“Oh God. It’s One Of Those Days And I’m Not Even Out of Bed. Help!”

By Jack Canfora

First of all: I’m so sorry to hear that. There are few feelings that can sink us lower. However, a surprising amount of us have been in your shoes before. Well, not your shoes, as you’re still in bed, but you get my point. Not only have many of us been there before, but I’d be reluctant to trust those who HAVEN’T felt that way at least once or twice. Let’s be honest: sometimes the world seems to merit  despair. Noticing that doesn’t make you weak: it makes you insightful. This isn’t to negate your particular experiences, nor lump your suffering in with millions of others. Everyone’s source of pain is unique. The feeling that pain creates, however, is far from isolated. 

I wrote above that feeling despair can be a sign of insight. But simply acknowledging that’s how you feel is a courageous act.  So, let’s start by giving yourself a little credit  – hell, a LOT of credit for that. You may be reluctant to do that. You may have been taught such thinking is self-indulgent.  

It isn’t. It’s self-aware. 

Self-awareness is a double edged sword. It can lead to self – criticism, and while honest self-reflection is important, going down that rabbit hole in a moment  when even walking to the shower seems like a Herculean effort isn’t a time to tackle that.

I love baseball, but I understand teams can’t play in a heavy thunder storm. I don’t think less of the players; they’re responding reasonably and with common sense to their situation. 

About that shower I mentioned  earlier. If you can make it there, that’s not nothing. That’s pretty big, actually, even if it’s adjacent to your bedroom. That’s a mental marathon you’ve just successfully run. Seriously. If you can summon yourself to shampoo? Well, that’s an Iron Man level of emotional endurance. And, if in your emotional condition,  you manage the conditioner? You’re my new hero. Not to mention clean. 

And guess what? If you can’t, don’t criticize yourself. If you had the flu, you wouldn’t be disappointed in yourself for running a fever. If you had a herniated disc, you wouldn’t judge yourself for a lack of movement. 

Here’s an ask I’m going to make of you, and it’s not an easy one, but man does it pay off if you can do it.

Learn to give as much care ant respect to the pain of your soul and mind as you would to your body. It’s not the way many of us have been taught to think, but it’s a key part of learning to be kind to yourself and understanding your unique needs. 

Try to do one – just one – kind thing for yourself today (more than one is great, but that’s extra credit). Refusing to judge yourself for how you feel is often a good (if not always easy) place to start. Further acts of kindness to yourself and others are wonderful, but those usually spring from that first step. 

What you’re experiencing now may FEEL like a permanent state, even if you KNOW it isn’t. It’s amazing how often feelings outweigh knowledge. That’s ok, too. Someone suggested to me this exercise to fight that, and I’ve found it’s helped me at times:

Try, if you can, taking a half a step outside of yourself: just observe yourself feeling what you’re feeling, as if you were another person. Do NOT JUDGE THOSE FEELINGS! Just watch them as they unfold. Acknowledge them. “I’m experiencing feelings of incredible loneliness right now. It’s causing me real pain at the moment.” 

“I’m feeling a great deal of rage because I don’t think anyone is truly hearing me right now.”  You may discover that simple-seeming act, because you are naming and therefore respecting your emotions in the moment, but at the same time thinking of it AS just that –  a moment – you can, bit by bit, loosen their seemingly ironclad grip on your psyche. 

Know this, too: that most great acts of empathy and beauty, from art to simple gestures of kindness from strangers, stem from at least an acquaintance with what you’re feeling now. I’m not suggesting you have to compose a concerto or do anything heroic. But my guess is you’ll feel more empathy and forgiveness for others. Which will, without you even realizing it, help you learn to feel those essential qualities for yourself.

I believe the closest thing people have to true wisdom is kindness. You can take or leave it. But that’s what I’ve come to slowly, painfully believe.

Lastly, know you’re in the worst of life’s ironies right now: at a moment you feel so achingly alone, you’re absolutely not. I pinky swear.

Most people worth knowing have fought – are fighting – similar battles to yours. And because you ARE fighting (even though right now you may feel beaten down; fighting can feel that way), you’re going to be even more deeply worth knowing. 

Especially to yourself. 

8 thoughts on ““Oh God. It’s One Of Those Days And I’m Not Even Out of Bed. Help!”

  1. Wow, I love this post!! Thank you for sharing. During the pandemic, and I don’t even remember now how I started learning about this… but for some reason, I started learning a lot about this subject of being kind to yourself: not overworking, not feeling the need to fill every second of the day with company or activities, allowing yourself to have a lazy day now and then, allowing yourself to enjoy laying on the couch and watching TV or reading a book, even if it’s a beautiful, sunny day. I’ve been trying to get away from what we’ve been taught “is expected” of us — to work hard, to not slack off, to not waste a summer day on the couch; and trying to get to know myself and what I really want. Trying to block out the noise of everyone telling me how to feel, and what’s normal, or right. I also saw this really insightful TED Talk recently, by a psychologist named Guy Winch ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2hc2FLOdhI ) and he talks about emotional first aid. He talks about how we are taught to have a hygiene routine, to brush our teeth every so often, and shower every so often, but they never teach us how to keep up good emotional hygiene. I love how much people talk about mental health, it’s one of my favorite things to read about. Thanks!

  2. I’m a firm believer in self-examination and awareness, perhaps to an indulgent degree, I dunno, but I do know that we need to live in these bodies, trapped in our own heads, and the sooner we understand what’s going on inside, especially in cases such as despair which make it very difficult to be inside ourselves, the sooner we can articulate acceptance of this and begin to make positive changes. Some people look at the analysis process and only see “pointless” ruminating, but they’re only taking a snapshot of a much longer process of figuring things out.

  3. Imagine a world where people work on their mental health more openly, and aren’t feeling scrutiny for existing in a challenging world? Imagine freely accepting there are good and bad days, and good and bad seasons, and that it is okay, without feeling like you’re alone?

    This is what is wrong with our culture these days. We ignore the hurting, the misunderstood, the sad and broken people, and instead tell ourselves we are not like them, we are better. People live too comfortably in personal denial, and are less open to fixing their own problems. What if we lived in a world where it was accepted and expected of us to take responsibility of fixing and helping ourselves?

    This was a great read, and a great perspective into what it is like to work through to mental clarity.

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