For a while now, I have had creative energy oozing out the ears.
I have had so many thoughts and feelings and random story lines racing through my head at all hours of the day that it’s driving me crazy. Sometimes, when the mood strikes to write or draw or what have you, my mind is in such a blur that I cannot sit down for one instant, let alone concentrate on any other task; things are mayhem in my head and it makes me antsy. For the most part, doing something (laundry, crocheting, stream-of-thought writing) helps calm the wild bits until I can tame them into something a little bit more manageable.
But, sometimes, the chaos escapes.
And when this happens, I become the embodiment of Exasperation.
I snap at everyone. I pace the house like a caged tiger looking for an escape. Rage consumes my thoughts. Nothing can settle me, and I don’t want anything to come between me and the anger fueling my erratic energy.
There have been times that I’ve purchased things out of spite (later to regret it, unfortunately), and one time, when no one else was around, I punched a plywood wall.
None of these are healthy ways of dealing with the anger and frustration that comes from having brainmeats from Mayhem Central. In fact, it just makes them worse, adding guilt and regret and a slew of other terrible feelings into the mix that bolster the feeling of helplessness and rage.
A lot of times this anger that bubbles up from seemingly nowhere surprises everyone in the family, including myself. I get so caught up in my thoughts that any tiny interruption, whether it’s one of the kids asking for something or a notification on my phone, sends me into a downward spiral of anger and inward aggression that it becomes a monster all its own. Heck, just today while I was writing my workout on the whiteboard, one of the kids wanted to know about gardening. With my favorite playlist blaring and basic mathematics cluttering up my thoughts, I snapped at them that I was “busily trying to think”. Of course, immediately after I felt the rush of anger, a wave of guilt swept in behind and left me even more irritated. This cycle of irritation and guilt constantly feeds and destroys itself, much like the Ouroboros.
Now this example is one of many that I’ve come to recognize as extremely unhelpful coping mechanisms left over from a childhood filled with undiagnosed anxiety and depression issues. It was easier for me (at that time) to lash out in anger than to really dig into what was bothering me; growing up, society told me feelings were for sissies and crying meant I was weak.
It has taken me over a year (with regular therapy visits and a LOT of self exploration) to find better, healthier ways to deal with all of my internalized anger (conscious breathing, recognizing emotional patterns and taking much needed breaks from the rest of the household by going on a run or hiding away in the bedroom have helped my mental well-being IMMENSELY). I’m not perfect at it, not in the least bit (I often berate myself for failing so much of the time), and oftentimes I can forget my internal tools to cope with the stress.
But I can feel myself slowly and surely getting better with each tiny step I take.
It just takes practice. As my therapist likes to constantly point out, “You’re not expected to lift several hundred pounds the first day at a gym, so why do you set such high expectations for yourself?”, meaning that I shouldn’t beat myself up if I forget my healthy coping skills in the heat of the moment. It took many years to get to where I am (stunted) emotionally, and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. If I now recognize that I’m doing the thing I’m trying not to do, that is a heck of a leap from where I started.
After it’s all said and done, I am proud of myself for seeking the help I needed to get to where I am today. It’s scary and frustrating at times (okay, like all the time), but I’m working on myself, and it’s hard work at that. I may miss the mark most days. And that’s okay. It’s inhuman to be on top of things 100% of the time, and if you are, well. I am impressed (but seriously, you scare me and I love you;