My biggest lady is a treasure. She truly is. She is so caring, and compassionate, always there for others. She tries so hard to do the right thing by people, and is the first one in line to help. She’d give the dress off her back (just don’t ask her for her tutus…. Girl ain’t parting with no tutus) to make someone else feel better. It is heart-melting stuff.
With such compassion though, comes the other end of the spectrum: emotionality. In buckets. In fact, the buckets are overflowing with emotions and they’re leaking all over the floor, and filling up rooms and our feet are wading in all these feelings and I’m considering purchasing flippers and goggles to swim through the overflow.
My brain right now. More mush than usual mush. And it’s pretty mush. Why? No idea.
Just the same ol’ bundle dropping cycle.
You know how you go along, doing all the things, thinking you’re on top of it all and invincible, and then suddenly, somehow the tables are turned and all the things are on top of you and you’re just a ball of mush?
Do you ever just feel like you’re a bit shit? Or that others might think you’re a bit shit?
Pull up a chair my friend, you’re in good company.
I think it’s safe to say that there’s a few of us, thinking we’re a bit crap, or feeling unsure about our abilities. If I had a dollar for every time I was told ‘but you seems so confident!’….. then I’d at least have a dollar.
It’s a tough gig, this insecurity shit. Always feeling you’re not quite good enough, or if you’re entrusted with something, you’ll mess it up. Worrying that you’re not being a good enough friend/partner/parent/worker/boss/human.
I often get a lot of peeps asking about medication. Is it ok? Is it a one way ticket to messing me up? Do they even work? Meds can seem quite daunting and scary. And loaded with stigma.
I have to start this off by saying I’m not a medical doctor, and I never go advising clients on medication. Always go and see your medical professional for that stuff. Buuut, meds and psych are closely related, we’re trained in understanding meds and what they do to you, and why they might be used etc. We just don’t prescribe them.
With Mark Latham being a general douche in the media last year (well, a general douche any year really these days. Let’s not get picky here), talking about taking medication equating to being ‘weak’, people get all cagey and embarrassed to discuss these kind of things. Like how cold sores are a form of herpes, medication for mental health is the ‘seedy underbelly’ that no one wants to talk about, or admit they’re dealing with. Like we talked about with PND, if you had a nasty infection, would you just hide away and hope it disappears? No! You’d be up at the doctors asking for help, and taking antibiotics etc. Well our mental health should be no different.
It’s a funny feeling, isn’t it? We feel yuck when we experience guilt, yet often we keep going back again and again to that familiar old sting. Are we masochists? Why do we do it to ourselves? And then when there’s kids involved, guilt skyrockets in all ways. Inadvertently we can pass it onto our kids and then they too get in the guilt cycle.
Time and time again we are told ‘get rid of the guilt’, ‘guilt is a useless emotion’ and for the most part it is, but what if we need guilt? What if it’s not the evil enemy we’re told that it is?
What even is guilt? It’s often seen as an emotion that crops up when we either feel like we’ve done something we shouldn’t have, or we didn’t do something we think we should have.
Guilt can be useful sometimes. It can alert us to something a bit deeper within ourselves that we’re not happy with. Maybe we snapped at our cherubs in the rush to get them off to school, when it was really the shitty traffic that made us run late (*cough* thatmighthavebeenmethismorning *cough*), maybe we forgot to send that important email, maybe we scoffed that last chocolate down. It’s not guilt that’s the issue here, but rather dissatisfaction in the way we’ve handled something- could be anxiety operating at the core, could be self-esteem, could be almost anything. But guilt is what alerts us to something not being right. It’s that discomfort we need so that we can reassess and make a change.
Guilt can be shit too. That’s when it becomes shame. Shame is that more internalised, personalised crud- where we think we’re bad for doing something, rather than just feeling cruddy for doing or not doing something. Shame can colour our everything, and if we leave it to grow, it can transform into even ickier things like anxiety, depression and other difficulties.
The difference here is function. Guilt often jumps us into action, whereas shame halts our process. It gets us stuck. So we need to stop bagging guilt out, and instead label the healthy stuff guilt, and the unhealthy stuff shame. Makes the world of difference when you’re grappling with the ick.
If you’re feeling guilty about something, don’t beat yourself up about it. You know that the ick feeling is an indicator that something has to change, so review what it is that you want to do/ don’t want to do and then make plans to rectify it. That’s it. Talk it over, allow yourself to feel ick for 13.45 minutes and then take action. The longer you hold onto guilt, the less useful it is and the more it turns into shame. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit.
Are you a guilt hoarder? Or are you all up in that ‘let it go’ zen mode?
Can you imagine living each and every day having to lug a giant weight chained to you? It might be sitting on your shoulders, making it impossible to stand properly. Or sitting on your chest, making it impossible to breathe clearly. Or maybe chained to your leg, making it impossible to move. It’d suck balls, right? Well often that’s what it feels like each and every day for people dealing with mental health issues.
Only we can’t see those heavy burdens that they carry. They look like they’re walking fine, talking fine. They might smile and chat, laugh and hug. But those heavy weights are there, and they can be suffocating.
Isn’t it funny that in 2015 we’re still so in the dark about many things? Many simple, basic things. One of those things is mental health. We’ve come so far, but yet still so far away from a cohesive understanding, and decent support for mental health issues. We still think of it as some weird, taboo thing, something many try to sweep under the rug, or discount as ‘not really being a thing’.
Have you ever seen a little kid’s athletics carnival? It’s the best. BEST. When the littlies go running- there’s no strategy, there’s no designated lanes- it’s just run like the wind and laugh your head off at the end. They run into each other’s lanes, and don’t really pay attention to what other people are doing. They just run. Run where they like, and they have FUN.
Then somehow we forget about the fun part. We start looking at what others are doing. We are given a set lane and we stick to it, watch out if we deviate from the path. And shit gets serious. Like warming up, wearing the right shoes, doing that weird jiggly jump thing at the start of the race before you get in the start position (I’m sure it has a purpose. It just looks a little wanky, you know?).
I am super guilty of this. I’m forever looking at what others are doing, and before I know it, I’m running their race. Huffing and puffing trying to keep up, or accidentally bumping into their lane because I’m not looking at where I’m going. I don’t give up though. Because I’m insanely stubborn. To a fault. Eeep.
I ran into a dad at kindy pick-up today. I knew his wife was due a few weeks before me (like… NOW! Holy shit… I’m next….), so when I saw him I was excitedly rambling and wanting to know how she was. The mum is a lovely lass, and we’d chatted a while back about our bumps. She’d mentioned she was having a girl, and so they’d thrown out all the boy clothes in preparation (they have a boy the same age as Miss SP).
Me: “Oh gosh, has she had the baby yet?”
Him: “Yep! Baby is here!”
Me: Squeee! “Oh that’s fantastic….what’s her….”
Him: “…..another boy”
Me (my face by now is contorted into a ‘do not compute’ look): “Oh wait, what? Huh? I thought you guys were having a girl?”
Him: “Uhhh huh. So did we”
Yikes. Cue me preaching the virtues of having same gender siblings and how awesome it is (because IT TOTALLY IS), and how boys rock pink anyway so it’s all good. He got it, but I could tell it’s been an adjustment for them. And you know, there’s possibly some disappointment thrown in there.
We hear a lot about gender preferences, and in the media we hear about these ‘outrageous’ controversies of people selecting gender, or even the notion of gender being available to be selected. And many react with outrage. It’s a sensitive subject. And raises all sorts of ideas about morals and values and human life etc.
Ever had the urge to scream while simultaneously pulling your hair out and stomping your feet Hulk-style over something seemingly innocuous?
Ever wanted to throw an object really hard at a wall because you’ve just had enough of the crap. Only you’re not quite sure just how bad the crap really is?
No? Yeah, me neither *shuffles feet awkwardly whilst looking at the ground*
I am loathe to admit it, but I have a short fuse. That has become even shorter with the popping of children. I’d like to think it’s as cute as this:
But it’s more like this:
I have next to no patience at the best of times, but lately? There’s not even a fuse there to be lit. It could be a tiny irk, a whiny voice, a stupid question, making a decision, food…. anything really, it just rubs me up the wrong way and I get that ick. And a screech might be found to escape my mouth. Occasionally hands thrown in the air are witnessed also. Because by doing such an action, it will magically make everything change for the better, right? People stop and listen to you, shit gets done. Surely?
How short do you think your fuse is? Are you a:
Fuse Master– I am the zen of zen. Nothing really bugs me that much. I can let a lot of stuff slide. The most angry I get is a gentle shake of the head and an ‘oh deary me’ muttered under my breath.
Garden variety fuser– I’m pretty good at keeping my shit in check. I have a fuse, but it takes a bit before it is fully lit and I explode. I can explode pretty darn good, but that’s mainly reserved for A grade jerks and kids who insist on spilling the entire contents of a jar of glitter on my carpet.
How-dare-you-even-ask-me-that-question fuser- Fuse? What fuse? I wouldn’t need to worry about a short fuse if people weren’t so infuriating. And the sun wasn’t so bright. And the grass wasn’t so crunchy. And food prices weren’t so high. And kids weren’t so….kid-like. Just don’t look at me like that, ok?
My fuse and I are at odds of late. If we were a Facebook relationship, it would be ‘its’ complicated’. Hormonal, bloated and tired do not help one’s fuse. Just sayin’. But I have realised of late my fuse was pretty damn short to begin with. And that guilt cycle? You know the one- fuse shortened=explode=eventually calm down=feel like a jerk= guilt=repeat. It’s on a constant cycle and it’s not a nice one.
Firstly let’s just be clear- take the guilt away from it all- anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s ok to feel angry!! The emotion itself isn’t a positive or a negative thing. It’s what we do with it that’s the issue. And half the time we’re aware that screaming like a banshee whilst jumping up and down isn’t actually going to change the situation. It’s good to vent and get stuff out, it’s not so good to scream and rant. So we need to channel that anger and let ourselves calm down so we can do something with it.
Did you know that chronic short fuse-it is (it’s totes a thing) can actually lead to heart disease, make you vulnerable to diabetes, insomnia and blood pressure? (see here) So in a nutshell- short fuse ain’t cool.
Can we grow our fuse? Or are we doomed to pluck our nosehairs in frustration forever (don’t pretend you haven’t plucked a nose hair. It’s painfully addictive. And they’re there…)?
It’s a conscious decision to make grow a fuse. To not react so quickly. And a good thing to model to our kids, and partners. Because monkey see, monkey do. Grown ups included.
So what do we do?
A few things:
Stop.Yup. Stop. Right now. Picture that big red stop sign smacking you in the head.
Calm down– Reeeeelax. Slow that breathing down, squeeze the tension out of your muscles.
Understand the emotion behind it all– Anger, and that short fuse, normally are just the surface level emotions for something else going on deeper. So a lot of the time anxiety drives anger. Worrying about being late, worrying about not getting stuff done on time etc. Anger normally represents not having your needs met. Like, the need to be listened to. ARE YOU READING THIS KIDS? Even though you can’t read yet… yes I am aware of the irony…..
Get a reality check– is it really that bad? Do you really need to lose your shit over it? In 5 years time will it mean a thing?
Sort out an alternative– what else can you do beside losing your shit? Laugh it off? Problem solve? Talk to someone? Go for a run to clear your head?
I realise that the acronym there is SCUGS. Rolls off the tongue, yes?
So there you go, when the fuse is short- SCUGS it. Don’t say I don’t give you anything quality.
How’s your fuse? Do you SCUGS it? Can you lend me a bit if you’ve got some to spare?
You know how we’re in this society where there seems to be so much god damned pressure to ‘look on the bright side’ and ‘think positively’ and ‘be grateful’, while showing the world how #blessed we are? Well, turns out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
I mean, sure, we need to live in the now, and it is so important to focus on what is going well as opposed to just looking at the shit going wrong. Nobody disputes that. But, not everything has to be awesome all the time. Nor do we have to ‘find the positive’ in every.single.thing. Sometimes crap happens, and we have to acknowledge that. Friends, I present to you, depressive realism.