Tag Archives: emotions

The Benefit of an Emotional Meltdown

Standard

ice-1969730_960_720

“Sometimes it takes a meltdown to cool down.” Evinda Lepins

A recent meltdown I had wasn’t a public scene or even a really big deal around our house. It was significant enough, though, that I realized how important something was to me that I’ve been ignoring. I try to be preventative about these sorts of things, but sometimes prevention doesn’t work because of others’ reactions. My solution sounds something like this until I calm down, “I can’t believe I’ve let this go on,” “Never again,” and “I’m done.”

By my final fit, I’m left with what I used to think was an unusual outcome, but now I’ve come to expect it – an emotional hangover and a spiritual awakening. Like what Terrell Owens said, “Instead of me having a breakdown, I’m focusing on me having a breakthrough.”

Since I grew up in a silent family who shut up about their emotions and shut down everyone else’s, meltdowns ended up being the only way to figure out how I felt. It shouldn’t come as a surprise I married into a family that did the same thing because we’re attracted to what we know. They’re screamers, so I hoped they’d scream about their emotions so I could finally talk about mine. As it turned out, their screaming was also about shutting up and shutting down.

Shy on role models, I eventually learned to appreciate emotional meltdowns for what they were – a gateway to my emotions. Even though I’m still shaken by their messiness and hung-over feelings, and I fear I’ve made things messier instead of mending them, meltdowns haven’t let me down as long as I handle them constructively. I stop looking at what everyone else needs to do and, instead, I look at my part in the meltdown. I get in touch with how I feel and I decide what changes I want to make.

So, what’s actually melting away?

I used to hate to cry in front of people. I still do, but it helped when a friend said, “I love when you cry. You’re melting.”

I knew what she meant. I relaxed a little each time I cried around her. She could see me softening and I could feel it. For years I tried keeping up a happy pretense and a façade of being distant from my emotions by laughing off how I felt and saying, “I’m fine. Really, I am.”

I’m like Elf, “Smiling’s my favorite.” However, weightiness surfaced when I recognized emotions have a life of their own if we ignore them. Instead of being happy like Elf, we numb out with food, zone out on Facebook, and distract ourselves with problems we can’t fix, disturbing news reports, and our own bad habits. Sometimes we want to die when we already feel emotionally dead or our emotions (the ones we think we’re not supposed to feel) feel too out of control. I dislike being called “too sensitive” and hearing I overreact, but I dislike even more not being true to who I am and what’s going on inside of me.

heart-1565985_960_720

So, I melt.

I ask myself things like: What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What do I need? What do I want to change?

When I ignored the answers to these questions or didn’t bother to ask them at all, I ended up in a depression I almost didn’t survive. It’s like the anonymous quote, “I froze because frozen hearts don’t feel pain.”

I tried to give up feeling pain so I wouldn’t inconvenience others with my emotions. The result of freezing my pain was freezing almost all of my feelings. I was robotic. I went through the motions of life without emotion, or tried to. I felt like one of the walking dead and wondered what the point was of getting up each day.

This is when I had the meltdown of all meltdowns.

“On the other hand, I believe there’s hope, because the breakdown and the repair are happening simultaneously.” Kathryn Bigelow

fountain-1948946_960_720

I cried for two years, or so it seemed. I broke my silence and told a couple of trusted friends about my depression and not feeling anything except hopelessness. I let my family know I felt desperate even though they didn’t want to hear it, not because they didn’t care, but because it was scary to listen to. I contained my meltdowns to our living room and limited the best I could my accusations, name calling, and cuss words. The more I talked, the more I was able to share my emotions constructively by talking about myself and how I felt and my plan for feeling better.

I stopped trying to get a thicker skin and focused on being kind to myself and talking about my pain. I got in touch with what my heart longed for instead of the chaos in my head. I had less severe emotional hangovers and more startling spiritual awakenings. I started healing from my meltdowns because I saw their value and handled them right.

When you melt down, do you know why it’s happening? Do you see its value? Do you ask the right questions? Our emotions and handling them right are key to melting well.

In This Together,
Kim

On the Side: My manuscript is about emotions and the value of getting in touch with how we feel. I’d love feedback from you about what to include and about what you’d like to read more about.

Thanks for the images, Pixabay.com.

Advertisements

When I’m Not Bouncing, I’m Yo-Yoing (a post about emotions)

Standard

graffiti-316288_960_720

“When you’re happy, you enjoy the music. But when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.” Frank Ocean

My husband John and I rode for what seemed like a long time, even though probably only 15 minutes, in the opposite direction of Claire’s mom while Claire (our almost three-year-old granddaughter) cried, kicked the back of the driver’s seat, and begged us, “Go in that direction.”

She pointed back toward the park where we’d picked her up. She’d been with friends and missed her afternoon nap, on top of waiting to eat dinner with us. Between the two, being tired and hungry, she melted down when her mom drove away from our meeting spot halfway between our houses. We’d met to pick up Claire and keep her for a couple of days.

We finally pulled over. I hugged her and walked her around. By now, she gasped for breath and kept asking to go in that direction, while pointing the right way even though we’d made two turns. Nothing calmed her. Not talking to her mom on the phone. Not her favorite snack.

And especially not John telling her, “Stop it.”

She wore herself out, but not before she’d also worn out John. He’d become as frazzled as her.

At the house, Claire’s mood turned around after three bites of pizza. She talked about playing in the park and asked where we bought the fish that was new on our wall.

“I’m so happy you feel better,” I said.

She placed her hand on her chest, tilted her head, and said, “Oh, Mammy, I sorry, but I was so sad. I just missed my mommy so much.”

John and I laughed through our tears at her sweet voice and sincere apology. Both times she said “so,” she accentuated the word. I looked at John to see him calming down also.

“You can’t have the highs without the lows,” I said. 

yo-yo-929321_960_720

It wasn’t like he didn’t know that from experience. I’m a yo-yo, but he’s never appreciated it and neither have I. If I had tried to talk him into it, we both would have questioned, “What’s there to appreciate?”

Before we ever had kids, I was diagnosed with something, probably manic-depressive disorder. I was eligible for free counseling sessions through our health insurance if my therapist assigned a label. This was years prior to half our population being branded with diagnoses, so the therapist squirmed telling me I had to have one. He didn’t volunteer what it was and I never asked.

I’m not convinced my emotional overload needs to be labeled a disorder, but I do want to find order in it.

I, as well as everyone around me, tried to eliminate my emotions, bury my emotions, or ignore my emotions to the point that for years I’ve had trouble breathing, as well as living. I’d prefer John and I team up like we often talk about and accept, appreciate, and work together to understand my emotions, and his too.

My dad, who had the same overload, asked me anytime I’d run to my room, close the door, and cry uncontrollably, “Who do you think you are acting like that?”

Instead of asking about “acting like that,” I wish he’d asked about my feelings since they drove everyone a little crazy, including me.

After he asked, I wish Dad had cared about my answers. My responses may have helped us both.

I’m a little girl who’s scared you and Mom are going to divorce.

I’m a little girl who’s afraid you’re not okay, which means I’m not okay because we’re a lot alike.

I’m a little girl who loves you no matter what. I wish that’d make a difference in how angry you get and how scared you look.

If we are to get our own lives, we have to come to terms with all of who we are.
If we are to love the people in it, we have to do the same for them. 

musician-664432_960_720

 

My high mood is when I shop for an hour at Target to find the swirly dress and collared shirts, the princess wand, and a Little Tike’s basketball goal.

It’s when my husband and I talk for hours about the house we’ve looked at to buy in “Mitchfield” (Litchfield Beach), as Claire calls it.

It’s when I can’t get enough of Claire and her little brother, and laugh loud on FaceTime because they’ve gotten down from eating dinner to dance to Fight Song … again.

woman-565132_960_720

 

The flipside, not synonymous with the bad side, is my low mood when I’m focused on what’s wrong with you and me. I cry over spilt milk, literally. I curl up in bed and stay there all day because a child is missing in Disney.

I’m not sure these are because of a diagnosis or if we’re all plagued at times with life. What I am sure of is it’s helping to accept the lows right along with my highs.

Everyone welcomes laughter, but Claire’s teaching me to embrace it all – her high-spirited personality, as well as her fits of emotion and her soggy face. And mine, and yours. I mean, I would never dismiss her feelings or label them, so why do it to myself?

What’s up with this blog post about emotions and what’s it got to do with getting our own lives? #GettingYourOwnLife

It’s inconvenient, frustrating, and sometimes scary to feel bad, but it’s as necessary as feeling good so we know what’s going on with ourselves and each other,  and so we have direction (what to do and what not to do). One purpose of emotions (both the positive and the ones we consider to be negative) is guidance.

We label and try to eradicate or medicate our God-given emotions given to us to guide our next step towards #GettingYourOwnLife and our God-given emotions given to us so we’ll relate and have compassion #WhileLovingthePeopleinIt.

But, like I told John about Claire, we can’t have the highs without the lows. 

While researching “the purpose of our emotions,” I found an article on PsychologyToday.com (see link below) where the author talks about having too much emotion and not enough outlets like when we lived in the wilderness and fled from tigers. She said, “Perhaps emotions get out of whack today because they bubble without an effective outlet.”

Let’s choose #GettingYourOwnLife #WhileLovingthePeopleinIt to be our effective outlet. What do you think? I think it’ll keep me on my own yo-yo string and maybe even appreciating it.

In This Together,
Kim

Click here to read “Why Do We Have Emotions?” by Ilana Simons Ph.D. @ PsychologyToday.com.