Now before everyone starts misinterpreting the heading, my anger or mood swings are in no way represented in any act of violence. I felt the need to highlight this for unfortunately these days whenever we see the words anger or anger management in the media it is usually associated with a violent act.
Family, friends and work colleagues would read this heading and think anger and Michael Weston don’t fall into the same category with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not portraying myself as a Saint of any sorts for I get angry at certain things that life throws at me as does any other human being however mood swings and sarcasm represents a new beast.
So why then do I use the words anger and management as the title for this instalment? Well following my incident which resulted in an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), came with lots of additional baggage (other ailments) as a result of the ABI as explained in previous instalments on this website. I am learning that everything is linked to the main injury, in this case the ABI and that most ailments also come with their own baggage. This baggage creates frustration, stress and anxiety for my inability to function as I had previously to my incident results in the whole experience being extremely overwhelming. This then opens the door to anger burning inside myself and there is only one way to relieve myself from such feelings which is to “share my verbal feelings with everyone”. Yes, that’s correct…everyone!
My anger is displayed usually as a single verbal exchange in order to release my feelings of frustration. Now I believe in most cases that I am saying things under my breath however my immediate family members will tell me otherwise. They tell me in most cases that if I was to say the words any louder everyone within a 30 metre radius would have heard what I had said. At first my response is to feel slightly embarrassed however an overwhelming rush of satisfaction follows knowing that everyone knows how I feel. I’m kidding myself if I believe that everyone knows how I feel and that my words are what everyone was actually thinking. Well no, actually they are most likely thinking that I am a loud mouth loser that likes raising his voice in public just to belittle people. For the record this is not my intention but believe this is how I am portraying myself unintentionally. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going out into the public and ranting and raving at everyone and everything at anytime but I would describe this as “on occasions”.
In order to provide you with more context as to what I am attempting to explain, I shall give you two brief examples.
Home Environment: I have been completing some chores around the house and come across some difficult situations where some problem solving is required. After some considerable time trying to come up with a solution I am no closer at making any ground however I push through and keep going at this task. My wife notices the physical affect that this is having on me (sweating, shaking, slurred speech etc.) and reminds me to stop and have a break. Actually for the record she calls out “drop the anchor” (I will explain in another instalment). Without any thought process I will be very short with her in saying “Im fine”. I know these words sound too mild the way it is written however imagine the words “Im fine” with a raised voice, spoken very promptly with a look of “leave me alone” written on my face.
Its rude, disrespectful and unacceptable to reply in this way to a person I have loved for over 30 years, who has been my backbone since my incident and at this given time was looking out for her husband that was heading towards another crash. Who have I become?
To add to this, I would estimate that 50% of the time I am aware of my verbal actions immediately after saying them and the other 50% of the time I am so self-involved with the task (tunnel vision) that I am not aware that I have acted inappropriately. During the times that I am aware that I have said the wrong thing I will promptly apologize. When I am unaware, my wife will sit down with me at a time when she knows that I have rested and am mentally capable to discuss my actions. Obviously I always provide my wife with an apology which she always accepts however I still know that my behavior is unacceptable and only I can change this.
Public Environment: Most public environments are going to be busy with people wherever you go. When I am placed within a busy, noisy environment such as a shop or café, it is very difficult for me to single out a direct conversation with the family or friends that I am with. Instead, I can hear just about every noise you could imagine within the shop or café. As an example, in a café I will hear all the conversations at the tables (obviously all distorted noise), the coffee machine, the grinder, the blender, the kitchen bell, the cash register and the list goes on.
My frustration in this instance is that with my hyposensitivity to noise, it all becomes one large volume of scrambled noise and my inability to maintain the concentration on our tables conversation is extremely difficult. I would describe this as being similar to the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carey answering everyone’s prayers to God. All he hears are hundreds of voices all talking at the same time. Apologies if you haven’t watched the movie.
My reaction usually means that at some point in time I will single “an event” out such as someone that has their chair pushed out so far that it leaves no room for our table and chairs. Instead of asking the person to kindly move the chair in a little I provide an under the breath verbal exchange of “pull your chair out a little more so we can all join tables”. In most sarcastic verbal exchanges, I also accompany this with a large smile. Well my family and friends are embarrassed at our table for this verbal exchange wasn’t under my breath and was so loud that half the café could hear it.
How did I feel after this? A little remorseful at first followed by a great feeling of relief that I have told that person that their actions upset me. Knowing later that most patrons within the café also heard my comments is the added bonus for I thought I was saying this under my breath.
Whilst I could provide you with other examples, my intention here was to provide brief examples of what I consider to be anger issues as a result of my inability to function prior to my incident. It is important for me to have this managed sooner rather than later for it doesn’t portray the person I really am.
I shall be writing about Anger Management further as part of my rehabilitation instalments which will go into detail of the strategies and coping mechanisms that I have in place to ensure that my verbal anger is managed as well a Specialists diagnosis as to why I feel so good during such verbal exchanges.