Séan and I were away this past weekend for a disconnected opportunity to recharge. (Disconnected from the internet, phones, etc – not each other.) We did the things that I grew up with and miss so much when summer stomps her way into the city. Not that there aren’t hundreds of great events and opportunities around the city during the summer, but summer can be very “go-go-go!” here, with all the concerts and rooftops and baseball games and whatever else. Back home, everything slows down. Summer at home is still all about getting outside, but not for a ‘gram-worthy picnic in Central Park or the switch over to rooftop bars for the season. Please reference the pictures below.
Anyway. I’m not going to tell this story in any sort of a way that makes sense, and you’re going to have to be okay with that, because only one small smidgen of it matters. Let’s not even call it a story. Here’s what happened: I woke up grumpy about something the day before we left, and immediately transferred all of that anger onto things that it really…just…wasn’t about. I can’t remember what nonsense was pissing me off that particular morning, but I do this a lot (I did it yesterday!) so you’ll get a more detailed example in a moment. Point being, I ended up apologizing to Séan and saying “I’m still working on being upset about the thing I’m actually upset about.”
I am still working on being upset about the thing that I’m actually upset about.
I also told him that I used to be worse! It’s true!
I don’t know if this hits home with anyone, but it is so freaking difficult and yet so necessary to trace anger back to its actual source. That’s probably true of any emotion, but I struggle most with anger and frustration.
Yesterday’s head-about-to-explode moment of the day happened when Séan brought home a load of groceries. Grocery shopping with Séan is a major anxiety trigger (you’ll soon know why) but I learned yesterday that it’s just as bad when he shops for the two of us.
He bought what could in my universe easily be a year’s supply of paper towels. I saw these paper towels, and the fire of my frustration ignited. Even in the moment it happened, it didn’t make sense to me. My discomfort was so instantaneous. I had to check in: alright, why am I feeling anything at all over paper towels?
It took some time, but maybe ten or fifteen minutes later I pieced together all the steps my brain had jumped between “excessive paper towels” and “resentment”. Do let me try to explain. Here is an outline of my reflective thought process (aka me talking to me):
- Oh wowza. That amount of paper towels makes me uncomfortable. #Tbt growing up and my mom treating paper towels like they were made of gold. Shouldn’t we be trying to use washable, normal towels? Wouldn’t that be better for the environment and less expensive? Plus we have so many dishcloths.
- We should calm down with the AC and plastic water bottles and the water usage, too. That’s how I always wanted to keep my household. My apartment. If I had my own.
- I never did end up having a space that was just my own.
- Y’know, I don’t feel any ownership over this space, or any right to a say in how we do things.
- …but I also don’t feel a real claim to living here because I can’t financially support myself.
- And if I had the money to do so I’d also just buy groceries at my own pace. And he’d see how that ends up working out for the way I eat, compared to him.
- But hang on, I really am bothered by our general waste of resources, whether it’s paper towels or food that gets thrown out before we eat it because it isn’t bought in a logical way with our schedules.
- Yeah, that drives me insane. I hate waste.
- I have waste anxiety.
- Because I don’t feel secure about any of my resources, like all of this might just go away, so I have to make everything last as long as possible and also save every penny.
So there we go! I have deep-seeded issues that present as freaking out over nothing. ~lol~
But alright, for real now – tracing my seemingly erratic emotions back to their source has been a huge help in stopping my anxiety from growing and turning into the horror show I know it can turn into. I’m not always successful, and I know that there are times when my physical presentation of anxiety is so strong that no logical thought process is even possible. I wanted to share this train of thought all the same, because the act of writing it down for this blog has given me a much more accessible (I think) way to present to Séan what happened yesterday. Working on my mental health is my job and mine alone, but it’s also important that I do what I can to help the person I live and spend my time with to understand my…well, particular “quirks” (some of my quirks are just straight up trauma so using the word “quirk” here isn’t too comfortable, alas, I can find no better way to explain my damn self).
Anyway friends, everyone already knows that I feel like I’m spinning in circles a lot of the time. It’s just nice to have a moment of clarity. Like Hannah B on Monday night. Where are my Bachelorette fans at?! Crossing my fingers for a strong cross-section of health blog readers and Bachelorette junkies!
My wish is that this post brings someone besides myself a little hope that we really can work on ourselves, and that progress is possible. I feel a tiny victory when I dig deep and learn something about myself, and I hope you’ve experienced those moments, too – and that you continue to. Especially my friends with anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, any and all of it – just trying to present your true self can be so much more work than we deserve! But we do the work. Keep doing the work. 🙂