Keeping the bitch at bay

These days she is mostly kept concealed, but it wasn’t always so. Inside me somewhere resides a nasty little bitch. (Related to:

It doesn’t make me feel good to admit it and I had hoped that perhaps she had left me, but recently when I suddenly found myself once more floundering in a black hole, out she popped to smack a friend. Let’s call my friend Jane.

The fact is, when I was much younger, I had a lot of anger.  It came from being hurt. I can remember times, striking out, feeling like some kind of poisonous snake and at the time I think I was actually proud of how bitchy I could be.

Why would anyone be proud of such a thing? It was a defense. I can see it now, and maybe I was proud of being able to defend myself. Except that I really didn’t. Not in a way that mattered.

When I went into therapy, I learned to stop letting petty things inflame my anger which was a great help. But it didn’t solve the underlying problem.

Therapy can be very useful, but only if you allow it to be. It’s pointless if, when your therapist chips away a part of your wall, you build it back up with reinforcements. Which all too often I did, I think.

Over the many years of my employ with the airline, I got sent on a wide variety of training courses designed at helping me to deal with the travelling public and while I found some of these courses annoying and boring, there were some that gave  me insight into my own mind.

As you grow old, I think, you also look back at your younger self and shake your head. “How could I have been so stupid?” You ask. “Why did I do this or that? Why was I so bitchy?”

I was bitchy because people were always hurting me, mostly by simply disregarding my feelings. When you’ve been hurt enough, you lash out and it seems that I still have a very sensitive spot.

One thing that I am very sensitive to is being ignored, overlooked, dismissed. To be crude, it pisses me off. A carry-over from my childhood.

One time, in western Washington I really covered myself in glory. It was when I was being evaluated for a spinal fusion. One if the tests I needed required that I be off my anti-depressant for two weeks, so I was in a fairly poor frame of mind to begin with. Jane was my driver.

The test was done in a hospital that required a stay of a few hours, so I was in a room. After the usual long wait. I was prepped for the test and wheeled away, on a gurney.

The test was performed and I was wheeled back out into the cold corridor. And forgotten.

There I lay on my hard gurney, shivering and waiting for someone to remember that I needed to go back to my room.

How long I actually waited I am not sure. It was long enough and how much longer I would have been left there, I can’t imagine. But as I got colder I began to get angry. Remember, I was off my anti-depressant.

When my anger began to boil, it was rather like a volcano. I would let a tiny bit out but then I couldn’t stop it. In a way, it was rather funny, though I didn’t think so at the time.

“This will NOT do!” I decided. “I shall have to sort this out MYSELF.”

So, the next poor slob who came past in a hospital-looking outfit got grabbed by a mad-looking woman in a gown, who leapt suddenly from a gurney and yelled; “EXCUSE ME !”

To say he looked startled is putting it mildly. No doubt he was pre-occupied with his own affairs and I must have scared the living daylights out of him.

“I’ve been FORGOTTEN!” I screamed “I need to go back to my room.” I don’t think I used any curse words at that stage. The man scurried off to find an attendant.

It was the attendant, I think, who got the benefit of my unleashed anger. I don’t remember what I said, but it wouldn’t have been very polite. I know Jane heard me coming down the hall. She then had the benefit of listening to me fretting and moaning and crying, which was the normal sequence of these explosions. Then she had to drive me home through the storm, still grizzling.

The test took place on a cold winter day during a bad rainstorm. On the TV there was a news-clip of cows standing forlornly on a piece of ground amid an encroaching flood. I wept. How I wept for those cows that I was certain were going to drown.

That is how I get when my medication gets in a muddle. These days I am better at managing it, but the recent plunge alerted me to the fact that I must be more attentive…

Last month I had a birthday. I’ve never regarded them as being very important and would just as soon ignore them these days, so having someone else forget is really not a big thing.

However, last month I also had surgery. Again, it was not a big thing, but it did lay me out for a week and during that week not a single person called me. It really didn’t matter. There was nothing anyone could do and I was not in extremis, by any means.

But I had told two friends about the surgery a matter of days before, and I did think I might get a call to say “hi, how did it go?” One of them was Jane who also forgot my birthday and she called to apologize, just as I began the wallow in my muddy black pit.

As a result, I regret to say, I lobbed out the smallest little bitchy missile in a text. But Jane didn’t get that I was upset, not over the birthday, but over the forgotten surgery, even though I pointed this out. When she came back to me again, she still didn’t ask how I was feeling, whether the discomfort had gone away.

Petty to be annoyed, I know.

But I’m not sure Jane really believes that I have medical issues and this irritates, so I did become further peeved.

I deliberately didn’t talk to Jane, because I was very emotional, and when I am like that conversations tend to go wrong, but the result was that I upset her and ended up feeling mean and horrible.

Then I said to myself “Wait a minute. It wasn’t you who forgot. Why are you feeling bad?”

Still, I did lob that wee missile. Just a very small one. But that bitch must still be in there somewhere.

Shame on me 

See my astounded friends looking at me? I won’t tell you what I was calling them.

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