In my defense…
It’s just never good if you feel compelled to start a post with the words “in my defense.”
But in my defense, Tuesday was an all around bad day. September 11 isn’t easy for any of us.
I got home from work and had an unpleasant task at hand and got on my laptop.
Of course, I had to check twitter first, because my task involved calling a stranger and I hate doing that. Anyway, the first thing I saw was that image of the man falling from one of the towers, head first with his leg casually bent at the knee. That image disturbs me making me feel sad, frustrated, and scared.
Then, I read that we diverted 10 million dollars from FEMA to ICE. So, instead of helping Puerto Rico or preparing for the devastation that Florence could bring to the east coast, we spent that money caging babies.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but please please please make it a priority to vote in the midterms on November 6. Please. Vote like our lives depend on it because many lives do.
So, I had to call IKEA, because back in July, I ordered a shit ton of furniture and it sat in boxes for the longest time because we were painting and getting things put away.
As it turns out, I didn’t get two book shelves I paid for. I knew I was missing something, because there weren’t enough boxes. I just didn’t know what.
I let this go for a long time because I didn’t want to deal with it.
Last night, I decided to deal with it.
I signed onto IKEA’s customer portal and attempted to send a correspondence to them letting them know my issue.
It didn’t go well.
The last time I threw a fit of this magnitude was 1,964 days ago. I know this, because I wrote a blog post about it.
First, the form I had to fill out cleared itself about 5 times. I have no idea why. So, I had a good head of steam going. When I did get it filled out, they wanted, and I am not kidding, the page number of the manual of the product I had a problem with.
Well, what if you didn’t get the product in the first place? And while I don’t want to say providing the page number wouldn’t be helpful to customer support, it sure as fuck shouldn’t be mandatory.
I don’t handle frustration well. I don’t process frustration maturely. I don’t usually melt down, though. This time? I was already on the path to a major tantrum before getting the customer service number.
So, I called the number, which is what I wanted to avoid because talking to strangers on the phone is hard. My anxiety hates strangers on the phone.
But I did it. And I went through the voice mail labyrinth only to get to this: We are experiencing a high volume of calls and cannot take your call at this time. Goodbye.
And then something snapped. I had a complete screaming meltdown. It was loud and childish and I felt trapped. I didn’t want to behave that way. I wanted to stop, but I didn’t. I had lost all control.
Randy came in the bedroom, and he meant well. But he told me to calm down.
I explained, as calmly as I could, telling me to calm down was the same as dousing the situation in gasoline. And then I started screaming at my computer again. Randy left to go to the store. I think he needed to get away from me.
Joey, who I missed more than anything for two months and who has only been back a week, came in the bedroom and said “Mom, chill out. Just chill, okay?”
I ranted at him. I told him the same thing I told Randy. Telling me to chill is making it worse and then I said “Aren’t you the one who throws a little bitch fit whenever a restaurant gets your food wrong?”
So, he left me alone as well.
I got through to IKEA, after being kicked out of their voice mail two more times. I was on hold for 14 minutes. The wait didn’t help. I felt like I had electric eels made of bile and vitriol climbing up my spine and spitting into my brain. When customer support finally answered, I calmly explained to Morgan, the woman who answered, that I was unreasonably upset over my experience with their shitty customer service portal and their stupid voicemail hell.
Morgan was friendly and efficient and processed my refund within five minutes. I thanked her and hung up.
Then I cried. It was not cathartic but was snotty, painful, and ugly. I was terrified by how angry I had gotten. I was terrified by how out of control I was.
Which allowed all the bad thoughts in.
You aren’t better. You are still the same angry person you used to be. This calm, or at least more calm, demeanor you have is a lie. It is a mask. A paper thin facade. You have made no progress and this is proof.
Randy had returned from his errand. By the time he got home, my sobbing had devolved into me wailing about what a horrible mother I am. And that I’m crazy. And I suck.
He attempted to cheer me up by putting red duct tape over his nose and above his eyebrows. I was too distraught to laugh at it. He made a little mustache with the tape and said he was red Charlie Chaplin. I hiccuped and buried my face in his shirt and said he was red Hitler.
He didn’t mind the snot and tears. Joey also accepted my apology and took his share of snot and tears on his shirt as well.
This really scared me. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I was such an angry person when I was younger and I have worked very hard to leave her behind.
Then something like this happens and I question everything.
I guess if my current demeanor is just a mask, I’ll tighten the straps, adjust, and move on.
I need to remember that there isn’t a linear path to improved mental health. I need to remember to forgive myself when I behave in ways that I don’t find acceptable. I need to give myself the same break that I would give anyone else.
This is hard for me to do.
All I could hear is that drumbeat that I heard from my narcissistic father as a child. Failure failure failure failure
Going to sleep was the only way I would shake the headache, so I went to bed early and woke up feeling hung over and anxious. I got to work this morning and poured my heart out to my office mate. She said that I probably just needed a good cry.
But it wasn’t a good cry. It didn’t make me feel better.
I’ve gone at least 3 weeks without having to use my anxiety medicine. That streak ended today. I had to keep reminding myself that I have anxiety medicine for a reason and it is not because I am a crybaby failure.
I think, maybe, I’ll sleep well tonight. I’m still exhausted from my outburst and xanax makes me sleepy as fuck.
Here’s to hoping I get another five years before I have a screaming toddler tantrum again.
I have no idea how I managed that level of anger so often when I was younger. No idea at all. It is fucking exhausting to be that upset.
Now, I think I’ll go paint a wall and see if I can forgive myself a little more.
So, if it’s not asking too much, can you tell me about a time you behaved like a complete lunatic over something stupid? I really need to feel not alone in this. And if you have never behaved that way, just make something up. That works, too.
Photo courtesy of Splitshire