nervous breakdown (n)
a period of mental illness resulting from severe depression, stress, or anxiety
I want to tell you something.
No one is immune to the nervous breakdown.
They are not reserved for schizophrenics, or that (whisper) bipolar person, or the homeless man who rides his bike around town, or the woman whose husband just died, or the old woman who lived in the shoe.
You know that woman who is always at your kid’s school?
The one who is well dressed, and accessorized, and manicured, and who always smells good and only has one kid?
She’s probably had one.
You know that woman at the gym with not one ounce of fat on her body, who, even when she is dripping with sweat, looks completely gorgeous and sexy?
Same for her.
That guy with the Porsche and the country club membership and the MBA and the hot wife and the perfect kids?
He’s been down the rabbit hole.
Not many people want to talk about their nervous breakdowns.
Or whatever you want to call them.
You might think you are the only one who feels like she is going fucking crazy.
But you’re wrong.
Most of us have had one.
Or will have one.
If you are lucky,
you’ll have more than one!
Now, I have a bit of a history with these things.
And I knew this last one was coming.
But I didn’t really pay attention to the signs until it was too late.
Sure, sometimes it’s a major trauma that brings one on.
But sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes the nervous breakdown happens on a Tuesday.
For no reason.
Or for what seems like no reason.
Or a very small reason.
That’s pretty much what caused my nervous breakdown.
A pair of fucking sneakers.
You see, I have been shoving stuff into the closet and slamming the door shut before the crap had a chance to fall back out for a while now.
I shoved money problems in there.
I shoved problems with my husband in there.
I shoved problems with my children in there.
I shoved anger and sadness and exhaustion and stress and fear and death and flour and bags of sugar and powder and paint and Cheerios and toothpaste and conditioner and poo geysers and broken pipes and certified letters and all sorts of other shit into that closet.
And every time I shoved one more thing in, I managed to slam the door before it could come back out.
Until the sneakers.
I tried to shove those sneakers in there and I just couldn’t slam the door shut.
And so when I couldn’t close that door, I tried to lean against it and hold it closed.
I didn’t last very long.
The weight of all the crap I had been shoving into the closet was just too heavy.
Everything that I had managed to squeeze in there fell out.
And it smothered me.
When you start the descent into the rabbit hole, your brain isn’t functioning on all cylinders.
You find yourself surrounded by three types of people.
There are the people who just don’t get it.
They mean well. They really do.
They try to cheer you up.
They say things to you like “Keep your chin up!”
“Buck up! You have so much to be grateful for!”
“You ran a marathon! If you did that, you can get through this!”
They don’t realize that you crossed that bridge a long, long time ago.
Then there are the people who realize it’s more serious than simply making the decision to look at the glass as half full.
They ask you,
“What can I do for you?”
They really want to help.
But your brain.
It’s not really working.
You can’t think straight.
And you are feeling so bad about the state that you are in and so guilty that you let it get to this point.
You are feeling embarrassed or ashamed or whatever, and so even though you desperately need it, and want it, you cannot bring yourself to ask for help.
And even if you could, you may not even be sure what kind of help you need or what to ask for.
And then there are the third group of people.
Thank God for the Nikes.
I am forever grateful.
They reached down into the rabbit hole to pull me out.
I was a little hesitant at first.
I mean I had gotten myself into that hole, so I should figure a way to climb back out, right?
It wasn’t going to happen.
The sides were too slippery.
So after a bit of convincing, I grabbed their hands, and they dragged me the fuck out of that hole.
From there, they didn’t really give me a chance to think about anything.
In fact, they didn’t leave any loose ends for me to think about.
They just swooped in and got to work.
They bought food, and took care of the kids, and made dinner, and gave me a break.
Now the Nikes haven’t “cured” me.
I have a bit of work to do to clean up all that shit up that fell out of the closet.
But they helped me to get my feet back under me.
My brain still isn’t functioning on all cylinders, but enough of them are pumping to be able to make some rational decisions.
So to those of you out there whose closet is about to burst open, it’s okay to ask for help.
In fact, it’s okay to ask for help before the closet gets to that point.
Hell, if your closet is totally empty, it’s okay to ask for help.
If you are sitting on the edge of the rabbit hole, LET SOMEONE KNOW!
If you are deep inside that rabbit hole and people are extending a hand to you,
grab that shit.
And if you are witnessing a friend teetering on the edge,
Don’t wait for her to lose her balance.
Don’t wait for him to dive in.
Don’t ask if there’s anything you can do.
Be a Nike.
And just do it.
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