A few years ago, around this time of year, I had a serious breakdown.
Yes, happens to the best of us, even me.
The first day of school had gone well. I was proud to have pulled it off again without forgetting half the stuff the teachers always request you have ready on the first day. The kids were happy, had no homework. All honky dory.
The next morning, all hell broke loose. The boys were fighting constantly, didn’t want to get dressed or brush their teeth, were moaning and whining about everything.
I hate to be late. It’s in my nature. It makes me nervous. It’s silly, and the world won’t stop turning, I know, but still. So I got a bit stressed. Which led to them getting stressed. Which increased the fighting. And it all spiralled up from there. I started shouting at them, they shouted back and at each other. It was a big mess which ended in all three of us in tears.
In the car to school (we made it on time) I apologized and asked them to please think about ways to make our mornings easier and propose them to me next time. Off to school. Breathe.
On the way to work, I was stuck behind a woman who was constantly looking at her phone and swerving all over the street. I saw images of her crashing her car and me crashing mine behind her. It made me mad. But she turned a few kilometers down the road.
And I got stuck behind a slow driving truck which extended my trip to work by about 10 minutes. Breathe.
Got out of the car and this mini rainstorm hits. Managed to get half soaked in the minute it takes me to walk from my car to the office.
Got to my desk, made some tea. Breathe.
Realized I had a meeting at 9 am which I was hosting. Rushed into meeting room, couldn’t find my telco dial in details. Stress levels up again – for nothing, I know, but once the ball gets rolling…
Meeting was sh-t. My mood and my energy hovered over the entire hour and infected everyone else. Getting a comment about it after the meeting was the drop that made my bucket flow over…
I lost it. I tried to keep it together, hiding behind my computer, tears in my eyes. I went to the bathroom, had a cry, calmed down, went back to the computer, but the tears kept coming.
Tried holding it together, but there was just no way. At 11 I decided to go home. Gave my colleagues a tearful hug (probably scared the bejesus out of them) and left.
The whole drive home, I cried. I was angry, sad, just totally not myself. I was mad at myself fore-mostly. For losing it. For not being able to ‘handle’ things.
What the hell was going on?
A whole list of things popped up on the dashboard:
•kids: the love, the fear and the stress that goes with having kids
•single mom: the pressures, the always having to do it all alone when you have the kids
•work: nothing serious, but just the pressure of trying to fit it all in
•love: the lost one, the non existing current one, the difficulty of finding a future one
•weather: the transition from sunny summer, to the leaves turning, the darkness in the morning,…
•ex: the stress exes create, no matter how well things are ‘arranged’
•to do lists: always present, no matter how much we do
•parents: very loving, sometimes annoying, and worryingly, aging
•me: being my own worst enemy and harshest critic, and too demanding
Sometimes the whole world just weighs too much. Sometimes it all comes crashing down on you.
Yes, happens to the best of us, even me.
I spent the afternoon at home, crying, watching tv, trying to cheer myself up, sleeping, crying some more, allowing myself to be sad, to be mad, to feel helpless, depressed and just wanting to hide away from the world.
I went to bed early.
The next morning, it was foggy outside. It was foggy in my brain. I felt better, but the fog was still hanging low.
I got through the day, spent the afternoon working off my to do lists. In the evening, the kids were back and when we sat down for dinner, my oldest started talking about the next morning. About how they had thought about suggestions to improve the morning routine. ‘We should lay out our clothes the night before, like we used to do.’ The little one adding excitedly: ‘And then we get dressed before we even come down for breakfast!’
I was smiling, amazed at the wonderful souls they are and thankful for being their Mom.
The next morning went very smoothly. No drama, no fighting, kids dressed and teeth brushed and off to school on time.
That evening, I was having friends over for dinner and we had a great time.
And I was thinking how weird life is. Two days ago I totally lost it and the world was a dark place I didn’t want to be in. And two days later there was no fog, no darkness, only friends, kids, food and laughter.
Where had it gone?
I now know that yes, this happens to the best of us, even me.
I now know that it’s okay to let it out, to show it, to not be ashamed of it.
I now know that we owe it to ourselves to go home, hide and let it all hang loose for a day (or two, or three…). It’s cleansing. It soothes. It calms.
I now know that it is okay to let your kids see that you are not always the strong mother who handles everything and then some.
I now know that good discussions and good friends are life savers.
I now know that the fog does lift.
I now know that this will probably happen again.
I now know how to handle that too 🙂