How To Keep A Smile On Your Face While You're Going Insane

Going crazy.  It's not just for the hopelessly insane anymore.

I honestly feel like I'm losing my marbles.  I won't bore you with the mundane details, like the day last week I have dubbed Panic Monday.  That was the morning I curled up under the weird little spot under my bathroom vanity (I think there's supposed to be a little tufted stool there so the Lady of The House has somewhere cushy to sit while she applies her makeup), hit my head against the wall and sobbed like Haley Joel Osment in "The Sixth Sense" or Brad Pitt in "Se7en" (awww what's in the box) or any of these weepy mothers in the clip below:

Yeah, it really was like that. Mostly like the first Sylvester Stallone one, and the Tom Cruise one.

Everything just seems to be piling up on me, like the bulldozer of life just keeps shoving piles of STUFF on me, covering me.  I feel like I'm drowning, to be honest with you.

Maybe it's the holidays, maybe it's PMS (one of these days I am going to WRITE DOWN WHEN IT HAPPENS so it doesn't blindside me), maybe it's the crushing poverty I'm dealing with.  It could be me trying to raise three teens and an 11 year old who is obsessed with drawing giant penises on everything (umm...the front window, people.).

It's life.  And I am feeling it.  I can't be the only one, so here is my little list for any of you who may also be feeling the strands of sanity slipping between your fingers:

1.  When someone asks you, "Hey, how are you!?!?" don't pause, don't spread the crazy around like cream cheese on a warm bagel. Look at the greeting friend, or the perky waitress or the guy behind the counter at Super America and repeat after me:  "FINE!"   "GREAT!"  or, to add some variety, "JUST FINE!"  "JUST GREAT!".  Practice saying this in the mirror.  Make sure you have a smile on your face while you're saying it, otherwise you look insincere and that might trigger well-meaning conversation.  Which will probably lead to you crying in a public place.  So just smile. 

2.  When someone innocently says to you, "Happy Holidays!" or "Hey, Merry Christmas!" please don't tell them to eff off.  It's not nice.  You should also avoid telling them that Christmas can kiss your big white Irish ass.  Just say, "Hey!  Back at ya!".  You can mutter all that other stuff when you're alone in your car.  Because not everyone feels the holiday blues.  There are actually people who embrace this season.  If you're like me, you are patiently waiting for January 2nd, when all of these insipid commercials will end and your kids stop looking at you like they're waiting for you to rip off your Mom mask and reveal the Grinch face underneath.  I can't help how I feel about the holidays...I desperately want to feel that warmth again, that cheer, that love.  But the fact that I'm going insane is like wearing a pair of BlueBlockers that block out all holiday spirit.  Baaah.  Humbug.

3.  Go ahead and cry.  Try to do it in private though, maybe when the kids are in bed, or my all-time favorite place:  in the shower.  That way your mascara doesn't run.  Holding in tears that want to come out is like holding in pee:  it can cause bladder infections.  Ok, maybe not really.  But letting it out is cathartic.  Just like peeing.  Or is that just me?  Whatever.  Point is, go ahead and let the waterworks fly.  You'll be able to act more sane later in the day.

4.  Talk to friends who are also going insane.  You know you have them.  Give them a call.  Or better yet, have a few glasses of wine with them.  When you're surrounded by crazy, your own special bag of whackadoo doesn't seem so awful.  Crazy loves company, ya know.

5.  If all of your insane friends are busy wailing in the shower or muttering in their cars, try keeping a short list of your favorite, sane friends.  My friend Gillian is the sanest person I know.  She's my go-to call when I get that twitchy feeling.  I called her and Uncle Lorie last Monday when the walls started closing in and they both did a bang up job of holding my hair and talking me down off the ledge.  Lorie came over and made sure I wasn't sharpening my Ginsu knives on my fingernails and made me jasmine tea, which I have never tried but do believe helped mellow the crazy. Gillian is a master at crazy-person soothing:  she not only makes you feel less cuckoo, she somehow also manages to make you feel pretty and like the best mom in the world.  And sometimes she brings you brownies.  But don't get any ideas...I saw them first.

6.  In the event that your insane friends are all being counseled by your sane friends, try calling your drinking buddies (that is, if your drinking buddies are separate entities from your pool of sane/insane friends).  9 out of 10 psychologists would say that tipping back a glass or box of wine when you're feeling down is a bad idea, but the 1 that's left over says "GO FOR IT".  At the very worst, you'll wake up the next day with a wine mustache and be filled with panic over shit you posted on facebook.  At best?  You'll laugh at the shit you posted on facebook.  But be responsible, people.  No driving after the wine.  Can you imagine the horror of seeing a drunken mugshot of yourself? 

Ok, I feel a little guilty about posting that picture.  Sure, it's a random one I found after typing "crying mugshots" into Google but she actually looks like a nice person.  Maybe she's just a poor mom who went insane, and here I am, a fellow looney tunes using her darkest moment of despair for a laugh.  Let the record show, I feel remorse about this.

But seriously, let the record also show that it would be super humiliating to have this on the Internet.  So don't drive drunk, no matter how badly you want Taco Bell.  Ok?  Crazy in the suburbs is one thing, crazy in prison is a whole 'nother can of nuttiness.

7.  Get off your big butt and exercise.  Part of the reason I went batshit crazy last Monday was because I was once again, out of gas.  I was hoarding my last 1/4 tank for taking William to hockey and Henry to a choir concert and my fat ass to the gym, and wouldn't you know one of my angels missed the bus.  Meaning I had to drive them to school (it's too far to walk, otherwise I would have gone all Postal Mom and made them walk).  So guess what got sacrificed?  Yes, my trip to the gym.  A half hour later, as I was curled up in the fetal position under the bathroom vanity, I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't go to the gym after work.  Guess what I should have done?  ANYTHING.  I should have walked outside, I should have done my kettlebell DVD, I should have pretended I was Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman and done pushups in the shower.  But instead, I wasted a good hour of my day bawling.  Next time, I'm going to remind my crazy self to work out.  You don't have to be in a gym to do it.

8.  Get off of facebook.  Seriously.  Facebook is to a crazy person what a crowded bar is to a fist-pumping, wifebeater-wearing-redneck jealous boyfriend with anger issues.  You have a lot of friends on facebook, and chances are only a slim percentage of them know that you're insane.  So the friends who are in, say, the Bahamas and can only bitch about the room service or complain about the water pressure in the spa shower don't know that you want to scratch out the monitor when you read their posts.  People don't know that not every person in facebook land is holding hands, swaying back and forth and singing the Whoville Christmas song (yes that's my second Grinch reference, scorekeepers).  If you're like me, which means you are crazier than an outhouse rat, every single status update that reeks of good cheer is like a bully tripping you in the hallway at school.  BUT...it only seems that way because...wait for it...you're crazy.  So play your Words With Friends, mayhap a little Family Feud, stalk your stalkees, and then log off.  Nothing good will come from you staying online.

9. This is my last, and my most favorite, tip:  Do something nice for someone else.  You know how awesome it feels when you're surprised by a random act of kindness?  Try being the kindness giver.  And don't say "Oh I'm so poor, I can't!" because if I can do it, any one of you can.  It's not always about buying stuff...you can do so many things for other people that will make them feel good, which in turn, makes YOU feel good.  And feeling good has been clinically proven to scale away the crazy that has built up in your brain.  Or maybe that's Listerine pre-brush rinse, but you get what I'm saying, right?  Make a batch of brownies and run them over to your neighbor, offer to watch a friend's kids, volunteer for something you'd normally NEVER do, have your kids make ornaments or cards for their grandparents.  Just be there for someone when they need you.

Because being crazy doesn't mean you can't try and spread some joy.

One other thing you may want to try...write out your feelings.  I've been so wound up this past week, and now, after writing about it, even though these may resemble the writings of Ted Kaczynski, I feel a little less insane.


  1. OK, got it: Smile, say "Just Fine" or "Merry Christmas". I'm ready to head out now. I feel the same way about Christmas. My kids think we are lieing about not having the $$ for lots of gifts. Boy are they in for a surprise on Christmas morning. For the record: the shower is the best place to bawl your eyes out. If you make lots of noise your kids think it's your terrible singing (at least mine do).

  2. I wish that I had read this earlier today before I unloaded all of my crap on a mother of one of my kid's classmates. I ran into her in the store and she made the mistake of asking me how I was doing. It's kind of funny now thinking about how she made a beeline to the register saying ,"Well it's getting ready to be a new year so I'm sure things will get better for you". I don't know why I told her my situation and it didn't make me feel any better...just felt stupid for not saying that I was doing great! I swear just about all of these same things happened to me this past week too. The shower is my
    get away too. I can't tell you how many hours I have spent on the bottom of the shower wailing and beating
    the side of the bathtub! Lol


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