Mental Health

It’s a Bad Day not a Bad Life

Hi, I’m Kristin and I’m an optimist. I choose to focus on the positive things and keep my mental space somewhere between fluffy unicorn tails and all-you-can-eat pizza buffets most days. But some days …  That’s it, an ellipsis is the best way to describe those days.

You know what I mean, the ones where you wonder if I should have just called in sick and literally “Netflix and chill.” The ones where you wonder whose Wheaties did you pee in, who did you upset so badly that they cursed your day — those days stink work than my constipated toddler.

Look, I never like to wish a day away, but a few weeks ago, oh my goodness, did I want this day to be over and wiped away from my memory. I need one of those memory erasers from the “Men in Black” movies.

It started out as a typical week day. As we headed out the door, our four-year-old admitted that he thought he pooped. Sigh. But no biggie, this happens ALL the time when you’re potty training.

I cleaned him up as quick as I could, helped him put on a fresh pair of big boys undies and back to the sitter’s house next door.

Then I was off to grab my purse and keys, hop in my car and head toward work. But half a mile or so down my day took a turn or really I should say “took a hit.” In the corner of my eye, I saw a dog that resembled a Collie darting into the street. By the time my early morning self reacted to the animal, It was too late. I slammed on my breaks and I heard something slam into the side of my car and possibly go under a wheel or two.

I froze. What the hell just happened? Did I seriously just hit a dog!?!

As I’m trying to process what happened in just a few mere seconds, I see a young male face screaming at me through my driver window, eyes bulging, hands flailing. Thankfully, my driver window was up.

His harsh words and name calling only increased my anxiety and soon I was in hysterics, apologizing profusely. The man left the window to tend to his dog and an older woman appeared, asking me to roll down my window. She assured me that the man’s dog was alright and she knew how sorry I for the situation. I did not see the dog(s) until it was too late.

The rational side of his brain (which would have told him that it was clearly an accident) hadn’t kicked in yet as he yelled more profanities walking to the older woman’s home with his dog in tow. The woman continued to assure me it was alright but I honestly needed space. I needed fresh air and a voice. I called my best friend.

She was my clarity. I didn’t know what to do. It felt odd leaving the situation, something that happened so abruptly. It didn’t feel right just to apologize and then leave for my normal routine of work. Based on my best friend’s advice, I called the cops to see what they wanted me to do.  They asked to meet me back at where the incident occurred. When I arrived back at the scene where it all happened, I found out I hit not one but TWO dogs. Go big or go home, right?! As I was approached again by the older woman, she explained how the young man’s dog was chasing a Collie (that had no collar or any other form of identification)and the Collie hit the side of my car, first, followed by the man’s dog. The young man then came over, standing between the woman to my right and the cop now on my left. I’m sure the older woman, probably his grandma, popped him upside the head about his words, which is why he apologized. Maybe not. Maybe he generally felt horrible for his words.

Even though I did  accept his apology, the entire situation drained my emotional energy and I couldn’t stop replaying all the words he used. I tried everything I could think of to shake his harshness. But his energy, his anger, not only scared me but had smeared itself thick all over me. I pushed forward as best as I could. It’s days like this where I wished I could let myself just sulk. My optimism, however, refused to back down. So I walk around with this constant battle in my head – all day. Every time a negative thought took place, I countered it with something positive. Now, this is what you are supposed to do with negativity, right? Counter it but sometimes the emotional energy to fight off such nastiness from the devil. He’s throwing a one-two punch and you don’t know whether to duck, cover yourself or just stand there and take the hit.

And as my day continued to unfold, things kept piling up. I went to the gym —  it was closed due to a water leak. Okay, so what would cheer me up since I can’t work out – shopping. A little retail therapy never hurt anyone.  So I went to Walmart and found myself some cute workout clothes along with some actual necessities and I left my wallet in my office.  La di freakin’ da. Okay, so retail therapy isn’t the answer either to this crummy day.

So what was I suppose to do? My emotional energy was melting away faster than a Popsicle in July heat and I still had half a days work left, plus dinner to cook and my three kids to take care of when I got home. Ugh

I came back to my office and decided to throw myself into work and put my emotions on autopilot. My goodness, I was in denial of what I needed for most of the day — Jesus. As the afternoon hours ticked by, I found myself thinking more and more of Jesus and less about my emotions. I continued to ask myself a lot of “Why” questions but I could sense that the negative voice in my head was growing smaller, slowly … but surely.

Still, even though I felt better about it all by the time I had made it home through rush hour traffic, when my neighbor told me that there was a dent in my driver door, I could feel the emotions from my rough morning coming back up in my throat. This time instead of searching for a quick fix, I went to Jesus. I visualized myself as a child, hugging Him. My arms tightly grasping his shoulders, creasing his white robe. And even though I put myself on auto pilot while I cooked dinner, picked up after my kids, helped them get washed up and ready for bed, I tried my hardest to keep that picture — me as a child, coming to Jesus, asking for his guidance. By the end of the evening, as I said my prayers, and read my devotionals I started to think about how the day could have went much worse.

The dogs could have died. I could have been injured. I could have had severe damage to my car. It could have been a kid running out into the street. Lord, have mercy. I began to thank God for showing me that my crummy day, while memorable, was not the worse day of my life. There were some terrible accidents on the highway earlier that morning, and He could have very well been protecting from those or any other incident that would have done way more harm. I’ll never know for sure why that incident had to happen but I can tell you that it was a great reminder that I need Jesus every day.

Not just on bad days,
but good days,
so-so days,
sad days,
one-in-a-lifetime days,
I need him every single second of the day, with every breath I take, I need him. And that my friends is where our strength lies — in our neediness. Not in our own strength but in His strength that he graciously fills our lungs with every day that we grow, that we have the power to make it through those mountains before us.

And if you’re like me, sometimes you turn mole hills into mountains in your head. Boy, did I do that this time around. Sometimes we are our own worse enemy. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but I have learned that I can be so harsh to myself and yet so open and kind to others who do the exact same thing. My advice is that when you realize your negativity, center yourself with his Word. No need to search for scripture, ask God and he will reveal what he wants you to see. Trust me, He will.

With that said, it’s more than okay to admit to the world when you have a bad day. It only shows that you are human, and that’s a good thing. I believe we need to show our vulnerability more often.

Remember, we may have bad moments in a day, but it’s not a bad life. It’s just moment in time, and like all things it too shall pass.

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