Friday, January 13, 2012

Losing It

I lost it yesterday - I went ballistic in the kitchen over the mess (Kailyn had made Cheese Zombies and a double batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies for her dad the night before, and cleaned up most of it . . . except for the COOKIES which I had already ate entirely too many of!) and the bags of junk food, and general chaos on the counters.  I lost valuable "prep for work" time as I was suddenly a crazed hag yelling & swearing & screaming about how much I hated the disorder of the house, my body, myself, and life in general.  It was a rampage of epic proportions and I scared myself half to death. I can't remember the last time something similar has happened, but it's been years.  I was teetering on an emotional breakdown, and had 15 minutes to get to work and pretend I was sane and safe!

Of course, I woke Kailyn and she groggily came out asking what was wrong.  By that time, I was mostly crying, but still raving a bit and she got the general idea.  I sobbed that I was so sick of myself, but that I didn't have the guts to do myself in.  I don't truly think I'm suicidal, but saying that out loud scared both of us. Our roles reversed and she held me and mothered me.  I've been motherless for the second time, since 1996, originally in 1960.  It's been a long time since someone has mothered me, although sometimes I've felt that from my sister, especially when my son died. This was the first time I was mothered by my daughter. I felt more shame, then gave in and allowed her to hold me as I cried.  My daughter, my mother - somehow, I never expected that. I felt her love, her acceptance, and I felt myself healing a little as she comforted me.

I pulled away, and attempted to pull on my big girl panties and headed for work, still crying, still scared of myself, praying aloud, "Oh God, oh God, oh God" the entire drive and into the parking lot.  (This isn't quite as dramatic as it seems, as I only live a mile from work, but still!)

My rational brain knows that this 'breakdown" was in response to an accumulation of stresses: not feeling good (having a head cold and sore throat the past few days), my knees not working very well, my weight (mad at myself for eating the cookies), Kailyn's angst about France (a whole other blog topic), my angst about Kailyn's angst, general fears, and the biggest one: my not picking up after myself - snowballing into no one picking up after themselves, avalanching into chaos everywhere you look!

When I got to my classroom I heard a familiar voice call out, "Babbitt!" in greeting, and I hollered back, "Davis!" then went searching for where a former teaching pal was subbing - gloriously right next door! We chatted awhile and I asked if he had a job the next day.  He didn't and agreed to sub for me.  I nearly sobbed in relief.

I got through the day, with Kailyn's welcome and knowledgeable assistance, born of hours hanging out in my classroom.  She did the read aloud (one of her all-time favorites, A Long Way from Chicago) and mostly taught the math lesson, as I had a dry hacking cough that overcame me when I talked more than about two minutes straight. In between teaching and working with kids (keeping my distance, even though I probably got my sickness from one of them!) I also put sub plans together. Kailyn and I left just before four as I had physical therapy scheduled.  She was going home.

I was five minutes late to PT (I'm usually early!) and Mindy could see in my eyes that I was under the weather, so she went easy on me.  I hurt and she said that when my body is fighting infection it will affect my knee.  I tried going up and down the stairs again, and I hurt both directions. But, we're zeroing in on the muscles I need to work on, so I think I may still see success.  I was told not to overdo until I see her again on Monday, but to do what I can.

When I pulled into the garage and started into the house, I could hear the vacuum.  Lo and behold, I opened the door and my house was miraculously restored to order.  I don't know how Kailyn managed to do it, but in less than an hour she had picked up and cleaned the main rooms, something I would have thought would take me most of Saturday to accomplish. She had soup simmering on the stove, and we added left over Cheese Zombies, the ultimate comfort food. (not the best for weight loss, however!)

And so, I let myself sleep in this morning; sat and read the paper.  I am moving slowly.  My head is heavy, my throat still hurts but I haven't coughed much  . . .  although I haven't had to talk to anyone yet, either!

I lost "it" yesterday, yet, in the process, I found something else.  I found that the world won't crash to the ground when I'm not in control. (Well, I kind of already knew that.)  I found that I can let go of the control I think I have, and allow my daughter to comfort me, to mother me.  And, I found that it is infinitely comforting to have someone mother me, to be held in love, and, that it's ok for me to not be the mother all the time.

Powerful lessons from losing it.


  1. Stress gets to all of us at times, especially when we are not feeling well. I hope this weekend of rest will be a healing time for you.

  2. Sandi, that was a great expression of stress hitting and wiping you out. Your daughter was an angel. Take time for your mental health as well as your physical health. As a teacher, I know that I had to do that.

  3. Sandi,
    When this happens to me--that is, when I forget to take care of myself as Susan suggests in her comment--I sit on the couch with a slice of bread with butter on it and feel comfort ease its way around my cells.

    Then I try to imagine that someone has confided her/his feelings to me in the words that I've been whipping myself with. What would I say to that person? I'd be kind and I'd point out that we are only human and that often times we long for mothering. I'd be so kind. So compassionate. So loving toward that person. I'd befriend that person.

    And then I realize that the person is me and that I can be this way for and to myself. Please try to be as good to yourself as you would be to Kailyn if she came to you in tears and longing.


  4. The fact that you allowed yourself to examine what was happening, and to write it all down, right here in the blogosphere where I can read it, I am just simply overcome with admiration for your tenacity in the face of everything that has confronted you. You may not believe this right now, but you will one day: you are an inspiration to all, every one of us who has been there and found our way back, with the love and help of those who love us.

    I do hope you will just allow yourself to fall into a place where you are surrounded by love and comfort. Forget about diets, PT, food... your peace of mind is the important thing here. Virtual hugs, Sandi...

    And thank you for this... it took a lot to write it, I know. And I am thankful you did. :-)

  5. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, but I think you needed to let "it" all out and then begin to put it all back in order. Kailyn sounds like a dream! I'm glad you let her give service in her way to help you cope. Sometimes we forget to let others help. I think when we don't let them do something for us we deny them the blessings that come from giving service. I hope you feel better really soon and just take time this weekend for yourself. All will work out, just give it time.

  6. Aren't daughters the best?!?!!!

  7. I'm glad you are comforted. I hope you have a restful weekend.

  8. This sounds SOOOOO familiar!! And I really hate when people say "Been There Done That." but that's exactly what popped into my head when I read this Sandi. And I too have walked away feeling as though I've learned a lesson!
    Love Di ♥

  9. I came here via DJan's blog and absolutely love your blog! I have already read 3 screenfuls.

    I don't know why your son committed suicide, but having had a brother die just one month before his 56th birthday was very difficult for me, too, so you have my sympathy.

    I have a weight problem, also, and have decided to stop falling back on fast-weight-loss diets like NutriSystem. Yes, you do lose a lot of weight quickly. but when you go off the diet, you gain your weight back and then some. I want to lose weight slowly, but still enjoy food. It's not an obsession anymore, to lose weight.

    I have added you to my blogroll and will visit again. ALOHA FROM HAWAII!!!

  10. I am so proud of you!!!! So glad Jim was there (I could hear his voice) - no accident, I'm sure. Take good care of yourself, and continue to let those who love you help out with that as much as possible. I am really envious (and happy for you at the same time) of your relationship with your girls.

  11. Oh my I get those feelings but never had the idea to put them to words the way you did! You are really trying hard to stay on track. Allowing a moment of comfort from a daughter is the best! Glad I came by to read this 'cause I needed a reminder of how special our girls can be. Thanks. Hope by now you are doing better.

  12. Life sometimes takes over doesn't it? I think it's ok to have melt downs occasionally and then as you said pull up our big girl panties and keep going. Don't let yourself get that far gone before you deal with it. I have what my husband calls "Ostrich syndrome." I ignore things until I'm so overwhelmed I crash. You can do this. Admitting it and getting it out there is the first step of taking control BACK. You can do this!

  13. I think all the comments here are so warm and caring and reflect what I'd like to say, but Dee's to me, is particularly apt. Sometimes I think we are own own worst critic, and I often think "would I be that hard on someone else?". I mentioned this concept to my daughter also as part of my mothering technique, and she has been quick to reflect it back to me when I've needed to hear it. She gives wise counsel also.
    In families we all help each other, that's what we're there for and love puts a big warm blanket over everything.
    Continue to seek out family and friends who support you (your substitute buddy sounds a gem)and allow others to help. You are doing a great job Sandi.Tears are often a much needed release and who doesn't respect that place when they are shed from a place of genuine pain, sadness or stress.
    Take care, and step back from the fray when you need to, particularly teaching. It's a hard job.

  14. We women try so hard to do it all and to be all things to everybody. Our disappointments in ourselves when we don't live up to our exalted expectatioms can bring us crumbling down. As horrible as that scene may be (we have all been there), it is cathartic and can give us pause to examine our lives and find some satisfaction in the person we are - not perfect - but close enough.

    You are blessed with a daughter with a beautiful, loving heart. How fortunate you are.


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