For various reasons, I started really thinking about the REM song ‘Everybody Hurts’ today. Just in case you’re not au fait with it – here are the lyrics…
When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, ’cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on
‘Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand. Oh, no. Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on
Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone
“Everybody hurts. You are not alone.” So very true, and also so difficult to remember when you are in any sort of pain.
I’ve always been very empathic – for many years I had the knack of being able to pick up when someone was depressed or seriously upset just by walking in to the same room that they were in and it was no fun; for my own well being I was very pleased when that particular ability disappeared from my repetoire of talent!
But with the benefit of hind-sight it did have some advantages; feeling even a small fraction of someone’s pain, as I seemed to be able to do, gave me insights in to the fact that many people go through life with varying amounts of distress and rarely share that pain with people. They then begin to feel that they are the only people who feel like that, internalise it, and hurt more.
“You are not alone.”
Just bear that simple phrase in mind – whatever your pain is, you’re not alone with it. There are people who have experienced something similar. For what it’s worth, here are my own personal ways of handling the emotional stress and worries of life that give us so much mental pain.
- Never take anything seriously that you think about in the hours from midnight until dawn. Why do you think secret police forces the world over have the ‘4 o’ clock knock’? Because they understahd that we’re in a state most amenable to ‘going quietly’ at that time.
- Never make phone calls, post on Internet Forums or write and post letters or emails during those hours when everything seems dark and the world is asleep. Wait to see what the situation looks like with daybreak and birdsong.
- Never think that the way the world looks when you’re drunk, doped or knackered is the way the world is. It isn’t.
- If you have faith, put your trust in your God. Anyone of a certain age will remember the late, great, comedian Dave Allan who used to end his shows with the phrase ‘Good night, and may your God go with you’. I liked that as a teenager, and I ike it today. A blessing I like myself is ‘May God stand between you and harm in all the the dark places where you walk.’
- Share with a good friend; they’re the ones who’ll tell you when you’re being a grade ‘A’ drip as well as being there to just listen to you when you want to scream Holy Hell at the world.
I hope you never need this advice, but I expect that occasionally you will. And if you do – you are not alone.