Whatever hits the heart is here.

No two people are the same; you are encouraged to customize this document to your own needs, abilities, and resources.
Copyright Sinope (eponis.tumblr.com), 2015. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Questions to ask before giving up

Are you hydrated?

If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?

If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus? Maybe a piece of cheese?

Have you showered in the past day?

If not, take a shower right now.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?

If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip. Alternatively, do some squats till you feel it.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?

Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?

If not, jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?

If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?

If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in a generic prescription brand?

That may be screwing with your head… and also your body. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

If daytime: are you dressed?

If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Put on your shoes, and ready yourself as if you were going outside. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?

Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Do you feel ineffective?

Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?

Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll help fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?

Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you over-exerted yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?

That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you waited a week?

Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.


As I would free the white almond from the green husk
So I would strip your trappings off,
And fingering the smooth and polished kernel
I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond counting.

Amy Lowell



Most of us aren’t very good at happiness and remain there about as long as we might on a skateboard or a pogo stick. Part of it is being carried about by the natural ebb of flow of events. But we treat happiness like the universe was giving us a shoulder massage and finally hit the right spot with the right pressure. “Oh yeah, that’s it! Keep doing that!” we say with gratitude as the universe moves off, perhaps sticking its finger in our eye as it goes. “Stupid universe” we can’t help but feel. That’s one issue, that a high watermark for happiness based on good luck, is like the apogee of the roller coaster: For best results, hold your hands in the air, scream with a crazy ecstasy, and laugh with your friends about it later. We don’t often learn much from our highs, and when they pass we may feel rather flat inside as if we had been fooled into joy, then returned to the disappointing truth. Again.

This feeling that reality kind of sucks is a large but subtle challenge. It grows out of the individual blend of shame, grief, and fear that plays all day through our minds like an infernal top 40 radio station. Every moment of grief, fear, and shame becomes a piece of track connecting it to the next, and the next. This continuity becomes the world you recognize as your own, the self you recognize as you, and defines your expectations of what your life can be. Worse yet, it becomes reassuringly familiar and all of us need a place in our lives that IS reassuringly familiar. Part of the self then defends the borders of this dismal place against change. When we are happy, there can be a feeling of disequilibrium that the agents of our inner life work to “correct”. This is not usually something we are conscious of doing.

Things have to get pretty bad to form big enough cracks in your familiar world to shine a light on how mechanically self-defeating this is. This opportunity is almost always offered up by a broken heart. This can be a moment of true change if we consciously question and explore the reasons for the heartbreak. Feeling unlovable, and simple, robotic codependence being the most common. If a sufficiently bright flash of understanding happens, during this critical moment of searing pain it is possible to step outside of the templated sad story. This is a prison of belief taken for granted, you must achieve a minimum distance from your life story to see the path to freedom.

A broken heart contains escape keys. Find them, and head for daylight. Discover something new.




 Hjalmar Georg Lundstrom

He was my Mother’s father, my Grandpa, and your Great Grandpa. He was born in the Houtskär region of Finland in something like 1885. His Dad died when he was very young and he and his brother had to work hard from an early age.

  1. He was a fisherman and a carpenter and came to the United States around 1903 to stop being a fisherman and to escape being drafted into the Russian army.
    Lesson 1: At all costs, avoid being drafted into the Russian army.
  2. He found my Grandma Aina Helena Sundburg when they were young and poor and working in Brooklyn. She was a maid and he was a carpenter living in a single men’s barracks (different world). Grandma didn’t take him seriously – they dated – they didn’t date – and dated again. She finally went back to Finland to consider her options. He showed up to be with her. They got married and had six kids.
    Lesson 2: If you want something, prove it.
  3. Once he had a mishap and cut off the end of his nose with a circular saw. He walked over and picked it up out of the sawdust and taped it back on with electricians tape. It healed. No problem. Just a little white scar around the tip of his nose forever after.
    Lesson 3: Fuck it, move on.
  4. He designed and built houses, had six kids, wrote poems and played the violin.
    Lesson 4: Get busy.
  5. He died at 95 years old, asleep in his bed.
    Lesson 5: Die at 95 in your sleep, my boy.