12 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Funk

by Dina Gachman

We’ve all been there. You wake up, feeling off and blue and stressed about your latest breakup, your horrible boss, your student loans, or the state of your very messy and very confusing life. You can crawl deeper under the covers and ask yourself impossible questions like “Why me?!” and “What does it all mean?!” Or — option two — you can pull yourself out of your funk and GTFU.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Sometimes your funk isn’t just about that serial texter you dated for five minutes. Sometimes it’s about something deeper, and more painful. In Sarah Hepola’s new memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank To Forget , she bares her soul about her struggles to get sober and regain her self-confidence and self-worth after years of blackout drinking. It’s a beautifully written story devoid of self-pity or clichéd self-help mantras. It’s the story of one woman’s attempt to face the darkest parts of herself head on, and forge ahead despite the pain.

In the book, Hepola (who is also the personal essays editor at Salon) writes, “If you scratch the surface on anyone’s life, you find ache and pain. I don’t care who they are.” And it’s true. Everyone, no matter how “perfect” his or her life seems, has moments when things just hurt.

So in honor of the fact that we all have our down days (or weeks), here are 12 quotes that might just help pull you out of your own personal funk.

Sarah Hepola, Blackout

“That is true strength. To want what you have, and not what someone else is holding.”

Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”

Amy Poehler, Yes Please

“The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”

Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

“And you snap out of it. Or are snapped out of it. Never again will you lay a hand against yourself, not as long as there are plums to eat and somebody — anybody — who gives enough of a damn to haul them to you. So long as you bear the least nibblet of love for any other creature in this dark world, though in love portions are never stingy. There are no smidgens on pinches, only rolling abundance. That's how you acquire the resolution for survival that the upcoming years are about to demand. You don't give it. You earn it.”

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“She comprehended the perversity of life, that in the struggle lies the joy.”

Sandra Cisneros

“Write two poems and call me in the morning. That’s my prescription for you today, world, and for me.”

Dolly Parton, My Life and Other Unfinished Business

“They think I’m simpleminded because I seem to be happy. Why shouldn’t I be happy? I have everything I ever wanted and more. Maybe I am simpleminded. Maybe that’s the key: simple.”

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

“You are never stronger … than when you land on the other side of despair.”

Jennifer Weiner, Good In Bed

“I've learned a lot this year... I learned that things don't always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should. And I've learned that there are things that go wrong that don't always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I've learned that some broken things stay broken, and I've learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.”

Nora Ephron

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim…”

Alice Sebold, Lucky

“No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”

Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

So check out Blackout, and make sure you have a pen handy. You'll probably find yourself underlining the passages that inspire you.

Image: nathanoliverphotography/Flickr