Tuesday, December 8, 2009

swirly twirly

Thanks to all of you who have commented.

I started this journey thinking that I would like to share these things so that I could feel better. It started on Lisa's blog when I asked her if she would consider posting "taboo" for me so that I could do so anonymously. A comment on Lovely Lisa's blog got my mind stirring and thinking about reaching out to others. They asked if I would consider opening a blog to give voice to these kinds of feelings. The comment also read, "The hardest part of being a mother is how we feel we have to be strong for everyone else even while we may be tortured inside. God has given everyone a purpose, and God knows we need each other, God Bless you."

So very true.

I feel like a failure for feeling the way I do.

For me, part of the issues I deal with tend to wane and ebb sometimes very quickly. I have always referred to it as "swirly-twirly" emotions. Let me try to explain.

Yesterday we got some news in the mail. It is concerning a topic that I feared would be addressed before the end of the year. My husband is a "it-will-be-fine" person. He refuses to think negatively. He will not concentrate on what-ifs. I have to have a game plan. I not only have to know where I am going, but I have to know a game plan for any detours that may spring up along the way. I have to have a plan, a back up plan and a contingency plan. I have to know it will be alright. Not just that it WILL be alright, but HOW will it be alright. I am actually getting a little anxious just typing about it. That is how I tick.

It drives my husband batty.

I had feared this news would be coming down the pike. It has the ability to be disastrous for us. When I came home and saw mail opened, I knew it must be bad. The husband never opens mail unless the return address is something particularly important. So there it was. This piece of paper from this source that had the possibility to ruin not only my night, but my world. I actually got sweaty, my face got hot and my heart began to thump in my chest. I started to breathe funny. Before I even read the letter, I knew it had to be BAD.

Turns out, on a scale of 1-10 it as a 1 on the disaster scale. It was NOT good news, in fact I KNEW this was going to happen and I told him so for the last several months, but it was not too bad all things considered.

Here's where the swirly-twirly comes in. I go from "Oh man, that's actually really good news. It is proactively attempting to solve the bigger problem and in the mean time we are being minor-ly affected. Wow, it really is good news I guess! " and immediately I switch to "Holy Shit! What are we gong to do!? This really sucks! Wow, this is really gonna hit us hard" then I can realistically sit and think about it and calm myself down and I go back to "Ok Sojo, you can handle this! This is not as bad as it could be. You are blessed that it wasn't worse." About an hour later it hits me like a ton of bricks and I think, "Crap! I don't know what I am going to do! This could have horrible consequences" until I talk myself back into "It's better than it could be."

See, swirly-twirly.

This is what I do all the time.

With medication I can usually hide most of this inner struggle. With medication I don't freak out and call my mom crying and slobbering. With medication my husband does not want to toss me out the window. With medication I may need a few acknowledgments that everything will be fine and will work out in the end. I only ask for reassurance about every hour with medication. Without medication? It is not pretty.

I am not joking. Boy, am I a joy to live with or what?


  1. I don't know if my experience will be relevant to yours or not, because I have my own kind of swirly-twirly thinking, but it's not necessarily as "Oh no! What are we going to do?!" as what you're describing. Sometimes it's similar to what you're describing, but other times I'm just thinking things through repeatedly without any particularly emotional fallout. I get to the end and think, "Oh yeah. I already had this exact same discussion with myself and came to this same conclusion an hour ago. Doy!"

    So, what I started doing a couple years ago was making myself an index card to carry around (or sometimes I make several copies of it, to keep by the bed, by the TV, etc.) I write out each element of the issue that has me concerned or that I feel like I need to solve, and then I follow it up with the solution/conclusion I already reached. That way, as soon as I start to think the issue through for the X number time, I just pull out the card and immediately realize it's already resolved. Generally I don't even need to READ the card to remember how I already solved this issue, but if I do need some extra reminding, it's all laid out for me (well, as much as will fit on an index card. I do try to keep it pretty short). This has helped me cut down on the amount of swirly twirling I've done in the past.

    As for my husband, he doesn't want to have a game plan, but at the same time, he's definitely not an it-will-all-be-fine person. He's more of an it-will-all-go-to-hell person, so he doesn't want to think about things in advance, figuring they'll go to hell anyway. Drives ME crazy (as my way drives him crazy). Ahhh, marriage. :)

  2. I'm bipolar and I have swirly twirly thoughts often. Frankly for me it's probably time for a med increase. I hope it helps to know you are not alone.

    I read parts of a book called Your Time Starved Marriage that talked about what to do if your spouse has a different style of game plan, planners, people who deal with life as it comes, dreamers and so forth. They have a marriage assessment on their site that I found interesting to see where Hubby and I are alike and different. It's not a great assessment (some of the questions are confusing, and you pretty much have to read the book), but I thought it had some practical advice for living with someone who had a different sense of time/planning. http://www.timestarvedmarriage.com/

    Mary in TX

  3. Maybe that obsessive comment I made wasn't off the mark.you sound like me-the having to know exactly what will happen.WHat if it doesn't work out then what..?my husband also hates it.It has come to a point where I don't voice everything in my head because he'll be kinda dismissive about it and I'll feel stupid for feeling that way-for thinking so far ahead,making plans etc.Thank you for reflecting part of me.You're teaching me a lot about thsi continuum called 'psychological health'