EMOTIONAL FLOODING: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE WHEN IT COMES DOWN
I was talking about an emotional flooding experience.
I have a hard time with that. It is the one I'm still trying to figure out how to handle for my own stress management.
I've gotten better so it is shorter in duration, but it takes me a while to pick apart afterward to harvest any useful nuggets of knowledge for how to handle myself the NEXT time I find myself there.
In the moment it is happening I feel overwhelmed in a malestrom of emotion.
Someone flings a plate of emotional spaghetti at me. And I'm supposed to sort all the tangles out WHILE having the scene that triggered me? Ugh. Debugging emotional spaghetti code while being overemotional and muddled in logic circuits. Bah.
(Meta: This was written right in the moment it happened, and I worked on it to untangle over several days. It took a while to straighten the spaghetti and organize it into SOMETHING. Far from clearest it could ever be, but I gained insights in the doing. Both then and now as I post it to my thread rather than in my .doc file. So here's the long version of the spaghetti Code Emotional Journey)
THE SET UP
Let me slow it all down like a slow motion movie. Let us see what we can learn here.
SCENE 1: MY DESK
DH announces he's going to shower. I hurry up to finish that previous blog post.
I left it in a good mood, feeling all kinds of tender "Awwww...." toward my spouse.
SCENE 2: MY BATHROOM
Went to go shower with DH and finally check in on our days -- the deeper bucket checks of Mind, Heart, Body and Soul.
He greeted me with surprise "Hey! I was almost done."
I greeted him with apology "Yah, sorry, I was trying to wrap up my writing."
We have a tradition of showering together every day because it's our decompress time in private.
He asked me how I was and I was trying to do the buckets.
I covered BODY with him while getting naked and taking a pee:
I was still tired but felt better post nap. I apologized if earlier I seemed terse but I was just too full to take new information on board. He was fine with this no apology needed . He reported he was in the same place and was also doing better for the nap but was still also tired and he really needed to eat. I said I probably could eat a snack too now that I thought about it. We could eat together post shower maybe.
I started to cover MIND while trying to soap up and lather in the shower. He was leaning against the shower wall listening:
I had a taxing day mentally with my work today. I have a work situation that is very frustrating to me and triggers my annoyances with the whole situation. I'm not mad at people. I am very mad/frustrated with the situation because it is like a thorn in my side I can't figure out how to get rid of well. I'd like his input.
And then I ended up flooding and it went off the rails because I did not complete bucket checks and I was mixing drugs. (more on this in a minute).
I was still bathing but got all teary and started to cry and he told me not to stand in the hot water and burn myself (watching out for my body bucket) and hugged me.
This helped me remember to get over the showering (finish tending to my own body bucket) and I moved that bathing part forward.
SCENE 3: THE KITCHEN
We're trying to get eats and drinks for a late dinner and I'm still trying to process through my layers simultaneously. I'm getting frustrated with layer sorting.
(Drug 1: frustrated)
He's tending to his own body bucket needs to eat. I cannot eat when stressy.
(Drug 2: stress) But I get a drink.
We sit down at the table and I breathe. I try again to explain. (me tending mind bucket.) He tries to listen. (Him tending my mind bucket.)
I go over my layers as best I can in the moment. These were all being felt/expressed almost at once/figured out a short while later. It is hard to slow-motion them when I was feeling them in emotional FLOOD.
[enter irrational emotional flooding area – the Internal Brain Board of Trustees all screaming at once inside. This all goes down in seconds in my brain. I slow it waaay down here. For clarity of reading I group most voices under two main captains -- Emotional Bucket Subcommitee Chair and Mind Bucket Subcommitee Chair. Really I experience it in my head as lots of people (all me) shouting. Even that is not adequate words to describe it but whatever. It will have to do.]
Ms. Logical Mind Bucket: I am venting. I think I'm venting.
Ms: Emotional Bucket: I am on the crazy train. I think I'm crazy sounding.
Ms Logical Mind Bucket: I know. Flooding. I want to just go fast and get it out and over. Because it is thundering through me like flash flood. A runaway train. It's is FAST. Data packet stream. Whooosh!
Ms Emotional Bucket: I do not like the ride. I want to get it over with but not so fast! I will puke! Ugh. Ugh! UGH!
Ms Logical Mind Bucket: What's he doing? Huh? He just aggravating it further by reminding me "I don't want you flooding, hon, be careful." I KNOW I am flooding. What he wants doesn't count here. It is TOO LATE. I am trying to be careful. Ugh.
Ms Emotional Bucket: And in reminding me that, he is pissing all of us off in here! In all buckets!
Ms: Mind Bucket: I agree. I am annoyed with him too. What's he talking about?
Ms Emotional Bucket: He's nuts. He's blind. Guh. Overwhelmed. Someone shout out there at him. Something like "Dude! TOO LATE! I am already emotionally flooding! I just want to be allowed to get to the end of my train of thought so I can get OFF the emotionally flooding journey and you keep yanking in the string in the window to make it stop. I don't want to stop and be in Hang Time that much longer. I want to GET OFF THE BUS!"
Ms Mind Bucket: Who me? What are you saying? Trains, buses, what vehicle are we on? Make sense, woman. You are emotional gibberish.
Ms Emotion Bucket: Shut the fuck up. Guh. Ow, my head hurts. Ugh.
Ms Mind Bucket: Where were we in the vent?
Ms Emotion Bucket: We were being crazy.
Ms Mind Bucket: We are? I need to process that. Now what? He is waving his arms at me. Why is he doing that? I can't compute all these things at once, people.
Ms Emotion Bucket: Him holding that sign up is making me MAD. He keeps interrupting us. UGH.
Ms Mind Bucket: Um... I'm not sure... hang on. I have to check my files but listen -- I think we've TOLD him to do that?
Ms: Emotion Bucket: Do not care. I hate him waving at me right now. I want to get off the bus and punch him for waving at me. Adding more crap to me emotional stew! UGH!
Other background voices I have not named but group under "Emotion side"
Voice 1: Me too!
Voice 2: Me three!
Voice 3: Dude – finally something we can agree on! Me four! Let's go!
So I had to harness that anger into something productive, something constructive to meet the goal of GET OFF THE BUS so I could get back into myself so I could think about punching him in the arm.
So took a deep breath, marshalled all my a-twittered bits and sailed back into it at him verbally. Because by this time it was in the pipeline already. Cannot recall. But at the last moment Mind Bucket shouts...
Ms Mind Bucket: No actual punching! He's obeying a Meta order in waving arms. I found the file!
Emotion Bucket: Argh. Fine! No punching! But he's getting Sharp Words!
META ME: You will be as clear and articulated as possible. You will not singe him with laser beam eyes. Control thyself. I so command.
Emotion Bucket: Nrgh. FINE.
I snapped back into myself. I frowned to help me concentrate. Because it feels like trying to operate me from a far distance away. Hard to open and close my mouth to talk. Hard to clear brain static to get a clear signal out to speak.
I told him first that I was NOT mad at HIM. (More a police warning to all the crazy internal demons shouting. We love DH, he does not deserve ill treatment)
I was clear as possible and articulated that this whole meta situation makes me feel thus:
- I know I am emotionally flooding. I will tend to that in a minute.
- Shut up and listen first on the work thing because my brain can only manage to go in order of happening. That came first. You do not help me untangle when adding more tangle.
He nodded and agreed. (That helped cool my jets because he's letting me own my own freak show and not telling me how to be
like before -- when he said he did not want me flooding and to be careful.)
WORK: I was clear as I could be about how I wanted to try to solve this situation with work, and where I wanted to be in my buckets at the conclusion of the work thing. (I could work on this solution I want to do some more, but at least I got a draft aired out to him. That cooled my jets even further. Because that was what I originally wanted. To air that out all the way across. Before I started mixing drugs and it turned into a flood.)
And I calmed the fuck down on the emotional flooding front. There. Original goal done. Next?