What Do I Do When I Feel Like Screaming Every Day?

mental health practical tips self-care May 08, 2023

Your Facebook ads are filled with experts who are going to help you "Stop yelling In 5 days!" Podcasts promise a few quick tips will make all the difference. You commit every morning to keep your cool and remain calm, and then feel crippling shame and frustration when you're again screaming in your kitchen at 5pm.

The pressure to "remain calm" is intense.

The shame is overwhelming.

The quick fixes are not working.

What do you do??

 

Just like your kids, you do well when you can.

I want to say that again:

You do well when you can.

Rather than quick tips or fancy systems, you need gentle care and support so that you can do well. It's not a lack of love. It's not a lack of trying. It's a lack of support. You need your tank filled up, even a tiny bit, so that there's something there to draw on when things get tough. But filling our own tanks often feels like one more hard thing to pull off in a sea of challenges.

So perhaps, instead of adding in a bubble bath, a caregiver, a daily walk, a meditation time, a yoga class, a parenting book, perhaps instead of adding anything at all, you start with subtraction? What If you started by lightening your load?

I know. It feels like you've dropped everything you possibly can. It feels like you're already doing the bare minimum and may even feel ashamed about how much you've already dropped. But the fact that you're having a hard time tells us that the demands are still too high. Something is too hard. And you are allowed to find out what it is---and let it go.

The goal here is to bring more ease into daily life and to give you a closer awareness of what's too hard, so you can practice respecting your limits and letting things go. Sometimes it's the tiniest, most subtle drops that make a big difference. But what matters most is that these drops are on target for you. That they lighten your mental, practical, or emotional load. That they represent gentle kindness and compassion toward yourself.

Sometimes I drop the expectation of putting the dishes in the dishwasher at night, when it has been too long of a day and I'm exhausted, and instead I save them for the morning, when I know cup of coffee will be happily waiting for me. It still gets done, but I drop the demand of doing it at a time of day that is too hard for me. I don't love waking up to a sink full of dishes, but I trust that nighttime-me was doing the best she could, and so I send her a little understanding and compassion, and I trust that morning-me can handle it.

TWO QUESTIONS TO ASK

1.) What is the hardest time of day for me, the time when I'm feeling the most strung out, exhausted, or overwhelmed?

2.) What burdens are too heavy for me at that time? If I could lay one of them down, what would It be? If I could magic wand and make something go away, what would it be?

THREE PLACES TO DROP DEMANDS

Goals you're struggling to let go of.

I encourage clients to focus on only 1 or 2 top priorities at a time. Are there side goals you could release for now? Simply naming that they are not the top priority can be the start of a demand-drop. If you can take it a step farther, what can you do to reinforce for yourself and for others that this is not the top priority and that you will let it go? Can you gently guide yourself away from thinking about it when it comes up in your mind?

Are there expectations others are holding for you that feel too hard?

For example, I discovered that my husband was expecting to have a little conversation at night, and that there are nights when that is too hard for me. Some nights I don't have it in me to summarize the day, to reflect on the day, to have a back and forth conversation. It's too hard. So we talked about it, named it, and now I can drop that any day that it is feeling too hard.

What expectations are you holding for yourself?

One I let go of is that I would be just as productive on especially hard days as I am on regular days. If I'm fielding constant dysregulation or loaning out my nervous system all day long, naturally I won't have anything left. I need plans in place for the things that are too hard on those days. (they're not complicated: tell husband "hard day," pizza or take-out hamburgers or smoothies for dinner, paper plates, zero clean-up, I do just the easy kid bedtime and fall asleep or at least stay in bed from then on).

Quiz: "Why is everything so hard?"

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