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How many times over the last couple of months have you had a meltdown? Sometimes, it all just gets to be too much. During normal times, I generally have the emotional tools and resources to stop myself from melting down, even when I’m stressed or frustrated or anxious, but these days, all bets are off.
Between all the uncertainty, the anxiety, and the grief over everything we’ve all lost over the last few months, it it any wonder that many of us are having emotional breakdowns? A friend and I recently talked about the concept of “rolling meltdowns” – the idea that it’s okay to have one, but hopefully, not at the same time that your friend/partner/spouse is having theirs, so you can support each other through each incident.
And believe it or not, there are benefits to allowing yourself to have the occasional meltdown. It can be a release. I like the visual of tears being a melting of your defenses, a softening of the pretense that everything is okay when it’s most definitely not.
If you can, try to sort out what triggered the meltdown once it’s over. Was it a particular incident? A particular time of day? A particular person? See if you can figure out what you can do to prevent a repeat occurrence.
When it comes to preventing meltdowns, all the same things apply that you’ve heard hundreds of times already: manage your stress. Eat wholesome, healthy foods. Get outside in nature. Exercise. Connect with family and friends (but only if they don’t add to your stress!)
And when all else fails, hang on to this quote from Kathryn Bigelow: “I believe there’s hope, because the breakdown and the repair are happening simultaneously.” If you allow it, a meltdown can be the beginning of spiritual growth and healing.
In so many ways, it feels like the entire world is having a collective meltdown right now. I believe that Ms. Bigelow’s quote applies to this global meltdown as well. I hope and pray that we’ll emerge from all of this with a better and healthier society that includes everyone.
A follow up to last Sunday’s post
Quite a few of you have asked me what I’m reading after I mentioned that the one thing I believe we can all do right now is to listen, learn and look inward. I thought I’d share my current list of books here. There are many many more, and I’m sure that I will expand this list, but for now, this is what I’m starting with:
Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
How to be an Antiracist
A friend also suggested to read black fiction. Fiction can often make a topic more accessible than non-fiction, so I’m going to add that to my list as well.