Staying Sane When You Feel Crazy

Unattached woman seated on floor without face showing

I remember the first time I walked through a store after my first husband died. It was like walking on Mars; I was an alien in a foreign land. I looked like everyone else in Walmart that day, but I was a completely altered human being. I was struggling to simply put one foot in front of the other, to actually find and place a few grocery items into my basket, that in the grand scheme of things are meaningless to life.

And no one knew. No one could tell by looking at me that I just lost my husband; that I felt like I might collapse in a puddle at any moment and melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West.

I had to stay sane when I felt I was crazy.

I had a daughter who needed me. I had a house to maintain… and every single bill and chore and broken thing that goes along with being a homeowner. I had to figure out a way to not panic, not slip into depression, and literally not have a mental breakdown. Prayer helped a lot. So did friends. And so did my daughter, whose resilience held her up, at times held me up, and gave me hope every day that I would survive and maybe one day, thrive.

I had to stay sane when I felt I was crazy.

I hope whatever is making you feel “crazy” is not as awful as the death of someone you love. Maybe you are simply a working mom with too many valuable demands on your time to fit into 24 hours. There are a lot of circumstances in life that can overpower us. We don’t have to let them! Looking back, I can remember there were things I did to help myself rise out of the inevitable emotional collapses and stay somewhat sane:

  • Say “yes” to every thoughtful invitation. I had people I hardly knew ask if they could take me to lunch, and I even said yes to that. Every opportunity to let someone love on you and lend an ear is a good one.
  • Call your friends as much as you need—but make sure they are the friends who point you toward positive thoughts and toward hope.
  • Ask for help. The people who care about you, often want to help but don’t know how. So whether it’s someone to mow your yard or pick up one of your kids from ball practice, take them up on their offer of kindness.
  • Get dressed and put on makeup. For three months I could not wear even waterproof mascara, but I still did my hair, wore blush and lipstick and jeans with cute shirts. There’s something psychological in doing so that makes you feel more human and more uplifted.
  • Cry your guts out… then pull yourself together and refresh your makeup. Every time.
  • When you turn on the TV, watch only fun things, like comedies and kids shows. My daughter and I watched endless shows on the Disney Channel and every episode of Full House reruns… twice!
  • Read every helpful book about your circumstances that you can get your hands on.
  • Look at the big picture. Every heartache and challenge we face has been faced—and will be faced—by millions of other women. Refuse to be defeated; instead, try at least once each day to tell yourself you will let this teach you and make you better and stronger. If you have children, remember—they are watching you!
  • Find a way to share your journey and/or a shoulder with someone else going through something similar. You don’t have to create an entire ministry around your circumstances, but just comforting another woman who is struggling can go a long way toward helping them find courage and hope. It will help you as well.

You will also like When Life Gives You a New Normal, Mood Boosters When You’re Down and What I Learned About Love From Death

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