The mini mental breakdown

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I really thought that if I ever snapped, or lost my shit, or went a little crazy, or couldn’t take whatever life was throwing at me in a given moment, I’d do something beautiful. I’d grab my backpack and just wander into the woods, not giving two craps where I was headed. In my state of crazy, or shock, or whatever you’d want to call it, I wouldn’t even have the ability to think about how these actions might worry people in my life. Because at that point, I would assume nobody would miss me. It would be a way to run. Take flight. Dissappear and move on. Maybe take on a whole new identity as some crazy lady that lives in the hills.

The reality is that when I snap it’s nothing like any of that. As it turns out, it’s actually quite ugly. When it’s over I’m left feeling empty, afraid, sad, alone, and ashamed. But I still have my wits about me to function under a veil of life still being in motion – even though I would rather pause life and sit still, curled up in a ball. So I keep working. I keep eating. I keep trying to exercise – to at least keep some of the overwhelming emotional chaos at bay. When someone asks how I’m doing, I smile through puffy eyes and tell them “I’m doing well, thank you.” I frankly don’t have the energy at this point to say anything else.

Well, I’m writing this out of a recent experience, unfortunately. I obviously didn’t run for the hills, although that would’ve made for a much better story. And you know what’s really crazy about this? Facebook, of all things, showed me one of those memory things from a year ago. Apparently I posted a blog entry about having a really hard time – needing to refocus and remind myself why I’m on the path I’m on. So I thought about that. There’s got to be something about this time of year. Spring fever? Is it that simple? I guess I don’t think it is, because I know that deep down I’m not a simple person, no matter how much I try to make everyone think so. Spring fever is probably at the base of my emotional chaos, but it is fueled by circumstance and some unique situations. And of course I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to that in one way or another from some point in their lives. We all have a breaking point, and we all deal with it differently depending upon our own personal situation. And our reactions can be different. But what happens when that reaction is no longer under your control? That’s what it felt like for a few scary minutes when I finally snapped. No woods. No backpack. No dissappearing. Just me being an ugly me.

Adam and I have always traded off on breaking down. He’d go through a rough patch, be it an hour or a day, and I’d naturally step up and be his rock. I’d remind him that I love him, he’s never alone, and everything will eventually be okay. Then he’d feel better, and we’d both be good for a while. Then it would be my turn. I’d break and he’d wrap his arms around me strong and tight, let me cry, snot all over his shirt, and we’d talk about it. Then I’d get better and the cycle would continue. Trading off works. We’re a good team. Always have been.

Until the moment we snapped at the same time. I don’t know that it’s ever happened before. We both broke, and it was a pretty intense half hour or so. I don’t even want to go into detail, so I’m not going to. To be clear, we weren’t against each other. We were sharing the same outside stressors, we just happened to break at the same moment. We couldn’t be there for each other, so instead we had to suffer in our own personal, emotional agony for a short, concentrated period of time. Alone. After it was over, we hugged and cried and started talking about finding a way to move towards healing. I just really hope I’m doing enough. It’s fragile.

The result of our episode was taking an impromptu week off of work (emotionally such a hard request to make) to finalize some issues we were having, to get the ball rolling on some healing, and to find some time to relax and try to just be together in the moment – minus the stupid stress.

It wasn’t one certain thing that cracked our strength, either. A lot was happening – good and bad, but we were managing each on their own okay. Then the last card we could hold was set on top and it all crumbled. It’s so crazy how that can happen.

We paid off our credit card debt. We were thrilled. Proud. Happy. We couldn’t think of a way to really celebrate our accomplishment, so we just powered on with our plan. Ho-hum. Then we had a couple of really tough weeks of work that left us feeling frustrated and drained, and even that was smoothed over by a super-understanding team of people we work with that really want us to be happy. And they really made us feel better.

Then we bought a new car. We didn’t plan on buying a new car – not quite yet, anyway. It happened a month earlier than we’d planned. I think this was our last card. We spent a week after feeling totally rushed into the sale fuming about the whole ordeal. We were seriously asking each other if we actually bought it or not. For real – we didn’t know. What the heck was going on? I mean, we signed a few papers, but we had so many unanswered questions. We knew it was the right car, but the process wasn’t at all how we’d imagined. We were not excited, and we really should have been. We worked damn hard for this, and we even had a nice down payment! We were trying to be responsible, but ended up feeling duped.

Thankfully we were able to take some time during our first day off for the week, visit the dealer, double-check some things, ask some questions, make a few adjustments and finally come to comfortable terms with it. We drove our new car away that day, and we felt… well, relieved. The excitement would show up later, but it came as a calm wave.

So our week off was much-needed, and I’m so thankful it was able to work out. It was quiet. I shut down social media, which was pretty good for me, and in the state I was in, fairly easy. Believe it or not, the world kept turning without Facebook and Instagram. Thank God for that!

After getting our new car situation figured out, over the next couple of days we took care of some appointments, cooked some healthy meals in our friends’ kitchen (they were on vacation and let us use their home – seriously awesome of them and so what we needed!), we reorganized our camping gear and belongings between our new car and old, we did our laundry, took a couple of showers and even had a few glasses of wine somewhere in there. The only thing that was missing was sleep. We were so busy trying to get so many things in line that we barely slept. We wore ourselves thin.

So then we did the best thing ever. We just took off. We got into our new car and drove north. We landed in Munising, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was time for some much-needed R&R. This was my medicine. My cure for any ailment. We picked up a backcountry permit, loaded our backpacks onto our shoulders and hiked out into the forest towards Lake Superior and camped for a night. This would be Adam’s first backpacking trip, ever, which made it really special. All went well except for the one thing that had to go right – he has Sleep Apnea, so we hauled his cpap machine and 16-pound battery out with us, and when we crawled into the tent to sleep, the battery wouldn’t work. We woke up the next morning and hiked out. Well, I hiked out. Adam zombie-walked out. I was proud of him for pushing through it, but it was a rough go.

We were already a little sleep deprived before Adam’s sleepless night in the tent, so we decided to rent this tiny, cute little pre-season cheap cabin for the next few nights. The next day we slept in, and when we finally got up, Adam dropped me off back on the trail. I needed more. While he stayed back at the cabin and chilled in the way he chills – watching movies and relaxing, I trail ran. I pushed out a crazy 30-mile run. It was perfectly difficult. It drained away everything, leaving me feeling really sore, proud and accomplished. I even earned a badge – a bruised toenail! It was exactly what I needed. The next day we did nothing. Then we drove home and got our chores done for our next week of work.

And now we’re back at it. We aren’t 100%, but we’re at least feeling like we’re back on the right path again – still moving forward, only in a better state of mind. Here we are. Life is still happening. Our plans are still progressing.

It’s really unfortunate that I can’t share a cool story about parking the truck at a random rest area in Utah and simply disappearing into the mountains. Wouldn’t that be totally irresponsibly exciting!? Sigh… I just don’t have it in me. Sounds like the makings for a fun short story, though.

So… sorry for the bummed-out read. I’m much more accustomed to writing about adventure and happy things, but sometimes you just gotta take advantage of an outlet you’ve got and be real about some life stuff. So there you have it.

Next up, I vow to write about something more exciting – maybe about how I signed up for the Frozen Otter again. Yup. You’ll be able to hear all about it. I’m in training because I’m crazy. Somehow intentionally signing up for something crazy makes me less crazy…? I don’t know how that works, but it does.


Tonight I love me and Adam. Because we always have each other – even when it’s not pretty – which is kind of perfect in its own twisted, beautiful way.

And here’s some photos from the week to pretty up this blog entry a wee bit:

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It was a green Subaru that we bought. We love our PJ2 (Pickle Jar 2)!

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Sun roof!

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PJ2's first trip. Up north, on a dirt road, with a little backpacking thrown in.

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Our backcountry site.

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Pictured Rocks is amazeballs.

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I can't even express just how much I love this. That's Adam. Backpacking.

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Pictured Rocks beauty. So many spring flowers!

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Pretties.

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Spring hiking trails. Yes, medicinal for sure.

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Chapel Rock, cairns, Lake Superior, and a sunset.