Support When You Are Down in the Dumps


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When you are alone and down in the dumps what supports you?

First, naturally, you cry or moan. You look to who or what you believe or expect to carry you through your trials. When they don’t show up for you or are inadequate when they do you feel unknown and abandoned. You may lose sleep or get angry or overeat or storm around your home. You may  experience all these things and more.

But when you calm down, either through despair or just plain fatigue, and none of your expectations for rescue come through, where are you?


"The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation." - C.G. Jung

First, what are your valid old standbys? Books? Music? Solitary walks? Art? Journaling? Housekeeping, i.e. putting stuff in order?

When you reach this point you are starting to look up rather than wallow in the downs of your experience. Still, these directions and possibilities are general. You need the specific that relates to you now.

Books – old favorites or something new?

Music – to listen or to dance or sing?

Walks – old walkways or new environment?

Art -      thumbing through art books, sketching yourself, walking through galleries?

Journaling – free writing or new prompts?

Ordering your environment – just ordering: finding excess to discard and neglected things that inspire you now?

This is not a time for people yet. Friends and family cannot pull you out of your doldrums and pain nor can they guide you to your deep answers and solutions.

However, you can stretch into new projects based on established interests that will bring you to new people. These new projects and the new people can expand your mind and spirit, stretching you into new experience of the world and yourself. They can also enrich your current relationships in surprising ways.

A therapist who knows about the need for development during powerful life transitions could be helpful to you at any stage of this transition.

Finding what supports you as you move from one way of being to what’s next for your life purpose is your challenge. Please don't be lured by something or someone who offers you comfort in your lost position. That maintains your lost position.

You will benefit from what supports your strivings to what awaits you in your new and more developed way of living.

Trust that in your solitary search you will reject what does not serve you and move toward inspiration and hope. Then you’ll see who or what can support you in that effort. It’s a time to be patient and kind to yourself. Most important, it’s time to discover and rely on your courage to reach for what you don’t know yet that can truly support you.

Joanna Poppink, MFT, private practice psychotherapist, E-mail for free telephone consultation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder

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