Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just me? My alarm dragged me out of bed at 6:00 this morning, my normal weekday wake up time. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first. I never feel excited to see that time on my phone, but can you blame me? With my eyes half-open I fumbled through my routine; shower, turn on coffee maker, hair, make up, etc. I require a little extra time in the morning than most people because I enjoy 20-30 minutes of mindless news watching or internet scrolling while I let the caffeine flow through my veins. When I feel awake enough to safely handle kitchen appliances I whip together breakfast before getting dressed and heading out the door. This morning, however, as I sat down to eat my veggie and egg scramble, I experienced a sudden assault of anger bubble up...for no reason.
I'm not talking about a small amount of Monday morning frustration. I'm talking about real, deep, I could punch a wall anger. Everyone gets angry sometimes, but random morning anger catches me off guard every time.
Yes, I experience random breakfast, or random dinner anger a few times a year. I bet you do too.
So the question remains, why the sudden anger?
In trying to answer this question I first think back to my time seeing a therapist (side note: I saw her for about one year in total, and it was a positive experience, but I reached a point where we both felt it was time to graduate). She always came back to the same question; what is the true feeling? Yes, I felt anger this morning, but she would always push me to think further, examining if some other feeling lurked beneath the surface.
In the past, coping with sudden anger over a hidden source meant crying at the front door not wanting to go to work, or spending the day avoiding the issue by stuffing the anger down with food. I believe crying can be a useful coping mechanism is some circumstances, but eating my way through the snack drawer in the office rarely helps.
I've made great progress in the past few years. One of the ways I know is because I made it to work (mostly) on time this morning, I did not succumb to a front door cry fest (only one small whimper), and the snack draw remains intact.
So what's the magical answer? I'm not sure, but let me walk you through my thoughts and actions over the last few hours (I never promised a solution).
I recognized the anger immediately
I did not pretend everything was okay, and I certainly did not try to avoid the obvious. I sat at the table completely aware, and even turned to my husband and explained I was angry for no reason and that nothing was his fault. Simply verbalizing the phenomenon helped.
I asked myself to dig deeper
Feelings and I can sometimes be like oil and water, but I gritted my teeth and took my therapist's advice. I identified a few things, both feelings and occurrences, which often produce negative outcomes for me.
I went to work
Going to work is not my favorite activity (if it's yours, I commend you), but considering how my morning started, I'm considering this a major victory. Just like crossing off items on a list, experiencing a small amount of success after a rough moment helps propel me forward.
I wrote about it
This blog started as a creative outlet for my anxiety; a space to experience life's ups and downs without always venting to/bothering those around me. At 27 years old, I feel empowered to deal with my issues in ways which do not make others feel responsible for my happiness and well-being. Writing does not always provide an immediate solution, but it allows extra time for thinking and taking deep breaths.
Then I remembered not everything is black and white
It's okay to have bad moments, even bad days, filled with anger, anxiety, and sadness. Trying to move past these times too quickly only ends up back firing in my experience. No one is 100% happy all of the time, I promise. Feeling angry and disappointed through out the day does not take away from today's successes either. Within the span of a few hours I can help a patient at work, respond to an email that's been sitting in my inbox for way too long, and still feel frustrated; these contradicting feelings are allowed to co-exist. (And if you don't believe me...Inside Out to the rescue!)
With each hour, today has gotten a little better. I may not fall asleep back to my normal, generally happy self, but I am working on being kind to myself and remembering that being happy all of the time isn't normal anyway.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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