Friday night was a VERY BAD NIGHT. I don’t want to go into detail on the actual events (don’t worry – Art didn’t do anything wrong), but suffice it to say I had an emotional breakdown. Had an episode of hysterical crying for almost an hour. It was miserable and not a regular occurrence, believe me. It was very hard to calm down and I only got about four hours of sleep.
The next day was not much better. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Everything that happened seemed surreal and wrong. Art started to get upset with me because I was overreacting to everything, which is not my usual behavior. I took a break to take some deep breaths. Once I calmed down, I thought of an analogy:
An emotional breakdown is much like an asthma attack. You can take your meds and avoid your triggers, but sometimes something unusual will happen and you’ll have an attack anyway. For me, it was a perfect storm of working ten hours more than usual, not taking my meds (which are “as needed”) when I started feeling anxious, and not getting enough rest. Afterwards, like an asthma attack or earthquake, you are more susceptible to having another attack. Just like ripples on a pond, the more days that go by without upset, the less likely you are to have another attack.
For me, the best way to recover from an attack, be it asthma, emotional or otherwise, is self-care. Yesterday, I took my anti-anxiety medication, had a two hour nap, and took a long walk with Art. Stayed away from people and situations. Watched silly shows on TV and read a book I really enjoy. Worked on deleting my overflowing email box. Easy stuff that took my mind off my troubles.
Today, after a good night’s sleep, I felt much closer to myself. Still stayed home, but did some yoga, finished everybody’s taxes, answered emails, did five minutes of grocery shopping, and even wrote this blog post.
Tomorrow I’m back to work, but just my regular schedule. I am going to take my meds if I feel even a little anxious and take time for plenty of self-care, including yoga, prayer and meditation. I don’t want to risk another attack.
Do you have a chronic illness? How do you handle your ripples and aftershocks? Please leave a comment below.