Am I having a nervous breakdown?

Hey Mark!

My name is Mavis and I'm 27 years old with three kids (7-year-old daughter and two boys: 3 years and 11 months). I don't know if this is a question; more like a plea for help.

I seriously don't know what to do with my life anymore. I have a full-time job and am a full-time mom and full-time wife, and I think I'm getting to my breaking point. I just feel overwhelmed with everything every day. It's the same thing every single day: I come home to crying, whining, and screaming. I can't stand it anymore!!

See, I work day shift, so he's home with the kids, then we switch: he works swings and I'm with the kids. We have the same days off, but we hardly see each other. Work is stressful, my mother-in-law is stressful; I see her every single day of my life at home and at work. I call her my monster-in-law.

I break down and cry more often now than I did last year. Is there something wrong with me? I yell at my kids more; I don't like that part of me. I don't want to admit this, but I've even smacked my son once. I felt so bad afterwards. Saying this is making me cry. Am I having a nervous breakdown?? Please help me.

Thank you,


This question was submitted by 'Mavis'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Mavis,

It sounds like, at the moment, you have a really hectic, busy, and demanding life and it would be strange if you didn't sometimes feel like you were being overwhelmed. It seems right now your life is in a 'holding pattern'. I remember my life wasn't too far dissimilar twenty years ago.

Now, it can be small comfort to tell you this is temporary, that things will get better, that the good times in the future will be even better because of the bad times, as the comparison will add to the appreciation of future easier times. All that is true, but what you need is a sense that things can be better now.

When we feel overwhelmed, our stress levels rise and stay raised unless we relax in some way. Even ten minutes a day (I know how limited your time is right now) will help diminish stress levels in your mind and body and help you feel and think differently. So I suggest you take ten minutes at the start of each day to listen to the '10 Minute Power Nap'.

What you don't need is undue guilt complicating the mix right now. You smacked your son once. I'm guessing you were at the end of your tether when you did so. You are human. You are clearly not a vindictive mother, but we all have our breaking points. Some mothers and fathers may have never smacked their children, but the vast majority have at some point. Again, I'm not saying it's good or right, but it does happen and kids are resilient to the occasional non-injurious smack. So please don't be too down on yourself. You are doing amazing things for your family.

We all have needs and when life is really busy, it becomes harder to meet them. But when many of them are not met, we send signals to ourselves through feelings of overwhelm and stress that we need to start taking account of these needs. You need down time, time with your husband, and so on. Now, I don't know whether your Monster-in-Law (sorry, mother-in-law) is able to help or babysit so that you and your husband can get some space and time for intimacy, but if she can and this becomes a regular thing, then that will start to help you meet several important needs for intimacy, relaxation, even fun (remember that? : ) ) and give you something to look forward to each week.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - March 14th, 2014 in

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