The Tide Goes Out: Emotional Mud Flats


Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


I LOVE (love, love,love) the water. Always have. I love to be near it, walk beside it, be in it, be under it. Even when we lived in Vegas, I would seek out the water. We spent days kayaking at Lake Mead, hiking to the Colorado River, and learning to SUP at Lake Las Vegas.

If I wrote my perfect day for you, it would look like this:

Wake up on the boat, just before sunrise. Wrap in a cozy blanket and go topside to grab a coffee and relax in my favorite chair while listening to sounds of the ocean and watching the sun slowly rise. After a nice breakfast, I’d don dive gear and submerge into my underwater paradise. I’d stay there as long as I could (luckily I only sip air and my dives can easily last a while), taking in the sites and reveling in the underwater beauty. Top side to lounge in the sun for a surface interval. Repeat. Yes, THAT would be a phenomenal day. That is how I would like to spend every one.

But to get back to the moral of my story…


My love of the water started at a young age, I suppose, but to me, it’s ALWAYS been there. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small town in rural Maine so I ienhaled the salty air for much of my life.

Clams   Clams2


If you’ve been there, you know that the tide ranges can vary greatly between high and low tide.

If you haven’t been there, let me explain. There can be a difference of 9-11 feet depending on whether the tide is in or out. That’s in the southern part of the state and the difference can be up to 19 feet in the north. In fact, the Bay of Fundy, located on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine, is known for having the highest tidal range in the world: up to 50 feet!!!



This morning I was thinking about my range of emotions over just this past week. They have been as high and as low as the tide in Maine. Feelings and emotions are like that. They ebb and flow. For all of us.

Last week I was incredibly frustrated and overwhelmed.

I wrote to a group of girlfriends: “My schedule has gotten out of hand. I’m always busy, but lately I’ve been getting up at 5:30 every day. I have exactly 1 hour to myself to check email, FB, etc. Then I get dressed, drive to wherever my class for the day is and I’m in the classroom from 7:30 until 4:30 or 5 o’clock. After class I’ve been driving for a couple of hours to get to the new location, while trying to grab a workout here or there, write proposals, respond to clients, return phone calls, etc. In bed around 11 or 12 (sometimes later) just to get up and do it all again the next day. I’m tired and frustrated.”

They were positive and supported me.

That’s one thing that’s valuable when the tide goes out: someone else there to help you negotiate around the sink holes – or to help pull you out if you get stuck. These sink holes are not like the ones you see in Florida, swallowing homes; or Bowling Green last year gobbling up 8 corvettes.

DiggerNo. A sink-hole on the mud flats is a big soupy, super-soft mud that you can sink into.

Even if your support system is a “system of one”, call that person. Write to that person. Talk to that person, and be honest (with you and them) about what you’re feeling.

During low tide, you might find that you need to go slow. So, too, with low emotions.  Take things a little slower. Apply some self-compassion. But keep going because the tide is coming in. It always does. During that feeling of overwhelm, it can be difficult to remain positive. It can be difficult to remind yourself (AND believe) that things are going to work out.

When that emotional tide is out and you’re in the mire of mud flats, you need to keep trudging along. Put one heavy foot in front of the other…take a short break if you need to and, then….move the other foot.

The tide will eventually come in – it’s a cycle – it always does. With water and emotions.

My emotional tide has come in.  This morning I wrote: “I’ve been home for 36 hours and while I will get back on the road later this afternoon, these visits refresh me. At this moment, standing in my own kitchen as my husband and the mini schnauzer continue to sleep, I feel like I can conquer the world.”

I wish this feeling would last but it won’t. The tide comes in.  The tide goes out.

I’m not depressed about that and it doesn’t overshadow the feeling I have today.

I’m just going to take it in.

I’m enjoying the high tide.


    • Sylvia on November 5, 2018 at 13:25
    • Reply

    That was beautiful and honest!

    • Deborah Hatch on November 5, 2018 at 14:17
    • Reply

    Thank you so much – for reading, and for your comment.

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