced me that liquor just irrigates the problems and muddies thinking.

The usual progression was despair over the problem, then wipe my nose, and start figuring out just what is it that is making me miserable in this particular mess. Some more moping and belly button contemplating usually got me to the core of misery source. Once that was understood, the solutions, fixes were fairly obvious.

I found that ultimately there is only one person that is responsible for sorting and solving my life's problems, that was and is me.

Initially in this space I wrote up a long list of my travails, then deleted them.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:40 PM   #15
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There is some good advice here. I am filing this for future reference.

Best wishes, Brewer.
I have outlived most of the people I don't like and I am working on the rest.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:49 PM   #16
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Sorry to hear about your troublers Brewer.

I can only tell you what I did in such times, and I don't know if it was optimal or not but it definitely helped. One of the worst times was while I was still living at home, and I used to go on vigorous walks along the clifftops where I lived, and often sit and stare out to sea and count the good things in my life - and no matter how bad things got, there were always a surprising amount of good things in my life.

I also went through a few bad spells after we were married and although DW is a fantastic listener, I still went on those intense walks, and would go through that same exercise of sitting, thinking and counting the good things in my life.

For a number of years I had a little feedback device, the size and shape of a credit card, where you could press your thumb on a square and see a colored strip represent the temperature at the surface of the skin. When I was stressed the color was blue but within 5 minutes of meditation, just thinking of nice things and warm places I could get the strip to go red. This was something I used at work when I got really steamed - a nice quick fix.

All the best to you mate, I hope you can come to the realization that these things will pass in time, and are not unbearable, they just feel that way right now.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:10 PM   #17
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When I dealt with depression about 10 years back, I tried over the counter meds, meditation, even went to a therapist. What helped was looking ahead. Planning stuff, forcing myself to get out and do the things I liked and to recognize the signs I was becoming depressed so I could keep it at bay. Most importantly talking helped. Mainly with my wife, but slowly with others. It sounds funny, but just knowing others were dealing with similar problems helped me not feel so alone. The feeling that I was unique and something was wrong with me went away and I realized that we all get depressed now and then.

When something comes up, like my ongoing dealings with my FIL's estate in Oregon, I just maintain a bright outlook and remember everything works out eventually. You wait long enough, bad turns to good. You just gotta have faith and keep plugging away. It may sound hokey, but a good attitude and a belief that stuff works itself out helps good stuff come your way.

In fishing, believing that a fish is looking at your fly, following it and about ready to take it makes you a better fisherman. It's not magic or ESP, but that belief keeps you focused on the task. It helps you to see the things you would otherwise miss, the opportunities that others never see. It opens your mind to the possibility of catching fish.

Same in life. If you believe that good things are coming, you will be open to those opportunities and be ready to take them. You open your mind to the possibility and suddenly you see things you missed before.

True story from this past weekend. We were not looking forward to going to Oregon and dealing with my FIL's dirty, rat infested home and outbuildings and the facility he is in gave us bad news about his health.

We were determined to get this taken care of by the end of April. We didn't despair, we listed his truck on Craigslist, we called real estate agent to look at the property and we started cleaning. It looked like an impossible task, but we had a plan.

As soon as the truck ad was up we got a call and over the next hour we got 15 more! We sold it to a guy down the street for nearly the asking price. I began moving an old boat out of the way and they guy that brought the truck showed up and wondered if the boat was for sale. 5 minutes later we sold that. And he then offered to help if we needed him. We made a friend. I sold him some other boats stuff as I found it.

The real estate agent was very dour on a potential sale saying our price was unlikely. As he left a neighbor stopped by and offered to buy the place for a very reasonable price...AS IS. He has money and wants to keep the neighborhood tranquil and will bulldoze the place and keep the land open space. He has done the same with othe properties in the area (must be nice). We will likely take the offer as it saves us a lot of hassle in cleaning the place up, not to mention the real estate fees.

When my DW was visiting her father she found him happy and better than he had been in weeks. A new combo of medicine was keeping him calmer and he was laughing and joking with other residents and with her, though he wasn't always sure who she was.

Bottom line, we left feeling optimistic and I believe it was because we had a belief that things would work out. We were open to good things and when they found us, we saw them and were able to take advantage. We focused on them and not on the bad (and there was plenty of bad). Obviously, things don't always work out so cleanly, but I think you don't even have a chance if you focus on the bad and don't believe good will come your way.

Took me a while to find that attitude again after my depression, but once good things start happening, they seem to keep happening. It's all how you look at things.

Hope that helps. I suppose its all a kind of personal and we all have our own silver bullet to beat these feelings, but lot's of good advice in this thread to help you find yours.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:13 PM   #18
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Boy howdy Brewer I can relate.

Right now my shizz sandwich is late stage Alzheimer's (my momma) and cancer (DH). If one is not on my mind, the other is...even when I wake up in the middle of the night.

There are two pieces of advice I have received that have helped me. I've been told...

"When you know you've done the best you can, that is when you can sleep well at night. Some things can not be fixed....they are out of your hands."

"In an abnormal situation it is normal to feel sad and down." Somehow knowing the way I feel now is normal helps me. It seems to take some pressure off.

One more thing...I've learned it's ok to cry and not feel weak, and it's ok to laugh and not feel guilty.

My best to you Brewer...
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:06 PM   #19
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I understand where you are coming from as the past 2 years have been the worst years of my life.

One thing that you do have to understand is life is not a Disney movie. For me, I know this period of extreme sadness will pass, time will help to heal. Some days what helps me is just having a good old cry and releasing it all. I also realise that sometimes I need to remind DH of exactly why I feel like I do as much of what has happened to us has been more about me and my immediate family.

I say stay away from the happy pills. Try and focus on what you control and leave the rest. If you have people in your life who are extremely negative, it's time to cut the rope before you sink with them. I'm talking about those peeps who can turn any happy event into a miserable occasion.

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:13 PM   #20
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Sorry to hear about your issues Brewer. Some good posts above, not sure I can add much. Good luck, things will improve.

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