Monday, October 28, 2013

The Meltdown

The other day I had a meltdown in front of my husband.  They usually happen on a Friday.  I say “usually” because Friday is when my last few meltdowns occurred.  My husband works from home on Fridays.  He’s pretty lucky.

The meltdown had been building up in my throat for a few days and culminated in a sobbing jag, ending with hiccups and tears that I wiped away with a used tissue from my pocket.  Then I had a headache that lasted the remainder of the day.

I was feeling sorry for myself.  The week went by, chores and tasks piling up daily, our household calendar filling, the list of to-dos growing and growing.  Tasks never end, leaving time for other things.

What I wanted to do all week – for weeks now – was to write.  And that wasn’t even happening, not as much as I’d like.  My desire, what I wanted to make a priority – to write, to do it full time – was getting pushed further and further down the list, behind thankless tasks like cleaning toilets and mopping floors, doing dishes, helping kids with homework, running them all over town for their activities.

I was mad at myself for being ineffective in nearly every area of this life that I’ve created – the house was only half clean, I hadn’t made dinner in days, my son was spending too much time on video games and not enough on math homework.  All of these things pointed to me – I wasn’t prioritizing the things I had built my life around.  I was letting them slide for this one other thing that I wanted so badly, and it wasn’t even being accomplished.

The truth in my mind – “this is the life you signed up for” – stung.  It says that I need to get it together and take care of the things I said I would.  But I want more, and the life I’ve made simply doesn’t allow for more, and it made me sad, and then mad at myself for wanting it.

My husband listened, and watched me cry.  He offered solutions.  He advised me to talk to him more.  He said all the right things.  But I was still sad.

My woefulness had a source, and that source was fear.  I’m afraid of not getting things done, of the house and the kids and our calendar and our lives going right into the (not clean) toilet.  I’m afraid of changing the life that I have so carefully tuned to run smoothly.  I’m afraid that I’ll fail.  I’m not afraid of what I know.  I’m afraid of what I don’t know.

So I do both only halfway, and both suffer.  I’m not writing much, and we’re eating meatloaf for dinner for the third (fifth?) night in a row, and my son is bringing less-than-adequate math grades home.

Everyone knows that fear + anger = meltdown.  Seems that I have to learn it over and over again.

And usually on Fridays.  My poor husband.

*******

24 comments:

  1. It's just being human! Everyone does it in their own way! It's a way to just do a mini reboot and rock on! :-)

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  2. I understand your feelings, Andrea. I do. I get feelings of inadequacy frequently. Then I lose it. My poor husband is the regular recipient of that too. Hugs. xo

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  3. Dear Andrea.....it IS life...no matter what our age, no matter where we are at in life...we can have these meltdowns...I also am blessed with a husband that understands and patiently listens. We have to "forgive" ourselves for being human...then, we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off after giving ourselves a little break, and move forward...today will be a better day....

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  4. My parents consistently gave me, and my six brothers and sisters, two terrific pieces of advice. "Do what's important first," they said, and then added, "Do what you love, and money and everything else will follow." In their world view, doing what you love was always important and, by extension, the first thing to do.

    I always did what I loved and was passionate about, writing, and God, who gave me the talent in the first place, continued to bless me and my family afterward. That, in turn, allowed me to accomplish most of what else proved important ... although if you were to ask wife Debra Ann, she'd tell you there's a full list yet to be tackled!

    You're obviously passionate about your family and your faith, Andrea. Act on your passion for writing, too. Everything else, including miraculous new ways to clean (or ignore) dirty toilets, will follow.

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  5. I didn't clean my bathroom for three weeks. Dude. It was so gross. I had a meltdown yesterday when Charlie threw his plate from his corndog on the floor and ketchup covered the carpet. My husband silently cleaned it up, vacuumed the whole house, and then steam cleaned under Bird's dinner chair. I very VERY much feel like I am not cutting it lately. Big hugs, friend. ;)

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  6. I feel like I live right on the edge of a melt-down most of the time these days - too many things pulling in too many directions means nothing is done 100% and that drives me crazy!!!
    Sometimes I like my husband to offer solutions but usually I just want a little empathy!

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  7. Sending love. I know that I struggle the same way. If I wasn't afraid of... something... I would be able to focus on both writing and my home stuff more. Now? Everything is kind of just foggy and unclear.

    Yes, I brought the sad into the comments. Sorry :( So much for encouraging words, but maybe it will help, just a little, to know you're not alone. xo

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  8. I'm a frequent melt-down-haver... but I spread the love around to my husband AND kids :)
    Andrea - I understand how you feel. How about you just close your eyes and jump into the writing more? Make a pact with yourself that you will just write for a few weeks. What's the worst that could happen? Maybe things would get better automatically and by being happy that you're writing you'll be more motivated to get other things done. Just use the creative breaks you have to take for some cooking and cleaning and always have your notepad with you to write down brilliant ideas :)

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  9. That feeling of being overwhelmed (and fear) can be really powerful. Melt downs happen. How wonderful that your husband is so supportive!

    I had a melt down Friday, too. I think we both got the same memo.

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  10. My meltdowns are usually at the end of a long week, and often when I'm totally overwhelmed. So, a lot of crying happens before holidays, birthdays, or travel. I understand the fear, too. I hope you can find a balance somehow! And thank goodness for supportive husbands, right?!

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  11. I am afraid of the meltdown. It keeps threatening to happen but I'm able to keep it at bay right when I think this is it. Maybe I should let it happen, get it over with, then hope not to have another for a while. I'm glad you know the source of yours though. Maybe that'll help in the long run to head it off. Balance sucks. I never did learn to walk that damn beam straight across without stumbling.

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  12. I haven't had one of these in a while (unless you count while in counseling) but I know what you mean. And when they come on, well there's just no stopping them. You are doing great, Andrea, try not to be too hard on yourself. xoxo

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  13. I get this so much. That fear you talk about? Is alive and well in me. And the part of it that leads to half-assing everything? That too. And what is it about Fridays? I used to love Fridays, but they are always when I am at my worst these days. Life is exhausting.

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  14. Tears are healthy and hopefully you feel a lot better now and can move forward? Sending much love and understanding, my friend. xoxo

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  15. Oh, I so feel you here. I currently have a list of 31 (THIRTY ONE!!!) blog posts I want to write... but whenever I sit down to do it, the guilt starts to build because dinner isn't planned, the floor isn't mopped, the laundry isn't done. The guilt keeps me from concentrating on what I want to write, and then when I give up and go do what I feel like I should be doing, I feel resentful for it. It's an ugly cycle that only I could break, but I don't really know how. You call it fear, I think of it as guilt, but I think deep down it's likely the same thing.

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  16. Um, did you get in my head and write the same thing I was thinking??? I have heard those very words in my own head, had that very same meltdown (many times) all too recently. A few minor details vary, but essentially, it's the same. Wish I could offer some words of sage advice, but I can't. Just...I know.

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  17. I so get you on this. It sounds like a simple thing - "I want to write!" - but it's really not so simple when you have to fit it in around all the other life stuff. Just remember that success is how you define it - making dinner 3 nights this week, writing one piece you had to stretch yourself to finish, focusing on your kids and nothing else for one night and having it feel okay to let everything else go. Those things could be success too.

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  18. Hugs hugs hugs. Deep down, we're all like toddlers, and we get frustrated when we can't pinpoint why we're frustrated. :) xo

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  19. Oh my goodness...yes. Yes, I get this, and amen to your every sentiment. I've currently been battling the "you signed up for a 31 day challenge and can't even do that...only 31 days! Fail!!" I keep trying to tell myself..."Nothing bad is going to happen. At least you tried. You have other priorities..." (but in the back of my mind, I'm stilling hissing "fail!!" at myself). *sigh* Yeah...I'm so with ya.

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  20. I completely understand how he said all the right things, but you still felt sad. Sounds very familiar. Yeah, unfortunately when things back up on me I feel crappy and inadequate. I strongly dislike half-assing it through my life. I have to remind myself of the periods where I've totally been the opposite. Totally kicked ass. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't. I feel ya. xo.

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  21. Andrea, this is exactly how I feel lately, and it was the reason behind my terrible mood on Saturday. I had deadlines on the brain, writing for ME on the brain, Halloween costumes not done yet, and my house was a complete wreck because I usually clean the visible parts first, leaving my bedroom and bathroom an unholy mess. Sometimes my fear is "this is just how I am." I will never have a well kept house, I will never have a rockin writing career, I will never have patience. I will always b e run down and behind and frustrated.

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  22. I so understand the feeling of being overwhelmed enough to cry. Although I have a blog, my desire is less to carve out time to write than time for other things that I enjoy doing, time that my own choices in creating the life that I live mean that I don't have. I have forgotten how to relax, I think, since I spend so much effort on being efficient so I can cram in just that little bit more of what I want to do. :(

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  23. And this is how I feel today too. Must be that time of the month for me but yes it's been crazy here too. Sending you much love!

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  24. I totally understand, Andrea. I feel very similar sometimes, and then it all just comes tumbling out.

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