• Paula Tiberius

Nervous Breakthrough

You may ask yourself, what the fuck is a nervous breakthrough? And I will tell you, although I wasn’t planning to be a potty mouth in this blog, so now that I’ve used an expletive in the very first sentence of the very first blog entry, I’ll have to add that to the long list of improvements I plan to make to myself in the next little while.

But back to the question. What is a nervous breakthrough? To answer, let’s consider how it differs from its evil twin, the nervous breakdown, which we’re all much more familiar with. The nervous breakdown leaves you depleted, exhausted, upset, disappointed, grieving, confused, bewildered – in short, a fucking mess.

Let’s say, for a wild card example, that you have a full time job, a demanding toddler, a recovering addict husband, a lot of friends, family and hobbies – a full life that’s pretty good, really, all things considered. Yet for some reason, likely having to do with a combination of turning 40 and the ensuing raging hormones, you feel like you’ve fallen into a hole in the earth the exact size of your body. You’ll never be able to return home through that hole because, really, what are the odds that you’d get rocketed back up somehow in exactly the right formation? More likely you’ll writhe in despair forever, stewing in the sick glory of your self-imposed misery.

That’s a nervous breakdown. I’ve already had one of those, nine years ago.

A nervous breakthrough is completely different. You still have the same great life and serious lack of appreciation for it, you’ve still fallen through the hole, and you’re certainly still stewing in your self-imposed misery, but there’s something different this time. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s a Phoenix stirring in the ashes, there’s a prize to keep your eyes on. There’s a raison d’etre that has nothing to do with the child you’re raising or even solemn responsibility of any kind. I know that this paragraph is building toward a huge epiphany statement but in truth I haven’t figured out exactly what that ‘raison’ is yet, but whatever it is, it’s the opposite of down.

Certainty, focus, joy, vitality – these are the nouns I’m looking forward to using now that I’ve declared my nervous breakthrough. A breakdown by this other name smells much sweeter, thank you very much, ye who might scoff at the notion. The muddy depths of my psyche are beginning to settle – in a good way. There’s much work to be done. There are many self-improvements to be made, but God damn it all, I am not going to let a me-sized hole in the earth hold me back any longer.

The train is leaving the station.

First stop, minor improvement baby step #1, coming to you on Thursday.

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