For the past week or so I have had The Rage.
I feel irritable and tightly strung; like my skin is too small and my emotions are about to come bursting out of every pore.
I have no idea why.
It could be hormones or stress or my new(ish) medication, the fact that as Squidge gets older he’s learning how to push my buttons or one of any number of reasons but one thing I do know is that I’m mightily fed up with it.
I imagine the Northern One is too as he ends up bearing the brunt of it so that I don’t end up losing my temper in front of Squidge.
It seems to have replaced panic as the major emotion in my life and to be honest, I’m not really sure which one is worse.
Being anxious was miserable for me and I don’t imagine it was all that pleasant for others to witness either. It meant that I spent most of my time huddled in the corner of the sofa or wrapped in my duvet; anything to create a barrier between me and the fear that was everything to do with the outside world. The combination of sad and scared also meant that I approached most tasks with a feeling of hopelessness and a heavy sense of despair, if I approached them at all.
But at the end of the day the only person that these feelings really hurt was me.
The rage on the other hand is far more productive; I can clean the kitchen, do the washing up or churn out a blog post because I can deal with the anger far better if I’m active and doing things. I still find that I need to sleep a lot but one I’m up I find it far easier to keep going until bedtime.
It is also far more damaging, particularly to those around me.
Despite trying really hard to keep it under control the tiniest thing has me blowing my lid and ends a few hours later with me teary and exhausted, apologising over and over again for being so awful. It makes me think and say things that I don’t mean although so far I’ve been fairly successful at keeping these things to myself. I do sometimes end up having a full on rant but this is after Squidge has gone to bed and is in no danger of hearing me.
I have no intentions of his earliest memory of me involving anger and upset.
However, the fact that Squidge has learnt a new and increasingly irritating game really isn’t helping in my endeavors to remain calm and non-ragey. Clearly it’s not his fault that I spend half my life (or so it seems) simmering with frustration but oh my word does this ‘game’ get on my wick.
It involves dropping things from a height, waving at them on the floor and then screeching because said item is now out of his reach.
The larger the item and the further the drop the better, especially as our house has laminate floors everywhere but the kitchen (which is tiled) so everything makes a rather satisfying crash.
Initially the waving at each item once it had hit the floor was really quite cute; it was the first time he’d ever waved and the fact that he was not only doing the action but he was using it appropriately (sort of) was a proud parenting moment for both me and the Northern One. We applauded the fact that he’d learnt something new although we are now living to regret that decision.
This new found talent has unfortunately coincided with my discovery that I have a heightened startle reflex. So even though I’m expecting loud noises for the whole time that Squidge is awake, every time a toy/sippy cup/dinner hits the floor I still jump several feet and have to suppress the urge to swear profusely.
Squidge isn’t talking yet but I really don’t want to run the risk of becoming the mum of the child who looks adorable but can swear like a trooper.
The thing that really gets on my wick though is his insisting on taking out his dummy and throwing it away when he’s tired. Apparently he hasn’t yet mastered the art of rubbing his eyes with the dummy remaining in-situ although I’m not quite sure how his mouth gets in the way of his eyes.
So every time he becomes remotely sleepy the dummy comes out, is thrown out of the highchair/cot/car seat and then he starts wailing because it’s gone. This is not particularly helpful when I’m doing 70mph down the motorway and suddenly the car is reverberating with ear-splitting shrieks (that are quite possibly only understood by bats) because he’s chucked the dummy into the foot well and neither he nor I are in a position to retrieve it.
This sport of ‘dummy-wanging’ has become a particular problem in the evenings and at night time, although not at nap time for some reason. Maybe because on some level Squidge understands that only so much that I can take.
After going up to him six times the other evening to crawl around on the floor trying to find the dummy by touch (because the light going on means up time) and hoping that he’d not lobbed it down the wall side of the cot (he had) my patience was really starting to wear thin.
To be honest that trick would probably be working on my last nerve even if I didn’t have my new found rage issues. The Northern One is not exactly an oasis of calm either when we’re trying to eat of an evening and we hear the unmistakable sound of a dummy hitting the laminate floor.
So tonight I didn’t put Squidge to bed until he was completely worn out even though it was well past his bed time. The Northern One was having a well deserved evening out and I just couldn’t face doing dummy duty by myself.
It actually worked quite well; I only had to go up to him twice and I’m far calmer than I have been for the last couple of nights.
I suppose it’s all about finding what works for me and for us; whether I’m trying to deal with anger or depression or anxiety and panic.
There are days when I don’t feel like getting anywhere when actually I’m learning by trial and error; learning how to be a wife, a mother and part of a family.
I just have to try and remember that instead of letting the rage take over.