One thing I know I don't handle well: disrespect. I don't even know why this person is disrespectful to me. Either it's a character flaw on their part or they don't like me. Either way, I don't tolerate that kind of crap in my AOR. It's easy for my anger to get the better of me in a situation like this, but I am not going to let it take control and ruin any chance I have of fixing this in a constructive way. I had to catch myself today to keep the anger from coming out and I think it flashed across my face for just one second. I didn't respond to the disrespectful behavior in words, but I think that my facial expression for that split second paired with my change in body language got the message across that I am not someone to be trifled with. I just don't want people to be scared of me. I have a large, intimidating frame to begin with and it's hard enough to break down the barriers of wariness that I get from others on a regular basis. I do eventually succeed, but many people's initial reaction to my presence when they meet me is fear. They hide it well, but their body language tells a different story. I hate it, but I can't change that aspect of who I am. I just have to learn how to disarm people better.
Why is it that people just know how to push my buttons without even meaning to? I got really angry today and had to check myself before I said something I would regret later. I find it reprehensible that other people can't be more considerate. I know I have a short fuse because of the PTSD, but getting this angry all the time is getting frustrating. I managed to keep my cool (externally, anyway) and dealt with the situation, but it was way too close. I am definitely going to spend some quality face time with my xbox 360 tonight to relieve some of this...
I have to keep reminding myself that people don't know me or my expectations in my new position. I caught myself getting mad over things that seemed like the ultimate in common sense. They apparently weren't. I don't know people well enough yet to try to set those expectations and I don't want to alienate anyone right out of the gates. I am in learn and observe mode and it's driving me batty! I can't wait until I know the department and the folks working there know me better so that I can convey to them just how much there is to improve upon that I see already. This is the hardest part of assuming new responsibilities with a new team: Anger management!
I was at work and a web application refused to work properly. I knew that there was nothing I could do to fix it and it was keeping me from being able to do my work in a timely manner. Needless to say, this made me inordinately angry. I was seething under the surface. It was like someone had pushed the big red button marked, 'do not push!'. I knew that if I didn't go somewhere private to get this out, I was going to get myself in trouble. I walked outside and bummed a cigarette off of one of my co-workers and hid around the corner of the building and punched the wall. I didn't punch it hard - just with enough force to snap me out of my rage and bring me back to the here and now. Feeling helpless to do anything about my situation in Iraq was the worst feeling I have ever felt (along with the guilt that I survived at all). Punching the wall brought me back to 'now'. I was able to regain control of the anger and put it back into perspective. I went back in and talked to my area manager about the problem I was having and felt much better. I did what I had to - I couldn't believe that it took that much to snap out of it, but even with my worst knee-jerk reactions, I have been able to maintain control. For that I am eternally grateful.
I had all of my anger issues back under control and one person makes one comment and all of that hard work goes right out the window. It's amazing how quickly that can happen. At least this time, I recognized it faster and was able to get it under control before anyone noticed that I was acting differently. The hardest part is not getting frustrated. When you put so much work into getting something like this under control, it can really piss you off that a little inane comment can undo all of the work you have put in - then you are angry at the person that made you angry and you are REALLY pissed that you let it break down all of your barriers. Unfortunately, people don't differentiate what you are angry about - they just know you are angry.
When I first got home, I had major issues with other people's incompetence. It angered me greatly because overseas, incompetence got people killed. I eventually learned how to better direct this energy and use it to positively affect my day. I seem to have unlearned how to do that. Any perceived incompetence on the part of anyone causes and instant, knee-jerk anger reaction that I have been able to catch before I blow a gasket. I just don't know why this has happened. I am going to have to relearn how to positively channel this anger so that I can remain free of the poisonous anger I used to feel. I always like a good challenge, but this is one I could most definitely do without.
I got angry at my wife and there was no reason for me to be angry. What the heck is up with this ridiculous anger? I have been thinking about it off and on all day and the only thing I can think of is that I feel powerless to change the things that I see that need fixing at work. I guess I should talk to my manager about how I am feeling and explain why it is bothering me so much. I have confidence that she will listen and work with me to help me resolve the anger issues that have been bubbling up lately. I think that I am ready for a change and I hope that it comes sooner rather than later. I have learned a ton, but I need a new challenge. I just have to think out ahead of time what I am going to say and how so that the issues I want to address don't get clouded or misinterpreted by anger coming through when it shouldn't. I am going to talk to my wife and see if she has anything that can help me find my center.
I woke up still angry and got home from work...still angry. I wish I knew the hell why. I am getting a little frustrated that I can't figure it out and that is definitely not helping things at all. This is the first time in quite a while where my fuse has been this short and my temper this volatile. I have been working really hard to control it which only makes me more tired and more irritable - it's a never ending cycle. I am glad that my meeting with the VA docs is coming up soon. I really think I need to adjust my meds. They aren't stabilizing me as well as they had been.
I had a situation where someone asked me to meet them somewhere and they were not there at the appointed time. Not only that, but it put plans for the day on hold. It REALLY pissed me off. I cannot stand rudeness of this type. So, my wife ended up being the one to have to put up with me when I was angry...again. I hate it when she sees me like this. At least Caley was in a really happy mood. I got some really good giggles out of her and it helped to calm me down, but I ended up hiding in my man-cave until I was able to settle myself down...hours later.
I have been working on learning to separate what PTSD contributes to the anger I feel. It has been difficult. When I feel angry, my first instinct has been to shut it down completely. Recently, I have been exploring what it means to feel angry for the right reasons. Sometimes justifiable anger is warranted. My belief is that the only way to conquer the hold that PTSD has over your emotions is to explore all of them, good and bad. It's the only way that you can ever hope to reacquaint yourself with what it feels like to have a full range of healthy emotions. So far, I haven't had a whole lot of success, but I challenge myself every day. I want to know that I am in the driver's seat. I will not let the PTSD rule my life if I have anything I can do about it!
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.