Like Bob (whose entry really, really moved me), writing has been my biggest savior during the tough times in my life. While I was going through a painful divorce in my mid-twenties, I barely managed to produce any fiction, but I journalled compulsively, letting out all my overwhelming, out-of-control emotions in a safe place where they could be both expressed AND contained. (This was a paper diary, not a blog! It was written absolutely just for me.)
Several years later, happily remarried and living in a different country, I was diagnosed with M.E./CFS: a longterm, chronic illness that can't be cured. Because of the illness, I had to give up my job. Many days, I couldn't even get up off my couch. I didn't know how to adjust to the new life stretching out in front of me as I lay there on the couch. I sank into despair.
What saved me, emotionally? Writing, yet again. I gave up the "serious" adult novel I'd been working on and started writing the first of my Kat books, Kat, Incorrigible, instead. Following Kat in her fabulous magical adventures, as she leaped on highwaymen's horses, battled snobby aristocrats, and caught true loves for her older sisters, made me laugh and remember how to be happy again myself. Kat's coming-of-age journey, across the course of her trilogy (which just finished, with Stolen Magic published last month) accompanied my own gradual adaptation to a new, wonderful life despite my illness.
What about you guys? What saved you in your own tough times?