Recently I had a major meltdown that caught me by surprise. Unlike the slow onset of malaise that I get in the winter when I feel depleted and defeated, this hit me like a wave. It seemed like an extra affront that I could sink into a dark place when it was warm and sunny. Sink I did though, and it was ugly. I was filled with angst and misery and a whole lot of tears. There are few things more disturbing than a middle aged woman crying on the subway. Clowns, spiders, sharks and guys who wear those tight t-shirts with glittery angel wings on them that are probably more disturbing, but a grown woman blubbering alone on a subway is probably up there on the list of unsavoury sights. Especially as I am not an attractive cryer and I get a crumpled up plucked chicken face.
I would love to have a nervous breakdown like the one Bette Davis enjoyed in Now Voyager, one of my all time favourite weepers. Bette has a nervous breakdown and ends up at a sanatorium with grand grounds, daily tennis matches and sessions with the kindly and wise doctor played by Claude Rains. After her stint in the sanatorium she goes on a cruise and returns home triumphant, with plucked eyebrows, fashionable frocks and a beau. Best of all, she gets to smoke. She has renewed energy and turns her life around with trademark strong Bette Davis briskness. Alas, I don’t have a luxurious sanatorium to escape to, nor do I have a kindly doctor to straighten me out. I don’t have tickets for an exotic cruise where I will try out my new persona and wear the latest fashions. Much as I would love to, I can’t start smoking again.
Nervous breakdowns are never convenient. I have decided that now is not a good time and it will have to be put on hold. It is too exhausting and doesn’t seem to be leading to much. Instead I have decided to just get on with it. It isn’t as much of a go-getter mantra like Nike’s Just Do It but it feels right. I plan to deliver my new mantra with an eye roll and a shrug. Like a Bette Davis heroine who is tough as nails, who’s been around the block a few times but still has spunk, I plan on putting this latest breakdown on ice with an imaginary cigarette clenched between my teeth and a plucky “just get on with it” rolling off my resilient tongue.