Monday, March 17, 2008
Today's Daily Om really hit home with me today as I had just this experience yesterday. I've been fighting this cold for two weeks now, trying to muddle through life as best I can without letting it get me down, but at this point I'm worn out. Not sick enough to be bedridden but not well enough to function at my normal capacity.
We had a busy weekend planned: Friday night out to dinner and visiting friends, Saturday picking up Beren's girls an hour away, lunch with them, then heading to a little camping expedition (more about that later) at a nearby park. Sunday we puttered around the house and prepared for Kevin's belated birthday celebration here. I tried to get my herb garden cleared out for re-planting, got about halfway through and was just overcome by the heat. Hard to believe since it's only March but the temp was truly unbearable, especially since I'm still snotty and headachy from this cold. So, I gave up, sat on the patio with Beren and had a nice cold beer..grin...and felt completely overwhelmed and stressed. My garden was a mess, my house was a mess, dust bunnies everywhere, cat fur tumbleweeding down the hallway, laundry piled up, Kevin's cake unfrosted...and yeah, there were a few emotional issues I wasn't making time to deal with, just shoving them under the rug and hoping they would go away. With all of this going on, I was quickly headed toward a little breakdown. That's when Kali arrived at the door, having the exact same situation at her house! She came to ours to retreat from what she called the "pockets of messes" at home, totally overwhelmed with attempting to finish her thesis, do some wedding planning, etc. all while trying to ignore the clutter that she had no time to deal with. She joined us on the back patio and we tried to explain to Beren just what we were feeling, how frustrating it can be when you look around and not one single thing is in order in your house.
So, we sat there for a bit, commiserating with each other, and then we did what it takes to feel better: Kali found a clean spot in the dining room and worked on her wedding invitations. As an artist I think that she decompresses by doing something creative. I found a few quiet moments in my bedroom, breathed deep and tried to relax, then I started cleaning. Within an hour the floors were vacuumed and mopped, other living areas tidied and decluttered, kitchen cleaned and cake decorated. Then I was ok. Emotions in check, feeling much more in control, ready for the guests to come and honor my future-son-in-law on his special day. Before bed I sat down with Beren and discussed what was bothering me (which had nothing to do with him, by the way) and was able to go to sleep with an uncluttered mind as well as castle. It was very freeing, and much better than swirling around in chaos.
So, I know that Kali & I both have OCD tendencies but I wonder if other "normal" women don't feel this way as well? I truly think it's a woman thing - if our homes are in order we can handle most everything else but chaos in the house combined with chaos elsewhere is a recipe for disaster and a most certain breakdown of emotions.
March 17, 2008
Tending The Emotions
Having A Breakdown
Most of us have had the experience of holding back our emotions for such a long period of time that when they finally come out, we have something resembling a breakdown. For a certain period of time, the overwhelming flood of feelings coursing through our bodies consumes us, and we stop functioning. Often, these outbursts take us by surprise, welling up within us as we drive to or from work, watch a movie, or engage in some otherwise mundane task. We may feel like we do not know what triggered us, or if we do know, it does not make sense of our overpowering emotional response. This is because we are releasing feelings that have accumulated over a long period of time, and whatever inspired the release was just a catalyst for a much larger, much needed catharsis.
When we find ourselves in the midst of such an experience, it is important that we allow it to happen, rather than fight it or try to shut down. Wherever we are, we can try to find a private, safe place in which to let our feelings out. If we can not access such a place immediately, we can promise to set aside some time for ourselves at our earliest possible convenience, perhaps taking a day off work. The important thing is that we need to give our emotional system some much-needed attention. It is essential that we allow ourselves to release the pent-up emotions inside ourselves so that they do not create imbalances in our bodies and minds.
When you are feeling better, make a plan to find a way to process your emotions more regularly. You can do this by employing a therapist or making a regular date to talk to a trusted friend. Journaling can also be a great way to acknowledge and release your emotions, as can certain forms of meditation. Making room in your life for tending your emotions on a regular basis will keep you healthy, balanced, and ready for life.