Last year before Christmas we decided to go to the outlet mall on a Thursday night. Naively I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, busy but not unbearable.
I was totally and completely wrong!
We were inside for about 20 minutes. The kids were ready to leave but they were still functioning. I was not. I couldn’t stand the people, the noises, all the christmas smells… It was hard to breathe. I couldn’t even hold my children’s hands as we walked out to the car. My husband shepherded them in the right direction as I moved on ahead, silently and visibly shaking. I had to take off my jacket…it was freezing but I needed to be free from the constraints. My visible breath was staggered and hyperventilating.
The children questioned, “Mommy, whats wrong?”
“I just need to go home”, I responded curtly.
Daddy reassured them, “Mommy just needs some quiet time. There are too many people in there. Can we be quiet for just a little bit?”
I had read articles about Over Excitabilitites. I had figured out which ones fit which child and had these huge “A-ha!” moments with each realization. Not once in any of that had I realized that I had them too.
But then I noticed…
When it’s below zero outside and I can’t bring myself to wear layers because of the way they feel. So heavy. So hot. Unable to move my arms. I’m told this is normal when wearing tailored jackets with heavy layers, but I feel trapped. I would rather be cold.
When I start staring at the tiles in the restaurant and no longer see tiles because faces started forming out of all the shadows and lines. Then each face needed a story… why did the old man have a scar? I could sit there building worlds in the back of my mind at a restaurant while also discussing politics, religion or daily drama.
My dreams don’t end at night. They don’t move quickly in unintelligible fashions. I am not an innocent bystander. I direct my own dreams. I create stories with intricate characters and story lines. The stories do not end when I wake up. I fixate on them and continue to form them in my mind, creating pictures while making Farina and answering children’s questions.
I binge learn. Choosing a new topic every few weeks or months, researching every aspect until I can explain and teach the subject to anyone who asks. When I read I disappear into the subject. I have no bladder, I have no stomach, I have no body that I tether too. I become a part of the work (fictional or not), a disembodied mind, moving through the wordage.
I am just like the little ones.
So what happens when mommy has meltdowns too?
It’s not just in large crowds. When we are with other children in public places I can easily get overwhelmed. Maybe it’s maternal instinct, but I can handle my own children being all over me…I cannot handle the random child in the playground who keeps crying and touching my leg.
I try my best recognize my triggers and control my emotions, but sometimes I just need to be alone. I don’t want to have an emotional outburst aimed at my children when they have done nothing wrong. I don’t want to have to tell them to stop touching Mommy, because that volunteer hour I spent with preschoolers at church has me at my touching limit. I don’t want to discourage their pretend play but sometimes I just cannot add another story to my head…I usually have three or four running simultaneously.
There are times when my own OE’s are going bananas and I just need a time out.
I need to get away.
I need to not be touched.
I need to release the stories so that I have room for new ones.
I need to learn something new.
I need a time out.
For a very long time I didn’t recognize this as a need. I saw it as a want. An “oooh, wouldn’t that be nice” kind of thought that I would fantasize about. Then I would have a meltdown because there was just too much going on. I wasn’t listening to myself. I wasn’t honest with me about who I am. I tried to hide from myself.
Now, I know better. I need that time out. It is a necessity. I need to be comfortable with my own voice.
I need to hide in the pantry eating chocolate frosting that isn’t organic or fat free for fifteen minutes.
I need to tag out of being mom for a few hours and find a comfortable chair at a coffee shop and disappear into my notebooks.
I need an evening of sketch pads and manga, geek filled joy or a smart thriller that I can try to solve before the TV show ends.
I need to let the children play without my guidance and get into a book, really into a book.
I need to have these breaks to keep me sane.
I also need to schedule in time to follow all my interests.
Unlike my son, who is hyper focused on science, I am interested in everything.
I want to learn everything! I want to study Anthropology, education, sociology, art history, classics, political theory, East Asian studies, Classics (again and deeper), business, physics and astronomy. I want to learn how to use photoshop, Evernote and how to code. I want to understand science and math in ways school never taught me.
I want to do everything. I want to sculpt, draw, paint, do photography, cook from scratch, can, do homeopathic stuff, garden, crochet, knit (I don’t even know how to cast on but I want too), sew my own clothes (I own 2 sewing machines but never learned hoe to use them), and decorate beautifully. I want to write curriculums, short stories, poetry, sic-fi and fantasy novels as well as Hispanic Historical Fiction.
I want to do it all. I feel compelled to do it all.
I can’t learn it all,
I can’t do it all.
It’s all laid before me, like Sylvia Plath and her Fig Tree, tangible yet out of reach.
I need to make the time to actually try.
The less time I set aside for me to learn and do, the more easily I fall prey to my meltdowns.
I stress out and over analyze everything.
I get paralyzed by choice…
not because I’m indecisive, but because I can analyze all of the possible outcomes and see the good and bad in each. I then feel compelled to analyze each possibility to find the best logical solution.
Sounds like good logic right?
No, not when the same thought process happens for every decision, big or small.
Choosing Ice Cream…takes forever, and then I analyze my choice and why I chose it.
I just need a Time out.
I am a gifted adult…
I belong in the rainforest…
my children get me, and I get them.
I don’t need a time out from them.
I don’t need a time out from the world.
I just need time.
Time to be me.
Time to chase my random thoughts down dark alleys and beat them into submission.
Time to organize my analysis into actual decisions and plans.
Time to address my own excitabilities, and put them in their place.
Time to learn and grow.
I need this because it is a part of me.
Taking a time out makes me a better mommy.
Taking a time out makes me a better Wife.
Taking a time out makes me a better friend.
It does not make me selfish, less interested or negligent.
Mommy needs a Time Out because it makes me a better person.
I pray that my children can see me setting apart this time and realize that it is a good practice to be comfortable with themselves.
I pray that they can learn from my struggle, and be proud of who they are, without outside opinions clouding their judgement.
I pray that they have the balls to put themselves into time out,
Mommy Needs A Time Out.
This is a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Blog Hop on Gifted Adults.