Breakdown. Depression. Psychotic Break. Hell. Abyss. Darkness. Catatonic. Paralyzed. Alone. Afraid. Lost. Whatever words I try to use to describe it, I will never have the ability to explain what I went through in words. The white picket fence that I had worked so hard to build for 30 years was demolished. Somehow, my subconscious hands tore it down and left my body weak, my fingers bloody, and my face stained with sweat and tears. This is the story of my breakdown. The day before the $%&* hit the fan.
August 2nd, 2013. My daughter’s 9th birthday. Trying to live up to the role of perfect mother that I had created, we ventured out to Target Field to catch a Twins game with family. I hadn’t been okay since June but I was holding it together enough to make it out the door. Today was different. I was afraid to leave the house. I was terrified to think about the parking ramp, the crowds at the field, having to hold up my jazz hands and put on my pageant smile. What was happening to me? I am in sales. I thrive in a crowd. I LOVE getting to know strangers, hearing their stories, making a connection. Today I was shaking and short of breath thinking of being a passenger in the car as we drove through the busy streets of downtown Minneapolis. My only sane thought was of holding it together for my daughter. Birthdays are the most exciting day of the year when you’re young. I could not break today.
My heart pounded as we arrived at our aunts house to pick our daughters cousin up for the game. We were early so we stopped in and sat on the porch and let the kids play. It was a beautiful night and the sun was shining as the kids climbed trees and shot nerf guns in the back yard. My husband sat next to me as we made small talk with his aunt. I was the Queen of small talk but not tonight. Tonight, I couldn’t hold it together. Tonight, I started talking about how I felt broken, how I was anxious, how I felt inadequate.
This Summer, I should’ve been happy as ever. Our family had moved into a beautiful home in the suburbs in a cul-de-sac with great neighbors, I had a promotion at work, was making more money than I had ever imagined I could, was slowly becoming recognized as a respectable banker in the Twin Cities. All of the things that mattered and that I had wanted to achieve were here but for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like making people laugh. I didn’t feel like being the center of attention. What was happening to me?! The “me” that I had created was not coming out to play and I was pissed. She was playing hide and seek somewhere behind that dang white picket fence but I couldn’t find her. Next thing I knew, I had tears welling up in my eyes.
One more day. Hold it together for ONE MORE DAY, Girl. You got this.
I held up as much small talk as I could and we left for the game. The crowds seemed unbearable as we walked through the parking lot to the stadium. Why were they all looking at me? Was my eye make up all over? Did I spill something on my shirt? Was my hair a mess? It’s so noisy. My heart is racing. I hear everything but I can’t hear a thing. I can’t think straight. My husband tries to talk to me and it’s so difficult to drown out the noise and just hear him. What is happening to me? I’m terrified. HOLD IT TOGETHER, ONE MORE DAY.
We make it to our seats and I have to put myself in time-out. Block out the noise. All of it. The crowds, the pitcher, the fans, and my family. I need it to quiet down or I’m going to have a damn heart attack. Miraculously, my daughter is unaware of the sheer terror that I’m experiencing and she enjoys the cotton candy and America’s favorite past time.
The game goes into extra innings and I can’t take it anymore. The kids are tired and it’s time to go. I am still shaking and my heart is still racing by the time we make the 30 minute trek home.
Head to the bedroom and I can’t sleep. I won’t again… for awhile.