This image is self-explanatory. (Munch, The Scream)
I am a positive person. I have an unfailing belief in the goodness of people and the creative, kind and tenacious nature of humankind. But even I have shit days, and shit weeks. Sometimes, a plucky attitude isn’t quite enough. Sometimes you want to smash stuff and scream and rail against the unfairness of the world.
So I made a list of things you can do when you feel like that.
1. Artfully rip holes in your jeans
Preferably not your designer Anti-Sweden jeans but … you know, needs must.
2. Rant away
Find a significant other, a reliable friend, or even a sympathetic stranger on the bus, and just let loose! Don’t censor yourself, don’t worry about being politically correct, just spew out all the awfulness you’re feeling and a stream of angry abuse at the world. Better it to land on the ears of someone you trust, who knows you and that you’re just going through something, than for you to explode in front of your boss, a client, a date or the internet.
3. Bake an enormous plate of nachos
Cover your nachos in the most ridiculous pile of cheese and guacamole. And sour cream. Use an entire pot of the stuff. Consume while binge-watching something epic in your pyjamas. Get gloriously sick. It will make you feel better. Because nacho science.
4. Write down everything that’s bothering you
Make a really long list, and then burn it. And then find some other stuff to burn. This stuff needs to be a) your stuff (don’t burn other people’s stuff, yo), b) contestable, c) stuff you won’t miss, and d) legal.
5. Go to an art gallery, poetry reading, or gothic rock show
Revel in someone else’s pain for a couple of hours.
6. Adopt a kitten.
Or a doggie. Or a hamster. The world becomes radically more awesome when viewed through the eyes of a tiny, furry thing.
7. Have a bath
You’ll probably still be sad or ragey afterward. But at least you’ll be clean.
8. Play metal … and play it loud
Put something loud and angry like Kreator or The Project Hate on and scream and rail against humanity while flailing your limbs about in a spasmodic manner. If this doesn’t make you feel even marginally less shit then basically I can’t help you.
Make it fast, make it furious, make it count. Lift heavy things, run further than you’ve ever run before … and most importantly, do it to a killer soundtrack.
10. Make art
Channel all your rage and pain and anger into your art. Write a story, paint, write music. Use your pain as fuel for your creative process.
11. Distract yourself with chores
Isn’t it high time you cleaned your desk? Have you organised your drawers recently, or vacuumed the car? GET ON THAT, RAGEY.
12. Troll misogynists or racists on Facebook
Nothing like a little armchair activism to get the blood pumping and the anger directed to the people who deserve it.
13. Participate in some actual activism
Channel that anger into a cause you believe in, and do something to actually make a difference and change the world.
14. Watch One More Time With Feeling
That’s Nick Cave’s most recent documentary on the making of the new album Skeleton Tree. The guy’s son fucking fell off a cliff and he is still making art and giving his grief as a gift to the world through his music.
15. Have really good, loud, angry sex
It helps, you burn calories, and you terrify the neighbours. A triple win.
16. Give yourself an ice cream headache
Make the most ridiculous ice cream sundae you can imagine. I like to toast marshmallows over the gas hob on the stove (don’t tell my husband as it’s probably some kind of safety violation) and add those to nuts and chocolate bits and ice cream and cream and caramel sauce …
Build your sundae in your drinking horn, just to be metal.
17. Look at the stars
Borrow a telescope or some binoculars and go stargazing. Sometimes it helps to feel small and insignificant.
18. Buy some Legos
Make legos. Smash legos. Make legos again.
19. Donate some money
If you have some spare, give it to people who can actually make a difference.
20. Plant something
And watch it grow. Bonus points if when it grows either a) you can eat it or b) it can eat you.
Plenty of organisations need volunteers to do all sorts of things. Teach some underprivalledged kids how to play guitar. Serve soup to the homeless. Read Dante’s Inferno to pensioners. Do something simple that makes someone else’s life better.
22. Smash something
Take a sledgehammer to something and smash it until it’s in teeny tiny pieces. Make sure that something is a) actually yours (don’t smash other people’s somethings, yo) and b) not a thing you actually need. If you smash your TV but then you want to watch Gilmore Girls reruns, you’re going to be even more pissed.
23. Own your shit
Playing the victim isn’t metal. Step up and admit your own part in your misery.
24. Tell your story
Write this letter to someone who can actually make a difference – who has the ability and the platform to make the world even a tiny bit less shit. They will appreciate knowing your story, or knowing you’re cheering them on.
25. Go to an amateur comedy night
And be content in the fact that although you may be angry depressed, at least you are not, at that moment, on stage, broadcasting your depression in front of hundreds of potential hecklers for free beer.
26. Ask someone out
Who you really, really like. The world is already shit, right? So what do you have to lose …
27. Buy a festival ticket.
Want to go to Wacken? Or 70,000 tons of Metal? Or Maryland Deathfest? Or Burning Man? Buy the ticket and start making plans. You might as well have something to look forward to.
28. Read something gloriously depressing.
Bukowski, Orwell, Plath, Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow … read something that mirrors the grim despair you feel. I read Philip Roth’s Sabbath’s Theatre and it made me want to stab my eyes out, but in a good kind of way. It’s a good kind of shabby yearning. If you need some choices, here are the Top 15 Most Depressing Books from the Telegraph, and a Listchallenges article of the 100 most depressing books of all time. I have read 44 of them, and just added two more to my Kindle after reading these lists, which might tell you a little about my taste.
29. Find a secret place
A hollow tree, a hidden garden, a dark alley. Go there with a book or an iPad and enjoy just existing with your moroseness.
30. Ask for help
If you’re feeling really depressed or angry all the time, or you’re stuck in a bad situation and don’t know what to do, talk to a professional who is trained to listen and give you tools to deal. You could call a free local helpline, or make an appointment with a counsellor. Seeking help doesn’t mean you are weak or sick or crazy. It means you are brave enough to confront your problems and seek out a way to improve your situation.
There’s a really great article on Lifehacker on what to do when you’re angry. Anger is one of the most important emotions we have, as it’s a sign something in your life needs to change. So get on that.
Gala Darling has a fun list of 100 Things to Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List). It’s not quite as metal as my list, but it might help.
When I’m not being genuinely happy interspersed with a few moments of RAWR, I write science fiction and paranormal romance novels. If you want the details first when new books come out, then sign up for my newsletter (you get a couple of free books, too!). Or, better yet, become a Patreon backer and get all the behind-the-scenes info, more free books, bonus material, and my eternal gratitude.