If you deal with anxiety then I’m sure that you have experienced a meltdown or two. Meltdowns look different for everyone but it usually involves a tidal wave of negative emotions, overwhelm, poor choices, and bad behaviour. Maybe you panic, yell at someone you love, cry, lash out, run away, or have a full on temper tantrum. Sometimes it lasts only a few moments and other times a whole day.
About a month ago I had a meltdown that spanned an entire weekend. I completely lost touch with myself and in the end I broke my phone.
As someone who is trying so hard to be a more grounded and emotionally stable person this felt like I was taking five steps backwards. The longer I spent in this negative and anxious state the worse I felt about myself. Although I have gotten really good at sitting with uncomfortable feelings and shifting back into a positive space for some reason, on this particular weekend, I spiralled.
Despite being totally out of my comfort zone to admit this on the internet for everyone to read the point of this blog is to be honest about what a journey in self-growth looks like and it isn’t always pretty. In fact, it’s usually pretty messy and full of ups and downs. I know I could be subjecting myself to judgement or criticism but I think it’s important to talk about these experiences because it’s all apart of the process and most importantly it’s human! When you commit to working on your anxiety and building your self-esteem there will be times that all your old patterns come to the surface and it can feel super frustrating especially once you start to make progress. All that you can do is ride it out, try your best, and learn from it.
HOW TO WORK THROUGH A MELTDOWN & OVERWHELMING EMOTIONS
This particular meltdown was actually a huge turning point for me and I learned a few important lessons that I want to share in hopes it will help someone else going through something similar.
Feel what you feel and try not to control it
I have learned that trying to control my emotions by pretending they are not there is like trying to push corks down in water- they will pop back up and often with more vengeance.
During this particular meltdown I was feeling anxious about feeling anxious, tried to bury my emotions, and then got frustrated with myself when they kept coming up. I carried on with my day/ evening like nothing was wrong allowing it to fester. I went to on a night out, I drank, and it was all down hill from there.
Similarly, getting angry or frustrated that your emotions are there only adds more fuel to the fire and the situation will get worse. The only way I have been able to avoid a meltdown is by accepting that I am having these emotions and giving myself the time and space to process them. When I let myself have my moment I’m better able to shift out of it before it consumes my entire weekend (and my phone).
Be an observer!
Be curious. Acknowledge how you are feeling and instead of being judgemental and hard on yourself be an observer and ask why this is coming up for you. What thoughts are you having? Where do you feel it in my body? What triggered these emotions? Is this a pattern for me?
Before you get completely overwhelmed take a quiet moment of self-reflection. Turn down the noise in your head and sit in a meditation or move through a few breathe cycles.
Ask yourself what you need in that moment and what you can do to help yourself.
Journaling helps me gain clarity around how I am feeling and gives me some perspective. I like to do a brain dump or stream of consciousness writing to get my thoughts onto paper.
YOU ARE SHEDDING YOUR OLD PATTERNS
I believe that when you are truly ready for growth you need to shed all of your old habits and patterns first. In my experience you can’t do this until you tackle them head on. Sometimes they sneak up on you when you least expect it and challenge you to learn from them before you can let them go.
I sometimes feel like the universe is testing me to make sure I am ready for the growth I want. As long as I learn from my meltdowns, recognize the patterns that no longer serve me, honour my experience, and do my best to deal with them in a healthy way the next time they come up, I pass the test and am ready for growth!
Alcohol and anxiety don’t mix.
Drinking has a way of bringing your deep down emotions to the surface so I have learned the hard way not to go into an evening of drinking if I’m not in a good headspace. If you are having anxiety or dealing with any heavy emotions and have a night out planned do yourself a favour and re-schedule 🙂
Meltdowns are all a part of the process and the sooner we embrace them and learn from them the quicker we evolve. I hope that my experience can provide some comfort and help you the next time you experience a negative downward spiral of emotions. Remember to give yourself the space and time to process your anxiety and don’t beat yourself up if you have a meltdown because you are only human!
When was the last time you were completely overwhelmed by your emotions or anxiety and had a meltdown? How did it get to that point? What did you learn from that experience? How would you handle it differently? What can you do support yourself the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed?