What Did She Say

My mind is always open

I’m strong…

Posted by jackiyo 22 Comments

I’m strong.

Until I’m not.

I’m ok.

Until I’m not.

I’m dealing well with everything.

Until I’m not.

I think I’m alright.

Until I’m not.

I’ve been doing ok with all this. This process of emerging from numb. Experiencing colour again. Telling the kids their world is changing. Being strong for them.

Dealing with unexpected matters of the heart. Things I haven’t felt in years. At a highly inconvenient time.

So last night all that “stuff” I’d been holding in started spilling out.

I had a couple hour, highly emotional text conversation. And by the end I was drained. Emotionally. Physically. But couldn’t sleep.

And I was already tired from not sleeping the night before. More heart/head stuff.

When I woke to the rude clock radio – I guess I’d fallen asleep at some point – I was utterly exhausted.

And I was on my own with the two kids – as is the agreement Hub and I have. It was my morning. We were coming off a four-day long weekend.

The Boy was also exhausted after a fun long weekend. And when The Boy is exhausted he is grumpy. (Wonder where he gets *that* from…)

We were behind the eight-ball, having lied in bed too long. And I still had to shower, make lunches and herd kittens get the kids out the door.

I was at my wit’s end. Tired. Emotionally hungover from the night before.

I yelled as I closed the bathroom door, “I JUST NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER!!”

And as I closed the door – a little hard – I lost it.

Just as a tree that tries to stay strong in the wind, I broke.



Credit: http://alexjospe.blogspot.ca/2007_04_01_archive.html

It’s the trees that bend that fare ok in the harsh winds and storms. It’s the ones that try to stay strong that don’t make it.


Credit: http://lonelytreegroup.blogspot.ca/2007/02/wind-swept-tree.html

I’ve been standing hard.

Standing tall.

Not giving in to crying.

Always stopping myself before it gets too far.

“Nope. Not now. Don’ t have time for tears.”

So the storm comes from nowhere and knocks me down.

I had what I can only describe as a breakdown.

As I closed that door, I felt the waves crashing in, the bark breaking.

And I was on the floor.

In the duck and cover position.



The kind where you can’t catch your breath.


Credit: http://current.com/technology/92869950_so-when-the-world-goes-boom-duck-and-cover.htm

The loud wails.

And I couldn’t stop.

The mama bear in me needed to stop, but the storm was bigger than the mama bear.

My daughter came in. My seven-year-old daughter.

She put her hand gently on my back. I sat up, turned around and took her on my lap and embraced her. Put her head to my chest as I cried, not as hard. Mama bear was starting to win.

She was crying a bit. Trying to be strong for me. (Let’s add guilt here, shall we? Actually, let’s add shame. For an amazing TED talk on shame – check out Brene Brown.)

On top of all those emotions that just overtook me, I was now feeling ashamed at how I was behaving in front of my daughter and my son.

I told her Mommy was tired and sad and overwhelmed. And that it’s ok to cry. I also told her I was ok. I told her I loved her.

I brushed myself off. She went downstairs and joined her brother to watch tv before school.

I got in the shower and told the breakdown this was not a good time.

The breakdown didn’t listen and I lost it again.

I fought it. I had to. I needed to still make lunches. Get them to school. Get to work and make it through the day.

And I did.

I made it through. On the verge, but I made it.

So, this is me, admitting I’m not always ok. I’m not always strong. I’m not always alright.

And for some reason, it’s easier to admit that here than it is to my closest friends.

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22 Responses so far.

  1. Cherry says:

    I am a few years down the track from burnout and depression. The upside of going through an experience – exactly as you have recounted it – is that once we have experienced it – life has an easy feel. I know how to look after myself better, I know the warning signs when I am over-doing it (I NEVER want to experience that lack-of-colour and lost-joy again!)So I am now a more assertive, clearer thinking and speaking person. Although the saying ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’ may be ‘blah’ words to someone in the middle of it – once you get through the tunnel (and past the trains) life is richer for the ride. You have an awesome, succinct way of expressing yourself – my burnout ramblings reflected the chaos I was going through lol. Good luck to you and anyone else going through it – just “cope til you don’t” – and may you pass through the tunnel quickly.

  2. Alison says:

    You are so right about being strong, until you are not. Then not, until suddenly you are. You are grieving the loss of many things and grieving takes it’s own time. All you can do is keep communicating with your kids and yourself. 10 years after divorce [being now] I took up a Hatha yoga class with a teacher who focuses on breath and meditation not just poses. She said that some of the ying poses we are doing relieve tension that has been stored up back to childhood. I know I still have a lot from a 22 year marriage and a divorce that took to long to settle. Meantime *hugs* and know you are on the path of self discovery. Never easy, but ultimately the only path.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Great post. I am not going through a divorce but a challenging time for sure and I can completely relate to what you’ve written. I wish you nothing but really wonderful things. There is a bright side to everything. Sometimes it just takes us some time to get to it 🙂

  4. Sam says:

    “Tears heal the world, when words cannot.”

    Having the strength to accept your emotions, to be honest with yourself. Will give you the ability and strength to move threw these times. It will allow you to let the pain, hurt and anger go. To move to the next chapter.

    Sharing your pain with your daughter is truly a gift as it allows her to be more open about the saddness she may feel.

    Time is the greatest healer.

  5. Kristin says:

    While it doesn’t feel good, I think you are showing your kids resilience. And I don’t think you should be ashamed of that.
    Courage friend.

  6. Kat says:

    I just can’t even believe your strength, and especially for allowing yourself to feel this and then get back up, make lunches and move through your day.

  7. *Big Hugs*

    It’s OK to cry in front of your kids. They need to know and see that you can share your feelings with them as they can share theirs with you.

  8. Bonnie says:

    You are strong, and courageous and amazing. And teaching your children that everyone fees and cries, and that it’s ok is an important and beautiful gift. Never regret being yourself in front of your children. Teaching them (and yourself) that tears are as important to honor as laughter is critical.
    Sending you love

  9. You ARE strong and getting through, day by day 🙂

  10. Paula says:

    Break when you have to – the kids understand. Maybe not the depth or intensity but they get it – I promise you they do.

  11. Paula says:

    Break when you have to – I have and the kids they understand – not the same depth or the same way but they understand –

  12. Alexandria says:

    Aw, friend. These tears aren’t proof that you’re not strong, they’re proof you’re strong enough to feel still, and that is the most important way to survive. You’re not alone, we’re all here for you. xoxox

  13. Erica says:

    Jacki, I can not even begin to understand the depth of your emotions at this time, but I do know about being overwhelmed by grief, guilt and sadness. About sobbing, heaving, until you think your insides are going to explode. Remember that you are human and we are built to withstand the rigors of life’s most challenging moments. For your children to bear witness to this shows them that you are human; that it’s OK to let those feelings surface and bubble over. Because that’s the only way we can move on.

  14. mara says:

    its ok for your kids to see you’re human. nobody is strong all the time-things get to us, just like they got to you. by showing them its ok to lose it once in a while, you’re actually being a better mom.

  15. Alyssa says:

    You are stronger than you’ll ever know Jacki, we are always here for you, anytime. (ehugs).

  16. Steve Kubien says:

    Hope I’m as strong as you when the day comes, and sense it looming large.

  17. heather says:

    my heart aches for you. but I also know that crying and admitting your feelings is one step closer to the other side- a side where you find the peace that has been missing.
    I’ve cried in front of my kids, felt guilty and then realized this is yet another time that I need to allow myself to be a human first, then a mom. They really do “get it” and it helps them admit to their emotions too.
    You are stronger than you know- but you also don’t always have to be that strong all the time- give your self a chance to grieve your loss.

  18. Jen Banks says:

    Be kind to yourself. That’s a whole lot of change to be dealing with and emotion to be holding onto.

  19. Jen says:

    And it’s ok.

    Everything you’re doing, you’re going through, is normal. And it’s ok. Don’t feel ashamed that your kids see it…because when the storm stops winning and they see you shining your brightest…they’ll have learned, from you, that even though things change, it’s not the end of the world…and that the pieces can be picked up.

    Don’t try to hide it all from them. That’s too hard.

    It will get better.

  20. Michelle says:

    You ARE Strong. Because you are speaking your truth, which is hard. At least out loud, to all of us.

    Here? We are closer than you might think.

  21. Kat says:

    You are incredibly strong and brave for sharing this. Just know that you’re so not alone, and I think you’re amazing. xo

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