Here’s an inside look at one of the most challenging days I’ve had in a long time. I share this with you so you can use the things I’ve shared to help you get through your next challenging day faster. I’ve noticed the more I learn and relay to other people, the more tools to get through a hard time. That means tough times don’t get as bad or they don’t last as long.
I’ve had challenging, deep, emotional issues to deal with in my life that I’ve had as long as I can remember. Sometimes they cause intense pain in the form of fear, depression, anxiety, and resentment. These things have often taken me to the point where I can’t stand to go on anymore. I’m thankful today that all the things I share with you help me to feel more good, more often. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be happy, peaceful, and positive. I’m thankful that I handle my struggles with grace and with minimal damage to the rest of my life.
Here’s what a tough day looked like for me. This was a couple days ago. My mom is having a hard time right now. That has been a significant factor in my life because feelings are contagious. When the people around you are having a hard time and you’re a sensitive person you feel that with them.
My day started out well. I got down on my knees and prayed and I read two inspirational books right when I got out of bed. This is my usual morning routine.
After that I had breakfast and I went to my AA meeting. I had a nice drive there and listened to a book, had a good meeting and then I went to the gym to work out. I did the StairMaster for 45 minutes and had lunch with my friend on Skype right after that. By two in the afternoon, the day had been peaceful with no problems.
I sat down to talk with my wife and little bit and I was pretty insensitive about how she was feeling. She shared some concerns she was having about us looking to move in the future and I was pushy. I was selfish. I said “this is how I want it and I don’t want to do it like that. I think this is important, I don’t want to live in an apartment and I think we should just be able to buy a house.”
In other words, I was pretty selfish. She gave some of what I gave to her right back to me. That started a negative feedback loop and within a few hours I was feeling bad about myself. I was feeling in shame. I was feeling like a bad person who didn’t deserve to be loved and that my wife was clear proof of that. At the same time, I knew everything was still fine. I knew that I was out of sync from normal. I knew that I was in shame and pain and suffering. That shame that had been a hard time for me, that is a miracle in my life because now I don’t go 100% into a hard time now. There is at least 1% of me somewhere that still knows love and still knows the right way for things. It knows how I am. Even in the depths of my struggle, I still remember love, peace, and joy. I still remember that even if I’m not feeling it in the moment, it’s possible in the future.
By 4:30 in the afternoon, I was upset and we were continuing to give each other a hard time. We’ve had some hard times recently on some of the same things because I carry around this resentment. I carry a victim mentality like she did something to me. When she has a hard time or gives me a hard time then I bring that out again.
What did I do? I went to an extra support group meeting. I came 40 minutes late and I talked to several people there. I told them I was having a hard time being a good husband today. That phrasing is important. Instead of saying my wife did something, I talk about what I am feeling. No one can help me with my wife, but people can help me with my hard time.
I was supposed to play Call of Duty with my friends that night. Instead, I sent a text to them saying I’m having a hard time being a good husband today. How someone is acting to me is not the problem because my response to it is my problem or my solution. If I have a good attitude, my wife is free to be however she wants. She can have a bad day and I can lovingly understand where she’s coming from and not make it worse for her. When I’m having a hard time being a good husband, no one else can have a good day around me. My wife can’t do anything right if I’m having a hard time being a good husband.
I went to that meeting and that meeting opened me up, it helped me to start letting my armor down. I stopped saying it’s her problem. I stopped saying I’m the victim and I got in the shower and I cried on my knees. I prayed for help and it didn’t immediately get better. I tried to tell my wife again and we both didn’t make it any better. I sat on the couch feeling like I couldn’t do anything anymore and I didn’t want to do anything anymore.
I remembered you here at the same time. I remembered you that is reading this post now. Those people need you. Those people like what you’re doing and need you to help them. In the middle of my struggle and feeling miserable, I was also thinking about what other people need. Your mom needs you to not give up especially when she’s feeling like giving up. Your mom needs you to love her, your daughter needs you to love her. The thing is when I’m in the middle of shame and suffering, all the objective reality is irrelevant.
My mom said that my life is great, how can I have a bad day? When I’m having a hard time, it doesn’t matter how the rest of my life is going. The hard time is inside me. That’s where the hard time is. After enough prayer and crying several hours, too scared to go anywhere or do anything. I called and talked to my friends and family and ask for help. I prayed several times and I felt better for a few hours.
When my wife and I went to bed I wasn’t ready to drop my bad time and I needed to talk to her about how bad my bad times get. I needed to share with her how bad my thoughts get and how messed up of a place my mind goes. I needed to tell her how sick I am and that when I’m having a hard time, it’s hard for me and I need help with this. I’ve worked with my wife a lot on sharing how I’m doing, what I’m going through and what I’ve been through before. I want to do better.
When I talk about what I’m struggling with I can do better. then the rest of the night was absolute utter misery. I remember laying in bed hoping that my heart would stop so it would end. I was trying to hold my breath so it would be over. I saw how stupid that was and then thought a minute later that it would get better. I woke up the next day and by the end of the night I apologized to my wife and she apologized to me and we cried and went to sleep.
I felt a lot better in the morning, but I still had lingering feelings from last night. I did my prayers. I read my books. I ate breakfast. Then I tried to maximize doing the things we normally do. We went out to lunch, we went to the mall and at first, it was a little tense. At first, we were both a little hurt, but by the end of the day we had both warmed up and gotten back to a safe place.
Then at the end, after I went to lunch and the mall with my wife, I went to my meeting and said I had a hard time yesterday. I told them the things that I dealt with and about the suggestions I got. One person said they went to a counselor and the counselor was able to help with these same issues. I made an appointment to talk with the priest at the church because I talked with him several times already. My wife said it might be nice for her to come and join. We could both talk to him. Now, I’m back to my normal peaceful state, I think it’s one day later by now. That is the inside of a hard time in my life.
I share this because the hard times people have are the thing that make them the most lovable. It’s not someone looking like they’re amazing, unbreakable, and perfect superman. It’s seeing superman get hit with kryptonite, unable to do anything – that’s what makes someone lovable. That’s what makes you want to help. That’s what makes you want to take the kryptonite away from Superman. Let me come and be of service to you.
If we all were perfect and didn’t have any problems, this would be a boring, pointless existence. The challenges my fellow brothers and sisters on this earth have are what make life worth living. That means my challenges are also what makes life worth living. The opportunity to go through challenges with dignity to learn and then do a little bit better. Do I have room for improvement on yesterday or the day before? Yes. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to be a good husband and to do better in the future? Yes.
That is amazing because I didn’t know anything except being completely crazy and trying to hurt other people saying nasty things. Today, I try to do a little bit better and the suffering I have tends to last 1% of the amount of time it used to last. I’m willing to maintain that 1% today and I’m willing to maintain that 99% to do the work for that each day.
I pray today to remember when I’m having a hard time the work for me to do and the lessons there for me to learn. I pray to quickly get back to being in a normal, peaceful, healthy state. I pray today to remember the work I can do to stay out of having miserable existence. If I’m doing the work to stay in a good place, it’s a lot harder to go into a bad place. I pray that you have the same chance to see that I have good days and bad days. I’m an ordinary human being who will share my life with you because I want you to have the best life you can have. I know every person who shares their struggles with me helps me with me. I’m willing to do the same here for you because that helps me to. Thank you, I value your feedback on this and I hope you have a great day. If you have a challenging day today, I hope you can get through it with dignity, grace, learning and love.