Sometimes my mood just changes in a snap. I don’t get angry at other people. I don’t raise my voice. But I snap and end up being so short with myself. It’s like I’m just walking along, not looking where I’m going, enjoying the view, and then I suddenly fall into a massive pothole of self-dislike. It’s really weird, and I absolutely hate it. Does anyone else do that? Just drop from a solid 48 on the happiness scale to a terrifying -373?
For me those sudden spirals normally happen after something very tiny has gone wrong, and someone else is there. I think it stems from being smart enough at school that when I got a question wrong I would be jeered at and knocked down. Being right and good at everything I try, and the fear of everyone thinking I’m stupid, are so ingrained in my behaviour and sense of self that whenever I feel like I’m in a similar situation I have such a visceral reaction.
So I had to add snapping to my demons to battle list.
I’ve created two weapons to defeat this demon. The first is all about identifying the situations where you’re likely to snap. This is something I started doing naturally as I thought about doing a ‘How to tell your demons to politely fuck off’ on this topic, but I think I’ve pushed it slightly further. It led to a lot of revelations, while I haven’t really put it to the test. I can imagine that knowing a situation is likely to push me into a negative space, must cut the legs off the problem. If you pre-empt freaking out by saying “this situation has the potential to trigger me, so anything my inner voice says to me doesn’t count”, you kind of pre-rationalise your freak out, and make it way less powerful. You can download the snapping journal above for free here.
The other weapon is this breathing gif. Breathing exercises, and meditation, really do work and I use them to relax on an evening. Remembering to breathe and take a second when I feel like I’m falling, is something I’m trying hard to do. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to remember when I just see red, but as soon as I remember I take a step back, and breathe, and just remember all of the stuff I worked through in the first section.