I have a reputation for never giving up and always going the extra mile. This is one of, like, three things I like about myself.
There is that saying, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” which yes, is either the Lion King or Spiderman, but it’s still true. Responsibility is code for obligation. Obligations in my life sound a lot like work, grad school, CRC exam studying, house keeping, spouse-ing, and Nolan, Leah, and Huck.
So many obligations on top of Type A, natural people-pleasing tendencies, low-self esteem, raging diet coke and gummy bear addiction, and abysmal self-care, make for a barely functioning stress magnet.
Dead sexy, right?
My sleep patterns have been somewhat erratic for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t tired. For the last few years at least when I talked to a physician about it they always chalked it up to being a mom. Having kids I guess automatically meant being exhausted. When my mental health starts declining that’s one of the areas that starts suffering the fastest.
Last week I didn’t sleep for almost 72 hours. It was an incredibly difficult week at work with clients, and the kid’s had extra events going on as well. It was also finals week. Things in other relationships were bothering me. I’m at a weird place with God and church right now. I definitely overthink, and trying to solve all of the world’s problems is basically my favorite middle of the night hobby. I laid my head down to sleep and my brain just wouldn’t turn off. I ended up reading six chapters of a textbook, shopped for new jeans online, organizing my closet into ROYGBIV order, cleaning the bathroom, applied four layers of facial moisturizer, and watching three episodes of Gilmore Girls. Super productive evening. If exhaustion is good for one thing it would be making you vulnerable. God I hate vulnerable.
I stepped into my therapist office the next day and crumpled on the couch in a hot ball of tears. My therapist’s name is Amy, which is half-way to Amazing and that describes her perfectly. Amy knows my history, she knows when my words can’t form coherently and what my warning signs are when my brain is trying to self-destruct. At her urging, and frankly, persuasion, I had to make plans to get away for a while.
Asking for help is not really in my wheelhouse. It’s not something I’m super great at. Having people that you can trust with your truth, even when it’s messy truth that doesn’t always make sense, like having a brain that wants to implode on itself, is absolutely vital. You should marry those people. I did.
If my husband is good at one thing it’s showing up. When I told him that I had to go be by myself for a few days to recharge he didn’t even blink. He kissed my forehead and said see you later, babe. (LOVE that man.)
So with two bottles of wine, a six pack of diet coke, and 2000 calories worth of chocolate I checked into the Omni Dallas. At first I didn’t really know what to do with myself by myself. Being responsible for only me was different… and kinda weird. It seemed so self-indulgent, but also fabulous.
All weekend I did things I wanted to do. Things that filled me up and made me feel good. I read by the pool, listening to music, got a massage and facial, went shopping, went shopping again, ate all my favorite foods, talked with friends, did some writing, put on my running shoes and went to the fitness center – and then promptly went to get coffee instead, took ridiculously long hot bubble baths, and dropped off surprise gifts to friends on my way home. I worked at turning my brain off. For once, that was the hardest work I had to do. It was nice to do those things. It was nice to do what makes me happy. It was good to feel renewed, even if just a little bit.
It was also good to gain perspective.
There’s a long way to go to get back from where this started. I can’t do any one part of this alone. I have tried that and I have failed. When things are falling apart we can trust in the nets we have created to catch us. The people in our lives, family, friends, counselors, and others, will be there. No matter the circumstances we can know that those people will fight for you to pull yourself out, and will be there in it with you.