The sun rose on a new day, and as I opened my eyes and rose from bed, it occurred to me that I was no longer in pain. Not a physical pain mind you, but the long drawn out pain that comes with holding onto anger, regret, a grudge, or one of the many other negative emotions that leech off of our mental well-being. I was awake for the first time in a long time. It was as though my mind had finally found a high definition channel after years of flipping through white noise and infomercials. So I felt good. I had found a sort of peace. But how did I do it?
The story starts a few weeks before that morning about an hour after my shift at work. I’m sitting in my car listening to the same old sad songs on the radio because I just couldn’t get over a recent relationship crash and burn, a falling out with a friend, and a slew of issues related to finances and communicating with my parents. I was an anxious, nervous, depressed wreck; but like many of you reading this, I hid all these feelings very well. I had plans to go to the karaoke bar with co-workers that night, but I was off a good two hours before anyone else, and as exciting as my melancholy choice of music was, I decided to take the edge off and show up at the bar early.
So I’m at the bar, fully prepared to waste my money getting sloshed on Jack, before my friends show up. I’ve downed a drink and a man I’ve never met sits a couple seats away from me. He turns to introduce himself and while I’m not really up for talking with strangers or forcing conversation, I didn’t want to be rude, so I tell him my name is Brooks.
there is no such thing as a bad day
Almost immediately my life changes. Terry, as he had introduced himself, hit me with a bombshell question. “Are you happy with where you’re at in life?”
There was no way to fake an answer here. Even if I was content with my job (I do love it), I couldn’t bring myself to give a confident “yes” answer. I knew there were things I wish I could change, things I hadn’t yet achieved, and struggles with depression and anxiety still being fought. I gave him an awkward chuckle before replying “Honestly, no. No I’m not”. For the next hour I found myself launched into a perspective-changing conversation. It turns out Terry was a life coach. One of those motivational speaker types, and he was sharing his advice with me free of charge.
There were a lot things he brought up, but a few things stood out, and these are the things I’ve decided to pass on to everyone I can. The first of these things being that there is no such thing as a bad day. There are days where things aren’t as good as other days, but it’s simply a less good day, not a bad one. Terry informed me that by not allowing yourself to fall into the “bad day” mindset, you will become more positive and see that positivity reflected in how your day goes. It seems like a semantic argument, but give it a try, it works. The power of positive thinking is well documented, and just taking this simple step can go a long way to improving your outlook and state of mind.
The second lesson he shared with me, was that there are three types of people in the world. Those that watch things happen, those that wonder why things happen, and those that MAKE things happen. It’s absolutely imperative that you are making things happen in your own life. Drop the people that are holding you back, remove the negative crowd around you, and chase your dreams, take chances, and make mistakes. Most importantly play an active role in your own life. Make your life happen instead of waiting for situations to unfold by themselves.
It wasn’t as if I hadn’t heard of some of these techniques before, after all I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety my whole life. No, it was the timing, the timing combined with the fact that this stranger cared enough to have a talk with nothing expected in return. The message hit home and made sense. Mind clearing, life changing, complete, perfect sense, and so I acted on them.
I started making things happen for myself. I stopped my self-destructive behaviors and I cut out the negative people in my life. I began exercising, not to lose weight really (though that helps) but to feel good mentally and physically. I also began taking medication for my anxiety and mood swings, but not something through a doctor, a natural remedy. “Saint John’s Wort” look it up. The important thing is that I made decisions, and became an active member in my own life.
When my perspective changed, so did the results I was getting back. I was awake to the fact that, lying in bed wishing I didn’t have depression or wishing I hadn’t made certain mistakes in my life, was a self-defeating set of behaviors. I changed my mindset, changed my outlook, reframed my mind, and in return the world opened itself up to me again. Positive outlook breeds positive results, even if you’re tricking your mind into it.
I’m not sharing this story to glorify or brag about myself. I’m sharing this with you so that you understand that whatever it is you’re going through, you’re not alone. We all fight these battles and we all have days where it’s a struggle just to get out of bed. We feel isolated. Maybe we feel like everyone else is normal and we’re the person that just can’t handle life; like we’re broken or dysfunctional. That’s so far from the truth. We’re all in this game of life together, and when you realize that, the world becomes less terrifying. Reach out to a friend or a family member. Share the success you have with someone who needs the motivation. When you’ve found your peace, be the person that goes into the bar and strikes up a conversation with a stranger and changes their life for the better. Most importantly however, is that you don’t ever give up. Make things happen.
Suicide is not the answer. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States at 1-800-273-8255