Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tuesday Tip Day: Surviving The Suck Cluster

Julia's been there. We've ALL been there.

Sometimes life is pretty good. You like your job, you make good money, you have fun with your friends and stay healthy and happy.

But, you know, every now and then (or maybe more frequently than that) you feel fortunes turning against you. Everything seems off, wrong or downright bad and sad and hard to get through.

You know it when it happens.

You can tell it's coming.

You've hit what I like to call The Suck Cluster.

Unfortunately, I'm in one of these right now, and really? I've been in it since 2009. Sure, I've got a job that's going well now, so some of the pressure is off. But life has felt like a long bout of one-step-forward-two-steps-back for years.

Most recently? HUBS and I realized that our house is falling apart around us (rotten bathroom floor, rotten sill plate, flooding basement, screwed up kitchen...) and can no longer wait to be fixed. I'm having some mental issues that are affecting normal...marital functioning. My mom called me crying last week because her aunt (who she'd gotten very close to since my grandmother passed) is dying. And, on Friday, I fell down my basement stairs and needed x-rays and a few days of recovery to feel just somewhat back to normal.

Yeah, welcome to my Suck Cluster.

As with most things in life, what really matters is how you handle stuff when your own personal Suck Cluster comes calling. Here are some things that can help you navigate the tough times.

Surviving The Suck Cluster

1) Rest: You might be sad or depressed a lot from feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. The best thing to do? NOTHING. Sleep later, nap when you need to, lay around and read, watch a funny movie...Do whatever you need to in order to relieve the pressure. If you're a control freak or simply like making plans and getting things done it'll probably be hard but you'll need to reign those tendencies in a bit to get through without wearing yourself out.

2) Do A Little Something: Whatever the issue (dying relative, illness, injury, house foundation that's rotting away under your feet...) you'll need to get something done or decided on a regular basis so you feel like you're taking care of things. For me that means seeing my therapist every two or three weeks, taking my meds, checking up on my mom and slowly re-tiling my new bathroom floor, among other things.

3) Talk: If you keep the suckiness bottled up inside it'll fester, I honestly believe that. This is what friends, therapists, spouses, parents and journals (no, those don't involve talking, but they work all the same) are for. Get all the crap that's happening and your feelings about it out so you can get on with your life. Ruminating does no one any good; it will stop numbers 1 & 2 in their tracks so that you simply can't make progress or relax. The last thing you need added to your Suck Cluster is a panic attack or worry-related sleep deprivation.

4) Release: Prepare yourself. There is no anger like the anger of a Suck Cluster. With every disappointment and bad thing that comes your way in quick succession, you WILL feel like the universe is piling on for no good reason. You're being punished. You've been forsaken. Whatever sentiment the anger is related to, you need to get that aggressive energy out before you explode all over someone who doesn't deserve it. Exercise, watch violent movies, cheer audibly as terrorists die...figure out what works and do it as often as possible.

5) Remember: If you're online a lot, and most of us are now, it can seem like you're the only one having any problems. Well, you're not. Never have been and never will be. Simply keeping that in mind can help with number 4.


You'll deal. Because you can. Because you have to. Because, even if you don't know it, you WANT to.

What do you do when everything seems to go wrong at once?


Susan Cooper said...

I like RDTRR and will keep it in mind when I have that emotional breakdown happen. Hopefully that will not happen very often... LOL. :-)

Darlene Nemeth said...

I have been stuck in a "suck cluster" since 2006. It just keeps getting worse. Luckily I have my family for support.

I have been digging myself out by practicing gratitude and I find it very helpful.

Darlene Nemeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Brave post! I find that we all go through it but call it different things, "a funk", etc. For me, it seems that when I'm riding a wave professionally, my personally life experiences a tsunami of chaos and vice versa. Sometimes I have to dig deep into the "rest phase" which often means isolation, meditation and centering....sounds zen and crazy but it helps me, since it seems that just hoping/praying for no "suck cluster" doesn't work.

JeriWB said...

When things go wrong, I try my best to journal a lot. Then I talk to hubby. Talking usually seems to the be most helpful, since sharing thoughts makes them so much easier to start to deal with rather than bottling them up inside.

MK Slagel said...

Just looking at the picture of the kitty at the top of this post cheered me up a little, but I can honestly say I'm in a bit of that suck cluster right with ya. I won't go into detail but let's just say I wish I had read #4 last week before the explosion happened. I may not be in such a sucky cluster now.

Amanda Cripps said...

Thanks for the advice Adrienne! I like to feel like I'm generally in control of myself but I must admit in these situations I tend to just wait it out. It's nice to know I have options!

Scott said...

We all need to find ways to cope sometimes, don't we?

Citygirl said...

Susan: Hopefully it won't! But, it's good to have a bit of a plan in place if it does :)

Darlene: I've been doing that myself. I started blogging a Thanks! post at the end of every month early this year. It does help to keep the good things, however small, in mind when you're stuck in suck!

Here's hoping things will get better for you soon!

Madsaleswoman: It's interesting that you've noticed an actual pattern to your suck clusters. Maybe it's a weird yin/yang thing where none of us can appreciate the good without knowledge of the bad.

Jeri: Sharing is one of the reasons I write about so much difficult stuff on my blog. We gotta find a way to get it all out!

MK: I'm glad Julia could make you feel a little better! I've taken my bad moods out on undeserving folks (usually my husband) more than once. I know from experience that finding out a way to get that anger out beforehand is a lot easier than apologizing!

All suck clusters come to an end, I'm sure yours will too ;)

Amanda: Playing wait and see isn't a bad idea, but sometimes a cluster lasts for so long that it ends up being better to make some slow progress. And that, in turn, can actually help you blast out of the suck, at least in part.

Scott: That we do, friend. That. We. Do.

Jon Jefferson said...

I like your name for it. I am not sure I would ever have come up with suck cluster on my own.

Citygirl said...

Jon: Thanks. I do pride myself on coming up with cool phrases!

Tracey Nolan said...

I'm sorry you're in the suck cluster. But I love the phrase suck cluster. And I KNOW that you're going to find your way out of it! xo

Citygirl said...

Slowly but surely, Tracey. Slowwwwwwlllyyy...


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