Dressed to kill for the sob fest of a lifetime one Friday night, I sat on my couch in dirty socks, faded pink flannel PJs, and my hair swept up on top of my head in an itty-bitty ponytail. I opened a bottle of chilled Chardonnay and turned up the volume to Celine Dion’s hit, “All By Myself,” and proceeded to cry hysterically.
It wasn’t that one bad thing had happened. It was an accumulation of the day-to-day minutia that suddenly felt too heavy to handle.
Pulling one tissue after another out of the box, I grieved over everything that was weighing me down. It was winter, and I was cold. And when I get cold, I gain weight because all I want to do is eat. And when I can’t zip up my pants because of a few extra pounds— I have a good reason to cry!
On top of my ego driven angst, there was my 96-year-old roommate who constantly slept in his bedroom. My dad no longer had time for conversation as he caught up on years of missed sleep, leaving my home painfully still. And because he was totally reliant on his daughter, the caregiver, I felt trapped in my home.
Just as I was about keel over and die of “Poor Me Syndrome,” I decided to bring out the big guns. Facebook is the perfect salt for any emotional wound. There, spread out in vibrant colored photos, happy people shared stories about the fun trips that they’ve just taken, how wonderful their loving spouses are, and seeing retirement right around the corner. What did I have to share? Unadulterated boredom. I never went anywhere. My social life had come to a screeching halt And retirement? That was just some far off dream.
Grabbing the Kleenex and gulping down the last swig of wine, I scrolled through the posts as my green-eyed monster raised her ugly head inside my heart. Suddenly, I was hit with the sting of an imaginary slap across my face. It quickly pulled me back to reality.
Mixed amongst all the exciting tales was a mother’s cry for more prayers for her 33-year-old daughter struggling with brain cancer. Taking no prisoners, this beautiful mighty warrior had challenged the disease for four years in the prime of her life, leaving no stone unturned. Now, things had changed, and she truly needed a miracle.
Thinking about her journey, I sat back and took stock of my surroundings. On every shelf and wall of my home, pictures of my four healthy children smiled back at me. What was wrong with me? How could I’ve been so shallow? Okay, maybe my life currently wasn’t exciting, and money was always an issue, but in that moment of time, my kids were safe. More importantly, they were healthy. What more could I want?
As I walked to the bathroom to wipe mascara away that had dripped down my entire face, I wondered why I couldn’t focus on how fortunate I was without this type of wake-up call? Why did it take someone else’s pain to remind me?
I’ve been told this is just being human, and that fatigue has a disappointing way of distorting everything. Well, if that was the case, then it was the time I got more sleep because the momentary “woe is me” was just plain unacceptable.
I know we’ve all done it, wallowing over the smallest things, but when do we learn to stop? Do we need constant reminders that we’re truly blessed?
From this moment on, I hope to be true to my word. When I feel that urge to “party on” over what life doesn’t bring (and it will come again), I plan to grab a recent photo of my children and scream, “Life is great!” And then, I’ll take a nap, so I’m able to attend to life’s real party well rested and dressed appropriately for a celebration. I never want to lose sight that the most important thing any of us ever have is our health, a joyful reminder of all that is good in this world.
We all can’t help but become weak when life becomes overwhelming. Fatigue sets in and then we become head cases with irrational thinking. But there are ways to help us snap out of it. As mentioned above, I carry a recent picture of my kids with me to remind me how truly blessed I am. How you do revert your thought processes from falling into that dark cave of the woe is me?