Life and how the mind deals with everything is confusing, for me at least. I can have a really good run of feeling like I’m “in control” and “on top of things”. I’ll deal with a load of curve balls and changes with ease and take everything in my stride. But then, with very little warning, my emotional state will suddenly be brought crashing down by the smallest of things. Sometimes I’ll just feel low. Sometimes I’ll just get a bit cross. Then sometimes, on rare occasions, I will feel like I’m losing my mind and get upset and cross in extremes. That happened the weekend before last and it was all because of a cup of tea (and some orange juice). My original draft of this post was long, rambling and more of a way for me to get the whole event off my chest. Reflecting back on it a week though, I decided all of the whys-and-wherefores which lead to the “losing it” moment were of no relevance really. To be honest, they weren’t things I really wanted to commit to record. But the lesson learnt – that was important.
The last few weeks having been quite physically and emotionally draining. We’ve had various bug, school inductions, lots of demands at work and, the biggest stress for me, an infestation on one of my house plants which spread to infect 10 of my plants in total at last count. I can juggle a lot and have various tools and techniques which I use to keep myself calm and grounded during busy and / or stressful periods. Caring for my houseplants is one of them so the thrips invasion hit me very hard. Not only that, but the first place I spotted them after disposing of the original source was my Monstera Thai Constellation – a speciality variant of the Monstera Deliciosa which I’d treated myself to as a birthday gift. After years of virtually no pests on my plants, this whole circumstance hit me hard.
One weekend, Sam was away for his friends wedding. After a fun but tiring day with the girls at the zoo, I’d gone to bed later than I had planned because I spotted a thrip on my plant. So, the next morning I inadvertently slept through my alarm and was not prepared in advance of the girls getting up. It set me off on a bad footing and I was, I’ll admit, distracted by the thought of my plant infection. So when Sam got home, I decided I was safe to do some plant inspection. Unfortunately I took my eye of the ball and Little Z got hold of a completely full cup of hot tea and pulled it everywhere! Fortunately she was not hurt but I was shaken. Sam and Little H cleared up and then went outside. I checked all around for dangers; with everything seeming safe, I continued my plant inspection. Yet minutes later I looked down: Little Z had got hold of a small bottle of orange juice off the table and had spilt it. All. Over. The. Floor.
I snapped. I shouted at her. I shouted at the room, I shouted at Sam. I shouted at myself. Then I cried. I cried for shouting at my innocent and curious one year old. I cried for shouting at my husband who just came to check we were okay. I cried for my plants. For the mess. For the general state of my tired brain. Then when the crying stopped, the guilt kicked in. The day was fine from there, but I couldn’t shake my unsettled feeling. I couldn’t stop cuddling and playing with the girls trying to make amends for an event they had long forgotten. At bedtime, all I could think was how I had wasted such a precious weekend day. I got my head of my pillow efficiently to let my brain rest and sleep.
The next morning though I woke from a reasonable sleep. My brain had done some talking to itself and put the thrip infection into perspective. I got up before the girls and made sure I was dressed and ready for the day. My mind felt like a storm had cleared. I was able to handle everything with patience and perspective. We had a genuinely lovely day, even when the girls were being a little testing. And the best thing was that I didn’t shout once. I felt like I was back winning at this whole mum business. The most important thing for me though was that I accepted and moved on from my breakdown the previous day. Because I realised that I probably needed to get all of my tiredness and frustration out to return to my point of calm; for my family to see I was more upset than I appeared and cut me a little more slack; for me to be kinder to myself.
The moral – sometimes trying to keep it together isn’t the best thing. Sometimes the best thing one can do is to face into the unsettled feeling and cry, shout or do whatever to shift the emotions. And also, whilst it’s terrible to find bugs on your plants*, it’s not worth staying up really late for when you really need to sleep!
*Since writing the first draft of this post, I took the decision to dispose of all but one of my infected plants – the Thai Constellation. No matter what I tried, I was unable to contain the infection and I knew that I would always have that fear even if they appeared to have died back. A small new of new plants were acquired at the weekend (and introduced safely away from others!) and they have definitely helped my mood. The Thai Constellation has been removed from soil and is currently living in a jar of water with the hopes that I can kill the little blighters off on this one plant. Here’s to hoping!