Everybody has meltdowns. Some do it and the whole world can see. Others do it more quietly. But the feeling is the same… it feels like too much emotional pressure happening all at once.
My personal meltdowns feel like issues that’ve been eating me all come to the surface.
One of my dear male friends told me he went “redline” in front of his entire staff. Redline meant he let all his frustration hang out. (It actually came raging out.)
Whatever you call the experience, it unfolds something like this: Some things have been on your mind. You’ve been pondering them.
Maybe you’ve been perplexed about what to do about particular issues. They don’t seem major, just idling thoughts in the background of your head.
Then one morning you can’t find your keys on the way out the door. Then you get some bad news on your cell phone. Then somebody makes a mistake that impacts you. All of a sudden, emotion comes out of you like a volcano. It doesn’t matter what form it comes in. It could feel like sadness and tears, frustration and anger, or even despair.
All you know is that you’re not liking life, and everything sucks. Everything is going wrong in this moment. Ka pow! You unleash the beast.
If you’ve ever had this kind of moment, it’s a meltdown. Sometimes they last more than a moment and feel intense. Afterward you may be able to see the humor and drama of your reactions, but not now. Right now, it feels very real.
What do you do when you find yourself in these moments?
Most importantly, you go with it.
If you’re not in an environment where it feels appropriate to let it rip, go somewhere that you can.
My car is one of my safety zones. I can scream at the top of my lungs, and I won’t bother anyone. I also go on walks if it’s nighttime and nobody can see me, and I spew my anger out loud. My journal has witnessed hundreds of my meltdowns.
If my mom is available, I melt down in front of her. She has the great capacity to be with whatever is, and then when I’m done, she helps me to see some solutions. She reminds me that I’m completely fabulous and everyone thinks so.
If you try to resist going to these kinds of emotional free-for-alls, I promise, they will come back and keep haunting you. Fully releasing and speaking to what’s eating you puts you closer to flow.
Why? Because you understand at a deeper level what is not working, and then you can figure out what you do want. You can launch yourself into possibility. In fact, what’s on the other side of a meltdown can be something ten times better than what was before it.
A former client from one of my programs sent an email to the class that describes being in the moment perfectly. I got his permission to reprint his words.
“I used to do a lot of whitewater rafting and spent a fair amount of time ‘in the water.’ A river can have ‘holes’ in it which want to suck you in. As hard as you may try, swimming away from the hole is not possible. You will expend all your energy trying to stay away from the hole.
“Conversely, you can acknowledge that there is a hole and I am going to have to deal with it. You go into the hole, are sucked down, churned about, and thrown out on the other side… free and clear.
“You’ve got to trust that you will be okay.
“I pictured my gremlins (negative thoughts) the same way. If I fight them, they drain all my energy. When I acknowledge my gremlins, I realize that I need to deal with them.
“The sooner I acknowledge them, the sooner I can come out on the other side! I can certainly go around, but when I am ‘in the water’ out amongst the holes and rocks and gremlins, making my way through life, that’s when I know I’m really living.
“Let me tell you, the first time you are sucked down and the surroundings go instantly black, you are completely disoriented. But you come up in a few seconds (which seem like minutes), get your bearings, and keep moving.
“At the end of the day, sitting around a campfire, nobody talks about how they were able to avoid dangers, but how when presented with danger and difficulty, how they overcame it. My memories of rafting are those where obstacles were overcome.
“In my life, I remember the times I overcame my gremlins and fears and came out on the other side. Yea!!”–Mike H.
As they say, the quickest way to get what you want is to surrender to what is. And if what is is a meltdown, then settle in and let it unfold.
If you resist it, it will just grow bigger and last longer.
Never fear a meltdown. Embrace it, and the world embraces you.