Again it has been some time since I have posted on this blog. Again I feel a bit of a loser for my lack of consistency in this manner. However it is not that I don’t write or work daily on my adult children of alcoholic and other dysfunctions issues. I just suck at maintaining routine outside my job. Also, it has been my job that has gotten most of my waking hours for a few weeks now. It has been the double-edged sword of mind numbing exhaustion and financial feast. It has been the ever-present slippery slope back to addictive behaviors in bed with two solid years of getting to know myself and why in the hell I put the skis on in the first place.
As if working 10 days in a row isn’t enough, I thought attending a seminar on Reasoning with Unreasonable People: Focus on Disorders of Emotional Regulation would add to the fun. Nothing like sitting in a room with 300 other people, miles from home via a tollways, with a co-worker listening to a professional of 30 plus years microscopically describe your behavior, that of your family of origin, and of course the behaviors of your patients’; without rescue in sight. I was the client, the family member, and the healthcare worker all rolled into one big head swimming, spottie-eyed, nauseated, heart attack having, wobbly-kneed, fraudulent, internal mess. I endured this without meds. Big mistake. But it went without a scene.
Today at church, as Christians approach the death and resurrection of Jesus, my minister spoke on Matthew 21:1-17. Please, dear readers, this blog is about mental health. My goal is to share my journey through depression, based on anxiety, layered over trauma, with a heaping serving of suicidal ideation and a side of breast cancer. When I reference biblical teachings, the point is how I can integrate them into my recovery work. I may irk some readers for various reasons but that’s okay, it’s my blog.
Anyhoo, the message was about Jesus making a scene as he entered Jerusalem. He continued to make a scene in the temple kicking out people buying and selling things and the loan sharks. This made room for the blind and the crippled to come and be healed. The religious leaders got all up in arms about his behaviors (The Message Bible, roughly). “My house was designated a house of prayer. You have made it a hang out for thieves.” My interpretation is that a place that should have been a place of welcome, peace and healing for all, especially those in need, had been misappropriated to the benefit of a few. My interpretation is that with great emotion, Jesus called them on their crap, removed them, and used the temple space for it’s intended purpose.
Jesus made a scene in the face of powerful people because their behavior was not okay. My minister asked us the last time any of us made a scene and why. Most people shared situations where someone was rude to an old person and they stood up for the senior, or someone was selfish to another and the church person called them out. My last scene was classic ACOA, except I didn’t see it for a couple of days. Mine was a fairly small scene- three people and me. In front of two people, I gave someone information. Then I snarkily told them, “Don’t make x crazy.” It was a scene because it was an unexpected and snotty comment from someone to someone who otherwise have a kind relationship. It was disrespectful and all four of us knew it. The person that I dissed vented for sometime while I chicken-shitted outta there.
I gotta say though, I was mortified within fifteen minutes. I considered going back to the scene of the verbal crime and apologizing profusely. This action I did not take, as I decided that it might actually make things worse for that person. They need to get on with their work and not be disrupted by twitty me. It took me days to understand the real motivation for my snarkiness in this situation. At first, my reason was that this person consistently does a particular thing that makes another person nuts. I often will take care of this thing so that this person doesn’t have to do it. I will then tell them that I have done it and they don’t need to do it again-hence driving a third-party nuts. I see this as saving everyone time and energy. I identify with the person being driven nuts by this repeat behavior. Then several things occurred to me. One, NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Two, the third person can voice themselves, they don’t need or want me to be snarky. Three, I was mean to someone I really really like and I know they will not change. Four, and the most painful, it was disrespectful. I was flat-out wrong to talk that way to that person. This bothered me the most. This is at the very top of my shortcomings.
I have a terrible mouth. Not all the time, but more often than is good for me and always when I need it the least. Thus far, I fall “short” of consistently catching myself before verbally displaying my inner snark. On this occasion I was especially pissed at myself because I had made it over eight hours with numerous other opportunities to be snotty but hadn’t been. I had seen all of them coming, diffused the issues and was feeling great. In the last five minutes of work, I blew it. WTF?
Sadly it was days before I knew why I blew a behaviorally perfect day. Attention. The inner snark bites to show how shocking she can be. She bites to be funny, to be assertive, to “be in agreement with”, to “change” someone. The snark is outside anyway so why not be truthful. All true on the face it and in the tangled up mind. But none of it healthy or helpful or the bottom line. For me, I need to get to the deepest most exact motive for the behavior to eradicate it. Finding and feeding the real need is my way of recovery or healing myself.
As I write this today, I still feel very bad about what I did, but not even close to the shock and shame I felt at the revelation that it was about attention. For days I wanted to hide this knowledge from myself. I was mortified to discover that I wanted attention. Nobody can know this. How embarrassing. It is wrong to want or God forbid, need attention. Only selfish people ask for attention and they should be criticized, mocked, plotted against. They are weak and silly and less than and it is hard to bear them. I learned that wanting attention caused too much unwanted drama and the recounting of the tale would never ever end. I learned that it was best to be needless. I learned that I wasn’t worth anyone’s time or attention. My body goes physiologically berserk contemplating the need for attention. It makes me want to disappear.
Ok. That was not what I planned on posting (the attention part). I need to go now and back off recovery a bit. My intended direction was more about navigating strong emotions that can lead to an unintended scene. Also, like Jesus in the temple, there are times and places where a scene is the appropriate healthy response. People around me may become indignant like the leaders Jesus encountered, but through recovery which for me includes CBT, ACOA, church, Erikson, Maslow, Bradshaw, and Peter Levine; one day I will be whole enough in myself to say, “No, it is you who have forgotten.”
Now THAT will be a scene.