I’m a total meltdown mess!
I am sooooo angry! I kicked a hole in my bathroom door today.
I was just minding my own business, cleaning the house, and for no reason, I just burst into tears.
I feel like I’m going nuts. I actually threw a glass of water at my husband yesterday.
I’m nauseous all the time, worrying about what’s going to happen. And my chest feels tight.
I’m screaming at my kids, “Stop screaming at each other.” How crazy is that!
I feel like I’m “eating” my emotions—I’m binging on sugar and salt. Anything to just calm down. And it’s not working.
I heard all of these comments from folks in just the past two weeks. I may or may not have actually said one or more of them myself. Any of them resonate with you?
How about these? Feeling any spillage of these particular emotions? Circle any of these that feel true for you (I left you a fill-in-the-blank spot in case your predominant emotion isn’t listed here):
Take heart, friends: it is completely normal to experience a loss of emotional control in the midst of an abnormal situation. Our body’s fight or flight system kicks in when we are faced with a threat, and we can find ourselves coming apart at the seams, flooded with feelings that don’t seem to make logical sense. Or feeling nothing—shut down, and unable to have loving feelings for others.
Not only is it normal to experience a loss of emotional control, but it’s also normal to experience a loss of what we might think of as our “rational” brain: concentration, focus, decision-making, problem-solving skills, and short-term memory. It can feel a little like we’ve lost our minds—highjacked by our own emotions.
And this is completely normal when we are facing an abnormal event. Like, say, a global pandemic. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others.
ACTION: Read through the list of emotions you circled above. What would you like to say to God about those emotions? Psalm 139:14 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, which includes the intricacies of our brains’ ability to adapt and respond to stress. What can feel overwhelming in stress is just our body doing what God has designed it to do: feel and respond. Read Psalm 116. What words of encouragement and hope do you find in it … even in the midst of feeling emotionally dysregulated? What comfort do you need from God today? Tell Him.