A year ago this month, here is what I wrote on caringbridge.org for my friends and family:
The realization set in that we are going to have to go through the whole cancer process again. We did that two years ago with his arm and right now it seems overwhelming to have to go through it again. Being in this city where Dave and I have spent our anniversary for the last three years doesn’t help. It just makes me realize that we won’t be planning any fun trips for a while and life is going to be about doctor appointments, tests, insurance, more tests, hospitals… I know I spoke earlier about gratitude and Dave was trying to focus on being thankful for what he has. Well, I’m struggling with that now. Right now I’m just angry and sad. I don’t want to have to go through this all again.
I remember that day vividly. It was really crappy. Cancer can do that to your day. And yes, it does suck.
Now I still have bad days, but my approach is a little different. Let me explain:
There are two things we usually do when we’re having a crappy day. We either resist it and beat ourselves up or we wallow in it and pile on the self-pity. Both usually end up making us feel worse.
Resisting usually looks something like this:
“Dang. I’m in such a bad mood. Got to get myself out of this mood I’m in. I hate when I feel this way.”
Wallowing usually look something like this:
“Man my life sucks. This type of thing always happens to me. Why can’t I just have normal life free of having to deal with cancer. It’s not fair!”
Both approaches keep you focused on your bad day and your bad mood. As Brook Castillo says, you end up feeling bad about feeling bad.
There is a third option. When you can accept that the day is just going to suck, it will allow you to move on with your day. Life has ups and downs, and while we enjoy the ups, we are going to have the downs too. When you find yourself in one of those days, accepting that they are part of the deal of being human will allow you release the tension you’ve built up around it and it free you to move on.
Acceptance looks something like this:
“You know what, today is just going to suck, and that’s okay.”
Then you stop thinking about the state of your day and move on with your life. It really is that simple.
Crappy days are just part of life. If we didn’t have crappy days then we wouldn’t have great days. It’s the contrast of life that allows us to appreciate and experience the ups and downs. They are part of the human experience.
So here is my challenge to you: The next time you find yourself in one of these days, before you travel down the rabbit hole of either resistance or self pity, stop and say to yourself, today is going to be just one of those crappy days, and that’s okay. I can handle it. It won’t make your day better, but it won’t make it worse!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know how you handle bad days.