Your Breakdown Is Okay (Understandable, Even)

Lisbeth Mindset

Crying in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s is usually a pretty solid sign that something is wrong in your life.

It’s not a showstopper but if you’re nodding right now, you know what I’m talking about.

Like a stomach of Thin Mints, unhappiness starts small but gets big fast.

You don’t think you have a problem at first. Well, not a big one. Other people have bigger problems, like cancer or homelessness or heartbreak. Your problems are minor and (you think) you should be able to handle them. Your internal monologue goes something like this:

Stop whining. You have it good. Other folks have it harder.

So life plods on and on and you take care of this and that and the next thing and you think you’re okay and everything should work out and you’re just a little bit tired and maybe you need to go to the gym more or maybe it was that tuna salad you ate at lunch … but suddenly you’re stopped on your mission to get some Trader Joe’s chunky salsa and Brookies (OMG have you tried those?) and instead of getting out of your car with your green reusable bags, you are holding the steering wheel and weeping. It’s dark outside and it’s 7 pm on a Monday night and you can’t hold it together one more minute.

I hear you.

I was there yesterday. And I’ll be there again in a few months or a year.

You are not alone in this one.

We all have issues in our lives. Challenges. Situations. And sometimes we let them build up until we have to deal with them immediately.

We are all human.

Sometimes, we know the breakdown is coming and we do everything we can to stem it. We dam. And damn. And stop. And sometimes we indulge ourselves enough to deter the inevitable. Alas, we are only deterring.

And then your breakdown happens in a Trader Joe’s parking lot and you feel like an idiot but somewhere deep inside you know you’re just human.

So what can you do when you find yourself once again perched on the edge of Whatthefuckville?

Take care of yourself. Stop. Breathe. Assess.

  • Are you safe?
  • Fed?
  • Clothed?
  • Tired?
  • Unhappy?

You need these answers to determine what move to make next:

  • Do you need to make a little change?
  • Do you need to run away?
  • Do you need to deadlift? Or bike? Or just take the dog for a long walk on a sun-dappled trail?
  • Do you need a Brookie and a good night’s sleep?

Do the little things first.

  • Get something to eat.
  • Get a workout in.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat the Brookie.

If you wake up tomorrow and you feel the same dread before you open your eyes … then you know.

And knowing is the first step to changing, so pat yourself on the back, friend.

At least you know.

You might have conflicting signals. Like a madwoman or some really interesting character in a novel, you’re happy and sad at the same time. Eager to change but reluctant to take action. Up and down at the same time.

You’re a mess. And you’re not. And it’s all okay.

Stop. Breathe. Assess. And then make little changes. Adjust. See what happens. Hold on the big changes until you’re certain that’s what you need.

But most of all … hang in there. And don’t worry too much about the crying at Trader Joe’s. It happens to almost everybody.

We all break in little ways but that doesn’t mean we’re broken.

We’re beautiful and messy and it’s all going to be okay, one way or another. Chin up, darling.

Remember, life is a contact sport. Heal and get back in the game.


Lisbeth Mindset

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