Turn a Frown Upside Down
I definitely have emotional/anger/depression issues. Welcome to January and Winter in Philadelphia. No sooner do we turn the page of our calendars, clear away the holiday decor and vow to make and keep resolutions for the New Year do I find myself in the same awful familiar place called my wacky state of mind. I've had a week of disappointments and bad news and some stress at the office. I'm finding it very difficult to get to the gym and the effects are showing more and more in my mid-section, my deflating muscle toned arms and legs and in my emotional state. Parenthood has been good on many levels, yet I am struggling with trying to be a mindful parent and partner while also working full-time and negotiating our new life with the baby. I realized today, (yes, after 42 years, I just realized today!) that when my mood turns ugly and irrational, there is no clear way for me to get back to the sane center easily. I can "see myself" becoming two or three people all at once - in a soul splitting horcrux or Sybil kind of way - an irrational, angry, hurt, disappointed temper-tantrum throwing 4 year old; a rational parental caring self; and some third body - someone who is struggling to join the parent and the 4 year old. Several times this past week and weekend I found myself in situations that just triggered me right to high tilt volatility. Having been in therapy for more than half of my life, I know that the specifics of what happened is not what upset me but it's what's behind the incidents and what the deeper memories/issues they triggered. But try to figure that out in the middle of feeling slighted, hurt, and left-out and it's near impossible for me to remain calm. I hate resolutions, but I think I need to make some for myself this year. In my last post that recapped 2009, I mentioned that I wasted more than 9 months of my psychic energy letting other people's behavior bother me and get the best of me. I'm doing it again, and I need to stop. I'm so afraid to say to someone, hey, what you're doing is hurtful, or mean, or disappointing to me. I know where this comes from - my childhood upbringing and being forgotten, not heard, not validated, not cared for and made to feel like I was an intrusion by someone so angry at the world that all of the hostility and frustration was dumped onto me. It's a heavy burden to carry for 42 years. I carried it as body armor for 22 years as an over-weight person. Now I carry this burden in my head and it explodes out of me, making me fly off the handle, irrational and hostile with other people and deeply depressed filled with hatred towards myself. My favorite therapy quote, discussed in many sessions, but from my favorite source, from of all places, The Sopranos, is this line Dr. Melfi tells Tony Soprano, early on in their therapy together - "Depression is rage turned inward." Sister, you said a mouthful.
So, my resolution this year is this: when faced with a stressful or hurtful or disappointing situation, I wish to attain a calm and rational state of mind; I want to find a way to be non-threatening and less angry so I can confront the uncomfortable situation, in order to gain clarity, closure and to feel empowered by my standing up for myself. I'll keep you posted on my progress.