We’ve all had those moments. Those moments when our child is in the midst of a meltdown. Those moments when you’re surrounded by bills. Those moments when you know you need to get dinner on the table. Those moments when your mind is racing. Those moments when it just seems like you can’t do enough. We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we’re at our breaking point. We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we’re going to have a breakdown. I know because I’ve been there. I know because I was there. And here’s what to do when you’re having a breakdown as an autism mom.
When that breakdown starts to happen…
I can see it all too clearly.. the yelling in the background, the pile of bills in front of you, the unopened box of pasta on the counter.
All of it just at the brink of boiling over.
Because that’s all that it takes before you’re also boiling over.
Before you are the one collapsing in the corner because it’s all just too much.
Before you are the one in a heap of tears, shoulders heaving as you gasp for breath.
Dear mama, I know what that’s like.
How to Help Yourself During a Breakdown
We’ve all heard it before: when you are putting on that oxygen mask? You always help yourself first.
But, as moms, we tend to put ourselves last.
And I get it, mama. I really do get it. I put my kids first because that’s what we do. Not just as moms, but also as caregivers. We want to make sure that everyone else is taken care of. And yet, when we are doing that?
We often forget to look out for ourselves.
But here’s the thing:
If we just take the time to take care of ourselves? Everything else will fall into place.
After the breakdown happens…
Sometimes we need to let those breakdowns happen. Yes, that’s right. Sometimes we need to let ourselves completely fall apart.
We need to let ourselves cry, we need to let ourselves feel all of these things.
It’s when we don’t let that happen that we’re really doing ourselves a bigger disservice. But, you need to know that yes- you can react. Yes, you can have your breakdown. Yes, you can cry. And yes, you can let it all go.
Not just because you have to, but because you need to do these things.
The more you keep it inside and the more you just lock it up? The worse it’s going to get.
So the next time you feel yourself on the verge of a mental or emotional breakdown? Let it happen.
Those smaller breakdowns have a purpose.
Even if it means you’re reduced to the ugly tears and crying underneath your bed covers. Or if you’re huddled in the corner of your shower stall.
Those smaller breakdowns need to happen because it’s our body’s way of telling us that we need to have this release.
So why ignore it?
Is it just everyday stress or are you overwhelmed?
Another question to ask yourself is this:
Can you tell the difference between the every day stress and the overwhelming stress?
For that matter, do you have a plan in place to manage that every day stress?
If not then this is something you really need to work on first. Those every day stressful situations, those little things that add up, those little moments that snowball and trigger everything else.
Unless you can get that under control? You’re only going to end up where you started.
And then, it’s just going to take one more little thing. One more small thing. And it may even be the simplest thing. Something that you can handle or deal with under normal circumstances.
But until you have a plan for handling that everyday stress? You’re only going to make those everyday situations worse.
How to Handle the Emotional Breakdown
On top of those mental breakdowns when it seems that everything is just spiraling out of control, you’ll also encounter those nasty emotional breakdowns.
Oh yes, you know the one’s that I’m talking about.
Those are the curl in the corner and cry moments.
Or the scream at the top of your lungs moments.
Those moments where we’ve just lost control.
Those moments that make us question if we’re going to get through another day. And sometimes, maybe it’s not even another day. Maybe it’s another hour.
Spoiler alert: you will get through this.
Just like those mental breakdowns, yes, you will get through these emotional breakdowns.
But here’s the thing: you need to let those little ones happen.
And I get it.
I hate when people see me cry because I hate coming across as weak. And I mean really? Who wants to seem vulnerable? Especially when it comes to my kids. For my kids I’m supposed to be strong. For my kids, I’m supposed to have it all together.
But sometimes I don’t.
And that’s okay too.
I can’t always be strong. I can’t always have it all together.
I’m not perfect and I never will be.
But if I can’t at least show up and be there for my kids? What good am I going to do?
What being a strong mom means to me
Being vulnerable is not about showing weakness. Being vulnerable is about showing strength. Being vulnerable is about showing trust. And yes, it happens to us all.
To the strongest of us all- mentally, physically, and emotionally. It doesn’t matter how strong we are — and yes, mamas, we are strong. Sometimes it’s just too much for us to handle.
And it’s in those moments, when we’re just about to crack?
That’s when we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable. That’s when we can allow ourselves to to say that yes- we do need help. That’s when we need to say that we can’t do this alone.
Because that’s not being weak.
That’s being strong.