Had one. I'm still trying to pull it apart to see where I went wrong in my anxiety management.
It was Thursday night.
I was upset and wanting validating. Basically "There, there. Poor baby. Yes, I see you are upset and frustrated. You will be ok."
But I could not express this need clearly. DH is very good at "There, there" if I walk up to him and go "Could you please 'there, there me?' right now? I feel ____."
The problem at the time is that I did not KNOW that was the need. I was still processing data dump in my brain to figure out WHAT the need was and I got interrupted midstream and it all backlogged in my head and I got all in a flooding mess.
And in my trying to get a handle on it, (new process) I have to peel off the onion layers of what bugs me and see if all the feels have an express.
The remodel bugs me, I'm sick of scheduling estimate people coming over here. I was tired, and instead of doing resting things before bed I was online looking up contractor info which is me feeding my frustrated and not me feeding my rest-y.
The kid was having nightmares and dealing in kid needs when my own oxygen mask is not on drives me nuts. In hindsight, I wish DH would to do me what I did for her. She was crying about a nightmare and how hard it is to be 8, and he was pat patting her back while I was talking to her and telling her that "YES! It is hard to be 8! You will be ok. Lots of ages are hard, even my age is hard. But you will be ok. It will pass. You can handle it."
So he's asking me what's on my mind and I'm trying to deliver that request by
listing and he gets annoyed at me like I'm doing a bitchfest.
When on my end I'm not trying to do a bitchfest. I'm trying to use directional tether to get myself OUT of the flooding. He gave me a direction. So I'm trying to meet it.
Then he shoved me back in to the recursive loop frustrated place by getting snippy at me. Which sent me into a more hurt space because why am I coming to him for "there there" to alleviate hurt only to receive another load?
Get me OUT of the drowning pool dude, don't throw rocks at me.
He gives me a direction I try to meet and I'm trying to meet it! If that direction is not the one you want to use -- give me a different direction.
I was so muddled and confused at the time. Then I was the place of...
Did we not just make a plan last time? What happened to the plan? If I'm on fire, I have to BRING you the fire extinguisher plan? The on fire person is supposed to do that? Aren't I doing all I can NOT to spread the fire? Dude! If I could put it out myself, I wouldn't be seeking you out.
It wasn't major. But it felt like pissing contest.
"I feel overwhelmed!" I go.
I WANT him to tell me "Yes! I see that you are overwhelmed! There, there!" Why is it hard for him to just SEE me and validate me?
Instead he goes "I'm overwhelmed too!"
In normal conversation, that's making conversation.
In floody, I perceive that as my need for comfort being denied, and I'm supposed to be comforting him
. I get resentful and confused because while I'm willing to do that, I don't see how I can give him oxygen when my own oxygen mask is off.
Honestly? I wanted to punch him. I bit shield and looked at his stomach to talk to him. (Hindsight voice: Is that not one of my tells? Avoiding eye contact?)
I gave him validate:
Yes, I know you are tired. Yes I know you are overwhelmed. I'm not trying to be all crazy AT you. But hello, I am CRAZY in here. HELP! I need help!
He sat with me and we worked through a lot of frustration to arrive at the "Oh, you are flooding" place and then I finally got some "there, there, poor baby" and I felt better and it was done. Once it sunk in and we were both in the pretty bowl/pretty fish place it was easier to deal with to MOVE IT FORWARD.
In the meta world -- not a big deal. I think we handled it ok.
In the micro world? Drives me nuts. Because I am not fit. If I were FIT when I am in that place, I wouldn't need the "there, there." On my end of things it feels like I'm being trapped in an an emotional recursive loop function with no escape. I want him to be my counter, and then bail me out.
He says on his end it is sometimes very hard for him to tell early signs of my being in flood. By the time I get to the crying place or shaking place it is easy to tell.
I asked him what it felt like for him and he said it was like I came at him picking a fight.
I asked him if that is normal character for me and he said no.
I asked him if he sees me behave out of character, can't that be enough of a sign to go
"You seem to be behaving out of character. Are you aware of that? Are you ok in there? Are you flooding? Or about to flood? What can I do to help you? There, there. "
Just SEE me. Don't take it personally. Just validate me that YES, I am feeling crazy. I certainly am behaving crazy. It will PASS. BREATHE.
Because inside that recursive loop place it's scary as hell to feel like it WON'T PASS. And I don't have enough air in there!
I talked to another anxiety friend later and she pointed out good bits like "Well, it wasn't a full on panic attack, just flooding. And you seem to know at least some of your triggers. And DH was supportive, even though it took him a while to catch on."
All true. And I love him being there for me when I really need him.
But this business of heading it off at the pass
is hard. We won't catch every single one. All anyone can do is minimize.
It's that grey area between my not being able to articulate and needing help, and him being able to realize ON HIS OWN this is what is needed because I'm not fit and not able to wave a sign around.
I asked him if perhaps he's a bit spoiled around me. Most of the time I'm very clear and straight up about what I want or need and it just makes his end simple -- he knows how to meet the need. Cuz I TOLD HIM verbally.
He's not as good with my trying to tell him non-verbally. The para-verbal.
I did go to him and seek him out. He even asked me why I had a strange look on my face.
- So if he can see when I have a strange look on my face. (1)
- And if he can see that I'm behaving out of character. (1)
- And we've been here at this frustrated place before. (2)
Why can't he go
- 1 + 1... hrm... good chance of a 2 forecast here.
and just whip out the automatic general purpose TLC comfort bandaid of
"I see you are upset. There, there. Poor baby. It will pass. We'll sort it out. You'll tell me all about it. For now though... there, there.Just shush..."
Pat, pat, hug and rock me or something. How come my KID can get that on auto pilot? Why are adults not able to see/do this for other adults easily?
Mind boggling. I'll have to ask him later.
But like I said -- macro-world, all is fine. Micro-world -- we could always improve how we weather out the storm.
We reviewed it against the LAST time, and both of us owned bits of the elephant -- who could do what better the next time this rolls around.
The next day I felt better in the morning after sleeping, but my brain was all wiped out and my heart was sore. We hung out with friends who are moving and helping out with brainless work like that helped a lot.
Then we had a date that night -- just us. We'd lined up a babysitter. I almost canceled it, but I am glad I didn't. I streamlined other things instead so the next day was a lighter load.
Overreacting to a flood and dumping ALL ballast isn't necessary. Just lighten the day's schedule.
That was good to learn. Also nice that it was a mellow family day at the park this afternoon -- skates, bikes, ball, yay. Very relaxing.