In 2006, I experienced my first real breakdown.
It crept up on me like Uma Thurman on her Kill Bill type vibe.
I wasn’t even in the market for a breakdown, so I don’t know how it found me.
Actually, I kinda do know…
I had my second daughter, Sage-Niambi, in February of that year, and I was also studying for my real estate license exam, along with working as a contract property manager around metro Atlanta. I was also holding on for the beautiful ride that came with having my then almost two-year-old daughter, Marley. Oh, and I had just left my 9-to-5 after yanking Sage out of daycare because the geniuses there fed our 5-month-old McDonald’s french fries and turkey slices! Yeah, I know–flying roundhouse kicks should’ve been doled out, for sure! #SanerHeadsPrevailed
There was a lot going on, but to me, none of those elements were optional, so I pushed on. Not once did I check in with my body or my emotions, figuring that if I couldn’t handle something, I’d know because it just wouldn’t get handled. Makes sense, right?
Well, when I broke out in large red and purple welts one afternoon, I began to see how little sense my push-til-it-almost-breaks-then-stop philosophy made. The welts started out on my stomach, then spread to my chest, shoulders, neck, and face in less than one day. I literally became nauseous when I looked at myself in the mirror, because my skin looked like Freddy frikkin Kreuger, and I had no clue why!
I went to a holistic doctor (shout out to Dr. Tates!) who broke it down for me in a way that started the shift in my perspective about the value of being productive versus feeling fulfilled. I was uber-slow on the uptake, but eventually, I got the memo. Dr. Tates asked me to walk him through my typical day. He listened intently as I went through my litany of to-dos, including
- breastfeeding two children
- studying for my real estate license
- following up on rental property inquiries
- dealing with out-of-state landlords who were furious about something-or-other
- adjusting to the shift of parenting two little people
- preparing our condo for sale-ready condition so we could move into something bigger
- whatever other elements life threw my way
When I was done, Dr. Tates leaned forward in his chair, placed his palms on his desk, stared me square in the eyes and said
“Somehow, this lifestyle you’ve come to define as normal, is actually far from that. You have made a practice of overwhelming yourself, and these welts are your body’s alarm signal.”
*Pshhh!* Clearly, this man had no clue!* I rolled my eyes, sighed deeply, and proceeded to explain why “normal” is subjective, and that I knew plenty of women who got a lot more done, with a lot less support than I had, and therefore, I was actually not even close to being overwhelmed. I asked him if he could fix the welts or not, because that’s what I needed—not some crazy perspective on why I’m being punished by my body for being driven and ambitious!
My husband, Kris was not at all surprised by Dr. Tates’ diagnosis, but it took me several months, and a few other health scares before I remotely entertained the idea of doing less. But thankfully, I did. I started the practice of checking in with my body and my emotional state as I went about my day. The results changed my life, heightened my interest in Life Design, and ultimately made me a more fulfilled woman.
You want some of that?
I think you do, hence the reason you make time to read my thoughts.
Being productive and feeling fulfilled are not the same thing. We get so caught up in being busy and driven that we focus on doing, and neglect the real Being.
Do you see yourself in that statement?
Are you always doing, and then waiting for a vacation, or a man, or a break from the kids, or that one good idea to take off before you focus on who and how you are BEING?
If so, you’re walking on the edge of a breakdown, mama–and they ain’t pretty! So what can you do right now to begin the process of backing away from the ledge and getting better acquainted with the woman you deserve to be?
It’s my soapbox statement, and you’ve probably already heard me say it. BUT I’m saying it again, dammit!
Ditch the idea of creating BALANCE in your life, and go for HARMONY instead!
Here, have this and see if you can start a shift from here:
Have you been focused on productivity, and forgotten how to check in with yourself to see if you’re fulfilled?
I know what that’s like, and I don’t want you getting random Freddy Kreugery (or worse!) before you start checking in with Self. You can absolutely design a life that has built-in room for YOU to thrive!
Start with this easy read, and let me know how you plan to prioritize your W.I.N.N.s.