Hitting the Reset Button

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How to Recover From a Stress Meltdown

Firstly, sorry in advance for the epic-length post.

I’m trying not to feel guilty for not posting last week. I wrote a post but ended up falling asleep before putting it up. When Monday evening came around, I wasn’t in a fit state to do much of anything, let alone spell-check my work and try to be enthusiastic about it.

These past few weeks have been absolutely mental, and I think it’s safe to say I haven’t dealt with it as well as I could have. My moods have been up and down like a yo-yo.

Monday evening, snotty and crying, I decided I needed to hit the reset button and take the pressure off for the week. Now, with a week of annual leave ahead of me, I feel I can post about what’s been happening, and how it’s affected me.


Changes can be stressful…

Our landlords have been trying to sell our flat for some time now. The fact that we may be given notice and have to uproot has been hanging over our hearts for the past 18 months or so. Thankfully, they’ve priced the flat – in my humble opinion – far too high, and so for a long time got no interest in it.

In the last couple of months, that’s changed. Several people have been to view; each one a reminder that our home may not be ours for much longer. Then, three weeks back, a guy came for a second look, armed with a tape measure. My heart sank… we were definitely going to have to move, and in my brain, that meant NOW.

That same evening, we found a house to rent that seemed perfect: 3-bed, a driveway, good location, a big kitchen – plus it was cheap.

At that point, my mind went into overdrive, and it hasn’t slowed down since. I had to sort things with work, look into deposit and moving costs, research what to look for in a viewing. In my mind, I had to do it all now – I couldn’t bear the thought of being given a months notice having done no preparation. It would throw me into chaos.

I searched properties near enough daily – just in case – but none of them measured up to that one. Too expensive, too small, lousy location, high maintenance – every other property I looked at just pushed me to let my heart get set on the one we were going to see.

Let Down

…combine that with some Disappointment…

On that Monday morning, I got my work done quickly and efficiently. 11:30 rolled around, and I picked up my bag and locked my computer in a rush. I skipped out of the office and practically sang to my team to “wish me luck!”, which they did with gusto.

I pulled out my phone to let James know I was en route and saw a missed call and a text from him, asking me to call him.

My heart sank a little but – no! – everything was fine, I argued. They’ve probably postponed, or maybe James will be a few minutes late…

I called James, and he confirmed my worst fears. They’d cancelled the viewing. Someone had already made an offer to the landlord. Shit.

I felt so dejected. I hung up and walked back through the office – down the long one-way system – with my shoulders slumped.

“Never mind!” I declared to my team “They’ve already had an offer on it.” They gave me the necessary sympathy and reassured me that it was probably a horrible house anyway, but it didn’t lift my mood.

Escalating Pressure

…and an unhealthy dose of self-given pressure…

As hopeless as I felt, I pushed through it, determined to keep looking. I called an agent that night, and another the next morning. They could fit us in for a viewing on another house Tuesday evening. My manager B let me off early – there was hope again.

That house was just… meh… they’d redecorated the bedrooms to a dull grey (possibly to hide damp), and there were about five plugs to the entire place. Deflated once more, we headed home.

Wednesday passed by in a blur. I was unfocused and distracted, which wasn’t helped by the near-constant interruptions about urgent cases and feedback on errors our team has made. My inbox was growing, and I knew Thursday morning would be busy with B not being there.

I called her that afternoon. She helped me re-prioritise some stuff and told me to take time and make a list. It helped a bit, but I was so slow at getting anything done.

Thursday morning was busy, and Thursday afternoon brought my therapy session – which was more challenging than the past few weeks due to the myriad things piling up in my head. Thursday evening, I decided to catch up on work. It felt like my head was going to explode from all the unknowns, and I was wired. I spent four solid hours at my laptop in the lounge clearing down emails, responding to queries and writing my actions for Friday. When I logged off, I was exhausted but could not sleep.


Bang!… and the brain is gone.

Friday, I got in to work early to make a start. Again, interruptions abounded. My list went out the window. I felt overwhelmed. One awful phone call was the last straw.

I don’t say this often, but the caller was an asshole. He was rude, uncooperative, accusing and – most importantly – making me late. I eventually hung up and dashed out of the office before I could start crying. This call threw me – I don’t deal well with anger or being late.

I was due to meet a colleague downstairs to deliver some things from their locker to help them work from home. This meant a 20-minute trek around the one-way system to grab their key, go back, get their things, and take it all back down to them.

By the time I’d completed the first half of the circuit and gotten the items from the locker, I was on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. My chest was tight, my head was pounding, and my eyes strained from holding back tears.

I choked out that I’d be out for a while, before running out of the office again. When I finally got to my colleague downstairs, my in-breaths were only coming in short gasps, and every out-breath came with a sob.

“Bronwyn, what’s wrong?” She asked.

That is all it took. Tears flooded my face, and for a good ten minutes, I struggled through loud, ugly crying to tell her that I was fine (when I really wasn’t), just having a bad day (it was the worst) and not to worry.

She stayed and talked to me while I texted my manager and rolled a cigarette. I hate disturbing people and taking up their time, but I was in full-blown meltdown mode. I needed to get my head straight: I needed to talk to B.

Recovering… Sort Of…

Having an outlet decreased the stress…

B called me immediately and let me cry, and ramble, and mope. She had to tell me a couple of times to stop talking and start breathing. She took some of my worries off me, let me know what to focus on and, at the end of it all, reminded me how important it is to take care of myself.

“Don’t rush back in. Take it easy today and then clock off early.”

All I could manage was a strangled thank you and more crying. I took her advice though and left an hour early, using that time to call an estate agent and arrange another viewing, crossing one more stressor off my list.

We went to view the flat last Saturday morning. It’s a 3-bed, with a large garage, plenty of plugs and a starter garden; I could bus to work with no trouble and walk to the shops.

I fell in love with it. This was the one.

For the next 24-hours, all I did was focus on that flat. When grocery shopping, I was looking at our budget; when we had dinner, I was thinking about packing. Last Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:30 – unprecedented for me – and all I could think about was the many many things we’d have to get done.

James ended up telling me to take it easy. “You’ve been completely manic since we saw that flat, just take a break from it… nothing’s going to happen today”.

Harsh, but true. I’d recovered from one mini-meltdown, but if I didn’t take a break, I’d be heading for another. Possibly bigger. I’m not good at relaxing, but I tried hard to open a few of the pressure valves in my head and just… be. We went to lunch, I had a nap, and after writing last week’s post, I let myself zone out for a while. I watched some mindless TV and fell asleep.


Another disappointment raised it again…

On Monday, we went for a second viewing. In my mind, we were just going to check we could get into the garage and then pay the deposit. THIS was the flat for us! I was hopeful and excited again; the stress would soon be over!

Not so much. As soon as we drove down the alley behind the flat, James declared in a defeated tone “There’s no way I can get into that garage with these cars parked here…”

I knew from that moment that the place was doomed.

Things turned from bad to worse when a neighbour came out and told us about all the woes of having to park in that alleyway.

We could – if we didn’t mind scratches…

We’d always have a place to park – as long as the cricket wasn’t on…

That viewing broke me. The letting agent seemed alarmed when she came back from a phone call to find me blubbering. I was just so gutted.

I cried through dinner, and through watching TV, and until I eventually fell asleep at 1 AM. So like I said, I was in no fit state to post anything that night.

Hitting Reset

To bring it all the way down, sometimes you have to hit reset – and write off the week.

Since Monday, I’ve taken it as easy as I dare.

I let B take some of the weight from my shoulders and spent time clearing my inbox and putting a folder system in place to organise it.

We’ve looked at houses every so often, but I have tried not to obsess over moving NOW.

I’ve done some background stuff for my blog, but nothing too taxing.

I hit the reset button on my stress levels.

This week, I will work on finding a flat, but I’ll also be sure to take some time to rest and play too.

If I don’t, I’ll be in the same position a couple of weeks from now.

Thank you for reading.

Until the next post!

Bronwyn @ LBT x