Number Ninety: In for 3… out for 5…Just breathe.

Angry. That’s what I’ve been recently. Really fucking angry. The amount of times I’ve gone to write a blog to try and force myself to come through the other side, but it just hadn’t been the right time. I’ve just become more and more angry, then dissolving in a puddle of tears in bed. I sleep ok, and then wake up the next morning feeling ok. But it’s always something that builds throughout the day.

Reflecting on it, I don’t think it’s anything particular that’s making me angry. Certainly not the injustice of life or anything like that, well not on its own anyway. I think it’s more of a tolerance levels thing. It’s like its all mixed up! In a previous life, I used to have a high tolerance for most things that would blow other peoples stress levels in minutes. Joys of being a mental health social worker, I was able to cope with so many things as part of my day job that just became…..well, my day job. But, I’d get angry over poorly worded emails, traffic, plans being made, plans not being made, plans being cancelled….

Now, it’s like things have been flipped on it’s head. Traffic doesn’t bother me. Being late doesn’t bother me, emails (more often than not!) don’t bother me. I don’t really get stressed at work. I don’t work at home. Plans change, life gets it in the way of things, things don’t always work out the way you’d hope they would. Meh, lifes a bitch. You just deal with it don’t you.

But, my tolerance to stress around everything else has just gone! Vanished! I get angry at being asked to do things, or perhaps what I perceive as being told to do something. I don’t like being told what to do, or how to do things. You’re not me! You don’t know what my life is like! You don’t know what’s going on in my head! Yes, I know you’re trying to help, but you know what. Just don’t bother. I’ll sort it.

I can’t multitask the way I used to be able too. I used to be able to cope with so many balls in the air, now I get overwhelmed so so easily. I just need to be asked to do a couple of extra and that’s it, my minds blown. It seems to be ok in the context of work. I think that’s because I’m so used to it, and my job now is very different to every other job I’ve had in my career. That, and I’m only doing it 18 hours a week! But even this week, I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more stressed at the amount I have to do and the lack of time I have to do everything. Then I have an email from the builder asking me to sort out printing and my head almost explodes.

NO! JUST FUCKING NO!

I can feel the anger rising up in me. Starts in my chest; my chest gets tight and it’s almost like I forget to breathe. My throat gets tight, my head goes fuzzy and I can’t even think about what I need to do next. And if I’m at home, I tend to start shouting. Mainly at the poor dogs, but I just start shouting. And then I feel guilty. Because Stitch doesn’t know what he’s done. I’ve found myself snapping at Nunu . And I know, there isn’t a parent of a 2 year old out there that hasn’t snapped every now and again. And the guilt I feel awful is just awful. And then I get sucked into a dangerous cycle of thinking. I think if only I had someone else here to just take her. Take her for 5 minutes whilst I go for a walk, or have a bath, or to just lay in bed under the covers for 10 minutes, I’m sure I’d be fine. But I don’t have that. And that makes me sad, sad and angry. And on it goes.

Running at such a level of high emotion is just exhausting! But, I know it doesn’t last forever. It’s not physically possible to last forever. I can’t really remember when it started, but I’m ready for it to stop.

Today it lessened. It lessened because I got my shit together and took action. Even just walking to work, thinking about the day ahead and all the things I had to do, things that were being asked of me, things I was being told to sort out, I could feel myself getting angry and it wasn’t even 9am!

STEP ONE: block out the excess noise. I shut myself away at the back of the office, and stuck classical music in my ears. This is a old habit I used to have back when I worked in mental health. When I was driving home after a particularly stressful day and I was struggling to switch off, I’d put on Classic FM and my brain just went dead to anything other than what needed to be done. And it still works. I ignored my phone, focused on my work and the tones of Puccini: Gianni Schicchi ‘O mio Babbino caro’ and life is simple once again. That, and a shit load of tea.

STEP TWO: take time out. During my angry times, I’ve noticed that I’ve been working through my lunch breaks. This doesn’t help! So today, I ate lunch at my desk, but made sure that when my head started to get fuzzy, I left. I walked through town, picked up a Starbucks and headed to The Castle and spent some time with my Beanie. The sun was shining, I could feel the heat on my face and all I could hear was the faint hum of town and birds singing. Breathe in for 3, out for 5. Better, much better.

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STEP THREE: Don’t skip exercise. Which is something else I’ve pushed to the bottom of my list because I’ve been ‘too busy’. Big mistake. So, tonight, I sacked off the packing, the laundry, the tidying up. Put on my trainers and headed to Stoke Park for a run. Just what I needed. Blue sky, green ground, and a fresh breeze to spur me along. With a soundtrack from Passenger, Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran, what’s not to enjoy?!

So, I’m still not 100%, I know that. And I’ve got lots of stress ahead of me; building work, moving, toddler potty training and just the joys of general life. But, I think if I stick to these steps, as well as the other 89 I’ve spouted for the last couple of years, I should be ok. I should at least keep my head above water. Maybe even my shoulders! Now there’s a thought!

 

 

 

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