Snap.

Monday night for a really long time I sat on the couch breathing deeply. I didn’t want to respond to the fairly innocuous texts waiting on my phone, I didn’t care enough about Netflix to pay attention, I couldn’t get on the mat because of an injury and I could feel that I was about to burst, so I just sat on the couch breathing. Breathe in, try to wrap my mind around the anxiety that was forming as anger in my core; breathe out and let it all go. It took a while but I finally calmed down, enough to pick up my phone and respond, press play on Arrested Development and wind down from the spike of emotions before going to sleep. Yesterday morning I went to meditate, as I do most mornings these days, and found I couldn’t sit still for anything, still agitated from the happenings of the previous day. What exactly set me off so much that I’m working through these cycles of quick anger and slow calm, even now at my desk? Nothing, really. This week I just snapped.

Anxiety is a bitch of an emotion with a lot of unpleasant physical symptoms to boot, as many people know and some know much better than others. I suffered from at-times crippling anxiety for many years; not that I couldn’t leave my apartment or had to leave my job crippling, but yelling at my friends and family for imagined indiscretions and hiding in an office bathroom crying kind of crippling. It’s one the reasons I love yoga so much. Yoga has made it really possible to calm myself down, to separate my Self from my anxiety, looking at it almost like a separate part of myself that I can subdue by not giving into its cries for attention. 9 times out of 10, that approach works for me. But sometimes all of that anxious energy builds up in me and I can’t find a way to get rid of it, and something tiny will set me off and it bursts out of me like  a firework, generally in the form of anger. Recently it’s been this vicious cycle; I can stay calm in moments that used to feed into anxious energy and instead the energy stores, until I get an unwanted text or Snapchat and it explodes in rage out of my body. It’s like I’ve finally learned how to calm down my anxiety but now I’ve created a whole new beast I need to face.

Anger is a scary emotion. It’s unpredictable and empowering at the same time; it feels good to release the anger on someone or something else, whether they deserve it or not. Anger is intoxicating in its own way; where Anxiety makes you want to crawl in a hole reliving that one embarrassing moment from middle school over and over, Anger gives you the power to yell, to assert yourself and your opinion. It gives you ammunition to fight for yourself in one way other, your views or your free time or whatever else may be offended. Anger is power; Anxiety is fear. Neither one of those matter when one is in a yogic state of mind, and yet even with all my Zen AF yogi training, I still have too many moments where I’m chasing that anger high, even though I know the come down can be just as bad as the original offending emotion.

Yesterday I felt it snap again, after trying to focus on the good things like how today is my Friday and and I have family to look forward to this weekend, but a text set me off and I spent the next three hours breathing myself through a fit of anger. I left the office in a huff, walked 20 blocks up to the subway stop up from the one I normally take to blow off some steam and proceeded to wait over 20 minutes for a train. After about minute fifteen I could feel the anger I’d been suppressing percolating like mad: fucking MTA. I just want to go home. Who are all these people trying to push me to look down an empty tunnel. The train is going to be uncomfortably crowded. I could feel my frustration wanting to emerge in tears, in yelling, in cursing, in something, just something to get it out of me and release that energy onto someone else who could handle it better.

But instead I took another deep breath and paid attention to my heartbeat and my thoughts. I appreciated the moment where I was just then: I wasn’t about to leave to take a cab home so I just had to wait, knowing eventually there would be a train and eventually I would be home. I stood, leaning against the painted metal of the station, and counted every inhale, and every exhale. The anger subsided just as the train rolled in and I leaned against the doors I knew wouldn’t open till the end of my trip and I kept breathing. At that moment a large group of loud tourists packed into the train and started yelling at each other across the car, but I just turned up my headphones and focused on the song in my ears. And as I poured all my attention into the melody flowing through each ear and through me, the song crooned “Life is in love. Life is in love. Life is in love.” I smiled, and replayed the song. I may have snapped the past week, finally breaking from Zen-yogi LB who has been running the show for weeks now, but she’ll come back always if I can remember those words: life isn’t in the intoxicating pull of yelling at strangers or hiding in a corner. Life is in love. Love is life is love. I think I can breathe into that.

Advertisements

I feel like shit today.

My heart was pounding, pounding, pounding at my chest and I could feel sweat dripping down my back. My face was flushed despite the peppermint oil I’d been slathering on the back of my neck, and it was taking everything in me to focus on the work in front of me when all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball under my desk and hide from everything. Yesterday after an unfortunate series of events, I was forced to make a decision that I’ve been consciously avoiding for weeks, really months now. Because by mid-afternoon yesterday, I knew the time had come to have a conversation that I really didn’t want to have, because I also knew it was very likely going to take away the biggest reason I’ve been smiling so wide this year.

I woke up today after barely sleeping last night and surreptitiously wiped away the evidence of how I’d soothed myself to sleep with tears. I looked a mess: puffy, dead eyes trying to process that okay, things probably went as well as to be expected, but expectations fucking suck. I ambled about the apartment, staying distracted and busy and keeping my focus out of the previous 9 hours, trying not to feed into the raging desire to call out of work and crawl under my comforter in sweatpants, hiding from everything until everything stopped hurting. Instead, I put on my big girl pants and pulled it together enough to get to the office; now I’m hiding in a conference room choking back tears that have been on the edge of my eyes since last night. Or, if I’m being honest, tears that have been on my mind for the past eight weeks.

Through yoga and meditation, we’re taught to look at life in the present. The past can’t be changed; the future can’t be predicted. All that matters is the present moment. So worrying about the big meeting tomorrow, reliving the crippling anxiety from a moment in college where you did something stupid, even anticipating a reaction to a conversation you’ve been avoiding: all of those things don’t matter. Worrying about the future shouldn’t matter. Nothing but the present moment should matter and even that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But today, everything matters. The past five months, the past eight weeks and the past 24 hours all matter; the next 24 hours, the next week, the next two months and the next eight months really matter. I’m stuck in this limbo where I can’t get my head out of the past and I can’t get my mind out of the future, and it’s taking everything in me not to completely lose myself in this tangled mess that I’m calling the present.

So I feel like shit today. And I’m going to keep feeling like shit because I don’t know how to fix my life when the two things I want more than anything are mutually exclusive. I don’t know how to make a decision when both paths will make me supremely happy and then extremely depressed. I can’t live in the past and I can’t see the future and I can’t handle the present because my mind is bouncing between the planes like a pendulum, swinging up, down, highs, lows. I feel like shit today and I’m probably going to feel like shit for a while. I don’t know why I felt the need to share all this, because it didn’t make me feel better to get it out of my head. But maybe it’s just enough to acknowledge that today is a shitty fucking goddamn day and that’s the best I can do for right now.

The Mean Reds

Currently: sitting at my desk at work. Sucking down coffee like it’s keeping me alive (which it may be) and taking deep breaths in a concerted effort not to throw my fucking phone across the office. Wearing jeans that are just a little bit too tight and pondering the implications of changing into yoga pants even though there are clients in the office today. Working as hard as possible not to start crying at my desk because truly I don’t even know what I’m upset about, just that I’m really fucking angry or sad or upset or maybe some combination of all three, and all I want to do is go home and sleep. Or the aforementioned throwing phone against wall.

I am having a WEEK, and yet if you asked me why I wouldn’t have an answer for you. Starting the week by leaving the Upper East Side has completely thrown off my normal routine and I’m still reeling slightly from that. It’s also the first week since mid-August where I’ve worked five full days, having had things broken up by weddings and spontaneous trips and birthdays. I keep making these plans to see people I love but all I really want to do is sleep. Or scream. Maybe both.

If you’ve ever seen or read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you know the Mean Reds are… well let’s let Holly G explain: The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? That’s a good overview of my current mood, except I think I know why I’m afraid. I’m afraid I can’t handle the next few months if they’re all going to be like this. Because it’s barely been a week and I’m ready to throw in the towel. And for all the professing I’ve done about all the wonderful things this fall (*and they are still wonderful and I’m quite looking forward to all of them), I’ve been avoiding or delaying dealing with what’s required in between those events: my undivided attention and time and energy. Something I’m finding this week is in very short supply.

Anyway. I’m not sure how to end this post, but I have to now. There are meetings and documents and plans later and then tomorrow I’m traveling where I have more plans and things to do before coming back to the city to prepare for more plans and meetings and documents and things to do. There are always meetings, documents, plans, and things to do, it seems. I suppose that’s being an adult.