There are days, even weeks, when I feel great about my life. After many years of working on my interior disposition, I’ve slowly learned to manage many of the internal saboteurs that trip me up. I’m at my best when I’m accomplishing something though. Writing, cooking, coaching, even cleaning the house and ironing my shirts, do it for me. I still attach a lot of my value to what I do instead of who I am.
Then there are days, sometimes several in a row, when I spiral into feeling really poorly about my life. I feel unvalued and unloved. I discount my many past accomplishments. I ignore what my friends think about me. And when I’m in this dark mood I even wonder if anyone would really care if I disappeared suddenly.
During these dark periods I often try to “figure it out”. I look for the triggers that have prompted my deep-seated melancholy. I look for causes to my feeling out of balance, disconnected and invisible. I also wonder how other people who do not get into these dark moods are able to avoid them. Is it nature? Nurture? Good luck?
My dark moods tend to be triggered by at two or more “incidents” in succession that throw me off balance. They usually come when I least expect them and from unlikely sources. I can usually handle one incident, or almost anything for which I can plan ahead a bit. A second and third in close succession…well, that sends me into a tailspin, particularly when I didn’t expect them or was set to enjoy someone or something rather than feel challenged or attacked.
Last week I experienced a real a trifecta. All three incidents came from people I knew. The first came from a friend who acted cavalier toward me at a party. I felt bullied and disrespected. The second came about in a group. One member called me out in public for something I had said to him in a private conversation. I felt angry, embarrassed and ashamed. The third happened when I was invited to a gathering that, for a number of reasons I didn’t really want to attend. I felt afraid that if I declined my friend who invited me would reject me.
An undercurrent of dis-ease has been flowing since these incidents. And though I still function (I made a batch of killer pasta sauce and meatballs yesterday!), I instinctively try to bury my discomfort. Feeling victimized (a real saboteur for me) I enter into the land of denial so I can ignore how sad, lonely, depressed, and disordered I am feeling. My mind floats out into a foggy miasma, like a helium balloon becoming enveloped by a sort of emotional cotton candy. I begin hoping that the Mayan calendar stuff might be true after all!
Today I talked with my coach. She helped me gain insight into my downward spiraling. She challenged me to ask how I might value myself more, simply being who I am. Despite the fact that I still believe that pleasing people is the only way they’ll love me, I must push beyond this illusion. I need to get in touch with the deep wisdom that resides in me, but that gets silenced by the noise I allow into my life. I need to fill the tank BEFORE I run out of gas.
So…do you identify at all with me? How do you deal with this stuff? Write and tell me…I can use all the insight I can get!
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org