One of the most important discoveries I’ve made in my blogging experience. Please excuse the change in tenses throughout, I was pretty raw when I first wrote this…
I believe that I am improving in recognizing those days where Anxiety or Temper are getting the best of me, or will. This time, my wife saw it before I did.
My 3 yr. old wakes up fairly early yesterday AM. I get up, fire up the T.V. and Wii, and she decides she wants to go back and snuggle with her mommy, then changes her mind to go back to her room to snuggle with her oldest sister. Leaving me with the Wii and about 6 hrs. of sleep. Technically, I’m still a college student… so this should be something I can handle, right? WRONG! This particular game is a bit sensitive in the controls, and this causes me to die. Over and over again. I start getting frustrated. As the morning progresses, my kids get up and start their morning rituals of random coloring, reading, and watching whatever’s on the TV. Then my wife gets up, and by now I’m raging at the game. Biting back ever swear word known to man because the kids are watching. Eventually, I turn to my 6yr old and say “You go ahead and play, sweetie. I’m done for the day.” She has no problem with this, and I remove myself from the situation.
My wife, at this point, is very wary of my attitude. I reassure her. “It’s no big deal. Men yell when playing video games just like they yell when their working on cars.” I’m just a little more in touch with my testosterone today, no biggie. Right? WRONG!
I decide I’ll go ahead and wash up the dishes from the night before and get the dishwasher unloaded. Turns out, none of the dishes are clean. WTF. I don’t lose it, but I’m close. I hand wash the remaining dishes from the day before, and dry them and put them away, so I can make ample room to hand wash the entire dishwasher-load of dishes. As I’m taking them out, I realize the soap door is still closed. So it dawns on me: The night before, I put the soap in, locked the door, but never turned it on. WTF some more. Now it’s my fault. I hate when things are my fault. Load the dishwasher. finish putting things away. Make the coffee. Yes, that’s right. My mind is now reverting to simple commands. As I’m putting things away in my smallish kitchen, a few pots and various plates for my waffle/Panini maker falls over in the cabinet. I somewhat angrily put them back in place, and see something else in the back corner of the cabinet out of place. A plastic strainer. I hit my head reaching back into the cabinet (corner cabinet, ground level), then the strainer is stuck on something. I pull hard enough to get it unstuck, which just happens to be the same level of pull needed to hit myself in the face. WTF. I stand up, and throw the strainer at the kitchen floor as hard as I can. Damn that felt good. Killed the strainer though. WTF. Wife yells “Stop throwing things and just ask for help!” By now I see what’s going on, and kick the broken strainer for being so stupid, cutting my toe in the process.
She had seen it right away, and I naively assumed it was just normal behavior and wouldn’t progress to anything worse. Brain shuts down. I’m literally walking in circles in the kitchen, with no idea what to do, what to say, or where to go. I want to yell or scream in frustration. I walk to my room, sit on the edge of the bed, and just veg out for a few minutes, to bring my heart rate down and allow my brain to decompress. I realize I just yelled at my wife. Something about being mad that I have to even ask for help (in retrospect, who would offer help to the raging lunatic in the kitchen? Certainly not me). I apologize for yelling. I tell my wife that I want to take control of the things I want in the house, on my own (After all, these are my wants, not anyone else’s) and that the hard part of that is turning off that switch in my head that wants everyone to think the same way I do. She understands, I simmer down, and the remainder of the day goes without anger incident. This is not just something that happens to kids with ADHD. As an adult, when the realization hits that I literally just threw a temper tantrum (in front of my kids, no less) I feel the same shame I felt as a child who had thrown a tantrum or had said or done something I shouldn’t have. I spent the rest of the day playing and bonding with my kids, apologizing a few times throughout the day for the morning’s behavior. It dawned on me that my anger has a personality. It’s like an inner demon takes over. I have decided to name this demon Tantrum, and treat Tantrum like I would a living, breathing adversary who wants to ruin me. Tantrum will be my nemesis.