by Tab Moura
I spend a lot of time modifying the world around my children, to better meet their needs. Between the autism, epilepsy, and anxiety, our problems rarely sort themselves out on their own. We have to be intentional, or we risk going past the point of regulation- and I don’t just mean the kids. I’m writing to you today, from underneath a pile of blankets, as my children fight over Minecraft in the other room. I surrender. Have all the screens you want. Mommy needs to regulate.
This is day 10 of no hot water in our house, and I’m tired. I’m tired of planning so many indoor activities. I’m tired of planning meals with random pantry items. I’m tired of explaining why it’s not ok to use all 12 plates in one day. I’m tired, and I want my solutions now. Now.
“Now” is a symptom of dysregulation. I am not regulated. I’m feeling all of my inconveniences at once and my head is spinning. I’m not in the moment, I’m not medicated and I’m not managing my stress well. I’m just here, trying to hide my ugly. How do I change this?
-Vent… like I did above.
Venting is the first thing I do. If you don’t like that word, consider this ‘taking inventory’ of your situation. I like to write down what’s not going well, and I may even throw in some whiney-words for good measure. Let. It. Out. I hate this part, but I’m not doing myself or others any favors by holding it in. If you’re feeling pressure to hold it all together, try to give yourself a little grace to release your feelings somewhere private. Don’t squish them. For some of you this will feel validating, for others it’s just fancy whining, but don’t write this off yet.
Just do it. Pipes frozen? Medicate. Virtual assignments not going well? Medicate. Grocery delivery cancels your delivery again? Medicate. Your kid just peed in the bathwater that you spent 30 minutes boiling— medicate. For the record, I’ve found that stepping out of the stress to do something for myself always helps, even if it doesn’t contain THC… but THC certainly helps.
So you took inventory of your drama, you did a dab, and now you’re staring at the wall. Now what? It’s time to externally process.
Whether your people can get on board or not, it’s time to declare your intentions, 1. What are you releasing? 2. What are you making room for? 3. Who might need your help to coregulate once you are more regulated?
What will you do after the drama settles? Watch Die Hard? Paint your nails? Play Rocket League? Do you need to write it down? Do you need to tell a friend to hold you accountable? It sounds odd to say it, but people experiencing burnout actually struggle to make time for fun… even if the time is available to them. So look at your drama inventory and tell me which excuse is big enough to prevent you from doing ONE fun thing today? Which negative moment will you let take even more time from your life? Are you ready to regulate?