It always amazes me how one word or small phrase can change my mood from one extreme to another in the passing of a single breath. It happened today, over something small, but one response to something I said sent me into a fit of self-doubt that still lingers even as I write this. Self-doubt is my enemy right now, even more than usual, so it doesn’t take much to trigger it and all the associated responses. As is often the case, no one is tougher on us than ourselves and this is especially true of me. I only need a small shove to head down the path.
I have always been — what might be called — a sensitive person. I don’t think it has ever served me well. I quickly pick up on the moods and attitudes of those around me and begin to feel them, even if I don’t have any particular association with what is happening. Being near someone having an argument or complaining about something is enough to send me out of a coffeehouse or restaurant just to escape the feelings that start to take over. Call it excessive empathy or sensitivity or “having no sense of humor” or “can’t take a joke”, as I have often been accused.
Of course, trying to explain this to others is a futile exercise. It is very hard to understand something like this from the outside. Heck, I barely understand it myself. I only know what I feel and how I react to specific situations, but others often think I am just being silly, or capricious or have some ulterior motive. More likely, I just want to remove myself from the situation or do whatever I can to prevent being in the situation in the first place. It is like I see a train coming own the tracks and I step off the tracks long before everyone else, just to be safe.
Often my trigger points are the verbalization of doubts and fears I am already feeling deeply myself. This suddenly wrenches my thinking back to the problem when I am not prepared to deal with it. Sometimes ignoring a problem is the only way of dealing with it at the moment. Sure, that is not a long term solution, but I know I don’t always have the strength to deal with every issue all the time. I try to make things better when I can, but I also know when it is better to do as Scarlett O’Hara did and “think about it tomorrow.” The trouble with this is that others don’t know when I am capable of dealing with an issue and when I am not, so they only do what they can do and talk about it, or try to solve it. This typically only sends me further down the rabbit hole, though. I am getting better at telling people what is going on within this weird head of mine, but it can still be difficult, especially when I am surprised with a word or turn of phrase that touches that sore spot that no one can really see.
There are days I want to wear a sign that says “It’s not you, it me!”, just so people know that I truly am “not in my right mind” (SMILE) at least in the frame of mind to deal with the larger issues of life and legacy.
Previously on End of the Day:
- An evening out — End of the Day for February 21, 2014
- …and the days roll by — End of the Day for February 20, 2014
- You are getting sleepy — very, very sleepy… — End of the Day for February 19, 2014
- Sitting around talking — and making the world a better place, I hope — End of the Day for February 18, 2014
- Holiday over, now back to work! — End of the Day for February 17, 2014
- Take a Picture Already — End of the Day for February 16, 2014
- An “At Home” Day — End of the Day for February 15, 2014
- Truly the end of the day — End of the Day for February 14, 2014
- Grandpa Claude’s Birthday – End of the Day for February 13, 2014
- Why do we do what we do? — End of the Day for February 12, 2014
- 50! — End of the Day for February 11, 2014
- The Dad Cycle — End of the Day for February 10, 2014
- Stillness, silence and sand — End of the Day for February 9, 2014
- Parental Robots? – End of the Day for February 8, 2014
- Topics of (dis)interest – End of the Day for February 7, 2014
- Home again — End of the Day for February 6, 2014
- …but Mom, he followed me home! — End of the Day for February 5, 2014
- All parenting is ad lib – End of the Day for February 4, 2014
- A little bit of this and a little bit of nothing – End of the Day for February 3, 2014
- Was that rain on the roof? – End of the Day for February 2, 2014
- Growing up – End of the Day for February 1, 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014