January 13, 2012 - submitted by Malin, Norway

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION - #54
The Christmas of 2011, has been the worst of my entire life. I got home one day, and my parents told me they are getting a divorce, and my dad is moving out. On top of that, a week before Christmas, my boyfriend for 3 years told me he wanted to break up. My life is changing, and I have no clue what I'm supposed to do. I can't take this anymore. The sadness is just too much. Sadness is a sea, and I have been swimming for a long time. Hopefully, music, time and freedom will help, but I need some advice; how do I get passed this, when I have an extra hundred things on my mind? How am I supposed to keep swimming? And, can you recommend some music that helps?
Thank you.


The Oracle replies:

Oh Malin, what a terrible time you're having. Your analogy of the sea perfectly described the situation and the fact you have been swimming in the face of adversity so far, makes me know you will continue to do so. Head up high you hear? Life does sometimes throw us some heavy duty c**p to deal with and the fact you had two huge things to cope with is very tough. Both things have happened to me so I can empathize and hopefully you'll trust me when I say that you will feel better - eventually. So, what can you do? You may be experiencing grief issues with the two losses and you need to give yourself time to let those emotions come out. Surround yourself with friends and fun; try to keep your routine as normal as possible under these circumstances. Take one day at a time and don't rush the process. I can't give you answers as to why this happened, as that's life sadly. Parents divorcing can be so very hard but I'm afraid although it impacts heavily on you, your parents are doing what is best for them & I am sure they will have thought about what's best for you too. Breaking-up is also very traumatic but you're not alone. Many people have been through similar situations, so talk to people and share your feelings.
Coping strategies will differ from person to person but don't be afraid to lean on others for support - whether a friend, relative or counsellor.
If you can write down how you feel and also keep a diary - that may help the process. Given your life is busy and you've got extra things weighing on your mind, writing planners and to do lists may help you achieve goals that need to be met. As for music, well... that depends whether you want music that relates to the situation that will make you ball your eyes out or music to cheer you up and make you forget for a while. I've come up with one of each and of course, I really felt Coldplay can help with the former.
To cry: What If (Never fails to get me going!)
To laugh: Anything by Flight of the Conchords.
To stick with your idea of swimming, sometimes you may feel like you're treading water and getting nowhere, that's ok. Some days you may feel like you're sinking. Some days you may feel you swam an ocean. Whatever happens, if you believe that everything has happened for a reason and just patiently wait for a time when you learn what that is. The strength you have right now (& you showed you do) is what will get you through other tough times and make you a more amazing person. Hang in there Malin! Over to you...

You're not a victim. In fact, you're being given a wonderful opportunity to take your life in your own hands by being beyond all that. It's not easy, it hurts, it's scary but once you realize you're none of your problems, you're not the pain you feel, not the memories you hold, not the fear that's paralyzing you, you discover what freedom really is - it is within you, like everything you need to be happy. When you're losing your parents, your boyfriend, have lots of worries and feel like having no more strength to keep on swimming - don't, stop it, don't swim. The water will carry you anyway and sometimes there's no point in fighting it. It's not a failure to accept what has happened - it is a failure to fight the things you can't change. And still those are the small things like keeping your boyfriend or making your parents be together. You can change something far bigger - your attitude. Whether we realize it or not, every feeling, every thought we have, we CHOOSE to have, usually by doing nothing. Talk to yourself, analyze what you feel, why you feel it, what you would like to feel and most of all, how do you feel with yourself and think where does REALLY all the happiness come from (YOU). As for the music - my personal #1 is Sigur Ros. Start with Takk album. Barbara.

First of all, sorry for all your losses and what a lousy time of year for this to occur! Life can be interesting for sure and you seem to have some good strategies for coping already music is a healer so its good. Fix You is always a good song when life dumps on you and Us against the World is good too. The best advice is to stay in touch with you dad after he leaves and support your Mom. It's going to be hard for both of them, beyond that take good care of yourself. I can recommend long walks and journalling your thoughts as good ways to cope..allow yourself to feel however you feel..you have every right to be angry and sad, just don't let these feelings overwhelm you just like Dory in Finding Nemo you have to "just keep swimming" in this temporary sea of sadness eventually you will arrive on shore stronger and happier and wiser. DON"T GIVE UP! you are worth every effort you make at staying happy, give yourself time to adjust to these changes and you will get there, sending happy thoughts, Laurie.

Ok. First thing's first, keep your head high. Something I like to do is put my situation into perspective with other people in the world. This may make you feel slightly insignificant but it helps me to think that there are thousands, millions of people out there that are in a much worse position than my current situation. There are many counseling and therapist clinics out there that you could try, but I find music helps the most, Coldplay in particular.
I also find that composing a song really helps (if you're into that sort of thing). It allows you to open up and let everything out. The main thing to remember is that, wherever your parents are, apart or together, they still love you 100%. That will never change. As for that boyfriend, well he obviously realised you're too good for him! Stay happy. Keep your head high. Life's too short to think about the unfortunate things. Best of luck, Steph. x


The cold hard truth is, life comes at us all very hard at times, and there are but few answers to the riddles spoken by the voice of disparity. When faced with hard times within my past, I learned through the years to simply avoid the conflict within by reaching toward the future and not reaching in arrears. As much as we may want, the past can NEVER be changed. However, the future remains a matter of choices. The worst thing you could do is to dwell on that which breaks your heart. What I found was to avoid reliving the sequences that brought me down. You must get past that revolving door. The best approach is to focus on those things that won't take you back into that fray; and from this you'll eventually find peace within yourself, of yourself, offering quiet cadence in order to heal the hurt. Once you feel the strength return, become daring once again.
Music is a matter of personal preference, choose wisely, It should set you free, not rekindle any pain. Myself, I found peace in listening to just ocean waves or unknown instrumentals. This allowed me to focus my inner self, rather than merely a temporary distraction only to backslide, or that where I would succumb to a sad lyric. That got me through the tough times. Eventually, as I overcame, I discovered the music of Coldplay. In conclusion, simply, it's what's inside your mind that can either plague you, or set you free. You must choose on which to focus your energy. David.

Malin, change is inevitable. Remember you still have 2 parents that love you, even if they aren't together. It is about them and their relationship so don't take sides, just give them your love. The breakup with your boyfriend, may seem overwhelming now, but most of the time in young relationships you lose yourself, since you never had the chance to really discover who your really were. You are grieving, accept it so you can then let it go. Keep focusing on the present and things that make you happy and smile and not the future you thought you were going to have. Use this opportunity to focus on you, your growth and be the strong confident woman you were meant to be. When the time is right, a relationship will come to be, that will compliment who you are, not change who you are. You're going to be more than alright, you're going to blossom. Dawn

I know it can be really difficult to overcome your situation, but I think you should lean on whatever makes you feel good: your friends, your pet, Coldplay (of course). Try to forget about it. Remember that if you focus only on what you leave behind, you can not see what lies ahead. Anyway, time heals everything. Good luck! Love from a Coldplayer, Gloria.

First off, I'd like to say sorry about your parents and also of your break up. I know things can be tough and it's not a good way to spend Christmas it is a time for friends and family. I'd like to tell you that although you feel terrible, things will get better. They always do, with time. People always say change is hard, and it's only the brave who can go through change. You need to stop swimming and try to overcome your sadness. Go out go to the beach or a trek, get your mind off things and become closer to those people who will be there in your life. For music you should listen to Fix You by Coldplay, I'm sure you've heard it. Good luck to you. Love, Catherina - a Coldplayer.

Well everyone has their ups and downs, and everyone goes through crappy times. I, for one, depend on music everyday. It helps to listen to something that relates with what you're going through or a song that reminds you of the good times. You should just keep your head held up high and live your life. Remember that life will always have obstacles in your way, but with that, you'll get better opportunities. Ezra.

I'm sorry for the troubles life handed you. When your parents divorce, you will live with one of them but they will both still love you. And a boyfriend of 3 years is hard to get over any time, but almost unimagineable at the time of your parents' news. My only advice is to live life in the moment. Don't look ahead fretting how everything will turn out. That only gives the stress more power and you can't change the decisions other people have made. With so much coping needed, take one tiny moment at a time. That sounds rather simplistic when you're feeling so lost, but I believe everything happens for a reason - such traumatic events actually help us become the person we were meant to be. Music has gotten me through personally devastating times. For others it's faith, or reading, or friends. But ultimately, it is you who must face each day with brave determination. The actions of others are not your fault. Truly, DO focus on yourself. Ease the heartaches by allowing yourself to grieve and then accept that your life has changed. A good friend, a school counsellor, a church member, a teacher - someone who knows you may be the shoulder you're meant to cry on. Don't feel ashamed to let your sadness flow. The more it flows out, the stronger you will become. In time you will emerge a stronger person. Sincerely, Sandy.

You face life changing events and grieving the loss of loved ones, so acknowledge and recognise what you are feeling. Take a break from the things you do not typically enjoy and indulge in activities you love. You have a passion for music, so listening to old favourites and discovering new ones will be a great way to treat yourself.
Try to rely on close confidants (friends/family) for support, and tell them how you feel and what you are going through. Spend time with those who encourage and listen, avoid those who worsen your mood or are negative.
Please remember, even if it feels like it, you are not alone in experiencing a break up.
Broken hearts mend, the mind forgets and time heals most hurts.
Your parents' divorce will bring more strong emotions and feelings. They will still always be your parents and please don't feel guilty about their decision. You still have the right to love them both. There might be denial and difficulty accepting this situation has happened. This phase will require great maturity, but this will develop with your strength as you take this journey.
Work on the skills to cope with anger, sadness and loneliness. Exercise and healthy eating are very important. I'm sure you will become, with time, more responsible, a better problem solver and a better listener and friend. Don't lose faith with love.
As for music, I love Nick Drake - his voice is beautiful. Good Luck, Jonathan.

I'm very sorry that so many bad things came your way. However, it unfortunately has. And in my opinion, there are two ways to go from here: one way is to give up and "stop swimming" (which I do NOT recommend to anyone), and the other is to fight through it. You seem to fit the second option and that's a great sign. I'm not a professional, but I believe that there are a few steps towards overcoming such difficult things. The first one is to have the will - you seem to have that. The second step is to ask for guidance - you have clearly done that. The third is to tell yourself that the sorrow will pass. And the most important step is to remember that wherever you turn, there is goodness, hope and love. Never should you feel alone, because you never will be. From a personal point of view, I can safely say that darkness will turn into light. It did for me and it definitely will for you.
As for songs, I firstly advise you to always listen to Coldplay (of course), because their music speaks in a way no other music does - but I'm sure you already knew that! There are plenty of other artists and bands too. But instead of recommending them by name, I would just say: listen to whatever makes you happy. I wish you all the best. Love, Medina.


Malin, im truly sorry about your parents and your relationship. Sometimes life challenges us with things we cant change or control, but the important thing is that we never lose hope in finding happiness. You sound like a very mature person who's been through enough to know that life is hard sometimes. I recommend having some peaceful time with yourself maybe at a park or just taking walks? Nature can be very comforting. As for music, i recommend Paradise by our very own Coldplay. To me, the song is about finding peace within yourself, even when everything feels wrong. Love, Darem.

I'm very sorry to hear about this, especially from someone with a very brightly colored outlook on life. It sounds like your parents laid the bad news on you pretty hard, and no one should have to go through that. And while your parents may not be together with each other, anymore, always remember that they will be there for you, whether it be in person, or over the phone, you need to stay close with them, especially in these times. And on the subject of your break up, there are plenty of other people out there, and perhaps it's time to move on from that relationship. This is a very hard time for you, but I'm certain things will turn up, after all I once heard a rather wise fellow once say that the sun must set to rise.
Some songs I'd recommend:
You - TV on the Radio, Blood - The Middle East, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah and the Whale, Breaking Down - Florence & the Machine, Crown of Love - Arcade Fire. Bradley.


The way I get through sadness contains a variety of different methods:
1. Go surfing - If you live near an ocean or go on vacation to a spot with an ocean then rent a board from a local surf shop and just give it a go. The ocean is one of the most relaxing places in the world and even a trip to the beach helps clear my blues.
2. Keep listening to Coldplay - Certain songs such as Lovers in Japan, Strawberry Swing and Viva la Vida help me also when I'm feeling blue. They say music is the food for the soul and quite frankly Coldplay is one of the best foods you can feed your soul.
3. Take a break from everyday life - I had a time in my life when I was depressed and I came to realize that day to day life can bring you down. If you try something new and change up your schedule then it can lead to something new. In conclusion, these all help me when I'm feeling down and I hope they can help you too. But don't let life bring you down, these hard times in your life are only setbacks that you can overcome. I hope you take these examples into consideration. I hope you live a happy life and overcome these setbacks. Pierceson.

I've been through a very similar situation, so you can rest knowing that you're not alone! When I feel like my life is in chaos, I am compelled to write everything down. Try using pen and paper to make a list of the positives of your life, and everything you're thankful for. You will find that even during the hardest times, life is still beautiful. I know it's so overwhelming right now and you feel like giving up, but the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with friends. Your friends will help you along through anything, so talk to them and let them comfort you. Plan a weekend trip with your friends away from home, as this will take your mind off the current situation and give you something positive to look forward to. Best wishes, Blake.

Thank you so much for your insightful replies and suggestions. If you'd like to take part in this week's Team Oracle, click to read this week's question, and send us your answer.