Maybe it was the non-stop down pour and soggy air. Or the back-to-school organizational demands that competed mightily with back-to-Congress work load. Or the relentless cough that has rendered a week’s worth of sleepless nights and has my family looking into sanatorium options for me. No matter the cause. Last night I hit the wall and began to shut down.
My family is all too familiar with my quarterly breakdowns which put me in the fetal position for about 12 hours every 3 to 4 months – usually overnight so that, to the untrained eye, it appears as if I have just gone to bed early. Dave sees the teary look in my eyes and marches me upstairs. Or I start talking in tongues, drop a few f-bombs and put myself in a long time out. However, at 5:00 p.m. yesterday, this approach was not an option. Dave had Back-to-School night. My Mom was coming for dinner. The President was talking about the future of our country (and for me, the future of my business) And the boys needed help with their homework.
While this confluence of forces would suggest that I was in big trouble, the fact that this blog post is up early this morning tells a different story. I share this with you because the ability to quickly climb out of my emotional toilet bowl when I am already circling the drain has been relatively elusive to me for years. It surprised me enough to reflect on how I did it because I know, MoB readers, that I am not the only one who suffers from the occasional “meltdown hissy fit for no good reason.” Maybe these steps – alone or together – may help you someday:
Take Trusted Advice: When you are on your way out, sometimes incohnsolability takes a stronghold. It is easier to assume that NOTHING will help you than admit that a little work might go a long way. Like stepping away from the computer for an hour, having a drink, or sucking on a cough drop. Whereas my inclination was to beat my fists on the floor and insist that NONE OF THAT WILL HELP ME, I listened to my mother (except for the drink, remarkably) and started to feel better. Thanks Ma.
Remove Blinders: While it may not seem so at the time, there are usually a number of other things going on in the world besides your shit. When the pile of work in front of you is dauntingly high, look the left and the right and take notice of what is happening. The pile will still be waiting for you but for a moment you can open your troubled mind and lets some fresh trouble air in. I could have blown off the President’s speech last night and gotten started back on my work earlier in the evening. But I didn’t and watching him (and explaining to the boys how lucky we are that Mom and Dad both have jobs) helped me reboot and get my mind working again.
Get Perspective: As I was slogging through my work later last night, Noah came in to say good night. As we chatted briefly about nothing in particular, he reached out and unconsciously ran his hand through my hair – a childhood habit of his that still presents itself every now and then, but less and less as he gets older. He doesn’t do that to anyone else. Just me. Just his mom. It was a tender moment that I could have easily brushed off had I not been looking for a big picture sign from the Universe. And for a time not much else mattered besides my kid and me.
As we all pause and reflect this weekend on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I hope you all have an opportunity to sweat the small stuff because if you are fixated on tiny things, it means nothing too big or too awful is taking up space in your heart. Let’s keep the big stuff far, far away.