I crashed...

NOTE:  this post was written Nov. 25... didn't know if I was going to post it or not, decided to in case it helps someone else :)

I crashed yesterday.

Not a car crash (thankfully), but a personal crash.  It doesn't happen often and the degree of severity varies as well as the length of time it lasts.  Usually it's only one or two days and usually it follows immediately after the end of a major event that I've been in charge of.

What does it look and feel like?  I pretty much feel like I want to quit.  Everything.  I don't want to do anything, see anyone, speak to anyone... all I want is to crawl into bed and pull the covers over me.  I pretty much quit life (as you can see by the state of my kitchen)....

My "code" for being in this state is declaring, "I'm just going to stay home and bake cookies".  I figure not much can go wrong with that plan... people can't wrongly judge me for that... who would question my heart, sincerity, or integrity for baking cookies... and besides, my family would be happy and I personally love fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.  It would just make life much simpler... fatter, but simpler.

So after 18 months of planning for the last Crop and Cruise and despite it's success and most amazing experience (probably the most enjoyable personally for me), and despite the fact that I didn't FEEL like I would crash after this one because it was so free of stress, I got lots of sleep, didn't get sick, didn't dunk a camera, had a ton of fun, made great new friends and didn't feel overwhelmed at all... it still hit me yesterday.

A few friends have suggested over the years that I might battle occasional bouts of depression, but I'm not so sure... doesn't everyone have occasional days like this??  Don't we all feel like throwing our hands up in the air some days and saying, "That's it!!  I'm done!!  This is sooooooo not worth it!!"  Please PLEASE tell me that I'm not the only one!!!

From my limited understanding of depression, is that it is much deeper and much longer and often requires professional care and often appropriate medication to pull through... so I'm not so sure I've ever been there (other than one time while pregnant when I felt like I didn't want to live another day with nausea and decided that I would shave my head... one of my lowest, darkest times... cried myself to sleep before I found the scissors... looking at it now, it was so worth it as now I have Lindsey).

And I have learned when to expect the "crash"!!  It almost always comes after a big event.  Even my friends and family expect the "crash" and don't get as alarmed anymore.

My other indication that it's not true depression, but simply a state I enter on occasion is the fact that I know what to do to bring myself through.  I have my own "medicine" or "recipe" that is tried and true... here is my prescription for myself when I crash (in no particular order... all are critical):

1.  Cry.  Now I cry ALL the time, but this cry time is different... it is a release cry and I give myself permission to have a really good cry and wallow in it for a time.

2.  Sleep.  I absolutely love to sleep and don't usually have any trouble sleeping, but during a crash, I plan extra sleep including naps.  Things ALWAYS look different after sleep.

3.  Music.  Music is my soul food and I know the impact good inspiring music has on me (I love to listen to Shine FM in Calgary) so I make sure it is on!!

4.  TV.  I like to lose myself in a good story or comedy, but I also intentionally expose myself to shows that feature someone less fortunate than myself... Extreme Home Makeover... World Vision... etc. to put my woes back in perspective. Focussing on others helps take the focus off of me.

5.  Count my blessings.  It sounds cliche-ish, but it really does help to seek out what I have been blessed with and things that make me smile... and sometimes it's worth capturing in photos like these ones... when we arrived home from the cruise, we found this whiteboard in Lindsey's room...

we had left her little notes she would get throughout our time away and she organized them on her whiteboard and left a little comment back to each one...

and she designed this card she wants to make for Christmas... how can I not smile at these!!

And then I went downstairs and found my two guys working together to finish our basement... the memories we hope to create in this space also makes me smile

6.  Craft.  Creating is therapeutic so took in a Christy Riopel mixed media class at Scapbooker's Bliss... I warned the girls when I arrived to not be alarmed if I spontaneously combusted into tears at any moment... I didn't, but I sure could have.  And I LOVE what I created!!!  I still need to finish it, but it sure did help to play, paint, stamp and yes, get a little mod podge everywhere.

7.  Eat... favourites... like Reeses Peanut Butter Icecream or Eatmore chocolate bars.  Now I know this is not viewed as a "healthy" habit to eat one's woes away, but chocolate goes a long ways for me and I'm convinced there is some medicinal value to it!!

8.  Read my Bible.  Thankfully my faith never crashes when the rest of me does... my roots are too deep and my God has proven Himself over and over throughout the years... but I do find that my wisdom and discernment and perspective often need a boost and so my Bible becomes an incredible source... it is miraculous actually how God uses time in His word to speak to me (I have such stories I could tell!!!!)

9.  Friends.  Even though I don't feel like seeing or speaking to anyone, I know that my soul sistas are always there to carry me through so I really do try not to hide from them...

10. Time.  Time heals and although this fact is often "in my head", but not in my heart, I desperately hold on to the knowledge that the passage of time will eventually lead me out... I just need to be patient and treat myself with some TLC.

So.... funny how I ended up with 10 things... wasn't trying to... just happened and just is.  I guess writing or journaling also must help... probably why I'm typing this... not sure if I'll ever post it, but feels better to get it down "for the record".

NOTE: Today is Dec. 6 and I am through my "crash" and doing better... sorta is weird to read it all back, but yet I know this pattern... guess I wanted to record it so that I remember what it's like to be in the midst of it.  And today I decided to post it in case it helps someone else.  I know that Christmas often brings tough times too so just maybe my "recipe" might help someone else and if not, that's okay too cuz it helped me :)


Diana said...

No...you are not the only one! I crash too and feel like giving everything up. I call it a meltdown. It is simply my mind and body telling me to take a break...slow down for today. I realize I can't do everything and we are our harshest critics when we can't get everything done or we can't meet our own (self-inflicted) expectations...believe me my kitchen looks like that too sometimes. We share the same mood lifting activities...music whether it is dance/Zumba music or Shine FM in Edmonton too. Sometimes, I just need to sit in front of the TV..watch a girlie movie with a huge bowl of popcorn or flip through a magazine with a hot cup of tea.

Yes..I sometimes feel like giving up, but the friendships, having a commonality with other women through scrapbooking, going to places where I have never been before, sharing my love for art with others and my belief that art and craft is healing, is what keeps me going.
But glad to hear you are feeling a bit better Allison. :o)

Lee-Anne said...

No you aren't the only one Allison, I crash a lot. I know it's very personal and I don't want to bring anybody down, but I have struggled with depression since I can remember...probably about 6 years old. I have a lot of compassion for people that suffer from depression and God is my strength too. Scrapbooking is my therapy and I admire you for admitting that you have a "crash". I think everyone suffers from "crashes" and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes us women get so busy and overwhelmed that we are given signs to "slow down" and smell the roses and take time for ourselves. Women, especially mothers, feel like we aren't allowed to be human sometimes. Take time for yourself and be thankful that you don't have months and months of crashes. Take care and have a wonderful Christmas Allison!

Lydia said...

Oh Allison, I can relate to this word for word. I get that way to after I do something really big. Mental energy is just as draining as physical and some times we just need to let go and tell ourselves it is ok not to have a perfect house and be all primped and proper it will all be there tomorrow. I crash hard too. I had the hardest time after I got married, my husband is a slow and steady type, where as I operate more like a roller coaster, big highs and big lows. I always felt so guilty for doing nothing for a while. But That is just who I had to learn that it is ok. Good for you take the time that you need. And come back to the world refreshed. Hugs

Monique Conners said...

What an AMAZING post!!! Nothing but real-life in every heart-felt word of your post!!

I love that you include your real life, and not just the sugar-coated-everything-else that is life.

Cheers to crashing. Without crashing, we wouldn`t realize just how amazing life is!!!

Thanks Allison!!