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becca carnahan

I Have A Breakdown Every 3 Months — & That’s Okay.

About once a fiscal quarter I have a quick meltdown.

It has nothing to do with the fiscal quarter at all, but it’s pretty consistently every three months and I feel fancy when I use the term “fiscal quarter.”

The meltdown looks like this:

Start snapping at everyone in my family because I’m tired, irritable, stressed, and otherwise discontented with things completely unrelated to the person I’m snapping at.

Harbor deep feelings of regret for not being a kinder, gentler, more patient person.

Stare off into the distance while trying to explain my feelings to my husband.

Break down in tears.

Lose my breath because I’ve worked myself into a panic about a growing to-do list.

Calm down anywhere between 15 minutes and 1 hour later when I convince myself that what I really need is some sleep.

Which in most cases is 100% true.


Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

These meltdowns aren’t fun. But I’m used to them by now.

And I’ve come to find that there’s beauty in the meltdown. Humanity in the meltdown. Perfect imperfection in the meltdown.

We all have a right to feel our feelings hard. To be tired. To be at the end of our respective ropes. To give ourselves a moment, or an hour’s worth of moments, to sink down to our knees and raise the white flag.

My hard is going to look different from your hard. My stress is going to look different than your stress. But regardless of what the specific details of our lives look like, I think we can take comfort in knowing that none of us have it all together all the time. At any given moment one of us is at our breaking point, and we break. And then we pull ourselves back together for a time, perhaps a good long time, and then break again.

But breaking doesn’t mean you’re broken. Melting down doesn’t mean you are down for good. These moments are human and real and sometimes cathartic, even if you don’t think so at the time.

I hope that today is not your day for a quarterly meltdown. But if it’s tomorrow, know that mine was on Wednesday, and your neighbor’s was on Thursday, and your dentist will have hers on May 24. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t grateful for our lives and eager to tackle the next exciting project. It just means that we all have a lot going on, and could use a good cry. Perhaps some of our kids’ Easter candy.

After the meltdown, though, we’ll all get back up, we’ll all roll up the white flag and tuck it neatly away, and we’ll all keep moving. In our personal lives and our professional lives.

On our own. And together.

This story originally appeared on With Love, Becca