Diagram of a Breakdown

I had a mini-breakdown yesterday. Literally. I just shut down and couldn’t take anymore. Have you ever had a moment like that? I’ve been dealing with what I refer to as my mini-breakdown moments for years now. It is my brain’s coping mechanism that allows me to just shut down and close off from the world until I can get the point where I actually can cope once again.

depressed woman

The Diagram

Some are worse than others. Yesterday was a particularly bad one. Most times I just get quiet and close myself off from the world, and the only thing I do is read Facebook posts and play my games and go off into another world where there are no problems, no troubles, nothing that needs to be dealt with except building a cute home or serving up some delicious food. It’s a coping mechanism for me and one that works.

Then there are other times, such as yesterday when I feel as though the entire world has just collapsed inward on top of me and I’m fighting for air. I am super sensitive and highly emotional, and the slightest thing will cause me to cry as though you just told me that my parent died. I have panic attacks, where I feel as though my chest is going to cave in and I cannot get enough oxygen and my brain kicks into a ‘fight or flight’ mode and I can feel my eyes darting all around my surroundings and looking for a way out – like a caged animal.

If I don’t get out and get away from the environment causing these feelings – it escalates into a raging headache. Consider everything you have ever heard about the pain a migraine causes and amplify it by about 50. When this happens, I curl up in bed or on the couch in a tight little ball and just rock, and rock, and rock some more. I don’t answer the phone, I don’t get on the computer, I don’t answer the door, I don’t talk to anyone. I practice my breathing techniques and focus on trying to get my heart rate down and to get my body back to a relaxed and even rhythm. If I do not, I end up in the powder room, praying to the porcelain god for a few minutes or a few hours – depending on the severity of the matter.

Praying for Relief

Yesterday was the first time – ever – where I actually wished and prayed to God to allow me to have a seizure.

I suffered from petit mal seizures and epilepsy as a child, and over the course of the years as an adult during extreme stress or physical changes or other physical factors I have suffered from grand mal seizures – my last one being December 4, 2011.

I just wanted that 48 to 72 hours of mind-numbing NOTHING to give my brain a chance to reboot and recover and FORGET. That’s the one blessed thing about seizures, I usually remember nothing that happened for about a week – nothing from prior to the seizure or during the seizure. It is though it is my brain’s coping mechanism – delete everything that caused the stress and the anxiety and start fresh. That’s what I needed last night, craved, prayed for. It didn’t come.

The Catalyst

I know what caused this episode. I’m sure that it will continue to cause these episodes within me for the rest of my life. On January 16th, my eldest son, J. was suspended for 10 days with a stern recommendation that he be expelled for the remainder of the year. He is only in 7th grade. I do not fault the teachers or the faculty at his school – far from it – because they have been more than accommodating and lenient where it comes to J.

We all have been doing our part to help him – he just seems to be choosing to not care if he helps himself or not. So one of the few remaining options we have available is to have him homeschooled. The county may, or may not, pay for him to be homeschooled. If they do not, then that is an added expense that will be on our already crumbling financial situation.

J. thinks its all a joke. He cannot, will not, grasp the severity of the situation. He jokes and plays and thinks that everything is fine, not a thing is wrong in his world. He envisions being able to sleep till 3pm every day if he doesn’t have to go to school and being able to stay up till the wee hours of the morning.

Friday morning, he himself was ‘in a mood’ and my simply telling him that he could not have something that his brother was having – that he would need to have something else for breakfast – set him off on a tangent complete with hurling obscenities at his brother, at me, and at the universe in general, and throwing objects around the kitchen and living room – which could have quite easily broken any number of breakable items.

I couldn’t handle it on my own. It was the last straw in an already extremely stressful week and I reached out for help. I called TMT and told him what was going on. All I wanted was for him to come to the house and talk to J. to get him to calm down, to get him to just regroup. Unfortunately, TMT had a mini-breakdown himself and just went completely off the deep end. He called an officer that we both know and was about to have J. taken to juvenile hall for an undetermined amount of time.

The Mom Factor

That is what pushed me over the edge. That is what escalated everything to a head. Keeping my son out of the juvenile detention center and out of trouble with the law is my main priority and my only concern at the moment with his ADHD and ODD.

I do not want him to have that stigma hanging over his head for the rest of his life, and no matter what anyone says – once you are in the system, you are IN the system, and it’s a vicious continual cycle that I do not even want him to experience if there is anything I can do to help it.

I am preparing a list for when I go to see my doctor on Tuesday. The poor woman will probably inform the front desk to tell me that she has no room for new patients after our initial consultation. I wouldn’t want to deal with all the crazy that is going on in my head at the moment either. I know that counseling – for our entire family – is something else that needs to be done, immediately. Not just for J. and T. to learn how to manage their respective issues – but for us as well, as their parents, to learn how to deal with everything that we will be going through with each of them over the next several years.

It’s time, and I cannot afford to have my family caught up in a system that cares nothing about the individual and only sees the bottom line, so it is up to me to protect my family and do whatever is within my power to ensure that they are given the tools and the knowledge that they need to deal with their issues (and me with mine). I am the one that has to be strong, and determined, and the glue that holds my family together so we can make it to the other side.

Being a mother is rewarding when everything is going fine and everything runs smooth. Being a mother when there are problems and bumps and sharp curves thrown at you unexpectedly?

Well, that just friggin sucks. But as a mother, I feel it is my job to do whatever necessary, no matter how, to protect, love, and guide them.

So my insecurities and breakdowns are put on the back burner, and I do what I need to do for my family. It is how it has always been, it is how it will always be.

Have a Great Week!

Love and Blessings

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Kim Miller

Thank you C.J.! That means so much to me that you took the time to read my rantings and offer a bit of advice!!! I am trying to do all of the above, but fighting that maternal "I must fix everything" instinct is SO hard sometimes! I know that I can't make his decisions for him any longer, just as I cannot be with him 24/7 to ensure that he DOES make the right decisions. I think if I can find a way to let go that little bit and trust that he will make the right decision (well, most… Read more »

C.J. Sullivan

I am so sorry to hear that all this is going on. It sounds like you're doing as much as you can, and counseling for the family would be wonderful. Just remember, you are only in control of you, ultimately. Your son will make his own choices, and you can only guide him in the right direction. So breathe deeply and release, knowing that you can't control other people's free will, but you *are* in control of you! So make sure you keep yourself in tip-top shape so you can handle this with strength! I'll keep you in my thoughts.