Most people don’t realise that planes rarely crash due to one singular malfunction. Usually, it’s a chain of events that lead to a catastrophe.
It’s typically known in the aviation world as an error chain. Often starts with a man-made error, that causes something else to happen, and so on and so forth, until…. KABLAM.
It’s kind of the same with a crazy storm such as the one that beat the living shit out of the East coast a couple of weeks ago.
A king tide, an east coast low, and that tempestuous wench, La Nina, created the perfect storm.
The seas raged and threw themselves against the rocks, and the sky rained down tears for days on end until finally the weather broke and the sun poked her head out again and it was almost as if it never happened.
That’s kind of how I see my mental health. One problem, no sweat. I can deal with one measly problem. I laugh in the face of one problem.
But then you add to the cauldron another problem, a month of family illness, a trio of monster bills like rates, car rego and insurance which is a shocker no matter how flush you are, a few sleepless nights due to stress, a cold, and job suddenly coming to an end…
I could probably even deal with all of these except for the final cherry on the top.
Mother fucking PM fucking S.
My first week feeling all of these feels I was getting shit done. I was busy getting organised, getting more work, I was running not on motivation, and sexy DRIVE. I was running on the other thing that propels us in times of stress cortisol, panic and wine.
The night before last I went to bed late and woke up at 4am with all of the EVERYTHING legging it through my cranial space… around and around in senseless circles as with gritty eyes I checked the clock every 30 minutes hoping one of the kids would wake up soon and pad into the bedroom and slide their warm body in next to mine.
I was tempted to go and wake one up, to be honest, but I had a feeling I’d regret that move fairly swiftly.
Making school lunches my eyes kept filling with tears, my throat was tight, my chest was tight and I went to my default mechanism. I like to run away. I like to go somewhere where the sky is open and my shit is far behind me. It’s a fantasy of course.
Sometimes I also think about getting in the car and just driving far away… but then you’re far away with two whinging kids in the back asking “are we there yet” and suddenly the escape plan dream crashes from the sky with a wah, wah, wah, waaaaaaaah trombone effect.
Life has a way of shackling you to the very things that cause you such distress. Money is a big one, it’s a necessary evil you cannot escape, routine, work, sick kids, sick parents, responsibilities. Stuff.
All the stuff.
We cannot shirk our responsibilities and run screaming for the hills butt-naked, waving our hands in the air in defeat, the second adversity strikes but by jove we can wag the shit out of life for a day when we need to. You just need to know when you need to. That’s the secret.
I tend to push myself harder when the cracks appear. I’ll feel better if I just… puuuuuuuuush, puuuuuuuuuush.
It’s bullshit of course. When the tightening in my chest begins I need to step back. Like, right the fuck back. I only just learned this now and I’m 40 in two weeks so if you still haven’t got it don’t feel bad. It’s a tough one to grasp.
We were runaways for the day. We wagged school, and we canned the ballet lessons and the swimming lessons because sometimes you just have to say “fuck it”. This pace is not living. This stress is not worth it. Let’s leave it behind us for the day and go and just be humans being.
Sometimes you just need to go where the sky is big and you can breathe, away from the computers and phones and commitments, and ALL OF THE LIFE.
As I sat there listening to the kids exploring rockpools, the gulls crying above I felt the vice in my chest releasing. The salty air washed over me, the smell of rotting seaweed shocking to my nostrils but I was so fucking present and I realised nothing matters except this moment.
And for that moment my life was perfect.