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Emotional “buckets”

bucketThere are a couple of lines in the television show, “The United States of Tara,” (which I highly advise watching on Netflix) which came to mind when I sat down to write this post.

Marshall says, “I’m sorry, but I think my bucket is full,” in the midst of a family crisis.
His dad, Max, says, “That’s alright, son. I’ll hold your bucket for you if you can’t.”

I’m not as capable as I once was. I used to be able to juggle a million things and events and deadlines and relationships. I used to be Superwoman’s BFF. I didn’t just think I could conquer the world, I knew I could. Maybe some of that was mania, or maybe it was just life before I was sick, either way, today is different.

We all have an emotional “bucket” like Marshall’s and Max’s and there is only so much room inside of it. When I became beautifully bipolar, my bucket shrank. I can’t hold all that I once could. I try but am so easily overwhelmed. The memory of my old life and its chaos is enough to make me want to take a nap.

That’s not to say I don’t wish I was the way I was before. But things are different now. I accept that. I do what I can. That has to be enough.

Not everyone’s bucket is the same size. I have a friend with the bucket the size of an Olympic swimming pool whereas mine is about the size of a toddler’s beach pail.

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to need help with your bucket. There are people out there who are willing to hold it for you ’til you gain your strength back.


Image courtesy of Keerati /

Emotional “buckets”

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2014). Emotional “buckets”. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 6 Jul 2014
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