Meltdowns Lead to Clarity…

I’ve recently gone through a couple of what I would call bona fide meltdowns, although some just might call them temper tantrums. I have a bit of a flair for the dramatic, so when I have a meltdown it involves lots of yelling (mostly at myself) and lots of tears. It’s too bad none of them have been filmed, because I could surely win an Academy Award for these performances.

But my meltdowns are always productive. They are what I like to call my “contrasting experiences.” They are the moments when I finally give in to my anger or frustration over something, and those moments allow me to better define what I really want in my life, the things I really want to change.

I know you’re all just itching to hear about my most recent meltdowns, so here are the two that spawned great moments of clarity…

1) Several weeks ago I received contest scores back for my latest project. I had been forcing myself to continue working on this project just in case I finaled and needed to have it ready for the judge, and also so I could pitch it at Nationals. Well, my scores were not great (I even blogged about them, as some of you may remember), and I discovered that my skin was not as thick as I thought it was. So I went through a couple of days of self-loathing, wondering if I even wanted to be a writer anymore. I contacted my most trusted critique partners and told them what I was feeling – basically that I wanted to check out for a while and not write at all. Of course, they were great and told me I should focus on my baby girl and not worry so much about getting the words on the page. Whew! What a relief. With the permission of my crit partners (lol), I was going to put the writing on hold and just enjoy my life. But two of my three contest judges had suggested I try writing contemporary, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that. And out of my misery, I found that what I really wanted to do was write chicklit. For a couple weeks now I’ve been working on this new project and I could not be happier! I’m eager to work on it every morning, and even find myself running from the shower to jot down a quick scene. Ah! Renewed love is so blissful!

And then there’s scenario #2…

My baby girl turned 6 months old the other day…the same day I stepped on the scale and realized that I was only 10 lbs away from what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant!!! Which means I’ve gained 12 since she was born. Ack! Not cool at all. Now this involved a full-on meltdown. I sat on the floor of the nursery, bawling my eyes out while Bella had some tummy time. (FYI – Bella thinks it’s hilarious when we cry, so at least someone was having a good time.) Eric came in to try to comfort me and tell me it was all okay, to which I responded, “No, it’s NOT okay! I’m FAT!!!” But once I’d calmed down I jotted off an email to my very best friend in the world who has had two babies and lost almost all of her baby weight now. She replied with an email outlining what I needed to do – all things that I already knew I needed to do, but having someone tell me to do them was the kick in the butt I needed. Well, that was a week ago, and amazingly, I’ve already lost 4lbs. The secrets to my success? 1200 calories/day. Vigorous exercise every other day and pilates/weight lifting in between. And, the piece de resistance, gobs and gobs of lemon water (about 100 oz/day).

So I’m curious. Am I the only one who has to have meltdowns to reach a point of clarity? What have you had a meltdown about that led to positive results in the end?

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20 thoughts on “Meltdowns Lead to Clarity…

  1. Amy says:

    I am not sure if my meltdowns have ever brought clarity. I’ve had them – several in fact. All I ever really felt was relief to get it all out. Next time I do have one I will have to pay attention to see if something good did come from it.

  2. Well, keep me posted, Amy. LOL!

  3. Erin Kelly says:

    Though I am no a cryer (never have been, unless waterworks served the purpose of getting my brother in trouble-lol), I do have internal meltdowns. It usually results in me buckling down and getting refocused.

    Early this week, a friend of mine tried to give me a very nice compliment, but my female mind went right past the nice part to what wasn’t even said – I need to lose weight.

    That, combined with the fact that my Ms. Professional Writer suit for nationals doesn’t fit like it should, will hopefully help me to be serious and return to my happy weight. Some people who know me may scoff and say I’m fine, but having already lost 50 lbs in my life, I’d much rather deal with 7 pounds now than 15 or more pounds, later.

    Good luck with your new goals! I have every faith in you that you will accomplish what you set out to do. Now hurry up and post some chapters for critique!!

  4. Erin, I’m totally with you on the losing 7lbs now than 15+ later. I lost over 30 a couple years ago, and now that I have to lose that again, I’m not a happy camper. Of course, there wasn’t much I could do about it being preggers and all. LOL! But I’m sure you’ll look fab no matter what at Nationals πŸ™‚

    And I promise I’ll put the chaps up soon!!!

  5. Meltdowns can give me clarity, but they also tend to give me migraines. LOL. I try to avoid them, if I can. One meltdown that I had, however, turned out to be a good thing. It involved my living situation and work situation, and led me to going back to school.

  6. Sarah Tormey says:

    I’m ready for a meltdown today! My son (now 8 weeks) appears to be going through a growth spurt. He ate for hours last night. And then he was up every 45 minutes last night until 2:30 am when he finally fell asleep until 5am.

  7. Oh, no! Migraines are no good, Catherine! Keep your meltdowns to a minimum! LOL!

    Sarah, I’m so sorry you had such a rough night! Growth spurts can be such a pain, but they usually level out the next day and sleep a lot. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you! *hugs*

  8. Amy Love says:

    I am the same way. It takes a lot for me to breakdown but when I do it’s a doozy! I either hide and cry alone so no one knows how bad it is or I just let it all out, which includes screaming, crying, the works.
    When I am done I can let go of the pain and see clearly. I always feel better and have an “a ha” moment!

    I totally understand both your breakdowns. I have momwhere I wonder if I am deluding myself about writing, jewelry and scrapbooking. What consoles me? I love it when I am in the zone and n doing it for others. Ironically it’s other’s praise that keeps me going LOL!!!

    You are talented and are published! You need to keep going and remember Stephenie Meyer was turned down many times and now she is Stephenie Meyer!!! If she would ha e given up we’d have lostone of the best authors ofour generation!! You can do it!

    Oh and the weight thing….I have no excuse, I’ve gained about 10 pounds myself and it’s my own fault! Now to do something about it!

    Yay you for being so disciplined and working out!

    You are awesome! Keep at it! You are an author! It’s who you are, you can’t stop!!! You keep me motivated when I am in the writing zone!

    Hugs and love girlie! You are not alone!!

  9. Maria Ferrer says:

    I don’t do meltdowns. I prefer to get back into bed and start over. :p

  10. Amy Love says:

    Sorry for all the typos. I’m posting from my phone! πŸ˜‰

  11. Glenn Catania Sr says:

    Hey Jer,
    Just had to chime in on your blog and give you a male perspective on the meltdown issue leading to clarity.

    I have had many meltdowns as responses to grief and pain. I can’t say I have ever had a meltdown that was triggered for clarity, or for the sake of clarity.

    For instance, I’m in a very stressful job. There are some days I would like to say, see you later, but I hang in. I can’t say because of the stress or demands of my job, I could purposely trigger a meltdown for clarity to the stress. My body will not react in a meltdown mode because things aren’t going the way they are supposed to be also. When I’m paying bills and balancing my checkbook for instance. What good would a meltdown do at that point? An unbudgeted expense for a major repair? Will a meltdown help me out? Not from my perspective but I can imagine some people using it for a vent or for clarity purposes.

    When my son died I had a zillion meltdowns. They don’t help me with any type of clarity. In fact, sometimes they make matters more difficult. Meltdowns were confusing because they made me feel more distressed and out of control.

    If you are saying, coping, meltdowns and clarity go hand in hand, I cannot say that for myself. I use meltdowns as a complete psychological reaction to the event that is taking place. Hardly, would I equate clarity to it.

    Now, if I can add my two cents to one of the issues you brought up about weight control. Weight control is the most difficut thing in the world for most americans. You didn’t see this obesity problem back in the 50s and 60s when I was a kid growing up. We have become a spoiled society. We do less and expect more. The foods are full of fat and nobody wants to cut portions. My point is, back when I was growing up, we had to work more for less and less was better for the waist line. Seems simple? It really is.

    I have to further add that you might want to check with your doctor about a 1200 calorie diet. I think for a young girl like you, it’s dangerous, especially with an “every other day – heavy workout.” That would lead me to believe you’re surviving with less than 900 calories a day, on the days you work out. Extremely dangerous. Your body may work against you in that type of mode. Your father in law is better versed at all that, than I am and a good reference source for fitness. You might want to ask him. Just be careful. Typically, those type of diets are not only dangerous but very temporary and have no long term advantage.

    Thanks for sharing your blog. I think you’re a great Mom and super person. I guess everyting in moderation is the key and we always want everything yesterday. The 10 pounds or so, you wish you had lost didn’t get there in one day. Give yourself time. Take it slow. Be methodical and don’t beat yourself up. We all battle to fit in our old clothes. It’s a work in progress 365 days a year.

    My love to you, Eric and the Little Beauty πŸ™‚

  12. Amy, you’re such a sweetie. Thank you for your encouraging words…it really IS praise that keeps us going. LOL!

  13. Maria, you’re hilarious! Sadly, I don’t have the option of getting back in bed anymore. I don’t have much time to wallow, so I have to have my quickie meltdowns and make the changes asap! LOL!

  14. Aw, Glenn, thanks for your concern, but I should have said that my “net” calories are 1200. I have an app for my iPhone that calculates my exercise and adjusts my calories to accommodate it. And this how I lost my 30 pounds a few years ago, which I kept off until I got pregnant with Bella. It’s a lifestyle change and not just a fad diet, so I know it will stick. And I have SO much more energy for keeping up with the little bug now. Definitely a positive change already πŸ™‚

    As for the meltdowns, I think perhaps we’re seeing the difference here between men and women. Eric has had maybe two meltdowns in the last 10 years we’ve been together…mine are monthly…hmmm…I should probably chalk it up to hormones, huh? LOL!

    Not all meltdowns are going to lead to clarity – I don’t know if you can ever find clarity after the loss of a loved one. But certainly in my little bubble of triviality, I can find some clarity through my meltdowns and become a better person, wife and mother as a result πŸ™‚

    Love to you and Pat!

  15. Lise Horton says:

    Well, despite my Gemini personality (meaning melodramatic), I live with my mother and meltdowns are verboten. What I have on those dark, bad days, instead, I call “WISPing” events (wallowing-in-self-pity). The WISPing usually takes place after one of those straw that broke the camel’s back moments. When the last person snapped at me, or the last bad luck of the day is something breaking down. Or I’ve paid all my bills and juggled carefully and an ugly surprise expense crops up. I’ll sit and sob (quietly so as not to get Mother commenting on my poor mental health) until I feel better. Take a nap. Have some wine. Pop a vitaman B for stress & mood. And then, miraculously, after a good night’s sleep, I invariably wake up the next morning both feeling better, and with renewed determination to keep fighting the good fight. And often, like a rainbow after a storm, I have an epiphany after my WISPing. Sometimes it is a great new idea, sometimes it is a revised battle plan. And sometimes it is just a new mind-set. Jerrica – I’m thrilled to see you’ve come through both meltdowns with vim and vigor and new direction (and fewer pounds). Good luck with the brand new project.

  16. I love it, Lise! WISPing! I’m totally going to use that. And I’m LOLing about your having to keep quiet so your mother doesn’t question your mental health. So funny. And ya know, often times these meltdowns come on days after a poor night’s sleep. Sleep is definitely useful for finding clarity πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Amy Love says:

    You are most welcome!! You are beautiful inside and out, talented, a wonderful mother and a bright shiny personality. We are all human and can’t be everything we want to be all the time. We can’t be everything for everyone else all the time. We are who we are. It’s our own perfectionist attitudes that hurt us, not what we are doing. I hope that made sense… We need to let go sometimes of being “EVERYTHING” and just be who we are in that moment!!

    Hugs and lots of love!!!

  18. John says:

    Had a doozie, recently, but I, too, am not so sure about the clarity. Think the most important lesson learned, was that I’m not nearly as immune to meltdown as I like to think I am, knowing 9 times out of 10 nothing will come of it except going on high blood pressure pills. Maybe that’s sort of a cloudy clarity — so maybe it was worth it. Sure felt better afterwards — which also came as a surprise. Usually, I feel stupid for having lost it. Not any more. Hmmm. On second thought maybe that really is clarity! Sort of.

  19. Amy, have I told you how much I love you??? πŸ™‚

    John, hilarious! I think you may have actually reached clarity! LOL!

  20. Amy Love says:

    I love you too!!! πŸ™‚ I need to take my own advise LOL!!

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