This morning I had a meltdown. Writing that reminds me what it felt like at the beginning of my recovery when I first learned to say, “Hi, I’m Sara and I’m an addict” or “I’m Sara a co-dependent.” There is a thread of shame in acknowledging that I had a meltdown. It sounds so “unrecovered” to me. Hence, the need to face it, own it, and share it. That kind of arrogance speaks to the very need for continuing along this recovery path. I’ve come to accept there are no graduations, just growth. No destinations, just more scenery along the Healing Lane. I’m reminded yet again that health is a life-long journey.
What sparked my emotional turmoil? Housekeeper Friday. As I set about de-cluttering my house, attempting to make my home decent enough to have the wonderful husband and wife team who have been tending to my house for many years do the actual cleaning, I was faced with a whole lot of reality. That being the stuff that has piled up over the last few years. Ok, the last several years and the last few to an even greater measure. My house has become unmanageable with clutter and my life has become unmanageable with the ways I have avoided addressing it. I’m not a candidate for Hoaders but I think I would have been for TLC’s former (sadly) Clean Sweep. I loved that show because Peter Walsh, the professional organizer, was so direct about his suggestions in getting rid of “stuff” while showing a great deal of compassion to those he was helping. I miss that show. I want to hire Peter.
As I withdrew to my bedroom, thinking I might be on the verge of panic. I threw a lifeline to Erma via a text: “What’s the difference between a meltdown and a breakdown?” The phone rang moments later. The familiar, calming, “Saaaaaara…what’s up?” immediately brought me into the optimal zone. I could feel my backing away from the edge. Later upon thinking about the difference, I decided that if I was having a breakdown, I would be found eventually. If it was a meltdown, I would find myself. And that I did in the form of reaching out. From there came reasoning and awareness. We talked about the effects of divorce, recovery, avoidance, and all of the changes the last few years have brought. I thought about my life pattern of procrastination and its connection to perfection. I started to see the slight but significant changes to that pattern.
One of them is that I had recently begun mini-tasking. This is my word for taking the mounds of work to be done and putting them into very small but doable tasks. These are things like taking one shoebox to sort, or a drawer; one bag of clothes to donate; one pile of papers; five or ten minutes at a project. I have actually been doing some of that, and I was able to recall this after several minutes with Erma. Friends are such priceless gifts. How could one really fathom the value of a friend? I am so very wealthy in this regard. I have numerous friends who are so very near and dear to me, where I can be honest and authentic.
Something else surfaced for me during our talk. I saw that the accumulation of stuff is not unlike the accumulation of weight. Both of these have been an issue for me, and both represent avoidance. Both take up a lot of head time and lead toward obsessive thinking. They represent extreme behaviors to me – whether in avoidance or in attacking it with my “all-in” mentality. It is how I relate to myself. These two areas are revealing to me I have much to learn about this important relationship and the things I value, not just people. The discovery is just beginning, so in all likelihood I will have a future post on this topic.
One of the gems from today’s dealings has been a reflection which came in the form of a text to my mom who had pointed out that progress requires some perseverance. I responded with “The lesson of love reaches into one’s own heart to say I’m worth the effort to do the good and right thing on my own behalf.” I realize how impactful it is to me that I said that to my mother who is my greatest cheerleader, support, as well as my caretaker (in recovery, I should add). She would have come to my aid in a minute. She in fact has been eager to come to my aid as she has seen my poor choices and the consequences of them. However, I see that it is my choice to do what is good and right for me that is really key here. I don’t need rescuing. I may need some help, though, and for that I simply need to ask. Or hire Peter Walsh.