It probably won’t surprise you to hear me admit that the staying home part of the pandemic hasn’t been that bad. If you’re introverted, you know what I mean. But now I’m questioning whether the pandemic has made my introversion even worse? I joke that I’m a homebody(true), and that I really don’t like people (mostly true), but is that my introversion talking or something else? Has the pandemic affected me more than I realize? The last several weeks with the extreme weather in Texas, my grandmother passing away, and me starting a new and stressful job, I find myself questioning a lot of things about myself.
Number one: I’m wondering if I need medication? I’m not depressed, and I don’t feel anxious. What I do feel is anger and frustration. Both are perfectly normal reactions to everything that is happening now and/or happened over the past year. I would not describe myself as an angry person nor do I have a quick temper. In fact, I rarely get angry – even in a room full of 30 middle school students! Frustrated? Definitely. But angry? Rarely. It has to be a pretty extreme situation for me to get angry and for others to experience that anger.
I remember last year I went for my annual physical and my doctor asked me about my “mood”. I said, “It’s good!” Her response, “What would your husband say”? I laughed and had to think a moment. What would he say? After a few moments, I answered honestly and said that he would agree with me. But just a few days ago, we went for a walk and were talking. I was telling him about my day and about this student that made me so angry. I half jokingly mentioned that maybe I need medication to see what he would say. Maybe he would agree with me, confirm my suspicions? He said, “Because you feel rage?” YES! He was so accurate with that one little word describing how I’ve been feeling! I’ve moved beyond anger, and what I feel is rage. It’s an extreme word. But I’m wondering if it’s fitting? It took me an hour to calm down after my online interaction with that student. But here’s where my doubt comes in. If I had been in a traditional face to face classroom, this student would have been dismissed to the office. But online, I felt trapped in this online chat with him yelling and whining at me in text. I finally had to remove him from our zoom meet because he was relentless in his arguing. It was one typed message coming in after another with no time for me to respond in between. I was shaking after our interaction, and it was all completely online. He even had his camera off so I could not see his face. I do not like teaching online.
Another example: A few days ago, my son and I ran to the store real quickly for a few things before he headed back to college. I was pulling onto the highway on the ramp and started to slow because another car was coming. The other car also slowed, so I slowed down some more so she could continue on and I would pull behind her. She slowed down even more. Ugh! I think I could have come to a complete stop and she would have done the same. So as anyone experiencing road rage would do, I floored it, pulled in front of her and left her in my dust. It makes me angry even now just thinking about it! My son made a comment about my road rage. This is what I’m talking about. I guess she was being polite in letting me on the highway, but she had the right of way! I am supposed to yield to her because I am entering oncoming traffic. She’s in traffic going 60 mph and by slowing down, she’s a danger to those going fast behind her. Should this make me that angry? It’s not even a big deal, but here it is hours afterwards and I’m still fuming about it.
Even another example: My new job and all of the problems that I see with it and yet I cannot effect any change makes me angry. I found out on Friday that I’ve been “accommodated” and I am now working remotely from home which is good news. Maybe removing myself from the situation will help alleviate some of this frustration and anger?
In all honestly, one other thing I must consider is my hormones. I’m 52, and when I had to borrow a tampon from one of my 20 something year old co-workers the other day, she says, Oh you can still have babies in a whiny, sing songy voice. Uh yea. This is how women in their 50’s end up with a whole new life and a newborn. This is nuts! Grrrrr. Anger.
Even reading over this I can hear the anger and frustration in my voice. However, today is a new day. The sun is out. It’s warm, and I am in a better place. But I can’t avoid the rest of the world in order to not feel frustrated and angry. As tempting as that is! As of right now, I don’t have a solution. I’m pretty opposed to taking a prescription, but I will if necessary as a last resort. Exercise helps, working from home helps, journalling helps, and ranting helps. I have some coping skills and I will continue to use these until they don’t work anymore. Then maybe I will call my doctor. Maybe.
Until next time,