bursts of anger & crying

Postby hepburn » Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:42 pm

I don't know where to begin. In the last few months I've had these episodes of anger and crying which I direct at my boyfriend. We live together in a large one room loft. I try to control myself or destress myself but it just seems to build up and burst forth. After about an hour or so I calm down and am sorry that it happened. It isn't fair of me to do this.

I have a bit of stress: I have a full time design job, am taking an evening course in web development, am producing & directing a short film (which is using a large chunk of my savings), am assisting my elderly parents in dealing with my father's emergency triple bipass heart surgery (he will not speak to me at the moment because I told him to act responsibly by eating properly and keeping up with his therapy), am arguing with my mother to get my father into AA or seek other help with his drinking, am on the Board of Directors of two educational organizations and I ocean kayak to relax.

I find the usual de-stress advice of "stop and take a few breaths" or "get a fun hobby" not very useful. My boyfriend has suggested I deal with this, and I agree. I do sleep 6-8 hours a day, eat healthy, I don't drink often, etc. Yet, I still get these flashes of frustration, anger, anxiety, fear all rolled into one.

The last outburst was a few hours before my first time directing the entire film cast for the first rehearsal at a studio. I am by nature shy and fear public speaking and was worried the cast would not like my directing style or find fault with the screenplay, etc. I could not calm my anxiety. Ultimately, the rehearsal went very well and I felt rotten for getting upset that morning.

Any ideas?
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Postby kfedouloff » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:44 am

Hi hepburn

It's good to hear that you are eating properly and sleeping properly, and just as well! Your description of all the things you are trying to handle is pretty awesome, and I wonder if some of your angry feelings are about being overloaded... :?:

Could it be that you just have too much on your plate? Is there anything that you could shed, or delegate, so that you can get a bit of space to yourself, room just to be?

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Postby hepburn » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:01 pm

Does seem overloaded to you as well? I feel it is very overloaded, but most people I know have full schedules similar to mine. Some even travel as well. How do they do it?

I've also been thinking about my sleep and that I'm not getting as much as I first assumed.

On top of my current schedule, almost every week I turn down a paying freelance design job. I would love the money and the potential for advancement if I could take these jobs.

To look at it systematically:

Full time web/print design job I need to pay the bills.
My class is to keep up on the technology for my job.
Filmmaking opens additional job potential and ties into video projects for web design.

My parents - I can back off on trying to "help" them. They do not speak, read or write English well even after 50 years here. They both have a very minimal education. They believe that exercise and eating healthy play NO role. Disease mysteriously just happens and you stoically wait to get better or die. Guess I'm just spinning my wheels and getting frustrated.

Maybe, I can put both of my Board of Dir. responsibilities off until the film is shot in three weeks.

Unfortunately, kayaking season- my stress relief-is coming to it's annual wintery end.

I almost never socialize since I seldom time, energy or money for it. Plus most people want to drink all night, not my style.

I often feel that everyone but me knows the secret to living a full life without stressing, without feeling overloaded. Other people make films or are artists or performers and travel and have families, give dinner parties, and can afford to buy a house or even two, a car or two, etc, etc.

What am I doing wrong?
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Postby kfedouloff » Fri Nov 12, 2004 3:44 pm

Hi hepburn

Yes, it does seem like a lot to me. Have you asked any of those people with full schedules and travel on top how they're coping...? Many people keep up a front of OKness, when underneath they are really struggling.

Did you manage to shed your Board responsibilities? I had to back out of one of those recently - it was a bit of a struggle, as I have been involved for nearly ten years, and did feel somewhat guilty about it. I had to give myself a good talking to, and remember that they had had ten years' benefit, and that's enough! I feel better for that now.

And have you managed to back off a bit from your parents? My hubby once told me and my brother off for treating our mother "as if she was a child". I was angry with him at the time, but then I realised that he was right. Our parents are adults, and they have made their choices, and whatever we think about how they live their lives, in one sense it is none of our business! We certainly resent it if they try to put US right...

I understand that you are in the middle of doing this film, so you probably won't just abandon it right now, but do you have to do the class now? I know CPD is important in your field (I used to be in publication design), but maybe you have some leeway in scheduling it?

Let's hear how it goes!

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Postby hepburn » Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:01 pm

Hi Kathleen,

Thank you for your reply. First I'd like to say I noticed you have a wonderful web site which I enjoyed looking through.

I do often wonder how these people with full lives cope. Hmmmm. One cinematographer I know is in therapy and complains of depression periodically. A film producer friend always seems on top of everything, her job, her recent fabulous wedding, buying a new apartment, traveling, etc, etc. She is always calm, energetic, and laughing.

Now that I consider, there are actually a number of friends who have given up "trying". They have simply fallen into the go to work, come home and watch TV or go out drinking mode. Given up creating, given up striving to contribute to society, given up on experiencing the world.

I will have to think more about these people who live full lifes and how they cope.

My Board of director positions; the kayak club, They teach teens to build wooden boats and paddle them. I help out on the board, design their web site for a great cause and get to house my kayak (my de-stresser) in their boathouse and dock. There is no other facillites nearby. It would be less stress to pay for it's use, but the club doesb't work that way. Volunteers only.

My parents are another matter. I like your comment about treating them like children. They are adults - a good reminder. I'm letting my mother call me, my father is in Intensive Care again. She calls me a few times a day, crying, then suddenly angry, then the why does everything always happen to me, etc.

Several times she has apologized for dumping it all on me and says she hopes I don't me, but she has no one else to talk to.

She won't ask the doctor details of my father's condition and the possibility of his recovery - she's too afraid of what he might tell her. I call the doctor myself for my own piece of mind.

My parents...It's too much to go into it all here.

On a brighter note. A stray cat found it's way into my apartment. For two days she was a delightful destraction. A little spark of joy and so easy to care for. Then she ran away. I found her at a nearby bus garage, where the workers say she lives. My boyfriend and I plan on visiting an animal shelter soon to consider adopting two kittens. Kittens won't solve my life's problems and issues, but perhaps provide a little fun between the hard work and seriousness of the world.

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Postby kfedouloff » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:44 pm

Hi Hepburn

I'm glad you liked my site. I'm working on some other stuff to put on there soon...

Intrigued about your film producer friend... have you ever asked her HOW she remains calm, energetic and laughing? Finding out how someone else does it can give us good pointers to how to do things differently ourselves. NLPers call it "modelling". The presupposition is that if somebody can do it, anybody can learn it...

I like the sound of that boat club. It sounds really good. Have you thought about setting yourself up with a "winter" de-stressor specifically? Rather than just thinking "I can't do that because it's winter"?

I've got two cats, and have always had cats since I have had a home of my own. Wouldn't be without them for worlds...

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Postby m e g » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:01 pm

Hey Hepburn,

First off, let me say that I can seriously relate to your situation. My best advice to you is to try to pinpoint what exactly is setting you off. Make a journal or something if need be. That may shed some light on which stressor is causing you 'too much' stress. For example, if you come right home from work and your boyfriend says or does anything remotely provoking, maybe he is not the cause of your frustrations, but instead something that just happened at work. Often, people do not realize that they are lashing out at the wrong time and place, as well as, toward the wrong individual(s). After awhile you may see a pattern, or you may not, but it is a great start and will surely reveal something of interest. This would be a big step towards solving the problems it's causing you since realistically you just can't lighten your load so easily.

It may also help to try to view your boyfriend more positively, since I assume he supports you. Try to remind yourself daily of his efforts and you may, in time, be less prone to lash out at him. Communicating with him about your stress would be a great way to encourage further support from him as well, which in turn will counteract your daily stresses. He may go from a negative to a positive outlet.

Sometimes it can be as easy as looking into the future when you feel like you're about to snap. Keep in mind that tomorrow may be better and less stressful and that today was simply today...if that makes sense.

I hope I helped in some way. I really feel for you, as I have a very good idea of where you're coming from. Good luck. :)

edit: A journal itself may also relieve built up tension.
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Postby change » Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:31 pm

I'm not sure whether this is relevant to you, but I have been having angry outbursts ever since starting back on the pill. I have been depressed (and still am) before taking it, but have never had outbursts like this before. Maybe it's something you could consider if you are taking it also. I'm sure a hectic life with a lot of pressure is not helping, also.
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Postby yoghurtraisin » Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:18 pm


I totally understand where you are coming from...I have exactly the same issues as you i.e. I want to do everything, and do lots of things, but I tend to suffer from stress which leads to anger and crying. When I think to myself well I should give up and do less, then I look at other people who do MORE than me and I think well it IS humanly possible. However, I know that there are a number of flaws in this reasoning (as outlined very well by Kathleen). Firstly, people who do more than me might NOT have an underlying depression and are probably not recovering from anorexia (like me). They also might not have underlying emotional tensions like you have with your parents... sometimes we might not be able to do as much as other people because maybe there are other things we are dealing with, usually emotional. however, I think also that i tend to be perfectionist aboutEVERYTHING i do where as others might not.

I have reduced a lot of the things that I do in my life and it has made some difference, but I still have underlying outbursts...i am wondering if it is not an underlying metabolic thing that was outlined in another thread.

Hope you are doing OK
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