Popping the Bubble

Two years ago I learned a lesson that I hope will stay with me the rest of my life. It is a lesson that would come in handy in the teenage years. Now I use it when I am standing in front of my husband with one foot jutting out at 11pm. Or when I’m staring (without seeing) out a window in quiet, somber moments.

Two years ago I learned to pop the bubble.

Strangely, this simple, simple lesson is one of the most useful tools I took away from the life maintenance (as I call it) therapy sessions I did after having my second baby. I tend to work things up in my mind. One problem becomes two, two problems become four . . . four become sixteen! For me, this tendency is greatly magnified after 8pm. “My husband hasn’t taken out the trash in a while” becomes “My husband must think I should be responsible for all the housework,” which quickly becomes “My husband is a chauvinist and must not really love me!” Which morphs into “I have no friends and my kids are out of control!” (Why hello, left field!)

When I sense my problems growing and can feel myself losing my footing, I tell myself to pop the bubble. I find something to get my mind off my troubles. Or if it’s late, I head straight to bed! If I can’t shake the spiraling thoughts, I pray for help and write them down in my journal, re-reading them later when I have gained more clarity.

The point is, I don’t let myself stay in that place. The place where my thoughts are spinning and my problems ballooning. The place where anger and discontentment breed. I am much quicker to pop the bubble and move on.

Have you popped any bubbles lately? What techniques do you use?


* I want to acknowedge that I know many problems are too serious to be “popped.” I am simply referring to that irrational spiral of thinking that I sometimes fall into.

  • courtney
    April 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I had to laugh, because probably 4 out of 5 times I start this kind of thinking it is late at night. My number one strategy is going to bed, like you said. 🙂 And it is so interesting how my brain can blow things so out of proportion, too (my left field thoughts usually include having no friends and my life having no meaning). I really like your phrasing, and I am definitely going to remember this because, I’m not going to lie, I don’t have many other strategies for this one!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 10, 2012 at 2:07 am

      Courtney. Loved this comment. Especially your particular left-field thoughts. Your life is FULL of meaning, btw, simply by nature of being a mom! However, in the daily grind of talking toddlers down from tantrums, it does not always feel that way! Just keep popping the bubble! Love ya!

  • Shelley @ Calypso in the Country
    April 10, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Ok, so wasting money is not the only thing we have in common – LOL! Thanks for the nice comment on the light by the way! I totally blow things out of proportion! I think it happens most when I am tired (and usually PMS!) and try to do too many things at once. Then all of a sudden, everything is worrying me or driving me crazy. It happened the other night when my husband was away. The kids were driving me insane so I called my niece to come over and do a last minute babysit. My sister in law overheard our conversation and wanted to help out so she came over too and calmed me down. It was just what I needed. Sometimes though, I will have too many thoughts during the night and spend half the night worrying. I think my problem is that I like to think that I can do everything…then reality sets in! As far as solutions go, I wish I had one for you! The only thing that seems to work is to try to get away and do something else for a little while to clear my mind. I wish I had more advice…so I could follow it too! Have a good night!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 10, 2012 at 2:05 am

      Thanks, Shelley! You’re so cute. It’s awesome that you have supportive family members to call when you just need to get some fresh air or clear your mind. What a blessing! That in itself is one solution – relying on family members or girlfriends to help pull us out of the spiral! Hope you get a good night’s sleep tonight and don’t have too much to worry about!!

  • Alison
    April 10, 2012 at 5:29 am

    What a good post! I find myself being dramatic and getting into that downward spiral late at night as well. Sometimes, I even get into it in the middle of the day, when I’m low on sleep because of one of the kids being up at night. A sure sign I need a nap – now all I need to do is committing to taking one. Another thing that helps me is to clean one area of the house. I feel like I at least have control of something, and I’ve found that a messy house make me feel more overwhelmed and depressed about things.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 10, 2012 at 5:32 am

      I think a messy house affects me almost more than anything else! And NAPS – man, I was committed to those for at least the first year of both my boys’ lives. 🙂 I still take a power nap a few times a week. Being a mom is a marathon, and naps are like refreshment stations throughout!

  • Ashley
    April 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Hey you! I haven’t been by in a while because we’ve been super busy, but it’s been fun to catch up on your wonderful blog. And I guess I will add that I do the same thing- again, usually when I’m tired, definitely when the house is a mess, and usually one of two days a month just for no reason at all :0) Escaping into a good book can sometimes pull me out of it, but sometimes I need a good walk through IKEA with a friend! I think the prayer has played a big part for me lately as well- just praying not to be angry, not to let my feelings get the best of me, not to start griping at David for not loving me when all he did was play with the kids so I could rest instead of taking out the trash :0) I think it’s a big step to realize that I may be acting ridiculous! :0)

  • susan@avintagefarmwife
    April 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Oh my, I have had some huge bubbles in my life that needed popped before I blew up! My husband doesn’t like confrontation and will do about anything to avoid it. When we were first married, he would run for Dodge when he could tell I was in one of THOSE moods. That just made it worse for me. That is when I would go into an escalating spiral. Now I try to get myself under control and we talk sooner! It is also much easier once the kids are raised because we aren’t worn out all the time. There is hope! Thanks for sharing.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      April 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Haha, I love that you say “now that we aren’t worn out all the time.” I think that may have something to do with it! I’m glad there is hope!

  • Becky K
    April 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    What an excellent mantra. Pop the bubble. I wonder if self-compounding anxieties are a common trait among moms, artsy types, or just women in general because I can certainly relate. My technique for halting the downward spiral is to remind myself that Satan is not going to win. My husband is my friend, not my enemy. My job (stay at home mom) is a blessing, not a curse. And I start counting all the things I’m grateful for. Now that’s an upward spiral that is without a peak! Basically, I choose to focus upward instead. Easier said than done, yes. But nobody said popping the bubble would feel natural every time, right? I think the more we train ourselves to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, the more naturally the positive ones will flow. Hugs to you, Erica!

  • Christina
    April 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I am Queen worrier also . . . this post was perfect for me! I needed a reminder to “pop the bubble.” I oftentimes let things build and then explode emotionally. Not a good thing. Thanks for helping me see the “light!”

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