By Jordan Lueder
Once you start to feel the inevitable drought of tears that once were rigorously shedding, you have to start breathing. Even if it comes out as a form of hyperventilation and you’re gasping uncontrollably for air, just keep breathing. Breathing is always the first step. Keep going until you feel each breath slowly start to steady. Breathing at a healthy pace is what will help bring back the consistent flow of blood through you, into your mind so that it is able to think more clearly.
After coming to a stable breath, it’s time for the more difficult steps.
Get your head out from under the covers, off of your pillow or lifted from the scratchy carpet. There is no need to hide your face any longer. You need to start preparing yourself to accept all that exists outside of you.
Blink your eyes profusely – clear them away of the left over flood that had been drowning them just moments before.
Look around you. Focus on the room you are in, the walls, the sheets of paper left on your desk, the colorful pile of clothes on your floor. Don’t overthink. Don’t add any meaning to these things you see. Don’t think, “Fuck, I have a paper due” or “I need to clean my room”. Just observe. You are still in a vulnerable state. Observe the colors and the materials and the positions of each item.
Bring yourself back into the moment. Feel the ground under you, the blanket surrounding you and the way your skin allows you to feel the world around you. Once you become present, when you are aware of your outside reality, it becomes much easier to accept that you are not just a mind going insane, deep within its mangled thoughts.
Now, you must start to act. You have this body and these surroundings so that you can act towards and with them, no more lying down or sitting in a corner.
You must get up. You have to pull yourself out of whatever space you’ve chained yourself to and break free from it. This is the most terrifying, but it’s the only way you will be able to move forward.
You have to physically pick yourself up, no matter what your mind may be telling you. Even if your thoughts are repeatedly stating that you can’t do it. Prove yourself wrong and do it. Get up. Use every source of energy you may have and heave yourself off of your bed, from the ground, out of your head. This is what will revive you. It’s that feeling of being able to block all negativity, to ignore the weight holding you down and to push through it. This is what will lead you ever so effortlessly through the next steps.
Once you get up, things will start getting easier. You’ve gotten through the worst already. You’ve made the decision to not let this breakdown, break you down.
You are standing once again. Your thoughts will slowly start reminding you of the life you are living and the things you need to be doing. Take a shower, wash off the snot and tears left behind. Clean every part of you. You are a new person every time these melt downs happen. These seemingly useless catastrophes actually change you and it only makes sense for you to come out of them completely cleansed of old distraught. After you clean yourself, clean whatever else it is that needs to be ridden of. The stack of books you promised yourself to read and never got to- put them on a bookshelf for another time.
The assignments you didn’t get around to, giving you strain as you rushed to complete them, but failed to do so- throw them away. The piles of dirty clothes on the floor, reflecting the past few weeks of the complete slump you’ve been in- wash them. Everything. Clean, neat, fresh and new.
Your breakdowns have reason. They have meaning behind them and although it’s almost impossible to discover what that may be, you always learn how to pick yourself back up again. That is the beauty and that is the lesson these moments teach. Congratulations, you have officially been reborn. It is your time to start again.