Dealing With Crappiness? The One Thing You Must Know

on October 10, 2011 | in Happiness, Life in General | by

despair

Four months ago, I was a sad and pathetic mess.

I cried on my way to work, listening to sad, sad songs as I drove alone in my car.  I cried as I ate my dinner and as I vacuumed my house.   I even cried when I saw couples holding hands at the grocery store.

“How could he forget about me so quickly?” I wailed, referring to my ex boyfriend of 2 ½ years.

You see, about a month after our split, I’d stopped by his house to pick up some of my stuff— only to find a picture of him and his new girlfriend (I mean, she must be his girlfriend, right?)… in the very same spot that our picture used to be… and in the VERY SAME FRAME that I’d given him as a gift the year before.

“ARE YOU &#$%ING KIDDING ME?” I fumed to myself (and shouted at him).

“It’s been a month.  ONE EFFING MONTH.”

Suddenly I began to question everything that I’d thought was real for the past few years.  I couldn’t even begin to fathom how someone whom I’d loved so deeply and whom I’d shared so much with could move on so quickly.

Was I that replaceable??  Had I really meant that little to him?  How long had he been seeing this woman, anyhow? One after another after another, the doubts and accusations piled up. It was a huge slap in the face, one that I was completely unprepared for.

And so I cried.  I ranted.  I ate lots and lots of ice cream (hey, why not?).

I felt like there was a hole in my heart that would never, ever, ever go away.  Day in and day out, the heartbreak consumed me.  I was pretty damn sure that I would never again feel like a normal person.

But guess what?

I was wrong.

* * *

Guys, if there’s one thing I’ve learned time and time again in my life, it’s just this:  no matter what, crappiness passes.

Heartache, loneliness, despair, confusion: all of this is completely, absolutely, 100% temporary.

Sometimes it passes in minutes; sometimes in years— but always, it passes.

Even when you feel like it never will— still, it does.

Even when the minutes feel like hours and the hours feel like lifetimes— still, it passes.

When you can’t see the end in sight— somehow, some day, inevitably, without doubt, it passes.

* * *

I knew that the worst had passed when, four months after our breakup, I learned that my ex and his new girlfriend had moved in together.

Sure, for a minute or two, it hurt— but the pain was more of a quick pinch than a blow to my soul, and it faded away just as quickly as it’d come.

I wasn’t consumed by the thought— in fact, I was surprised to find that it hardly affected me at all.  I didn’t wonder why, in our almost three years together, he’d never moved in with me.  I didn’t lament about how quickly he was making a life with someone new or agonize over how, exactly, he could forget about me so soon.  In fact, within a matter of minutes I was immersed back in my work, sorting through papers and making phone calls as if nothing had happened at all.

I went home that day smiling.  I even let out a little laugh, because— well, to be honest, the whole thing had actually become sort of funny to me.

Over time, the crappiness that had once consumed me had become but a dot in my past.  Oddly enough, it hadn’t killed me— it had in fact left me happier and more alive than I was before.

* * *

My heartbreak is trivial compared to the really big things that often come our way— things like death and illness and tragedy.  But no matter how big or how small, the very same concept applies.

The other week I met a 26 year-old who had spent the past six years of his life in prison for attempting to steal a car.

“I felt like the time would never pass,” he told me.

“But somehow, it did.”

I’ve known people who’ve lost parents or who’ve never come to know their parents at all.  I’ve known people who’ve lost children and spouses, homes and jobs.

Somehow, some way, inch by inch by inch, their moments of complete despair have passed— and they’ve come out of their struggles stronger, wiser, and more compassionate than they’d been before.  Somehow, they’ve found their way out of that darkness that they’d thought would never end.

I have no doubt that you will, too.

In the meantime, have faith in that which seems hopeless.  Be patient.  And never forget that like a wave against the shore, just as surely as the crappiness comes, it’s also sure to go.

Just as surely as you breathe in, then back out:  this feeling, this experience, this thought— it will pass.

One day, what you’re going through will be more of a memory than a reality.

# # #

[Photo by dhammza/off]

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  • http://ensojourney.com/ Alejandro Reyes

    Very wise words Therese. It’s true over time once we accept things, they lose the power to affect us.

    I truly believe that one day you just wake up and start cleaning your own thoughts, then a lot of things lose the power to control us. The process may be different for each one of us, but it will happen sooner or later.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, and opening up sharing your story.

    • therese

      Thanks, Alejandro. Very true.

  • Tracey

    Loved this one. So true that the feeling will pass. It is all up to the person to come to that realization that life goes on and so must you.

    • therese

      Thanks, Trace. Yep– and whether you come to the realization or not, life goes on anyhow. Heart youuu.

  • http://thepathtopassion.com/women/ Mika

    I notice, after long term relationship, many people will jump into a relationship too quickly, in hopes of bringing their new relationship to the same level their previous relationship was at. These people never get a chance to “heal” from their breakup, and problems will eventually arise in their new relationship because of it.

    I agree that with Acceptance, it’s so much easier to overcome your negative emotions such as grief and anger. By accepting what you can’t control, it’s just easier to breathe.

    It’s like when you get a f*ckin paper cut from a CARDBOARD box (I am a baby, those things hurt!), the more you focus on it, the extra suffering you’re adding to your day. I don’t want to admit to myself that I’m having a bad day because of a stupid paper cut, so I ignore it..and voila… my day gets better–I don’t mean to compare the pain you went through with an insignificant paper cut but hey, it’s too early for me to come up with a profound comment :)

    Thank you for sharing a such a personal story. <3

    • therese

      Thanks for your thoughts, Mika.

      I completely agree that if you dwell too much on your papercut, you’re only adding more suffering to your day. At the same time, though, it DOES hurts like hell and there’s no sense in denying that.

      I’ve learned that there’s a happy medium that lies somewhere in between dwelling on hurt and completely pushing it away/ignoring it. It’s kind of like saying, “Damn, this hurts,” and wholeheartedly acknowledging that pain, without dwelling on it excessively, but without completely ignoring it, either.

      As far as jumping into relationships too quickly– this very well may be the case. I can attest to the fact that it’s extremely hard to allow yourself to heal on your own after a breakup. But whatever the case may be, I’ve let go of the need to understand the “whys.” It’s a wonderfully freeing feeling :)

  • http://Krystle-marie.blogspot.com Krystle

    I have to remind myself of this daily. Getting so caught up with life and problems, I tend to forget that it’s all temporary. I love looking back on life and reactions to things and then realizing “I don’t feel that way anymore” and then I can realize that the way I feel now will be different in the future too and maybe I’ll laugh at it too.. thanks for this post :)

    • therese

      Yes, exactly, Krystle! It’s something we have to remember again & again. Thanks for reading :)

  • Amanda

    Another great point Therese! Are you sure you shouldnt go back to psych?

    • therese

      Nope, not sure :-)

  • Kat

    this is so true. if there is one thing I have learned in my life thus far, it is that time heals all wounds

    • therese

      Yes it does, Kat.

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com Vishnu

    This sounds Budha-like but I’m sure it’s not: no matter what, crappiness passes. lol

  • http://cathyscholl.com/ cathy scholl

    Once again I completely can relate to what you are saying.

    If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.

    This too shall pass…

    The other side to this coin is that the good stuff passes too :(
    So enjoy it while you can!
    That’s where lessons about attachment and letting go come in but we won’t worry about that right now. :))

    it’s great to outlast tough times

  • http://www.byebyebitters.com Helena

    For me, the big change happens when it’s no longer what you think of first every day (or, eventually, at all). For instance, with a bad break-up, I’d think “I’m going to think of [name redacted] and how much I loved him and how sad I am EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE” and then, eventually, that would fade to whenever something specific reminded me of him… and then that fades…

    • therese

      Yep, very true Helena…

  • sofia

    I whole-heartedly agree with you and you’re wonderfully written article. It must be such a freeing feeling :) However, I find myself still not able to get over the “whys?”. I hate that I allow another person to question myself and my worth. How did you come to peace with not having any “answers”?

    • therese

      Hi Sofia– you know, it didn’t happen overnight. I couldn’t let go of the “whys” for months and months. They tormented me for quite awhile, and I felt like I NEEDED answers. For this period of time, I honestly just let myself feel how I felt. I hated these feelings, but I let them be there, and I tried to feel them without reacting (which didn’t always work– but I tried ;)). In this stage, you’re really getting intimate with your crappy feelings and your questions, and you’re taking a look at them and examining them. If they’re swallowing you up and if they’re taking over your life, you just notice that. You really just understand them and let them be, as sucky as that sounds.

      And then as time passed, and as I allowed myself to heal and grow, they started coming up less and less frequently. Then I really just woke up one day and realized that they didn’t really matter to me anymore. I could finally accept what had happened as something I needed for my own growth, regardless of the feelings or thoughts I had around the situation. It took months, though– about 4 months, to be exact :)

      Honestly, all I can say is that everyone is on their own timetable. No matter how much you want to, you can’t “push away” your needing to know with brute force or effort. You can’t force yourself to feel better about things or at peace overnight. All you can do is be right where you’re at and allow yourself to feel how you’re feeling for as long as you need to– while at the same time, being able to step outside those feelings and take a look at them, and while also remaining open to that healing and that grace and that comfort that is already all around you.

      Over time, if you can rest in this weird paradoxical state, you’ll find that (almost without realizing it), you’ll have gotten over things and you’ll be at peace.

      Wow, I have no idea if this will make any sense to you or not! Please let me know if you have more questions. These two posts get a little bit into the concepts I described here:

      http://www.theunlost.com/life-in-general/the-time-tested-tried-and-true-totally-weird-way-to-deal-with-sucky-feelings/

      http://www.theunlost.com/life-in-general/one-weird-way-to-escape-heartbreak-loneliness-or-any-dreaded-feeling/

      <3

      • sofia

        I think I’m beginning to know what you mean now, thank you therese :) sending good vibes your way <3

        • therese

          Good! Feel free to e-mail me if you’d like to discuss anything further– thereseschwenkler (at) gmail (dot) com

          :)

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  • Sarah

    Hey guys. I’m still having a really hard time dealing with my break up…and it’s been 10 months (around 8 months since we last spoke). We were together for 2 years, and he was my first real relationship, even though I had dated before him (but they were nothing serious). He broke things off, because he said he wants to be single for the next 10 years (even though he’s in his mid 20s). I’ve tried everything from seeing a therapist to reading self-help books, but nothing can seem to help me get out of this funk, and move on. I’ve even tried going on dates with other guys, but I always end up feeling like I don’t like them as much as my ex, and so I don’t see them again. I recently found out my ex is dating again, and it bothers me because he still has his main profile picture on Facebook as a picture of me and him from a special day we had together. So weird since he’s dating someone else, and the pic is a close up of my face lol. I want to ask him to take it down, but at the same time, I don’t want to talk to him. I guess, I’m asking if any of you have had this problem before, and if so, how did you manage to over come it? Sorry for the rant, I’m just in desperate need of help :(

    • http://www.theunlost.com Therese

      Hi Sarah,

      Sorry to hear that you’ve been in this funk for so long :(. Love is not an easy thing…

      This might not be the answer you want to hear, but sometimes it just takes time to heal. Everyone’s on their own timeframes; there is no “right” or “wrong,” and even though it sucks to be broken hearted, sometimes the more we resist it and push it away and try to get rid of it, the worse it becomes.

      Pain is pain is pain… although I’m generally very happy on my own and although I’m glad my past relationship ended, there are STILL days that I miss what we had (and this over 1 year later). The heart is funny like that, but don’t ever go thinking there’s anything wrong with you.

      See my reply below to Sofia and see if this helps at all.

      Sending you strength and love!

      T

  • del

    One year after my break up (4 yrs together. Living together ect) I saw the other day photos of my ex boyfriend and his new gf of ten months now at his 30th party on good old fb. Im still not ok. I was crying im bed mainly feeling in despair about how long it had been.a year! And im still so much in pain while his in that first year of love with her. I read your article. Thankyou it it helped me breath again. Each day does get better but man it sux. Im not sure if im crying for him or that its been so long but feels like last week. How did he forget so easily? So many whys and hows? It doesnt help :)

    • Kathryn

      I feel that pain girlfriend. Hope you’re feeling better these days and have found something better in your life.

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  • Hannah

    Hey. Another ‘me too’ post, except mine was my ex of 2 1/2 years moving in with my best friend the week after we split. I tried to be ok with it but a couple of months later my best friend screamed down the phone at me that my ex didn’t give a flying f*** about me, before she hung up. Needless to say she’s now my former best friend. I’ve never been able to get any resolution or closure which is possibly the hardest thing. I couldn’t sleep or eat properly for months, started having panic attacks and am now on medication for anxiety and depression. One thing I’ve learned is I’m grieving, it’s normal and I’ll get there, even if at times I’ve felt I’ll never be whole again. It’s so easy to feel completely alone and I really appreciate a blog and the comments of others showing that it’s normal to feel like this, and however it feels, it is only temporary, even if ‘temporary’ ends up being a lot longer than you anticipated. And also, if you are capable of feeling that much pain, it means you have a huge heart and are capable of giving and receiving huge amounts of love, which is a blessing.

  • Jen

    I had been dating a guy for 6 years, we broke up 2 years ago, but still share a dog. Our dog had major health issues earlier this year so we formed an emotional bond again, nothing physical but he did try to kiss me on New Years and made advances multiple times but I didn’t want to complicate things right away. We did share the same bed on multiple occasions and would go for dinners and outings, he paid for everything. About a month ago I noticed a picture of him with another girl cropped out online and asked him about it. I asked why he cropped her out and he said he didn’t want anyone to think they were a couple. Then more pictures of the same girl started to surface that looked like they were definitely together. He finally confessed that he was seeing someone but it was not his girlfriend. This person is about 8 years younger than him. She just turned 21 and he will be 29. To top it off, she is a waitress at Hooters and got out of a long term relationship 2 weeks before they got together. She also posts disgusting things online and a million gross selfies, clearly she has insecurity issues. Long story short, I freaked out on him and thought this was his way of having a difficult conversation by just letting me find out online. He majorly underestimated their “relationship” and I feel blindsided and disrespected. I also found out they just moved in together after dating for 2 months and she got a job where he works. I know I should just laugh it off and we weren’t together but I feel seriously betrayed and so hurt by all of this and I am having a hard time dealing. It seems they are literally recreating our exact relationship and purposely doing things online to piss me off.

  • Kathryn

    I love reading blogs on this site. This one especially made me sob. The last year an a bit has been the worst of my life, and I’ve had disaster after disaster regarding jobs and friends, made worse by the length of time I seem to have spent grieving over my last break up.

    I have no idea why this last one has taken so much from me, and why on earth after nearly three years together in our toxic, rollercoaster relationship, I still can’t face my ex as a friend. It’s been a year and a few months since we split. I made the final decision. I suppose throughout it all, I just loved him. I had wanted it to work and it hadn’t – I guess I never truly wanted to let go. Since that time, I’ve been dating a lot, all in vain, I’ve had lots of ups and downs and I’ve contemplated getting ‘This too shall pass’ tattooed onto me somewhere to remind myself that things would get better.

    I’ve healed, I can’t pretend that I generally don’t feel happier than I did six months ago. Time does heal. Though every few weeks, I still have weak moments. I realise that I look back, maybe more now than ever when I’m at my lowest, and see the relationship with rose tinted glasses. I think quite a large part of me simply wants another loving relationship, but I still have moments when I cry to myself and think ‘for god’s sake, Kathryn, when will this end?!’.

    …Which is why reading your blogs make me feel less alone in feeling pathetic and sorry for myself. It’s okay to feel overcome by irrational emotion, and I have faith that some time, everything will be different, I’ll be happy and I’ll look back at this time in my life and curse myself for letting myself get so down.

    • kittendelight

      You don’t need to be friends with your ex, you don’t need to face him, and it’s ok that some days you feel like you haven’t moved on :) Eventually you probably won’t even think of him often at all and if you do you won’t worry about whether you can face him or not.
      It’s fucking hard. Thanks for sharing your story

      • Dan

        Hey, this is going to sound very weird and random but… if you see this, within the next hour or so.. Come talk with me for a sec. (yes I know.. weird) tinychat.com/kittendelight

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