Urban dictionary defines a meltdown as a moment where life at large is particularly overwhelming. It can make us feel like they we are losing control of ourselves, causing us to either act out, withdraw, run, or remain stagnant. Personality theorists like Karen Horney (psychoanalytic social theory), Alfred Adler (Individual Psychology) and Melanie Klein (object relations theory) would call these safeguarding tendencies or adjustments to addressing anxiety as neurotic needs of our egos to survive. Our egos - in charge of balancing the needs of reality, our id, and our superego - can often go into overwhelm when we are unable to put a lid on all their demands coming in at the same time.
The dark abyss
When you mix the colors red, yellow and green, you end up with a brown palette. If you pour in too much red and mix that in with the green, the shade of brown becomes even darker. When the ego has to deal with the three principles of reality, the id, and the superego, we can liken it to mixing colors on a palette. And when the artist loses control, he may end up with a dark murky color because he's tried to satisfy the needs of each one, instead of applying them separately.
A meltdown can look exactly like this murky dark palette gone wrong. When we're caught in a tight situation, our tendency is to immediately find a solution, often pouring in too much red into a very green mixture. And when we realize that we've fucked it up even more, we begin to lose hope, feel angry, frustrated, annoyed, and whatever else. But it is in this darkness, this overwhelm, and this pain of an experience, motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, we can find our greatest breakthroughs. How? Here are three concrete steps we can take to start:
1. Find out what's around you - when we're stuck in the dark, the best way to break out of it is to get a good feel of our surroundings. We need to memorize where things are placed, identify the tools that might be available to us, and notice our own tendencies when put in these kinds of situations. This will help us navigate the room better and escape with the least amount of injury. When we're in the dark, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
- What is available to me here now?
- What am I noticing about myself when faced with this kind of situation?
- What are these feelings doing to me?
- What positive feelings would I like to experience again?
- What tools will allow me to achieve these positive feelings and help me catch the light at the end of the tunnel?
- Who are people I can call?
- When this happens to me, what helps me? - places, things, rituals
- Have I been in a similar situation before? How did I deal with it?
- What am I good at? And what are concrete steps I take to achieve this?
We can breakthrough just about anything when we begin by being honest with ourselves. It all begins here - asking ourselves the hard questions and giving authentic answers to each of them.
2. Use your tools to break through the chains and barriers. Now that you've explored what's available to you, it's time to channel the strength of each tool to break down chains and barriers that you might be faced with. You see, sometimes we tend to stay down because there are nets strategically placed towards the exits. These nets often have flashing lights on them that might say, "you're not good enough", "who do you think you are?", and "what makes you think you're going to succeed?" They're tricky, but this is why knowing your tools and using them well matter on the way out.
Once you've figured out the answers to the questions above, you can begin to condition yourself to strengthen them. How? With appropriate affirmations of course! The only way you're going to get through the nets is if you know a good and strong response that you can believe in based on your past experiences, support groups, and the rituals that help you get to where you want to be.
3. Constant practice and use of strengths will bring results. . This last step is really about maintenance. When you've seen the light and you're just a short stretch to the finish line, what matters now is that you continue the habit of building on your strengths so that the nets don't "grow" back. You emerge from the rubble with a bag full of precious tools on hand now and your only job is to make sure they stay sharp.
What do you think of these three steps? If you'd like to work out a situation through therapy or healing, feel free to send mail to email@example.com