Behind the Facade
Published in

Behind the Facade

I was okay an hour ago — now I’m not.

The emotional rollercoaster is exhausting.

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

This morning was a good one: I excitedly launched a podcast. I texted my mom and a friend to share the news. I wrote a Slow Saturday email, starting it off by saying, “I mentioned in one of my last emails that I’ve been going through an intense bout of insomnia and was able to get some much-needed sleep this week. I’m still feeling a bit groggy but 100x better overall.”

That was then. Now is a completely different story.

What started as a simple conversation about cleaning sent me into a deep funk in a matter of minutes. One moment I was feeling happy about seeing my name listed on Apple Podcasts and the next I was feeling a surge of frustration, anger, disappointment that came out of nowhere.

I got mad at my husband before heading upstairs to start cleaning. I poured my frustration into decluttering the bathroom counter and started a load of laundry, muttering a swear word as I accidentally ran into a wall. I tried to problem-solve other issues that didn’t need fixing, perhaps subconsciously avoiding the feelings bubbling up. A few minutes later, I stormed upstairs, thinking physical space and a yoga class would pull me out of this funk.

On my way upstairs, I saw a missed call and voicemail from a close friend who I haven’t talked to in a while but didn’t have the energy to talk, much less call her back. I wrote out a quick reply:

“Hi there — Got your message. Thanks for calling and thinking of me. Honestly, it’s been a really difficult few weeks and my mood today has gone straight downhill so I’m not up for talking to anyone — please don’t take it personally. I’ll try calling when I’m up for it. I’m not sure when that’ll be but hopefully soon. I miss you!”

I started tearing up, thinking about how grateful I am that 1) I have the strength to be honest, and 2) that I have so many people in this world who I can lean on for support if/when I’m ready.

When I looked up from my phone, I saw the dirty bedding and, thinking of our earlier conversation, decided to start a load of load of laundry.

After switching the loads so I could start the bedding, I brought up Peloton and started a flow and let go yoga class, thinking that maybe yoga would solve everything. I hit play and I made it about 8 minutes before it felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore.

More tears started to come to the surface, my mind telling me that I was weak, that I was a disgrace because I couldn’t even make it 10 minutes into a class.

I thought about this space and my new mantra that, for me, writing is better than therapy.

So with that in mind, I went to get my laptop to start writing.

I wasn’t ready to be around people again, so I came back to my yoga mat, realizing that it is a safe space, even if it’s just a mat on the corner of our bedroom.

As soon as I saw it, I realized I didn’t even have the energy to sit in easy pose, so I gave myself permission to sit against the wall; to literally use it as physical support.

Rather than opening my Notes app, I went straight to Spotify to listen to my favorite playlist of the moment.

Like writing, music has been a source of therapy for many, many years. There are songs for every mood, moment and feeling — whether I’m happy or sad, need a push of energy or a sense of calm. The combination of lyrics and instrumentals makes me feel this sense of support or belonging in ways that nothing else can.

The song that’s currently playing is one that I first heard in a recent spin class. I had just finished a mental health ride and was sweating and in desperate need of a cool down. Little did I know that I would find a song that would resonate so deeply, the lyrics stating, “You’ll never have to be alone / And that’s all you need to know.” This song has been on repeat since I first heard it 9 days ago, constantly reminding me that, even though I do feel alone, I’m not.

As I was listening to the playlist, I had this realization that the conversation about cleaning wasn’t the catalyst for the bad mood; the bad mood was just a bad mood.

The aftermath — the cleaning, the laundry, the yoga class and even the problem-solving and bickering — were all just ways of distracting myself so I didn’t have to sit through this surge of emotions.

For some reason, sitting with my emotions is so scary to me. I think it’s because there’s literally nothing I can do as they wash over me and settle into the sand and the shore. It’s just a matter of time before they recede, but until then, it’s completely out of my control; sitting with them is the only way to wade through it.

Once I realized this, I walked downstairs, tail between my legs, and apologized to my husband. I have this tendency to take bad moods out on my loved ones, I think because I know that they’ll be there after, no matter what — but that isn’t fair. It’s not their fault I’m in a bad mood.

I made a promise to myself: in the future, when I feel annoyance or frustration or disappointment coming up, I’m going to acknowledge it and physically step away so I can give myself room to process and let the wave wash over me — before I have the chance to take it out on my loved ones. When it recedes, I’ll come back and we can continue the conversation. I know that this will take a lot of time and practice to implement, so I also made a promise to myself to sincerely apologize if and when I take it out on someone else. It’s not fair.

Between the writing, music, reflection and apology, I feel so much lighter, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I wouldn’t say I’m feeling 100% but maybe 70 or 80, which I’ll take. What an emotional rollercoaster that was.



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