How are you feeling these days? I’m asking seriously. It seems to me we are in a season of melting down. I’ve talked to several people who are feeling the pressure of the times in which we are living. I am as well. The result is a cracking of our souls. Our emotions are riding high, just under the surface. They spill out unexpectedly, causing great distress. Tears overflow. Inhaled breath comes quickly, almost staccato, and then a long wail, and then quickly again. And mine seems to be from the depth of my inner being. From my toes. Most of the time I don’t even know why the tears started and I have questioned if I am losing my sanity. Is this what a nervous breakdown feels like?
I have always been pretty steady. The calm in the storm. Even keeled. Level headed. Strong. So this emotion running amuck is not a feeling I am used to. It is uncomfortable. Alarming even. I feel I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Yet, I cannot control it with all the strength I have, and therein lies the problem. Lack of control. Lack of the emotional resources to deal with this day and time.
I am helpless to do anything but cry. It is hard to get out of the bed and making decisions is excruciating. I can manage, but I want more than just managing. I want everything to be done for me. I am tired of being the strong one. I don’t feel strong.
The issue is there is no break right now. From every direction there is pressure. The news is bad. The environment is hostile. There is war from without and from within. The lack of pause, the lack of a safe place, the lack of civility is beating me down. How much more can I take? How long will this fractured soul-crushing time last?
My soul is in mourning. For so many reasons. Many of them are personal…dementia of my mother, the lack of a steady income, my children being distant, the unknown of the future…you get the idea. Then there are the things that are shared pressures.
There is a pandemic with no end in sight. Our health is in jeopardy just by breathing. Racism is parading around as if it owns us, because it does. It is multiplying its efforts to crush people of color and pressing down on them, pretending as if it is newly enraged when really there is nothing new about it. The exhaustion it causes wears down even the most ardent defenders of justice.
The political landscape is one of desolation. Destruction of the heart of our country seems imminent no matter what happens in the election because we are a divided house, with no end in sight. It is a lot to grieve. A heavy burden. Despair is rampant.
Yet, we cling to hope like a thirsty man in the desert. Hope that things will make a turn. Hope that our lives are not permanently relegated to this heavy place we are currently living. Hope that is sometimes misplaced in political systems or the ways of men. Hope that somehow, some way the pressure will be relieved and this hope we have will not be deferred and make us sick.
This is where the meltdowns come in. They are the pressure valves. Those tears are releasing the stress. They are the groaning of our souls. When there are no words to describe our inner turmoil, there are tears. When we do not comprehend all that is happening, there are tears. When we cannot feel God’s presence in the midst of the crazy world, there are tears. Tears are liquid prayers. They reveal the state of our hearts…just as they were designed to do. They are not an expression of weakness as we have been led to believe, but an manifestation of vulnerability.
In melting down, we allow them to do their work. Cleansing us of our mourning. Releasing pressure built up within. Wiping stress away. Giving our grief a voice. Acknowledging our pain. Validating the sorrow we carry. Meltdowns are a healthy, though unexpected, response to the daily frustrations we are living with. They purge negativity and allow us to push it away.
The truth is, we need meltdowns. Often. And we need to give ourselves some grace when we find ourselves blubbering and in need of rest. All of this trauma takes a toll. It is physically draining and when we are drained, our emotions spill over into everyday life. Exercise helps. Deep breathing helps. Meditating helps. Faith helps. Paying attention to how you feel and why you feel that way helps.
Meltdowns are a part of this season we are in, so instead of resisting them, we need to embrace them. To plan for them if possible, or at least to know what to do in the midst of them or where to go. To recognize that letting go and feeling feelings is a healthy response to the environment and that asking for help when we are overwhelmed is never a bad thing. Back to my question…how are you feeling?