bad mood blues

Disclaimer: I’m venting; I’m not physically violent or suicidal; this too shall pass.

So I’m feeling angry right now, and this is something that happens much more frequently than I’d like. Small things too easily make me upset and angry, and my method of “dealing” with them seems to consist largely of
1. Overreacting
2. Redirecting as much negative feeling away from other people and at myself instead
3. Subsequently concluding all sorts of unreasonable negative things about myself and/or the world
4. Draining energy supressing violent impulses that I wish I never had in the first place
5. Crying because I feel drained and confused and unhappy

I have an exceptional ability to find an angle on nearly any situation which somehow puts myself at fault. I’m not sure if the problem is that I *actually* blame myself or that I instinctively try to convince myself it’s my fault without really believing it. In any case, I nearly always at least manage to conclude that I should have done something differently, and that I either suck at being a friend/girlfriend, suck at dealing with life, am an annoying and selfish person, or …well, you get the idea.

I think the first thing I’d try to change would be to constrain myself to only thinking about and dealing with the situation at hand – what can I do differently next time? How can I constructively convey my frustration to someone else if they’ve upset me? Logically, this should be a more reasonable approach than trying to figure out more generally whether I’m selfish or a hypocrite, and what I should do about it if I am.

But everytime I try to think I get tangled up in circles and knots. I dislike it when I “take my anger out on someone else” – but at the same time if someone has made me angry I want to be able to communicate this to them instead of bottling it up. The scariest part of the whole process is that I end up feeling like I don’t actually know what I believe or want (in both specific and general senses). This is highly problematic for me, even though I’ve been reassured that nearly everyone goes through some form of “identity crisis” and many people don’t figure out who they are and what they want from life until much later in life (if ever). I’m scared of never having a strong sense of identity or place in the world. Not knowing what I’m doing with my life can be paralyzing: how can I make choices about what classes to take if I don’t know what I want to major in? How can I figure out what I want to major in if I don’t know what I’m most interested in or what kind of career I’d like? At some point the solution is to just make the choices and hope for the best. But that doesn’t stop me from being angry at not being able to figure it out.

I’m burnt out, but the world goes on and I with it – it’s a sunny day, it’s Friday, and I’ll once again put these concerns on the back burner until they boil over again.

Comments 4

  1. qcvar wrote:

    I really appreciate this post; it lets me somewhat experience again what anger is like and what results from it through your description. I lost the ability to be angry a few years ago, and the most I can become is slightly annoyed. Thanks for this opportunity.

    Anyway, it is true that it is a Friday, and there is the weekend to look forward to to chew over things.

    Posted 03 Mar 2006 at 05:44
  2. qcvar wrote:

    Hmm… though I suppose I do very rarely get angry, and this quickly subsides to annoyance…

    Posted 03 Mar 2006 at 05:47
  3. troglodyteking wrote:

    I can definitely sympathize. I think I do similar things with anger and other similar negative emotions. Fortunately(/unfortunately?) I tend to fairly rarely have them, so this is not such a big problem for me. Or maybe it is more that I rarely have them particularly strong, so if it is strong I get really miserable and depressive (usually more about the world/the-state-of-things-now than myself, but frequently also about what actions I should have taken that I did not, etc.), but most of the time I just stuff it down and keep on with life. This seems pretty effective most of the time, but I think in the long run it is not doing me much good, because it means that I do not really communicate with people. I think that is my biggest problem along these lines – the lack of communication of my frustration. I just take the negative emotions and analyze them to death rather than letting myself feel and express them. It is nice in that I do not blow up at people, but sometimes I think a good blowing-up, if handled maturely, makes a relationship (whether it be a ‘Relationship’ or just a more broad understanding of the term) stronger when resolved. Rather than blowing apart relationships, I just manage to bottle everything up so that they either just slowly decay to nothing much, or never really develop.

    As for knowing what you are doing with yourself . . . not much I have to offer you there. However, I think the best attitude (usually I would just say this is just my attitude, but increasingly I think it is a pretty generalizable principle) is to just study what you want and figure out the career/post-collegiate-stuff later. I would say just follow your passion and either 1) see if you can try to mold it into more or less one predefined discipline (regardless of whether it is ‘practical’ or ‘marketable’) or 2) see if you can take all the disparate pieces and try to scrape together some sort of interdisciplinary or individually designed major.

    Realistically, unless you do something like engineering, hard science, or computer science your major is probably not really going to directly lead into any one career. I think increasingly people get a degree and then find a career and get trained in that career after college – obviously using the college experience as a resource (knowing how to write, communicate, think analytically, problem solve, etc.) but probably not directly applicably so. Secondary education in the United States, especially at the high-prestige level of Stanford, is a lot more about well-rounded education and less about job training than most of the rest of the world. The job market knows this.

    Posted 03 Mar 2006 at 10:36
  4. wyterabbit wrote:

    See, the problem is that I don’t know what I *want.* I don’t know what my passion is, if I even have one. That’s what’s getting in my way far more than worries about majors or careers. Although you’re point about interdisciplinary/IDM is a good one.

    Posted 03 Mar 2006 at 13:09

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