A Day of Being Inconsolable

I'm typing this post in between watching recorded episodes of Chelsea Lately (this break-up has me seriously behind in my TV viewing) and whipping up some chocolate chip cookie dough, which I may or may not bake. Perhaps I'll strike a compromise, bake half of it and eat the rest raw. I haven't decided yet.

Anyway, I was a real pain in the butt today--for myself. I was cranky, irritable, and peevish. (Just realized I'm PMSing, which actually makes me feel better because I'm not a total psycho for no reason! And now the cookie dough makes so much more sense.) I woke early this morning up feeling anxious and it just got worse after that. Anxiety has got to have some of the worst physical effects of any emotion for me. It manifests itself in an elevated pulse, feelings of "inside shivers" as I call them, and an upset stomach.

Realizing I was feeling anxious (because I'm so fucking emotionally self-aware), I say to myself, "Ok, self. What will make you feel better?" I know, I'll go run! So I hop up to the gym in my building and run. And run. And run. I'm all by myself in the room and take the opportunity to lip sync along with my iPod, skipping around on the"F*** love" playlist and really channel Kelly Clarkson and Pink's bitchiest songs as my feet pound the treadmill. I was getting some relief from the anxiety and was feeling like a badass as a result.

But as soon as I stepped off the treadmill, the damn anxiety washed over me again. After all that running, how did my body even have enough energy to fuel that? So again being self-aware, I say, "Ok, self. Let's go back to the self-care menu. What else could we try?" I know! I'll take a hot bath with lots of bubbles, candles, and some soothing music. I thought I would be extra brilliant and bring my netbook into the bathroom, so that I could turn on Pandora. I put on what I thought would be a relaxing station, but then all these damn love songs came on! I couldn't just reach out and change it because my hands were all soapy and wet. So, I sat there in the tub and cried. Not exactly what I was going for.

Eventually I got out of the tub and thought again, "Ok, self. FOR REAL, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING TO SOOTHE YOU?" Easy there, self-talk. Getting a little irritated. So, I decide to get dressed and just get out for awhile. Then it became this whole inner battle of why was I going to Costco when I don't really need anything, or why was I going to the library when my books weren't due for another 4 days. All this negative talk. I felt like I needed to justify my decision to leave the apartment.

In a moment of clarity/grace (thank you, grace, for finally showing yourself), I said to myself, "I am leaving the apartment because leaving the apartment is good for me. It doesn't matter if I spend $100 or not, have a purpose other than leaving the apartment or not, but getting the hell out of this confined space is a good thing." And off I went, to conquer the world. Or just get 4 pounds of strawberries from Costco.

In his book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Thich Nhat Nahn talks about caring for our anger like a baby. When a baby cries, we don't yell at the baby (or we shouldn't anyway). We don't try to reason with a crying baby. No, we pick up the baby, embrace her warmly, and soothe her. I've been thinking of myself as that crying baby (well, I am an actual crying baby these days, but I mean in the figurative Thich Nhat Nahn way). I'm so quick to get pissed off with myself, get frustrated when something doesn't click, or when I don't get the response I'm expecting. That's about as effective as trying to tell a screaming baby to shut the fuck up. Yeah, it's disturbing, isn't it? Just thinking of saying something like that to a little baby? Yeah, so why in the hell would I treat myself like that?

Rather than beating myself up for beating myself up, I'm trying to pick up all that hurt, that anger, that pain I'm feeling like it's an innocent, fussy baby who just needs a lot of TLC. Kind of like this kid...


  1. Hang in there girl. I think finding distractions is always good when you are going through stuff like this...even if it is only buying strawberries.

  2. I started following your blog through Ivillage and I am addicted. I can identify with so much of what you are going through it's not even I as well had one of the most anxiety filled days that I can recount since the ex and I broke up 2 months ago. I woke up throughout the night very very angry and then this morning super anxious to the point where I have not put a bite of food in my mouth...lucky you, at least you can eat the dough to make you feel better...when I'm in this mental space I can't even think of food, makes me wanna hurl....Anyway I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone feeling like this and that this too shall pass....

    By the way the reason why I felt that whole "got kicked in the gut feeling" is because I found out my ex, who is 30, is in a relationship with one of my little sister's friends. They are 22...and it's only been almost 2 months of being broken up, and ya he met her 3 weeks after our wonderful for me...we were together for almost 2 years as well and living together....I am just angry that he doesn't get to feel any pain at all it seems. He is being super cold about the whole thing...we have had no contact since the breakup and he emails me on Tuesday asking if I wanna go for coffee on Saturday...probably to tell me about his new gf so he doesn't feel like an ass about the whole thing..I tell him that "I'm busy, I don't think coffee is a good idea especially since he is in a new relationship and I don't think it's appropriate. I wish you all the best" and ya today he txts me saying "I'm not gonna push it, when you're ready to talk give me a shout. Have a wonderful day :)!" and then proceeds to write on his facebook status "I feel so happy no words can describe how happy I feel inside" very sensitive of him....he things its all happy go lucky cuz according to him we had a "clean, mature break" and here I am being super angry and he is off living his happy little life as if nothing happened....people Where the fuck is Karma when you need it?

  3. Thanks, Cee. I'll try anything at this point!

    Anon, I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. I think no contact with this guy is the way to go because he's just making you feel like shit. What a little douche to be dating your little sister's friend! I give that relationship a month tops.

    Let me just say, that if he is actually alright after ending a relationship with you, then he's fucked up. My guess is he's really not. Either way, he's no good for you anymore.

    Have you thought about seeing a therapist? Seriously, do it. It's the best thing ever. Someone just sits there and listens to EVERYTHING and has to pay attention because that's what they're paid to do. Amazing.

  4. I am actually going to call around and find one today! I am reading the book called co-depended no more and why men love bitches and I see that I was the one that felt like I had to fix his issues..gave up my life for his to the point where I would worry more about his stresses and life than my own...not's a big lesson for me!

    How are you feeling, any better? I have 2 jobs which I love, and I find that working and being around people helps a just sucks when like yourself I have those anxiety filled days...I've only had 3 since we broke up but for me 3 is too many...and that is usually after he txts me or emails me...and it seems he only does that when he is feeling great so he can gloat to me about his new wonderful happy life....but deep down I know what a manipulator he is and now he paints the perfect picture on the outside...seen him do it 100s of times...I lived with the guy for 2 years...I know him better in some things than he actually thinks....

    Sorry there I go rambling again...Are you feeling any better?

  5. A, so glad that you're taking care of yourself--reading good books, getting a therapist, etc. I'm learning a lot, too. It's not a fun way to learn, but I'm glad I'm at least starting to get some of this stuff.

    As for me, it's up and down. This process is unpredictable, so I'm trying to just be where I am everyday. Easier said than done, though, for sure.

  6. love how you put things into words so eloquently - i feel the exact same way (inside shivers and all) when i'm anxious.

    and have you read 'tuesdays with morrie'? i just went to my bookshelf to find you the quote and turned right to the page: "If you hold back on the emotions-if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them- you can never get to being detached, you're too busy being afraid. You're afraid of the pain, you're afraid of the grief. You're afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head eve, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, 'All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment."

    it's one of my all time favorite passages and has become my modus operandi as well.

  7. LW, I read that book a long time ago, but I love this quote. I'm really trying to be in my body in a real way--feel what I'm feeling, recognize it, and be able to articulate how it feels. Be truly alive in the moment. It's not easy, but I have to remember, this is my life right now. Do I want to wish it away? Go through it unaware? No, I want to be present in the moment.

    Thanks for all your comments, too. :-)