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just a little mental checkup

I’m coming out of another little down phase, and I’m kind of just writing about it here to keep track of it. Otherwise, I know I won’t note it at all and I really want to understand what these things are all about. Anyway, feel free to ignore this post completely.

So this one came about 7 or 8 months after the last. I was sporadic with the blogging, and I did in the end skip a couple of weeks of podcasting, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. It kind of peaked the last few weeks when I was really feeling kind of angry and even maybe a bit resentful. And that bit is new.

Last week I had a weird thing happen. I was talking to a co-worker and I just felt this kind of urge to be mean to her. For no reason whatsoever. We were just talking, and I suddenly felt this meanness inside myself and I wanted to be ugly mean to her and I just wanted to see the hurt and shock on her face. I’ve never felt anything like that before in my life! 

I’ve been angry, certainly, and I’ve spoken to others in anger and frustration before. But I always feel so guilty afterward, and I’ve never wanted to purposely  hurt someone, like just for the fun of it. It was an awful feeling, and I wondered if this is what mean people feel like all the time. Do they get pleasure and satisfaction out of shocking and hurting other people? Of course I didn’t act on it. I don’t think I could have forgiven myself if I had.

And then this past weekend I felt better. I even felt happy and hopeful at times this week. And that’s what keeps going through my mind, is hope. Just randomly this week, there would be times when I suddenly felt hope inside myself. I felt that good things could happen, and even that good things were  going to happen. And I realized that when I’m in these moody periods, that’s what’s mostly missing is the hope of things to come.

I know what triggered this little episode (apart from the anger/mean thing, that kind of threw me for a loop). I put a lot of emotion and energy into starting this podcast, and I wonder did I just deplete my emotional reserves? These down swings often come at the end of a big project.

Anyway, I’m feeling better. And hopeful. And not at all mean! I’m feeling like myself again.

Which of course means I feel stupid and weak. Everyone gets emotional or stressed or just overwhelmed at times. What’s wrong with me that I don’t handle it better? In any case, I want to find a way to work around or through my down times. If that’s possible.

23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ricky Anderson #

    You did handle it. You kept yourself in check.

    July 18, 2013
    • Maybe. I mostly feel like I’m being a baby about normal moods that people go through. But I’ve dealt with this in worse and longer form before and writing about it is making it easier to keep everything in check. I’m much more aware of what’s happening and so I don’t sink in like before, so that is a good thing.

      July 18, 2013
  2. What you describe sounds an awful like what I experience with bipolar disorder. …..It also makes me wonder whether you are living the way your essential self wants to? Have you ever read any of Martha Beck’s books? She often says that our true selves try to communicate with us, and if we ignore the little voice, it finds ways to amp up the message.
    For myself, I’ve noticed that I always get angry when I’m doing something I really don’t want to be doing, even if it is something I believe I want to be doing. If that makes any sense.

    July 18, 2013
    • It does make sense. I definitely have my moments like that, when I feel angry and resentful and put-upon when faced with doing something I don’t want to do. I don’t know much about bipolar, but I do get up and down with new projects. I will put my all and everything into something and it just wears me completely out. It’s like I’ve been bled dry. Other times I definitely think it’s come on because of a deep unhappiness with where I am and what I’m doing – or not doing or not accomplishing. The last really big, 6+ month depression was definitely rooted in that, in me being myself in that I lingered where I wasn’t happy (afraid of change), but not being myself in that I wasn’t doing anything that made me happy.

      In this case, I think at least some of it was from the anxiety of starting a new project that I really love and enjoy, but after the start I was filled with lots of questions and competing emotions. Maybe I’ll save the rest of this for a post…

      July 18, 2013
  3. I’ve had periods of depression and I always know I’m feeling better when I get really angry over something. When I’m depressed I don’t care what happens to me so I don’t get angry over what people do to me or an unfair situation I’m in. When I find myself really really angry over something I know I’m starting to feel again. Maybe you had something similar although it was not an emotion you enjoy. The good thing is, you did’t act on it.

    July 18, 2013
    • That’s interesting! And it does make lots of sense. This time I was kind of emotionally drained out, lacking motivation, etc. I felt very overstimulated and a bit overwhelmed when people would call me or try to interact with me. I felt like I just wanted people to let me rest or something. I imagine a lot of that had to do with my job, which is kind of crazy busy and up in the air from May to about now.

      Last couple times though it was just like you said, kind of like you’re wrapped in bubble wrap or something and everything is coming through kind of muted. I always feel like I’m floating underwater during those times, like nothing is really touching me, it’s just happening around me. This anger thing I had was creepy and weird. She didn’t do anything to make me mad, I just suddenly felt like hurting her feelings, like it would give me pleasure to see her hurt. It was very unpleasant to have those feelings go through me! That’s not me at all.

      July 18, 2013
      • It is kinda funny in a way- everyone has a Mr. Hyde in them somewhere!

        July 19, 2013
        • Well that’s true! And mine does get the better of me from time to time 🙂

          July 19, 2013
  4. I don’t have any wise words for you but I am glad you are feeling better.

    July 18, 2013
  5. You really put yourself out there with this post, thanks for being so honest.

    July 19, 2013
    • It’s not as hard to be honest here as in “real life”. But I guess what honest really means is vulnerable. I hate being or feeling vulnerable to ridicule. I have enough ridicule for myself in my own head without inviting it from others. But the good thing is that the more open/honest/vulnerable I am here, the easier it gets for me to be that way in person.

      July 19, 2013
  6. I have always loved your honesty, Michelle, and I love the way you put yourself out there with this post. I think the “mean girl” thing is kind of funny. You are so far from anything I would ever call mean that I love that this side came out in you! The fact that you didn’t act on it is what matters the most, not the fact that you had those thoughts. I know I have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, so it’s nice to see others see their little devil side come out every once in awhile, too!

    July 20, 2013
    • It did feel kind of like I was in my own personal sit-com or something – it was just an odd sensation. I think it was the internal dialogue I had going on, and how I was thinking in different directions at once. Anyway, the fact that you find it funny makes me feel a little bit better about it, lol. I’m glad other people have these moments! 🙂

      July 28, 2013
      • Believe me, I have the ALL the time! You are normal, Michelle!

        July 29, 2013
  7. Michelle,

    I am with Mind Margins mostly, everyone here has great perspectives……

    Repressing your dark side can be tricky, but so can recognizing it (a lot of people have blinders on for this). In my case I recognize I have done EVERY awful thing there is (some imagination required) and then I accept myself for exploring one side of my nature. When I explore the lighter side of myself things become more open and alive……way more interesting.

    I would like to tell you I spend much more time being light than being dark, but the way I see it I could spend 10 hours being dark for every hour being light and it wouldn’t matter…..the lighter side by nature holds a lot more energy…..is much more reliable 🙂

    You have this incredible competence where lightness is concerned…..I see your awareness for the darker side of things as nature balancing you a bit and I hope you see the brilliance in this….. This is an invitation from the universe to remain open…….most people ignore it and close themselves from their vastness – they bind their beings in “safety” with predictable results.

    There seems to be a tendency to imagine beings going into the light in a linear fashion, so far I am encountering my ability to absorb light is around 10 times better than dark …..maybe because I have allowed myself to inhabit / absorb so much dark shit already.

    I know saturating one’s self with darkness may not be every beings cup of tea. If we can manouver with traditional concepts for awhile, I view myself as a child / extension of God (that infinite _____) so encountering the Devil is no big deal…….maybe I get kicked around pretty good for a stretch. Sounds like a Character building exercise 🙂 After one recognizes the darkness cannot contain the spirit……freedom.

    Love,
    Mark

    July 21, 2013
    • That’s interesting, the idea that light is easier to absorb than darkness. There is a lot out there in movies and books and stuff that says the opposite, that it’s way easier to give yourself over to our darker natures and that it’s harder to turn away from that and toward the light (or goodness).

      I think for myself, it’s harder to be the dark person. It’s more stressful and it hurts me. I can’t maintain enough anger to keep from feeling remorse and empathy for anyone I might have hurt.

      July 28, 2013
      • Michelle,

        I wouldn’t say lightness is easier…..just way more interesting / attractive when you understand the confinements in darkness. Dark side / Star Wars stuff depicts a slippery slope “down into darkness” …….it is there, but it has an end point – and it can’t contain you. Reveling / remaining in darkness requires you to become closed. Staying open eventually brings other things besides darkness……exploring darkness willingly requires a wide open spirit to begin with. I should also say that the bulk of this work has been carried out in my interior……people around me would have little or no idea I am rolling darkness around so frequently unless they glimpse it when I am funny. 🙂

        We all have darkness within and it is very tempting to distance ourselves from it / externalize it (the Devil etc.). I understand the rough dimensions of darkness…..within me – it is a fairly slender slice – I don’t ever imagine it a sliver or disappearing altogether, just mostly limited in what influence it exerts.

        Holding a standard that one must only emit light has many shamefully slipping into the dark and darkness savors sneaky visits most of all 🙂 The “light only” approach also means we must cautiously explore life (mostly closed) in case some boogeyman awaits us around the next corner. I don’t accept that we are designed to travel cowardly, living mostly in fear……this is our universe.

        How formidable darkness is depends on how much power you decide to give it……. it can be THE DARK SIDE or a dark slice (within – that you understand and manage decently) my interest in emitting or interacting with mostly light means fun…… I would be all HIGH AND MIGHTY if I was combating the FORCES OF EVIL. Sometimes I do get a little carried away with a bit of STRUGGLING, it only lasts for a bit and then i laugh at myself. The way I see it evil isn’t a destination …..it is just something you package loosely before moving on to brighter terrain 🙂

        Love,
        Mark

        July 30, 2013
  8. night owl #

    Hi Michelle,

    I am pretty new to following your blog but you asked a question I have asked myself many times. “What’s wrong with me that I don’t handle it better?” Well, nobody taught me. That’s what!

    The very first time I threw a temper tantrum (around age 18 months), my mother threw a glass of ice water on me. I learned pretty quickly that anger had some drastic consequences. During my childhood, if I dared cry in response to a spanking, I was told, “You better stop crying or I’ll give you something worse to cry about.” These rash styles of parenting (which are pretty common) left me uneducated about how to handle distress, so I suppressed it.

    Now, at 52, I work hard at “recovering” from the parenting I grew up with. I go to group therapy, I read, I study. I write. There’s nothing wrong with me. I simply haven’t learned how to handle it all yet.

    Jayne a.k.a. Night Owl

    July 21, 2013
    • Hi Jayne, thanks for talking to me! I’m sorry for the little 18 month old you. That must have been so hard. I think so much of what I feel is very long-term, for sure. I don’t have stories like that, but I know that my personality is such that when I got in trouble, I withdrew. I didn’t fight back, though I may have argued some. But mostly I just shut up and kept my feelings to myself. I can certainly see your point that being allowed to do that (and in a big way I think that was preferred) certainly didn’t teach me to handle these stresses and hard emotional times. Something to think about, anyway.

      July 28, 2013
      • night owl #

        We learn little bits at a time and hope that someday it all makes sense. I don’t know that it ever does, but I keep trying. 🙂 I’m a withdrawer, too, but I am learning gradually to stand up for myself.

        July 29, 2013
  9. I think most of us have had mean thoughts at some point but we hide these away because we’re afraid of what people would think of us. Instead of hiding, you step into the light to question and reflect. This honesty is one of the things I love about your posts. I’m glad you’re feeling better 🙂

    July 26, 2013
    • Thank you 🙂 I still do my hiding, but it’s getting shorter and shorter each time. I know writing about it is helping, though I still do feel like a big complainer baby. But if it helps me get to a better understanding of how to prevent this situation, and how to deal with it when it comes up, then that is worth it!!

      July 28, 2013

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