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Coping When Nothing Makes Sense

By Diane Bruno March 26, 2024 Mindset

As a life coach, I always find myself guiding others through the twists and turns of life. Yet, there are moments when even I am left struggling with the sheer randomness and cruelty that life can throw our way. Recently, the news of a friend’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis at the tender age of 58 shook me to my core, igniting a storm of questions about purpose, fate, and the incomprehensible workings of the universe or a higher power.

In times like these, when nothing seems to make sense, it’s essential to acknowledge the depth of our emotions and the complexity of our thoughts. Here are some strategies that I’ve found helpful and share with my clients in navigating through the haze of confusion and finding a semblance of peace amidst the chaos:

Allow Yourself to Feel

When faced with a situation that defies logic or reason, it’s natural to experience a range of emotions, from shock and disbelief to anger and sorrow. Allow yourself the space to feel these emotions without judgment or suppression. Embracing our vulnerabilities is the first step toward healing.

It’s Okay to Be Angry

Anger is a valid and natural response to injustice, suffering, and the unfairness of life. Whether directed toward the universe, a higher power, or the world at large, allow yourself to acknowledge and express your anger. It’s a powerful emotion that can fuel change and propel you toward healing.

Seek Meaning in the Unexplainable

While we may never fully understand the reasons behind certain events, we can choose to find meaning in our experiences. Reflect on the lessons that adversity has taught you, the strength it has cultivated within you, or the growth opportunities that may arise from hardship.

Practice Acceptance

Acceptance does not imply resignation or approval of the situation; rather, it involves acknowledging reality as it is, without resistance or denial. Acceptance liberates us from the futile pursuit of answers to unanswerable questions and empowers us to focus our energy on what we can control.

Connect with Others

In moments of uncertainty, it’s important to lean on the support of friends, family, or a trusted community. Sharing our struggles with others not only lessens the burden but also reminds us that we are not alone in our journey.

Find Solace in Spirituality or Philosophy

Whether through prayer, meditation, or philosophical contemplation, exploring questions of meaning and existence can provide solace and perspective in times of confusion. Engage in practices that resonate with your beliefs and offer a sense of connection to something greater than yourself.

Focus on the Present Moment

When overwhelmed by thoughts of the past or worries about the future, ground yourself in the present moment. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice mindfulness or gratitude, and cultivate an appreciation for the beauty and wonder that surrounds you here and now.

Seek Professional Support

If feelings of confusion or distress persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from a therapist, counselor, or mental health professional. They can provide valuable insights, coping strategies, and a safe space to explore your emotions without judgment.

As we grow older, our sense of mortality becomes increasingly tangible, casting a shadow over our perceptions of the world and our place within it. In the face of life’s unpredictability, the weight of existential questions can feel especially burdensome, amplifying our frustrations and fears. It’s during these moments that the insignificance of trivialities becomes starkly apparent, as we grapple with the stark contrast between the fragility of life and the triviality of everyday concerns.

The realization that nothing makes sense can hit us harder as we age, as we become more acutely aware of our vulnerability to fate. By focusing on what we can control – our thoughts, actions, and attitudes – we reclaim a sense of “control” in a world that often feels beyond our grasp. Whether through nurturing meaningful relationships, pursuing passions that bring us joy, or practicing self-care and mindfulness, we can find solace and empowerment amid life’s chaos. By acknowledging our anger, embracing our vulnerabilities, and taking deliberate steps to cultivate resilience, we can navigate through uncertainty with grace, courage, and compassion.

It’s important to remember that you are resilient, capable, and worthy of love and support. By embracing the journey, allowing yourself to feel anger, finding meaning in the inexplicable, and leaning on the strength of community, we can navigate through even the darkest of times and emerge stronger, wiser, and more compassionate than before.

A Memory I’ve Kept

In times when nothing seems to make sense I am reminded of an exchange with a priest during my mother’s wake, where he shared an analogy that has stayed with me over the years. He likened life to a tapestry, suggesting that while on earth, we can only witness the tangled underside of its creation – a mess of threads, knots, and weavings.

However, he offered reassurance that in the afterlife, we would finally see the masterpiece in its entirety, where everything would make sense and we would marvel at its beauty. At the time, I struggled to find solace in his words, especially considering the diversity of beliefs among those present. Yet, as time passed, I came to accept his message not as a promise of clarity, but as a reminder that understanding isn’t always immediate. It’s a journey toward acceptance, where we find peace amidst life’s uncertainties.

Stuck with Emotions

As I continue to struggle with my friend’s diagnosis, I am not yet ready to take my own advice and the steps I have shared with you. I find myself stuck in a web of emotions, including lingering anger that simmers beneath the surface.

I realize that this anger may persist for some time, and I am honoring it as a natural part of my healing journey. While I may not be ready to fully embrace acceptance just yet, I recognize that it will come in its own time, as I gradually release the grip of anger and allow space for understanding and peace to unfold.

In the meantime, I am committed to supporting my friend with compassion, cherishing each moment we share. Through this process, I am reminded of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of love in the face of life’s greatest challenges.

Remember – it’s natural and acceptable to feel that life sucks, especially when faced with overwhelming challenges or heart-wrenching circumstances. While some may offer well-intentioned platitudes about how things could always be worse, the logical mind recognizes this as little more than a temporary bandage on a gaping wound.

Acknowledging the possibility of a worse scenario doesn’t diminish the very real pain and frustration of the present. It’s okay to sit with the discomfort of feeling like life is unfair or cruel, to grieve the losses and setbacks, and to validate our emotions without comparing them to hypothetical scenarios. In honoring the depth of our struggles, we permit ourselves to heal authentically and to find the strength to persevere, one day at a time.

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little; by the external laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
—Mark Twain, ‘Which Was the Dream?’

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you feel life isn’t fair sometimes? How do you pull through such thoughts? What negative event have you been grappling with lately?

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Thank you for writing this. It really hit home for me. I just lost my dear friend to cancer. I miss her. I miss our conversations and how we could share anything with each other, no judgement. I miss being able to sit down and email her at all times of the day or night. It’s not fair that she made it through breast cancer just to turn around and die from panacretic cancer. The one thing that helps me is a picture she sent me of her favorite place. I imagine her there, now. Happy and peaceful. Plus I remember that she is free from suffering.

Lili Anderson

Dear Kat, Thank you for sharing your grief and bewilderment. My beloved husband of 43 years died 8 months ago. I don’t have any clear advice or anything like that. But I can sit next to you and keep you company for a little while. Sometimes that helps. I will be near you with prayers, ok? Love in sisterhood. Sincerely, Lili


Thank you Lili. That is so sweet of you to offer to sit next to me and keep me company. That does help. Sorry about your loss. I will be sitting next to you, too. Love, Kat

Diane Bruno

Hi Kat – You are right it is not fair at all. I would suggest you still take the time to “email” her – telling her how much you miss her and share how you are feeling etc. It is a good practice that will help you as you process her loss.


Thank you Diane. I will.

Judith Louise

I have faced the past eight months of my husband of 50 yrs fight for his life in hospital. His illness continues to be a threat. I feel your grief.


Excellent perspective. My husband is close to being approved for a transplant; this whole last year has seemed unreal. Have certainly felt angry and occasionally overwhelmed, but fortunately have good friends and an understanding employer. Have worked to not envision worst case scenarios and instead focus on helping him mending or improving relationships.

Diane Bruno

Hi Gloria, I hope he is approved soon and he will be on the road to recovery. Good friends are truly a blessing. Be well.

Carol Anne Cole

A close friend of ours had a heart transplant which was expected to last around 10 years but has lasted 30. When my husband had his heart surgery I just didn’t even consider that anything would go seriously wrong. I left the hospital during the surgery, to walk downtown at night in the pouring rain, and stopped in at a luxury bath product shop and bought soap. That might seem odd to some people, but I had to keep my brain busy. There was a family in the waiting room, waiting for the surgery to save the life of a new mother. I’ve always wondered how that went. My husband is doing very well with the cow valve in his heart. I always laugh when I remember calling my mother to tell her, “They gave him a cow valve.” And her reply, “A cow bell? Why would they give him a cow bell?” Being a bit deaf, both my mother and I, meant we had some entertaining conversations.


Thank you for sharing the article! It came just in time for me to cope when nothing made sense. Here is my story: My significant other of a year and a half just moved out unexpectedly and cowardly from our shared house. We didn’t argue, everything was fine. I was at work and he cleaned up the room without any explanation. There was nothing left of his. I was in shock! I tried to call him but he didn’t pick up the phone but left a text telling me he felt like we were getting on each other’s nerves and my cats annoyed him. Wow! After all this time! Ok. So of course the range of emotions flooded me from shock to disbelief to anger and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t hear from him until that evening and I had expressed how I felt by his sudden departure. He acted like there was nothing to it. He stated that he had so much stuff in one room and could not cope with all of it. So he needs a space to go over this and catalog everything. I didn’t say anything but what was shocking was he suggested we could see each other on the weekends. It didn’t make sense to me at all. I need to process all that and take time to heal. Again, thank you for sharing the wisdom!

Diane Bruno

Hi Luba, that is terrible. It sounds like he wants so much on his own terms. Protect yourself and remember you come first! You will heal and deserve so much better.


I love the honesty of this article. Thank you!

Diane Bruno

Thank you! and thanks for commenting!

Joni Meyer

It’s been 2 years since my husband’s death and I have been in such confusion of my previous beliefs and now just accept the fact that life is not fair and we don’t know the future and we can’t predict the future and we just have to take the punches when they come. I’m definitely not the same person and I used to be so much fun and now my life is so serious and I’m having to maneuver through this new life.

Diane Bruno

Hi Joni, you may not feel like the same person as we are all effected by what happens to us. I am sure the happier you is still inside and I hope you will find the peace you so deserve. Try to identify one thing a day that will bring you joy and embrace it – you may find it helps.

Carol Anne Cole

I think 2 years isn’t very long, now that I have lost my mom and brother. Hopefully, you realize it is ok to sometimes laugh even though you have lost your husband. It doesn’t mean you are disloyal. Perhaps you do, and just don’t feel like having fun yet. I find myself wanting to prepare for my own death now, by getting rid of extra stuff. Maybe not my death, but at least a move into a smaller place or facility. I am only 69 but it takes me a while to get rid of things, so at this pace maybe I’ll be ready when the time comes. Losing your husband, which hasn’t happened to me yet, I can only imagine how I would feel, and I find it hard to even think about. Time goes faster as you get older, so really two years is more like one. I wish you well.

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The Author

Diane Bruno is the founder of Diane Bruno Life Coach and Diane Bruno Freelance. She is passionate about empowering women to live authentically! In her role as a Certified Life Coach, she is dedicated to guiding and partnering with her clients, committed to their success through life's challenges and opportunities.

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