Yesterday around 2pm, I had an emotional breakdown. One of those moments when you’re sitting in a room surrounded by women you haven’t known for very long and you suddenly feel the tears begin to rise up inside you. Your face begins to feel flush and your body starts to tense up as every muscle in your body is now devoted to holding off those tears, just until you make it into the car.
It’s not that I am not comfortable crying in front of these ladies, even though that would be quite unusual for me, but these tears are irrational tears. Like a child, I was about to cry because I didn’t get my turn. That’s right.
Just like a little girl on the playground…
Crying because recess was over and she didn’t get her turn on the swing. My writing group was coming to an end, and I didn’t get my turn to share something I had written. Usually this wouldn’t bother me, but for some reason yesterday, it was a tragedy. I did a fantastic job of holding back the flood until I got in the car, and the little bit of sanity I had left would only allow a trickle. My house was just a short drive away, but by the time I walked in the door my tears were stuffed down and only a sniffle remained. Thankfully Casey was asleep, home sick in bed, so I didn’t have to explain my red eyes to him. As I flitted around the kitchen, making my late lunch in between sniffles, I was trying to sort through the sadness that had consumed me – still lingering.
Maybe I was really just upset about the sad story my friend has shared about the loss of her grandfather. I remember wanting to cry when I heard the tragic, vivid tale, but I wouldn’t succumb to the tears. Maybe I just couldn’t hold them back anymore. Well I suppose its been a long day. I didn’t get much sleep last night and I had been with a friend since early this morning, helping with her surgery. Come to think of it, I didn’t eat much today. I’m not hungry, but surely I just haven’t had enough food.
Just when I thought I had rationalized my way into dry eyes, Casey walked into the kitchen. Whatever dam was holding back my river of tears exploded the moment he appeared. He came to my side begging me to tell him what was wrong. I answered honestly, “I really don’t know.” Then I blubbered on about what happened, or didn’t happen at writing group. That transitioned into us not having any time together and how no one ever wants to hear my writing. How God is doing so much in my life right now and no one’s excited, no one else gets it. How I’m alone. I think at one point I said I felt like I was on an island alone with a bunch of great things to share with people, but no one gives a damn that I’m there or even comes to visit me. How poetic.
After my dramatic explanation I clarified, just like I had tried to convince myself earlier, “I’m probably just tired and hungry. This is really stupid.” Back to, “I don’t know why I’m crying.” Then the worst part happened – the laughter. As the intensity of my crying increased, my body tried to fight the sadness with uncontrollable laughter. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but it’s a common occurrence for me if I’m sad or angry. It’s the worst. You are sad, crying uncontrollably. Then all the sudden you start to smile and laugh, but that just bleeds, into bigger tears and louder crying which raises up more laughter. “I’m insane. I’m seriously going mad. What is wrong with me?” Thankfully Casey knew this crying/laughing routine and was quick to comfort me. I don’t see how he does it. If I were him I wouldn’t know whether to laugh hysterically at my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment or run as fast as I could in the other direction.
Finally, my river ran dry and the emotional breakdown had ended. I finished my guacamole and Casey cleverly and kindly said “Will you read your journal to me?” I did, and I felt at peace afterwards.
Maybe, when we write, there’s something, so much of something, that happens within us that we can’t keep it inside for long or we will implode. Maybe this journal is my heart on paper and when it’s lonely and unloved, I feel lonely and unloved. Or maybe it had just been way too long since I cried and God knew I was about due for a hearty emotional release. Whatever it was, I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad Casey was home sick – able to endure it with me. I’m even more glad, and surprised really, that he was still there when it was over. I guess by now he knows he’s married to a crazy, unpredictable, emotional rollercoaster and he’s prepared for my outbursts – no matter how rational or irrational they may be.
So today, as I lie in bed thinking about my long day and all that awaits me in the morning, I am just thankful that I made it through today without an emotional breakdown and all, well most, of my sanity in tact. Praise the Lord for the little things in life!
Originally written on August 29, 2013