5 ways to cope when things are crappy

Constant, crushing, paralysing pain. This time last year I was in a really bad state of affairs. I had been made redundant from a job I loved, my relationship was seriously on the rocks, I was working in a (new) menial job that was beneath me and very hard work, my rent was a huge pressure and (not to sound too trivial) I had no extra money to buy clothes or get my hair done. I was miserable.

“I felt like the world was ending”

All these external events led to a terrible state of mind. I felt as if I was treading water every day and I couldn’t see any land in sight. I knew though, that I had no other options. I had to keep going. What other options did I have? By far the worst thing that was going on was my relationship. I was miserable a million times over and I really didn’t know if I would ever, ever feel better.

Coping through the ups and downs of life

Today is my birthday and I am 35. It seems surreal to me, because of course, I feel the same as I always did – if not better. I bring this up because by this grand age I have lived though many crises. I have lost lovers, jobs and apartments. I have given things up, taken things up and gone through enormous amounts of pain. There have been times in my life that were so dark, I really can’t even bear to look back with my memory. I feel pain for the woman that was. Sometimes even thinking about what I have lived though fills mw with pain and dread.

But I can guarantee you one thing now: If you are having a crappy time, I promise this will change. It has to.

Dealing with change, graciously

Heraclitus of Ephesus, who lived approx 500 years before the birth of Christ, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He led a very lonely life and was known as “The Obscure” and the “Weeping Philosopher”. Bit sad, really, but he did say one thing that has made his name live throughout the ages. Pretty nifty. Do you know what it was?

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

Throughout my lifetime, I have investigated this statement and I have found it to be true. Change is constant. Change is unending. Change occurs every second of every day. I am not the woman I was yesterday, and yet I feel just like her, but I have changed. We all change every day. This is both terrifying and heart-warming. We need to learn to embrace change. Change is inevitable.

Evolution and devolution

There is an esoteric principle of evolution and devolution. Everything has a peak and then begins to deteriorate. If this was not the case, I have been told, then one single plant would take over the universe. Things evolve and then they devolve. At least that is what I have read, and I cannot say for sure. One thing I do know for sure is that at one time I was younger and at another time I will be older. There will be a time when this body no longer walks this planet, and I’m cool with that. I can’t think of anything worse than staying the same forever.

Studying the beginnings of humanity

I won’t bang on about evolution and devolution too much because those terms seems to rile people quite a lot. I love this stuff. I have been reading lots about the beginnings of mankind, the new theories of evolution – or how evolution is evolving itself. I have been reading about the missing link and about Lucy the Australopithecus afarensis, a skeleton of an upward-standing primate. She was walking around 3.2 million years ago. I love this stuff and the best part about it is that there are always massive gaps in our knowledge of who we are and where the hell we came from.


I am not quite 3.2 million years old. I am only 35. Hopefully I will have many more years to walk the earth – I still have lots that I want to do. If you are having a hard time right now, I feel for you. I hope things will get better soon. Because I have had so many crises in my life, I have found a few things that may make you feel better if things are really, truly very crappy for you:

How to cope when times are tough:

  1. Be nice to yourself, turn off your internal critic. “You are not your thoughts”.

  2. Stay in regular contact with those you care about. Try to meet up or talk on the phone, not just via social media.

  3. Pray and meditate. It doesn’t matter if you are not religious, you are a spiritual being who is being supported.

  4. Go somewhere every day. Never spend the whole day in the house. Shower and change your clothes.

  5. Do something new. Join a group, start a new job, take up yoga or some other healthy pastime.

“When I hear somebody say ‘Life is hard’, I am always tempted to ask ‘Compared to what?’” –Sydney Harris.

Good old Sydney is right. There is no alternative. You have to learn to cope with the crappy times. You are stronger than you think. Be brave. I promise things will get better.

  1. October 8, 2013


    You are an inspiration. I love your positive attitude about life. You are so right that bad things can happen.

    Thanks for the advice on how to cope. They are all common sense, but it is so helpful to hear them from someone else.

    I hope things are going better for you now.


    1. October 9, 2013

      Thanks so much Nancy – and right back atchya!

      Yes indeed, things have improved so much. My life has been a very mixed bag – mostly self-inflicted pain and suffering and sketchy mental states. I’m human, after all. Every day I am different, even though I feel stuck. Life is good now – a stark contrast to only 6 months ago. I found a great post on the pursuit of happiness – it contains some interesting research.


      Hope you have a wonderful day.


  2. Pingback: Dealing with trauma: How do I react when I’ve had the shock of my life?

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