: an accident in which the core of a nuclear reactor melts and releases radiation
: a very fast collapse or failure
: a very fast loss of emotional self-control
I don’t know if you have ever suffered a meltdown. Well, if you haven’t, you’re a blessed soul, lucky really, and perhaps more mature, strong-willed and emotionally resilient than myself for sure (I can’t speak for the rest of the world). I hope you don’t ever have one.
As you can see, it’s defined as a very fast loss of emotional self-control. Fast and loss are understatements. Unless you experience a meltdown it’d be difficult for you to imagine what it entails. All I can tell you is, I’m perhaps the queen-bee of meltdowns. It’s not a badge that I wear with pride, but I know what it means, and my heartfelt support to all those who do go through these. I know. I’ve been there and I continue to go there. Over the years what have all these meltdowns taught me?
Meltdowns are the crowding of your mind and heart by deep rooted fears and anxieties
Meltdowns unravel the facade we put up of being “in control”
Meltdowns are the volcanic release of the anger and the hurt that continue to simmer in the core of your soul
Meltdowns come in uninvited – when you’re least expecting them, suddenly there’s a rush, like the hatch door of a submarine that is mistakenly opened with the vast ocean on the other side raging to get in
Meltdowns can last for hours, sometimes a day or two – it could be borderline depression and over time lead to chronic depression
Meltdowns are known by many names as I have discovered – “nervous breakdown”, “end of my tether”, “panic attack”, “depression” and so on
Meltdowns give rise to a lot of “guilt”, “I’m not normal”, “I can’t cope”, “I’m not good enough”, “why me” questions, emotions and assertions
Meltdowns muddle your head and make you feel “drained” – physically, mentally, emotionally – concentration, focus, clear head, all can go out of the window
Meltdowns cause a lot of pain to those around you – your behaviour can cause you to unleash a torrent of vile, painful and grief-causing verbal bile – and if you realise what you’re causing, it’s a vicious carousel of further guilt and anger
Meltdowns are difficult to articulate to anyone – it’s so difficult to say, “look I’m feeling lousy. I feel like I have no value and my life is a waste. I am so afraid, so so afraid and I feel like raving and ranting against my karma, my luck. I don’t know of what good my life is and why I was born. I can’t seem to make anything good to happen to me.” It’s not just bloody difficult to say, sometimes it can sound unconvincing to those who can’t for the life of them figure out why you have these episodes and what in the world is there to worry about??!!
Meltdowns are the raging of your vulnerable soul against forces of negative thoughts and emotions that you know you’re in the throes of – you want to break free, but can’t, and the more you try the harder it grips you
Slowly, painfully, tearfully, emotionally bruised and battered, as you make way to the light of normalcy, trying to shake off the shroud of pain, when your breathing is more rhythmic, when you can focus on squeezing your toes and stretching your feet and getting your mind off all these thoughts and emotions, you bury your head in shame and guilt. Wondering. What was I thinking??
You wait for your strength to come back. You wait for your brain to send those messages along your neural pathways to drum up the resolve of putting one foot in front of the other. You look up at the ceiling in your room and pray to the same God against whom you raved and ranted and kicked up a storm a few hours ago. You don’t want to look into His eyes. You don’t know how to say “sorry, please forgive me” to those you love without feeling miserable. You wait to feel life throb in your heart once again. You wait for “will” to kick in. The will to live, the will to dream, the will to “can do”.
Then when your heart gets its ‘thump thump’ rhythm going, you start making the plans. You start discarding bad ideas. You start looking for the fight that lay buried somewhere in the far reaches of your soul. You start hoping. For the break of dawn. Of embracing a new day. Joyfully.
Yes, meltdowns have a way of teaching us things about ourselves that we knew, but were too afraid to ask. Or too caught up in the facade of being super-beings – trying to ace everything, prove something, and finally being nothing. Ask me about meltdowns. I just had one.