Just came across this post from A Guy Called Bloke wanting to gain some insight into how (well) we handle stress and anger as part of his The Really You series. A rather touchy subject for me. Not in the least because the medication I take for my Parkinson’s Disease (PD) tend to light the short fuse I’ve had, ever since I was little, somewhere in the middle. Which doesn’t help much, obviously.
My ex-wife, who used to be my high school sweetheart many lifetimes ago, exclaimed in sheer desperation a few times that I had developed a mean streak in the decades we were apart. She had fallen in love again with the sweet me. The real me as she called it. Problem was I didn’t know who that was anymore.
Anyways, let us follow the Q’s:
Q: How well do you handle stress?
I don’t. Handle any form of S T R E S S. Let alone ‘well’. Stress has its immediate effect on my Parkinson related symptoms. Not so much the physical symptoms any longer; those have been repressed by a Deep Brain Surgery.
But while the physical side might seem OK (for the time being), the disease has by no means been stopped in its tracks. It still rages on inside my brain and has a devastating effect. A bit more on this I’ve posted here.
Coming back to the Q then. So while stress has no effect on me physically any longer, its effects on me psychologically seem to increase. Stress levels seem to be building up more rapidly than ever before. And cause an eruption in anger spells more easily.
Well meant advice from my ‘Parkinson psychologist: try to minimize the number and intensity of stress. Sounds logical right? Wrong. I’m trying, but it’s near impossible.
Q: How well do you handle anger?
Not well at all it seems. Depends on who you ask really. Apart from stress as a source there is another major source of anger in my life. F R U S T R A T I O N. This I hope is rather self-explanatory for someone with PD. I’m not even half the man I used to be. The things I loved doing (and I was more than a little good at) that are simply impossible now: playing guitar, playing soccer, racing go-karts. And above all, a good debate. About anything really. Problem is, while I can sort of string a half decent argument together in my mind, I need time to get it across verbally. Far more than a few times I get interrupted if I get the chance to speak at all. This pisses me off to no extent.
So, for those of you still reading, stress and frustration are the two forces that cause me to lose my cool.
There’s an old saying about hurting the ones we love the most. As with most of these type of cliches there is a fair amount of truth in it. Eventually I blow up. Usually my girlfriend or my cat are on the receiving end of my verbal anger. I thank whichever God is responsible I don’t resort in physical violence.
Oh, I remember my psychologist’s advice only afterwards. When I start feeling remorse.
Q: When was the last time you really lost your temper through stress?
Yesterday early evening.