Anatomy of a Breakdown

It’s 7:30 in the morning and my son is supposed to meet the bus in ten minutes and I can’t find his donation form for Jump Rope for Heart, which is due today. I finally stuff the money in an envelope, scratch off a note to his teacher, and hustle him out the door. I can feel the clouds beginning to gather.

I’m in my bathroom finishing my makeup. My hair looks dry and flat. I dampen the front again and attempt to restyle it, with the same results. I hate this cut and I hate myself, so old and tired and fat. I dress, pulling on my red top, and attempt to untangle the long, knotted necklace and can’t, and in my frustration and anger, gather it up in one hand and hurl it against the wall. It lands on the floor and two charms fall off and I turn and leave it there. My husband comes in and says, “Bunny…what’s wrong?”

“I just feel depressed,” I tell him, fighting back tears, and I can’t express more because I don’t know how to express it. I’m not sure I know what “it” is. I am training myself not to make this about him, because it’s not at all. He does not deserve to become the unwitting victim caught in the crossfire of the battle I am having with myself.

I am late and I step out the door and into the cold, gray day and drive to work in silence, as my radio has failed again, and the self-loathing sets in as I consider what I have done to my husband’s morning…my husband, who wakes up in a great mood every day of his life. I’m so angry with myself…I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom…I wish I were pretty…I wish I could go to the gym…but more than anything, I want to not wish my life away. I want to be my family’s soft place to land, and not an unpredictable bundle of emotions.

I get myself to work and make myself busy, and finally, the clouds lift, and I am spent.


About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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16 Responses to Anatomy of a Breakdown

  1. It can’t rain all the time, am I right? lol Nah, I am just kidding I really hope you have a better day starting now! I’ll start it off by saying have a great Valentines Day, I bet your husbands got something planned for you later. /Nothing Follows/

    • Joyce says:

      Thanks for your encouragement. It doesn’t rain often, but when it does, it’s abyssimal. Don’t know if it’s a mood swing or what, but I wish it would go away.
      My husband’s awesome…he just called to check on me.

      You have a Happy Valentine’s Day as well!

  2. I hope work helped you out of your funk/depression. Sorry for the dissapointments you are feeling.
    I used to get told stuff like this often – don’t wish the time away. Sometimes when I find myself thinking about my desire for another time – I imagine my mom wagging her finger at me and saying don’t wish the time away.

  3. Valerie says:

    *Hugs* If we could see ourselves as those that love us do, we’d all be happier. 🙂 Kind of like voices; I’ve never met a person that liked how he/she sounded, but we all like each other’s voices! 😉 Hope today is better. (And the sun shining makes a huge difference for me too!)

    • Joyce says:

      Today is much better. My mood is greatly improved by the sun coming out. I wonder if I need to get one of those happy lights for gray days. Thanks for your kind words! It’s a little hard to put this kind of stuff out there because I don’t want my new-found friends to think I’m a nut job, but I just felt compelled to get it all out 🙂

      • Valerie says:

        Like you said before, this is a place to really open up! If you can’t do it here, where can you do it? 😉 I really, really dislike too little sun. I would never make it in a dreary place that gets lots of rain! O_O

  4. Oh Joyce, you little dear…you are not fat or ugly…I remember seeing a picture of you early on in your blog! You are a talented, beautiful, smart woman who is contributing a ton to this world both through your mothering and mentoring at the university! I know I often feel this way so I know exactly what you’re going through. These long winters bring me down and I haven’t seen the sun in so long. Being a stay at home mom has really cut me off from the outside world and blogging has helped me tremendously connect with people. I’m so glad I have found you!

    • Joyce says:

      Thanks, Melissa…I am off today and I’ve already had a little walk/jog, which makes me feel so much better. If I ever slip into a funk, it’s usually when I’m getting ready in the morning, because a. I’m tired, b. as I’m getting ready I notice every little line and wrinkle, my hair won’t do right, and only about half of my wordrobe fits me right now, and c. I’m always scrambling around tring to get my stuff together and the last minute and it’s so stressful!

      I guess motherhood can sometimes be an isolating experience no matter what your circumstance. If you’re working you have not time to interact and make friends, and if you’re at home, you’re tied to the house most of the time. I feel exactly how you feel about blogging. I’m glad I found you too…you’re one of my favorite people!

  5. Lu says:

    Oh Joyce! I feel for you, I really do – and I don’t think you’re a nut job!
    I can’t offer you solutions, but when you feel the clouds brewing on the horizon – STOP RIGHT THERE. Take a deep breath, Take another deep breath – and another. The trigger for your anxiety may only be a small thing, but they are being allowed to take over. Don’t let them! Think of that wonderful husband of yours, right there and then 🙂
    I’m glad that you are having a better day though – and I hope you had a good weekend too

    • Joyce says:

      Thanks, Lu…I did have a good weekend. A friend of mine also suggested drinking a glass of cold water. She got that tip from her therapist. I’m going to try it. If it works I’ll be calm as well as hydrated.

  6. Hi there, Just found you and can’t tell you how much I can relate to this post! I have my fair share of “I’m old, I’m tired, I’m fat, I’m an awful wife and an awful mom days” when absolutely everything feels wrong. I think every wife and mom must. Thank goodness they’re generously interspersed with “Honey I love yous” and “You’re the best mommy in the world” moments or I really would lose it! (Of course, then comes the guilt of having wished I were somewhere/someone else…oh well! Can’t get every day right 🙂

    • Joyce says:

      Thank you so much, Jen! It was a little scary to post this because it’s dark, but I am glad I did because I am hearing from others have had days like this. It would seem that a lot of us do, after all.

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