I have been “using my words” as we tell little kids. And it worked.
All weekend, when I was feeling like a crazy person – either scared, frustrated, disappointed, or not feeling heard, I communicated instead of just staying stuck in my not so rational mind.
And I couldn’t believe the difference it made.
Probably the biggest examples was when we were taking my daughter to New Hampshire back to college. The world’s worst winter storm was forecasted to begin at 6:00 PM. To beat it back to Connecticut we would have to leave NH at 2:00. At 2:30, we were still chasing wood pallets for my daughter’s new mattress to rest on. And there was no end to the adventure. I could feel the stress in my chest spreading up into my throat. It was getting worse as the minutes ticked by and no one seemed to care that we were in “imminent danger.”
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was in a car with my ex-husband. (Haley was in a different car with my mom, leading the chase). I told Mark how horrible I felt. “I’m scared, I want to leave, and I feel like nobody is listening to me. And it’s making me feel like a crazy loon and its getting worse and worse and I can’t stand myself and I am sure no one else wants to be around me either.”
We talked. He actually listened.
“Is it that you’re so scared of the storm?” Mark asked.
It actually wasn’t my fear of the storm that was making me feel so not fun to be around. It was that nobody was getting how scared I was. And the more no one listened, the more horrible I felt. And I made myself wrong for it, got into this horrible vicious cycle, and just wanted to escape and be alone in my misery. I didn’t know how to get out of the cycle.
It didn’t help that I was thinking of all the not fun times when I had been around other people in bad moods. And I knew I was being one of them and couldn’t stand it.
But an amazing thing happened after he listened to me. The horrible funk lifted. It just disappeared. It was gone. I could enjoy the day.
And I wasn’t even nervous anymore. And the funny thing is that we never even hit the snow. It started two hours after we got home.
What an important lesson for me.
And I got to try it again today. I was so excited to come back to my house. I had all my bags, my groceries, and was looking forward to enjoying my solitude and the water view. For the last month I had mostly stayed at my mom’s house because that’s where the kids were staying and I wanted to be with them. Finally, they were gone and I couldn’t wait to get home.
When I drove my road, however, I couldn’t get to my house. The whole thing was flooded. I had to turn around and go back to my mom’s, a half hour away. I was so disappointed and frustrated. I sent screaming emojis to people. I vented my frustration. I got it out, got busy, and miraculously forgot about it.
And 3 hours later, I tried again. This time I got in because the tide had gone down. I had forgotten that the original moment of frustration wasn’t forever. Like when you don’t feel well and it feels like this is the way you will feel forever. And you can’t picture ever feeling good again.
But it REALLY HAD seemed like the world was against me again. And somehow it was my fault. Looking back, it seems a little ridiculous. How could I have caused a high tide?
Last thing. I was feeling resigned and defeated about my weight loss progress. Instead of losing, I have gained. Not the direction I was trying for.
So today, I decided to take action. I got on the chat on the WW site and I talked to Lorraine. She was very nice and asked me a lot of questions. I told her that possibly when I go to my mother’s house, I may eat more than I plan to due to the stress.
“Is your mother ill?”
“No, but she’s almost 89 and asks a lot of questions and doesn’t remember the answers so she asks them again and again. And when I lose my patience, I feel terrible. And then there’s the issue of my ex husband living there (long story) and that tries my patience as well.”
“More than ever you will want to be kind to yourself,” she answered.
She also said drink more water, mix up what I’m eating, and watch my portion sizes. But I think the most useful is the Be Kind to myself.
I definitely have not been. I have been holding myself to a very high standard and when I don’t match it, I forget everything good I’ve ever done and it just seems like I suck, life sucks, and nothing really matters. And that sucks.
So, my new motto is be kind to myself. Why not? It certainly can’t hurt, and it’s got to feel better than what I was doing before.
And also, drink more water!!!!!!