Friday, October 26, 2007

A Very Bad Day

One of my favorite booklets is Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. This picture book describes a very bad, absolutely terrible, obviously horrible, and without a doubt, no good day in the life of a little boy. At least that's the way that he sees it.

Alexander awakens to find gum in his hair, his teacher doesn't like his drawing of an invisible castle, he finds that there isn't any dessert in his lunch, his dentist tells him that he has a cavity which needs fixing, there is kissing on TV, and he has to wear his railroad pajamas which he hates.

Alexander's day is so terrible that he decides to move to Australia. His mother assures him that everyone has bad days, even people who live in Australia. That's what I've discovered also. Everyone has horrible, no good days, but not everyone is clinically depressed. Bad days begin with bad minutes and then bad hours. You add enough days together, and you have a terrible month. Twelve months become a year, and enough years become a very bad life.

Sometimes the "badness" of living comes as a result of who we are, and what character traits we have. It doesn't have anything to do with depression, it's a summary of how we think and behave. It's not dependent on what happens to us situationally, but rather how we respond to the circumstances of life. It's been said that happiness is largely determined by what happens to us, but joy is what happens in us. That's why the apostle Paul was able to reasonably admonish the Philippians to "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice (Php.4:4)." You may not always be able to rejoice in what you experience, but you can rejoice in who you are. That is, if you are a child of God, and find your joy in Him.

Look at the words below to discover how people who are constantly having "very bad days" actually think, live and respond to circumstances.

00-Abandoned-feeling alone without being cared for or supported

00-Ambivalent-having mixed, uncertain or conflicting feelings about something

00-Confused-unable to think or reason clearly or to act sensibly

00-Crushed-extremely upset, saddened or depressed

00-Despairing-feeling or showing loss of hope

00-Frazzled-exhausted and in a very confused or irritable state

00-Frustrated-feeling exasperated, discouraged, or unsatisfied

00-Homesick-feeling sadness and longing to be at home with family or friends

00-Intimidated-a feeling of fear, awe, or inadequacy

00-Maudlin-overly or tearfully sentimental

00-Panicked-fear or anxiety that comes on suddenly, is overwhelming, appears to be uncontrollable, and may seem to be unfounded

00-Pressured-to feel powerful and stressful demands on one's time, attention, and energy

00-Tentative-slow, hesitant and careful way that reveals a lack of confidence

00-Desperate-overwhelmed with urgency and anxiety, to the point of losing hope

00-Grieved-to experience great sadness over something such as death

00-Pessimistic-somebody who always expects the worst to happen

00-Apathetic-not taking any interest in anything, and not bothering to do anything

00-Negative-unhappy, discouraging, angry, or otherwise distracting from a happy situation

00-Rigid-unwilling to change or adapt behavior, opinions, or attitudes

00-Reserved-having a tendency to emotional restraint

00-Apprehensive-worried that something bad will happen

00-Sensitive-easily offended or annoyed

As you can see, there are often personality traits that are as "depressive" as any mood disorder. I believe that it's much easier to control depression than it is to modify thinking and behavior. The above list is certainly not comprehensive, but it is representative of the character traits that lead to people having Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days, and quite probably having a very bad life.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]


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