Falling Apart on the Inside

I met a young woman last week, a beautiful, single mother of two, with a successful career and a business on the side.  She was smiling and seemed happy until we got back to my office to chat.

She sat down and her eyes immediately filled with tears as she talked about everything going on in her life.  She described a life full of friends and family, a successful career as a Registered Nurse and a thriving home health business she owns with a friend.  Her kids are doing well in school and she has someone in mind who she thinks could be “the one.” On the outside, she seems to have it all.

“So, what’s the problem?” I asked.

“I don’t know” she answered, her eyes filling again.  “It’s like I’m falling apart… but on the inside.”

She knows her life is good and she’s grateful for it, but for some reason, the good things aren’t adding up to good feelings.  Everyday she feels stressed and tired and she’s constantly running from one thing to the next without ever having a chance to breathe.  She can’t talk to friends and family about her feelings because they brush off her problems, as if someone in her circumstance couldn’t be having a hard time.  This makes her life feel very lonely, leaving her with no one who understands what she’s going through. Because of all this, she’d put her health on the back burner until she finally showed up to the doctor’s office at her wits end.  

Does any of this sound familiar?  

On the outside, we get up for work on the days we’d rather stay in; we slap a smile on our faces when we want to cry; we say “everything is okay” when things are at their worst.  But on the inside, many of us are falling apart, stretched too thin mentally, emotionally and physically, living dangerously close to the edge of sanity.

Without even noticing it, you start to operate on auto-pilot, getting up and doing the same things everyday without paying attention to the signals your mind and body are giving you.  You avoid dealing with your problems so they bubble under the surface until they blow up in your face, adding more frustration and stress to your life. We have all these great things and people around but we can’t even enjoy them because our minds are racing from the stress of our lives and responsibilities.  She wanted to be happy, she just couldn’t figure out how. I think this is true for a lot of women.

Before she left, we came up with a few strategies she can use when she starts to feel overwhelmed and a few ways she can prevent herself from getting to the breaking point again.  If this sounds like your life, here are a few things you can do to chip away at your worries and start to enjoy your life again:

  1. Take a break: Schedule some time for yourself.  Reach out to your support systems for help with your kids, schedule a day off from work, anything that helps you unwind.  

2. Stop trying to do it all alone:Women are notorious for trying to handle everything by themselves.  Allow the other people in your life to help you and help themselves. You do not have to be in control of everything for it to go right.

3. Make your health a priority: This includes mental health.  Maintaining optimal health is your responsibility and it’s your #1 asset in life.  Focusing on your health provides benefits in all aspects of life. DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR HEALTH.  

4.Find support from others: Many of us are dealing with the same feelings and emotions.  Find support from other women who may be dealing with some of the same issues.  Just knowing you’re not alone provides a HUGE boost of confidence and energy to push you forward.  

5. Seek Professional Help: A licensed professional social worker or therapist can help identify the problem areas in your life and discover strategies for making things feel better.  Seek professional help at the first sign of an issue and get the help you need.

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