the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 51 Cranky.

Posted by themirrenlee on 20/02/2012

My cranky Inner Child demands sugar, lots of sugar, NOW!

Cranky.

I am so fucking cranky I could kill someone for trying to take my parking spot. When I get like this, I hope someone will irritate me so I have an excuse to abuse the hell out of them, just to release some of my pent up rage.

Everyone handles their bad stuff differently. By bad stuff, I mean either feeling bad physically/emotionally/mentally, or simply having a bad day. I either cry or get cranky. I cry when I feel I can’t cope any more and I need a hug, a cup of tea and a good sleep – after bawling my eyes out to release those wonderful endorphins.

If I don’t go into vulnerable, I go into anger – absolute, burning, furious anger, usually because I have to endlessly put up with, and be limited by, the chronic conditions that plague me, especially the Fibromyalgia. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining about this anger. By expressing it, I know I won’t go into a depression.

Most people don’t seem to know the difference between organic and situational depression. Having grown up with 2 depressed parents, and a strong family streak of bipolar as well, I’m a bit of an expert on both.

(I just love the line in the movie, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” when Cary Grant says, “Insanity doesn’t run in my family, it fairly gallops.” I’m sure many people feel that describes their own families perfectly!)

Organic depression is a disorder of the brain mechanism, a mental disease. Luckily, thank the Universe, we now have numerous medications that can treat it. Anyone suffering from organic depression, which they can’t help anymore than they can help catching a cold, who doesn’t want to take antidepressants seems to me a tad desirous of wallowing.

If we’d had antidepressants when I was growing up in the 50s-60s, my childhood story would not have to be titled, “A Different Kind of Normal.” (Yes, the Category is there – waiting for me to get started on it. Don’t remind me; I’ll just make me crankier.)

Situational depression is suppressed anger. As simple as that. Instead of getting mad at what’s really bothering you, which even may be yourself and how you’re (not) handling something, you turn it inwards and feel depressed. Find out what’s making you angry, deal with it, and you’ll find the depression lifts. You don’t need antidepressants; you need action.

So when I get weepy, I give myself a cup of tea and a hug. Since I was a “parentified” child, meaning I was the parent who gave out the hugs to everyone else, I had to learn to hug myself. My first counsellor told me to try stroking my stomach back and forth when I needed a hug. The first time I tried it, I was driving. I burst into violent tears and had to pull over! The sensation of feeling someone “hugging” me, caring about me as if I were a child, even if it was myself doing it, was like a drink of water in the desert. It took many “hugs” before I could do it without crying, and just enjoy the sensation of comfort, but it finally happened, and now I add it to my cup of tea as part of my comfort routine.

Ah, the cup of tea. My belief has always been that it was tea that got the English through the Blitz, so that’s good enough for me! But it can’t be tea like the Americans drink it – weak, with a bag dangling over the edge of the cup. Yuk. The bag has to be strong enough that it gets taken out after the color in the cup is right (I like my tea like my men – caramel colored and sweet). Then I add milk and at least 2 teaspoons of sugar. I get out the pot and make a cup with real tea leaves if I’m in the red zone – for emergencies only.

But whether I’m feeling weepy or cranky, the one thing I ALWAYS need to help calm me down is SUGAR. Lots and lots of sugar. I have a sweet tooth that would give the tooth fairy diabetes. I was raised in the U.S. until I was 18, so my formative years were spent developing American taste buds. And that means sugar. The Australian tastes run more to the English, so they like things a bit tarter. My mother (Australian) used to put lemon and sugar on her pancakes, while her American husband, and 7 American children, poured endless amounts of maple syrup.

I know if I’m struggling with either weepy or cranky (sometimes both at the same time!), it’s because I’m feeling vulnerable. I’ve found that so often anger in people is based on feeling vulnerable, which, of course, means feeling fearful. I’ve given angry people hugs and they’ve burst into tears! It’s funny, but also sad. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of having to “protect” ourselves with the armor of anger, we could say, “I’m feeling sad/cranky/vulnerable/fearful/depressed; can I please have a hug?”

Anyway, back to my cranky. So today I was feeling tired and sore, and got cranky about it. I have a lot of things on my “To Do” list that aren’t getting done, and just looking at the list made me feel like going postal! I went to the grocery store (since I HATE grocery stores this was enough to make me glad I wasn’t carrying a gun) and stocked up on all things sugar. When I got to the check out, one of the regular guys, who is always nice, served me. I said to him, “You’re always so cheerful. I don’t know if I like that, or find it irritating. You serve the public; don’t you know your job sucks?” It’s okay, he laughed. He knows I’m a touch eccentric. And he saw all the sugar.

Everyone gets cranky/weepy over things. It might be a monthly thing for women and girls, or an older life thing for women (poor females – hormones are a bitch!), or life’s tribulations, or just feeling sorry for yourself over something (and that’s okay). As I learned in counselling, just “sit” with your feelings and don’t fight them. Use the weepiness as a time to release endorphins, which make you feel SO good, and the anger to motivate and give you power. Try calling a “customer service” officer during a cranky time – you’ll win the battle, for sure! (Isn’t “customer service” the world’s greatest oxymoron, right up there with “military intelligence”?)

I really encourage you to have a “comfort routine”, though, no matter how you feel. What do you need when these strong emotions hit you? I advise sugar, but then I’m biased.

I learned to not just wallow when I feel weepy or cranky. I take charge with my comfort routine, and wait for it to pass. (I often include a call to someone close to me, but I tell them I don’t want them to “solve” anything. I just want them to sympathize and ask me if I have enough sugar in the house.)

In the time it took me to write this, I’ve started feeling slightly better. And that’s including the fact that while writing, I somehow lost half of it at one point! I didn’t explode – I ate a chocolate bar, and refreshed my tea.

I’m now going to curl up with a good book while playing multiple games of “Words with Friends,” and harvesting my crops in Farmville. Then it will be 3 am, and I’ll follow my natural rhythm of falling asleep. Tomorrow is another day, and if I don’t feel any better then, well … there’s always that box of chocolate cookies I haven’t opened yet.

I wish you a cranky/weepy free day.

I’m just growlin’ …

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