I know how life gets. Seriously, I do. I know the ups and the downs and the hills and the valleys better than most. It’s one of the pitfalls of being a chronic overthinker and general ‘spiraller’. We don’t love that for me, frankly.
But if there is one thing I’ve noticed on all my multitudinous years on this earth, there is a golden rule to note.
Just as the pride comes before the fall, the breakdown comes right before the breakthrough.
I’ve found this in two occasions in the last month alone.
I like to think of it as the universe’s illogical way of restoring justice and recalibrating the karma of some of the people around us. You know, when you were already stressed about money and work but then your friend stumbles upon a way to make easy money. Or gets promoted without even applying. And it makes you want to die just a little. It is super frustrating though, because you always want to be happy for your friend, because you genuinely love them. You want to have their interests at heart.
It is however natural – completely – to spare a few thoughts for yourself. It’s okay to resent their success – just a little. You don’t want it to consume you, and it can absolutely be toxic. However, it’s just as toxic to attempt to police every thought that crosses your mind. As always, it’s your actions that define you – we can forgive an intrusive or rogue thought here and there.
But yes, there you are.
Precariously poised to fall off the precipice of a new crisis.
Not entirely sure what will be on the other side of this cliff, but kind of ready for something different. A change of mental scenery. Interesting new perspectives. The most damaging thing that we as human beings do is remain trapped inside our own heads. Only we hear our worst thoughts and darkest fears and weirdest secrets and therefore we’re all convinced that we’re the worst person in the room. Through simple maths, though – that’s just not true. Logistically, we can’t all be terrible.
Or, maybe we’re all terrible – just a little – and that’s okay.
Because sometimes you need a breakdown.
A large one or a small one to keep you ticking over – to shake things up. To clear the air and release the building tension that you probably didn’t realise you were holding in.
I had a proper spiral at around 3am a few weeks ago about money. It was something and nothing, but a series of little things that had accumulated over the entire summer before I’d realised it had happened. All my friends by and large got impressive paid internships or jobs in retail over summer, and in reality, probably were just as stressed as I was about other things, but I didn’t clock that. Despite my relaxing summer of holidays and an unpaid internship that filled my time, I still found time to make myself anxious about the peer pressure of feeling like I was falling behind.
Like my friends were more grown up, independent or well-off than me. That they were happier, more secure, and more adult in general than I could hope to be. I found myself scrounging online ways to make money on the quick like I was some sort of junkie. In reality, I was a fairly comfortable 20 something who did not need to be panicking in at all the way that I did. It was just the threat that I was behind, or somehow failing – losing. But the thing with life is that it’s so up and down.
No emotion is permanent.
Therefore, just as we know better than to expect to be happy all the time, it stands to reason that we won’t always feel the same as we feel in a given moment. No matter how inescapable or bewildering or eternal it feels. Trust me on this. If you listen to nothing else from the article, then listen to that.
I’ll say it again.
It won’t always be like this. You need to break an egg to make the omelette. The sun needs to set in order to rise again.